some kind of

“So how’s our new family?” I asked the director, excited and sorry I hadn’t met them. “Well,” she began slowly, and I waited for the caveat. “They’re very nice – according to Elsa.”
“You didn’t meet them yourself then?”
“No.”
“Then what did Elsa say, exactly?”
“She said,” the director sighed, began organizing the new file in front of her, “that the lady was very nice and was some sort of mixed, and that the man was very polite and some kind of black.”
“She – um, what? Did you just say ‘some kind of black’ or is it the fan?” She gave me a long look. The fan was not that loud, really. “No. It isn’t the fan. That’s what she said.”

I chewed the inside of my cheek (gently) and thought. “I’ve got it!” I said, sitting up suddenly. “You had this conversation in another language! Something in which ‘some kind of black’ translates to dark-skinned gentleman, right?” She shook her head. “Or – or – you’ve never wanted to tell me but Elsa’s native language isn’t English!” She sighed. “No, Lola. Her mother tongue is English and the conversation was in English and she said exactly that: ‘some sort of mixed’ and ‘some kind of black.’ ” I slumped in my chair. It was hard and wooden anyway. “Don’t tell me she was scared, too?”
“Oh no – not remotely. She was excited. Said something about how exciting it was to have parents from Hawaii.”
“And how does she know they’re from Hawaii? When did they say this?”
“She said mixes are from Hawaii.”

I put my head down on the desk, on top of the papers. “I just can’t believe . . . I don’t know what to . . . ”
“I don’t either, Lola. Like I told you – a college education isn’t what it used to be.”

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