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Lola's first language is spanish, and she teaches it to Matt. In the cages, after the searing pain of a brand, there are hierro and fuego and quemadura, comida and hambre and agua when they wait for meals that won't come, monstruo and bastardo and gilipollas between the warden's mocking laughs. And then she tell him stories to escape the cages, and there are maravillas and temor and aventura and at the end los heroes ganan, and Matt can almost forget the pain and the stench.


Lola is let out of the cage and Matt is left in, alone with the warden. Sometimes, he can hear her singing softly through the door, hola hola como estas and los pollitos dicen and ahora que vamos despacio, and sometimes he thinks it's the only reason he's not going mad.


Matt is out of the cage, but still trapped in Father's mind games, and sometimes, at night, Matt sneaks in Lola's room and listen as she invents poems without paper, and there are cielo and mar and libertad, and it almost feels like they're alright.


Saint Agnes is cold. Cold floors, cold walls, cold in the nuns voices when they tell him off. There are no boiling water pouring along his back, no rotting body in a too hot basement, no feverish nights with throbbing wounds.

(There are no stories, no songs, no poems, no warm hands holding his, no tap-tap of fingers on thighs to show an invisible smile.)

Saint Agnes is cold and sometimes, alone on his bed at night, Matt tunes on voices saying tareas and trabajo and jugar, and remembers stolen moments of happiness.)

(He has nightmares about what Lola did, but she kept him together longer than she tore him apart.)

(No matter what she did, she is his sister still.)


Matt learns mandarin at Columbia. It feels like it could be useful.

He isn't fluent by any mean, but he can have basic conversations, and has a pretty good grasp on legal terms. It will do.

(It's better than Foggy's punjabi, anyway.)


When Claire and Santino invites him to share a pie, there are tarta and manzana and ¡Buen provecho!, and Matt feels like he's finally going home.