Romance Language

For Ochita

I’ve been in love with language for as long as I can remember, and by “in love,” I mean language always contains a kind of necessity for me that it seems not to have for many other people I know.

From the time of my childhood, when I couldn’t hold on to anything else, I held on to words.

Words in my head. The self talk that sustained me either when I found myself alone, or when the chaos of family or disconnection from other children, or the aggression of the wider world because of my body or spirit or skin threatened to swallow me.

Words in the newspapers and magazines that I read. The Miami Herald in my preteen days, shipped to where we lived in Panama a day late except on Sundays. The Reader’s Digest and Redbook and Ladies Home Journal—especially the “Can This Marriage…

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