On her 26th birthday, Elena suffers an anomaly: she loses her ability to speak Spanish. It happens during a late-night argument with her mother, the janitor at a Boston museum, over several family issues: Elena's missing father (gone since she was a young child) and her feeling caught between two men, a Latin artist named Tito, who has no Green Card, and her Irish-American boss, Brian. What explains the loss of her native tongue? Does it matter within the larger challenges of finding her father, choosing between men, and reconciling with her mother? Some answers may come at the Blue Diner, where Papo, the Cuban proprietor, serves up brains and a special pepper.