GIANT-ASS LÍQUIDO

 

I add an accent to my last name in college, a mark of pride.  A mark of something.

*

I speak Spanish fluidly at the panaderia. The woman responds politely, looks amused. My assumed whiteness makes me stick out amongst the pan dulce racks. I take pleasure in rolling my “r’s.”

*

When he passed, so did my language. Gone were the weekly trips to Tía Concha’s, the one who refused to speak English to me. I had to practice, out of necessity. Our routine: ask; correct and try again.

*

I was overly excited when someone signed my yearbook in Spanish. Read the text over and over, felt the words smooth and glossy. I wanted to go back and respond, prove to him I could. As if it weren’t history.

*

At home it was mostly English, the other language reserved for anger. I knew all the bad words first.

*

“What would you like?”

“Me das un líquido de piña,” I say with a certain cockiness I can’t explain. I know she speaks English. I can order in our native tongue. Don’t worry.


Erick Saenz lives in Monterey, California. You can find him online at ignorethedisclaimer.tumblr.com .