My mother speaks a language other than I. She was a francophone in her
Canadian childhood. I am not part of her elite vernacular assembly or
the linguistic, lyrical lodge between her and her friends save watermarks of
words spoken and drafted here and there in formless memories. My father
never fathomed much, but he soon caught up on some chirping, their betrothal
telexed in both tongues.
I never threw myself into telling fleur from papillon, but sometimes I want to
wander off into a foreign faubourg in search of linguistic tesserae or stamped
editorials with fancy names for birds. I hopped from preschool society to
college club for language class, my motives flaky as eggshells on the sidewalk.
Perhaps I would never begin. The secret of language is tight-lippedness.