Roots

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Yow yah, yow yah, my wife says, more or less, her words square and my ears round. Spring sun floods our yard, we stand in the shade of the privacy fence. She points the hoe at the birdbath, or a shrub. She points at some goddamn thing over there, all the while speaking Mandarin, which carves creases into her cheeks. It does, I'm not making this up. Her maiden name, by the way, is MacGregor, her roots don't go any farther east than tartan. After her Tuesday night Mandarin class at the Bud Elgin Community Centre she stays out late over coffee, with classmates plural, she says. Egg rolls, too? I say, if I'm in a certain mood. Like now, she is switching to speaking Mandarin a lot lately, and continuing for longer periods of time. Homework is it? She doesn't translate and I don't ask her to. We both just pretend nothing is different.

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