spell tongue


WHAT I RE­MEM­BER dress I wore for my sev­enth birth­day and she car­ried a yel­low plas­tic bag. She tip­toed to kiss me on the lips, with ex­actly 20 min­utes left be­fore the year ended. She smelled like drug­store cologne and fruity sham­poo. I smelled like seafood cup noo­dles and cor­po­rate slav­ery. She said, wow you’re fat­ter than I imag­ined you to be. We laughed. Her eyes said where are you go­ing, why aren’t you home. But I know she hated con­fronta­tion and af­ter­noon naps and say­ote. She asked if I still liked kiss­ing my pil­lows and pre­tend­ing they’re Aladdin’s shoul­ders and Bem­bol Roco. I said yes but th­ese days I imag­ine they’re mar­ried his­tory pro­fes­sors and sweet boys from Is­abela and Lou Sal­vador, Jr. And I do more than just kiss­ing. She said, aah, which trans­lates to what the hell does that even mean and se­ri­ously, Lou Sal­vador, Jr.? From the yel­low plas­tic bag, she took out a pi­rated DVD copy of Kama Su­tra I found in Grandpa’s bookshelf 14 years ago. I saw the cu­rios­ity and con­fu­sion in her huge Bambi eyes and I wanted to tell her that a few months from now, she’ll walk in on our par­ents watch­ing that DVD. They won’t even no­tice her but their sighs will play in her head for the next two weeks. Four­teen years later, she’ll end up point­ing a gun at Dad be­cause she’ll catch him watch­ing that same DVD with a stranger. She’ll be kicked out on New Year’s Eve by Mom, who will con­tinue be­ing id­i­ot­i­cally in love I wanted to tell her that things will change. That Bem­bol Roco will stop be­ing hot in the next cou­ple of years be­cause his jaw­line will re­mind her of some­one else’s. That she’ll start lik­ing say­ote. That the word tongue will be the least of her wor­ries. That only her eyes will re­main.

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