For many years, my mother owned a women’s clothing store in a swap meet,
southeast of LA.
My mother was one of a few Koreans in an area of mostly Latinos, who worked
under the metal roof of an abandoned warehouse converted into a shopping
emporium—car stereos, healing potions, sneakers, gold jewelry, toys.
The pet store named La Jungla specialized in small animals—rodents, fish and birds.
The largest—a dazzling macaw—spent his days in a cage, squawking and screaming,
“Help me! Help me!” I laughed. He spoke English!
But, one day, I heard him say, “Ayúdame.”
He had finally figured it out. And only then did I realize he meant it.