I Remember Brown

The teak house on stilts with dirt below. The brown cicada on the other side of a screen door, vibrating in my father’s fingers. The moment of childish panic in the golden light of my birthday candles when Mom asks me how old I am and I don’t know how many fingers to hold up. Our wrinkled brown neighbor, “The Loong” (The Uncle), who kidnaps us from homeschool when Mom isn’t looking. He sits us down in wicker chairs to watch Popeye in Thai while he feeds us coffee candies and picks the sticky strings off our tangerines. I see spots of colors, too. I remember gathering odd, sour green fruits in a blue child-sized umbrella.