The Language of Love
by Bobbi Lurie
Carlos found a cardboard box of letters in his abuela’s closet.
When Carlos untied the strings which held the box together, a flow of letters, smelling of disintegration, infused the room. The faded ink was all that was left of the dead.
The letters were written in Spanish, the language he abandoned.
Inglés es el idioma de los negocios; el español es el idioma del amor, he remembered his abuela saying.
With or without Spanish, he knew these letters weren’t from his abuelo, her husband of fifty years. No, it was clear: they were written by someone else.
Stuck on the bottom of the box was a photo of a very young man, younger than Carlos for sure. This man’s permanent youth was proof of an undying love, Carlos thought.
“What ya doing there?” Carlos’ wife, Gina, came in, the kids screaming behind her. “Ya gotta get rid of all that crap so we can sell the house.” The realtor was standing behind her. “Yes, Mr. Morales,” the realtor said, exemplifying what his grandmother meant when she said, Inglés es el idioma de los negocios; el español es el idioma del amor.
“I’ll be right there,” Carlos said to the air. “I need to find a bag to put this in.”
“I have one in my car,” said the realtor. “I’ll be right back.”
“What the hell ‘ya doing? What is that you’re reading?”
“Nothing,” Carlos answered his wife, the way he always never did, ever since the kids were born and she got fat, chain-smoking cigarettes, destroying the aura which once infused them with excuses to marry.
“Here,” said the realtor, handing him a plastic bag. He carefully put the letters in the bag.
He found scissors and cut the photograph of the ageless man, stuck to the piece of box it was glued to. He put that in the bag as well. “I’ll be back in a few minutes to pick you up,” the realtor said impatiently, unable to watch Carlos move so slow. “I have another showing I gotta go to,” she added, her voice on edge.
Carlos started crying. “Mi abuela me decía Inglés es el idioma de los negocios; el español es el idioma del amor.”
“You stupid Chicano,” said his wife, Gina, “You bore me to bits.”
“Así es,” Carlos murmured beneath his breath. “Esa es la cosa, ese es el asunto; ya está.”