Just Angel being Angel.
I can see this playing out in my own life. I'm a native English speaker, who only started studying Mandarin and Spanish as an adult. I may love those languages and I may eventually become very skillful in those languages, but I know I'll never have the same relationship with those languages that I have with English. For me, I'm still at the point where a day completely immersed in a community that doesn't speak English is extremely draining--a complete contrast from the comfort I experience when I'm surrounded by English.
Angel's a different story. He started learning English in kindergarten and has attended English schools and lived in a primarily English-speaking country his entire life. To speak to him in English, you wouldn't be able to guess that he wasn't a native speaker. However, he's also a native and educated Spanish speaker--and every once in a while I notice hints about the identity of his heart language. It's telling that the songs he believes are the most powerful and stirring and romantic are all Spanish and that some of the books he looks back on as the most memorable books he's read in a lifetime are written in Spanish.
But recently, I had a very little moment with him that, to me, epitomized what "heart language" really means.
I was reading The Reptile Room in Spanish while Angel was sitting on the other side of the couch reading a different book. I love Lemony Snicket, with an almost illogical kind of love. He's one of the biggest inspirations to me as a writer. On more than one occasion I've tried to convince Angel of his genius, and I've even looked up websites listing all of the famous "Dear Beatrice" dedications from the beginnings of all 13 books in the Unfortunate Events series and read them to him so that he can know how brilliant Lemony Snicket is. I've never really gotten any response to my attempts to convince him, though, mostly he's just like, "Yeah, whatever, that's mildly amusing...." , so as I was reading this book and occasionally asking Angel the meaning of a word or two that stumped me, I had an idea. I turned to the dedication page. "Listen to this," I said, and read aloud, "Para Beatrice, mi amor por ti vivira para siempre. Tu, sin embargo, no lo hiciste." [I believe the English is: For Beatrice, my love for you will live forever, you, however, did not."]
The difference in reaction was drastic and immediate. His eyes lit up as I finished reading that sentence, and he threw back his head and started laughing out loud. "Oh man, that's hilarious! I have to take a picture of that!" he said, grabbing his iPod. He took a photo of the dedication and posted it on his Facebook page, with the caption, "Chistoso!"
I was never able to get my husband to understand why I loved the Snicket books so much until I read him a single line in Spanish, and that was when everything clicked.
There's something special about that heart language. And here's my plea: When you hear other people speaking their heart language to each other, don't reject them or tell them that they ought to converse in your heart language instead. I support multi-lingual education and I think great things could happen if more of us spoke 2 or 7 languages...but I also believe that great things can happen when people are allowed to learn, become literate, and experience the most precious aspects of life in their heart language.