His childhood consisted mainly of oranges. It made his winters livelier, stuck at home with the American TV in Spanish subtitles. He often remembered his mother striking a match over the stove to the rhythm of the music on the radio. His sixth summer brought the bullets. He was in school at the time and thought it must be a parade when they started sending kids home. Men in blue with black guns speaking in every language but Spanish marched down dirt roads to his house, ordering families outside. His father hid him in the pantry, safe with the oranges two seasons ago.
It was an awfully long summer in the pantry. His mother opened it finally so he could help her clean his father’s blood off the orange trees. Since then, he could feel the change. There were no more Spanish subtitles on the TV, and his mother’s voice sounded suddenly sharp, filled with English where the silky accent she’d had all those twenty-four seasons had once been. Eight years later and the sharp, cutting English found its way in his heart. Often he told his blue eyed friends about the oranges in his backyard, and while they listened politely they still seemed to turn away too soon. To them it was a story. They could not, for some reason, see the blood shed from the cuts the sharp English made on his tongue.