The Super Bilingual

#52essays2018essay#18  #flashfiction

It was 1982 and I flew to Los Estados with my parents for a medical checkup. It had been 8 years since we left the States. I don’t remember much about my time in NOLA. I do remember though, our house in Marrero, Saturday mornings of cartoons, and pretend games starring The Super Friends. I recall flying off the red pleather couch pretending to be member of the Super Friends squad or riding my superwoman tricycle chased by mother since I had messed up her sala once again. I also remember the day we left to go to Honduras. My dad took a picture of my brother and I on top of mom’s red Chevy Nova. With my doll, Linda Carter in one arm, and the other around my brother’s neck, we smiled mimicking my parent’s excitement of a fresh new start in another country-a Spanish-speaking country. My only concern that day was, will I see my beloved Aqua man again? Did they have TVs that played The Super Friends on Saturday mornings? As we settled in the new country we enrolled in Catholic schools where English was thought mainly as a side note-we learned words like “Good morning” and “thank you” and that kind of generic words. In four years, I had pretty much lost any knowledge of the English language, especially since at home, my parents only spoke in English when they didn’t want us to understand their conversations and we didn’t understand, or so I thought.

That day we went to McDonalds by the hospital for lunch and I asked to go to the bathroom. “Pero no hablas Ingles” said my mom concerned. The romper- wearing, short-haired, feisty me, decided, I didn’t need to speak English to go to the bathroom, if necessary, I would invoke my friend Wonder Woman ‘s help. As I was washing my hands a lady was unsuccessfully trying to press her foot on the lever to open the trash can. After watching her struggle for few minutes, I automatically responded” It doesn’t work” I said, feeling like some other me was the one uttering the statement. “Well thanks for letting me know “said the woman with stringy yellow hair and transparent skin as she looked down on me with a motherly tone in her voice. I went back to the table a bit confused not quite sure understanding were my language superpowers had come from, but feeling like I had just beat Bizarro without the help of Wonder Dog. Thinking maybe, just maybe, I also had a touch of superpowers just like my Super Friends.

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