Mangoes. The fresh, sweet meat that is perfectly ripe for eating. The firm, sunshine yellow peel that shines brightly under the summer sun. The flowers of the mango tree that the lazy, buzzing bees love so much. The leaves of the tree that whisper in the wind, whispering of happiness and love and the soft dresses that Mama will make for me and my dolls.
“Camila!” Mama’s voice is high and clear, like the spring water that runs fresh over my sticky finger tips after I eat mangoes. “Come here, Camila!”
I pick the mango and tuck it into my dress quickly. Mama doesn’t need to know. I’m not supposed to be eating these mangoes. These mangoes are for the townspeople - not for me.
“Yes, Mama!” I imitate her voice and run through the green grass that tickles my toes like the little purple fish in the pond. “I’m coming, Mama!” My yellow dress flaps around my legs, and Mama tells me not to look down because Camila, you will fall! but I look down anyways, and it is golden sunshine kissing my legs.
Mama’s back is towards me, and it is hunched over as she gardens, pulling weeds with fervor that only my Mama could do it with. I run up to her and hug her so tightly and quickly that she gasps with surprise.
“Camila!” She is not mad though because she is laughing. “What do you want now, child?” She playfully slaps my hand, and I dance away, grinning as widely as the sun.
“The mangoes are ripe, Mama!” She laughs again, and I have a warm, bubbly feeling in me like when Mama tells me Good job, Camila! and I am very, very happy.
“It is going to rain, Camila. Can you feed the chickens?” I look up at the sky, and there are large dark clouds on the horizon, creeping further towards us like a black leopard. I squeal in fake fear and run as fast as I can to the chicken. Mama knows I love feeding the chickens.
A small handful, Mama always tells me, and I stretch out my palm, measuring its width with my other hand. Then, I take a small handful of the corn and chicken feed and prance into the enclosure.
“Hello, chickees!” I sing happily, tossing the feed up into the air like the imminent rain. The chickens squawk and crowd around me, and I imagine that they are my loving friends. “Heh-low, Selena, Santiago, Sofía!” Selena is a fat, white hen that clucks continuously and croons over the other chicks. Santiago is a proud red rooster who struts around the area like a prince, occasionally snapping at the younger chickens. Sofía is my favorite. Sofía is like me, made of laughter and golden sunshine. That’s what Mama says.
The rain starts to fall, lightly at first, cool kisses on my shoulders and my ankles. Then, it grows louder, pattering on our house and on the green ground. I stick out my tongue like a dog and laugh when the sweet rain falls on my tongue. I dance in the rain, and I can hear Mom's voice in my head: Don’t run in the rain! but I can’t help it! The water makes my dress cling to me, and I take out the mango and hold it up to the sky and bathe it in the cool drumroll of the summer.
My laughter is sweet, and when the sun shines through the clouds, I hold up my mango and sing.