20 Aprils

The girl cried. Hard. Her aunt tried to soothe her: you’ll be back, don’t worry, it’s only for a little while. Nearby lay the youngest, 7 at the time, 8 in a month to be precise. She was annoyed. Very, very annoyed. Crying, she thought to herself, is for wusses.

It was 1992. The next morning, they were headed for America.

***

The youngest woke up. What time it was she wasn’t sure. Even more difficult to tell was where. Flying over the ocean, perhaps, into the abyss. No one else stirred. She cried.

***

It was cold, this New York. There were people everywhere. They walked everywhere. To the laundromat. To the grocery store. To the Rockefeller. What happened to the trees? The grass? The dogs and cats and rabbits and chickens? Here, they were quiet. The neighbors could hear every creak and squeak and thump.

***

“Where are you from?”
“The Philippines.”
“That’s where your parents are from. Where are YOU from?”
“The Philippines.”
“You left when you were a baby?”
“I was 8.”
“Why don’t you have an accent?”

***

So much happens in 20 years, yet 20 years pass in a blur. The girl is now a nurse. The boy wizard a computational biologist. The youngest a journalist. All in different cities. One in New York.

They never did go back; it wasn’t for a little while.

It, it turned out, was home.


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