English only?

[I feel very fortunate that Nick Belardes invited me to participate in his blog. This is my first attempt to write something more literary. The story first appeared here.]

It was autumn in suburban Richmond. Cheerful, acute voices overwhelmed the muted sounds of falling leaves.

“Córrele Guillermo,” yelled Elena to her toddler. “Te tengo aquí unas galletitas.”

Just next to her, a round, middle-aged face surfaced from behind a USA Today. With deepening, fresh wrinkles, he glanced and gruntled, “In this park we only speak English!”

The mother turned slightly. Taking a cookie from a Mickey Mouse tupperware, she calmly said, “I’m sorry sir. In this park you only speak English. We speak Spanish and English, and perhaps some French or Portuguese if we really try.”

The stranger had no language to reply. He again sank his face into his paper’s sports pages.

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