One of _Those_ Problems
K'mai was on his way to the indoor Weyrlake to wash Sebeth when he
spotted a familiar boy. "Hey there Kaiafel. How are you?" Sabia's new
fostermother was Kaiafel's mother and the boy had taken quite well to
his role as her big brother.
"No bad I guess," Kaiafel shrugged, kicking a stone further down the
corridor. "Off to wash your blue?"
K'mai's ready smile faded. "Something wrong?"
"I dunno," the boy said with another shrug. It seemed to be his
favorite gesture lately.
"Well it sounds like something's wrong. How about you come help me
wash Sebeth and we can talk about it."
"Yeah, ok." After all, Kaiafel never said no to washing a dragon!
"Just don't make fun of me for using the indoor lake." The water in
the outdoor lake was too cold for him but most of the riders acted
like it was fine.
"I won't," Kaiafel promised. "There aren't as many people this time
of the Turn. It makes it nice for practicing swimming. Or that's
what my Da says."
Sebeth was already waiting for them, flirting with a green. There were
hardly any other dragons around. K'mai urged his blue closer to the
shore as he set down his sweetsand bucket. "Thanks for helping," he
told Kaiafel as he handed the boy a brush.
"It's no problem," Kaiafel assured him as he reached out a hand
towards the blue. "Hi, Sebeth. I'm going to help wash you today."
Sebeth turned gently whirling eyes on the youngster and bumped his
hand. "He says thank you." K'mai started scrubbing the dark blue hide.
"So what's been troubling you?"
"Oh, I don't know", Kaiafel frowned, reaching out to scratch the
blue's eyeridge. "I guess... Well... There's this girl..."
"Ohh, one of _those_ problems," K'mai said with a grin.
"What do you mean?" Kaiafel asked a little defensively. He couldn't
understand the humor the bluerider seemed to find in it.
"The romantic kind. Why don't you tell me more about this girl?"
"You're just going to laugh at me," the boy said, picking up a brush.
It seemed what grown-ups did when he tried to tell them his problems.
Well, not always, but about some things for sure. They got this weird
smile on their face, like they didn't take him seriously. Like they
still thought he was just a kid.
"Ah, no, I won't laugh. I'm just glad because it's the kind of problem
I'm good with." K'mai would have at least offered a sympathetic ear no
matter what the problem had been, but this was something he could
likely help Kaiafel with in a more direct way.
The boy looked at him suspiciously for a long moment, but it seemed
K'mai was sincere. "Well... I guess I just don't know how to make
her like me."
"Ah, see. That's your first mistake. You can't _make_ someone like
you," K'mai said. "You can, however, put yourself in the best light.
Is this girl someone you know well, or is she a new acquaintance?"
"I've known her all my life, I think." Though he didn't really think
much about until recently. She was always with the girls, doing girl
things. Kaiafel was catching tunnel snakes and looking for flit eggs.
"Are you friends?"
The boy shrugged. "I dunno. Kind of, I guess. We talk sometimes.
But she's a technician's assistant now, so I don't see her as much as
I used to."
"A craft, that's excellent. That gives you something to talk about."
The bluerider smiled. "You can ask her how her training is going, let
her share her interests with you. And you can share some of your own
"Do you think she would like me more if I had a craft?" Kaiafel had
never been interested in anything but riding a dragon, but his father
had crafted and girls certainly liked him!
"I think she'd like you more if you _talked_ to her." K'mai laughed.
"I guess," the boy said with a forlorn sigh. It was easy for the
bluerider to say. But what did Kaiafel know of dresses, dolls,
gossip, all the things girls talked about? And if he talked to her,
he ran the risk of being seen with her, and then all the other boys
would laugh and tease him. Love was so complicated.
K'mai reached for another handful of sweetsand. "At least give it a
Last updated on the February 1st 2018