And felt kind of bad about it. Let me explain.
As my mom and I were pulling into Birch Manor (our apartment complex) I spotted my Huffy Kathy Ireland bike, being ridden by a boy. Several weeks ago this bike was taken from outside my bedroom window, presumably by someone who lives in Birch Manor. I had been devastated, so you can imagine my surprise when I saw it again. I opened the door before my mom stopped the car and confronted the boy.
"Excuse me, that's my bicycle. Those are even my handlebars--I know because when I changed them--"
"No hablo ingles." Smaller and shorter than me, he looked like one of my seventh graders.
"Uh...Es bicycleta mia? Um. Shit. Are you sure you don't speak English?"
And then my mom, angrily stalking out of the car-- "I call the police!"
"No hablo ingles."
"You give me bicycle or I call police!" My mom was outraged. Great. Neither of my mom nor the bikenapper could speak English.
Through my rudimentary Spanish, I learned that the boy--Diego--had bought my bike for 30 dolares from his "primo". When I managed to make him give it back to me, the police had showed up. The officer stepped out of the car--he had jaggedy tattoos on bicepy arms--he called Diego to his car and squeezed the boy's neck with his big knuckley hands.
"You don't speak English?"
"Why the hell not? You're in AMERICA. Speak ENGLISH."
Diego just looked to the ground. It was as if he was used to this, and it killed me.
The policeman continued to bark, "Where do you live?" Diego pointed East, and the policeman pushed him that way. "Then GO that way. VAMOS! I'll kick your ass in any language!"
Diego turned and walked down that road. He had probably lied to me about buying my bike for thirty dollars, he had probably stolen it himself, and he had the nerve to ride it in front of my house. But as I stood there gripping my handlebars--the ones I'd gotten changed when the gears stopped working--I couldn't help calling, "I'm sorry!", and it was the least, the very least I could do.