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Maura's at the Home because, for as long as she can remember, she sometimes tastes the future.

The cool taste of mint means it will rain soon. The stronger the flavor, the stronger the storm. The sweet taste of apples and cinnamon means that something good will happen: a birthday card, a lost item returned, getting the ball for recess.

Once, when she was at a sleepover, her mouth filled with the taste of salt, and she froze in horror. Something embarrassing was about to happen. She spent the evening on guard, not speaking, every movement carefully examined. When dinner was called and served, the salt taste exploded accompanied by the intense taste of lemons. Her face twisted, but before anyone noticed, her friend's older brother slid downstairs in his boxers, unaware that there was a gaggle of girls visiting. She laughed with the rest and relaxed.

The worst taste Maura ever had was the spiciness that hit her once at school. It burned. It burned and stung and had a terrible metallic edge. She jumped out of her chair and ran to the back of the classroom, to the sink counter, and cried when she couldn't reach the faucet. She wept and licked her clothing, trying to get rid of the taste.

It wasn't until about an hour later, when she was waiting in the nurses office, that she found about the car crash.

Time and faces blurred. She didn't notice. It wasn't until the woman from the Home, dressed in a dark suit-dress, came to her that Maura woke up a little.

Did she want to come to the Home? the woman asked.

And Maura tasted the mildest of flavors, just a hint of cinnamon and apples, and said yes.

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