Copyright © 2013 C.L. Mannarino
All rights reserved.

It’s the taste of sweet citrus fruit, grown fresh from Florida fields. It’s the color of your teen’s dress on a summer afternoon, with its twists and folds and vibrant, flamboyant color that seems to reflect the sun.

It’s the word in your five-year-old’s first books about labeling the word that just doesn’t rhyme with anything, no matter how many ways you twist pronunciations.

It’s the police cones lining the street, cutting you off from that third lane on the highway, or the elegant crush of warped metal that used to be two separate cars on your way to work down Main Street.

It’s the sound of fiestas exploding to life in the middle of the city, with markets and flags and food and laughter in every octave spilling down the sidewalk.

It’s the shade of your cousin’s skin after coming home from the tanning salon, only to find out that the counter tops used to be the same burnt hue.

It’s the sherbert in the fridge at grandpa’s house that comes in foggy, circular plastic tubs and scoops out clean every time he serves you a cup for dessert.

It’s the basketball gathering dust on the top shelf of the garage, deflating half a centimeter every year and still scuffed in places from childhoods past.

It’s the giant fish in the tank your parents said you could have because “if you can take care of a fish, then you can take care of any animal.”

It’s the array of Thanksgiving side dishes you don’t want to eat when you’re five years old because steamed vegetables just don’t taste as great as the grown-ups seem to think they do.

In fact, it’s the name of the soda you’re only allowed to have on special occasions, but aren’t allowed to drink during meals because mom says, “It’ll fill you up and you won’t eat.”

It’s the one color everybody in the house doesn’t like and the favorite of only one person you know.