Back to Vigan

My first short story for English

“Kaylie! Are you even listening to me?”  Silena asks shaking me.

“What did you say anyway?” I ask her annoyed.

She scowls, “I was asking you why you think Ms. Arboleda wants to teach us about the Philippines,” she says “I mean, what does that have to do with me? I don’t live there.” She smiles and laughs.

It’s obvious she’s amused with it. She stops laughing when she sees I don’t join in. “What’s wrong?” She asks her face with disappointment that her joke was only funny to her.

Before I could answer her, I look at my watch, “Sorry I have to go.” I said walking away from her.

As I get out of her house I begin to wonder, whatwaswrong? Why didn’t I laugh with her? Silena always makes me laugh. Maybe it had something to do with the Philippines. I feel a little nostalgic, what’s with that? As I round the corner going to my house, I spot my parents waiting for me on the porch.

 “Mano po.” I say kissing their hands, something they taught me to do every time I come home. My mother smiles but my father stays rigid.

 “Kaylie, we need to talk.” I look at him but he just ducks inside and I have no choice but to follow.

I dump my bag at the living room and find father and mother sitting down on the kitchen table. Uh oh this is a bad sign. I sit down and wait for them to talk.

My mother squeezes my hand and looks at father. He sighs. “You’re going to Vigan.”

I stare at him blankly. “In the Philippines.” I look at mom and do a double take.

 “Why?” Mother lets go of my hand,     

“You have to, we promised your grandmother we-” I cut her off.

 “Grandmother? You told me she was dead!” Father looks as if he is going to spank me but her stays calm.

 “We promised your grandmother that when you’re old enough we’d send you there so you can get to know her for two months.” He sees the look on my face.

“No buts Kaylie, you leave tomorrow so you should better start packing.” He says.

His face is full of conviction that even I wouldn’t dare to answer back to him. I go get my bag and head straight for my room. I start packing but not without dreading every second. No Silena, no America; Just Grandma and dusty old Vigan. I sigh; it’s going to be a long two months.

The next morning, mother tells me that we’ll be at the airport twelve midnight. When I asked her why all she said was that it would be noon when I get there. “But what about my friends? What about my studies? What about New York?” I ask her.

“Don’t worry. I already told your teacher.” She also adds that I shouldn’t leave the house.

 “We told people you already left.” I watch T.V and eat food until it was time to take a shower and leave.

When I board the plane I read a magazine about all the wonderful places in the Philippines. “How do you make two months end fast?” I ask myself before I fall asleep.

I wake up to the loud engine and a flight attendant asking me to buckle my seatbelt. I do so and stare at the window. I have to admit, Vigan is beautiful. But I don’t have time to admire the scenery. I need to think of a way to get back home early.

 “Are you new?” The girl beside me asks. I nod and she smiled warmly at me. 

“Hi! I’m Rose. I’m going home to Vigan to spend time with my grandmother. What about you?” She asks.

I’m shocked to find her situation is exactly like mine.

I smile a little. “I’m here to visit my grandmother for a few months too.” She smiles and chatters away about Vigan. As soon as the plane lands she’s told me all about her and all I did was listen.

We get off the plane together and the first thing I see is a sign welcoming me home. I walk towards it. “Kaylie! You’re home.” She hugs me and I can’t help but hug her back. She looks over my shoulder and smiles.

 “And I see you’ve met your cousin, Rose.”  My jaw drops. She’s my cousin? I try to remember everything she said to me on the plane and look at her. We look alike with the same brown hair and eyes.

 “So you’re Kaylie? I can’t believe I already met you but I didn’t recognize you! I guess you coming home to Vigan was a dead give-away. And the same reason why you’re here? I should’ve known.” She says to me. Just then a boy with ashy blonde hair appears.

“Are you ready to go grandma? The car’s waiting.” He looks at me “You must be Kaylie. Hi I’m Brian and I’m your other cousin seeing as you already met Rose.” He says warmly.

He scoops up my bags and jogs to the car. Grandma ushers us to follow and I can see in Rose’s eyes that she is very excited at meeting me.

Vigan was just as beautiful as the pictures in the magazines. Being in the city feels like you’re back in time where life was simpler. When I look at the buildings I think on how it would be demolished if this was America. Suddenly, I feel happy I saw the houses. They make me feel moreat home.We stop in front of a big house and Brian brings us inside. I would love to explore the house yet I feel so tired. I find the nearest sofa and laid down. As soon as my head hits the pillow, I’m out cold.

I wake up to the smell of sausages, like the ones I eat for breakfast back at home. I feel sad and see Rose enter the room.

“Kaylie! I’m so glad you’re awake. I guess you couldn’t wait to eat grandma’s longganisa either did you? I have waited for this entire vacation to taste them.” She says and leads me to the dining room.

Those longganisas Rose was telling me about are all over the table filled with rice, juice, something that looks like spaghetti and hotdogs.

 “This is breakfast? This is more like a party! Are we the only ones who’ll be eating all of this?” I ask her. Rose shakes her head.

“Of course not! We’d give some to the helpers and neighbors. And besides, grandma only makes this much food when somebody special comes home. Like you and me.”

Grandma made all this food on the table just because I visited? And not only that, even the neighbors benefit from this to? Rose and I take our seats as grandma was bringing in the last of the food.

 “Oh good! You’re up. Come on and eat so that later we’d have all the energy for the tour.” She says smiling.

“The tour?” I ask.

 “Grandma takes us around the island and teaches us about stuff. Plus, it’s better than staying at home without anything to do for two whole months.” She winks at me slyly.

 I don’t get it why did she wink at me?

We eat and I find myself scooping up longganisa after longganisa. Rose tells me to stop or else there won’t be anything left for the others so I do.

 “I’ll take you to your room. We brought your things there but we couldn’t carry you up the stairs.”She walks away and I follow her.

My room is as big as our home back in New York. The bed is three times bigger than our sofa and the sofa? As big as my bed at home. Rose laughs at my amazement.

“There are some things you need to bring on the tour so better pack it. Here, I made you a list. You never know when you’d forget anything right?” She beams at me and walks away.

I start packing like she said and as soon as I’m done, Brian enters the room. “So, are you going to come along? I heard the trip would be exhausting. You should better stay here and rest because anyone who has been near Rose for a long time need to relax before she drives you insane.” I look at him.

 “Rose is nice. And she’s been talking to me and trying to make me feel comfortable unlike you.” I snap. Brian laughs.

 “I like Rose too I’m just saying that it’s hard to be here when you just left home. Vigan can remind you really painfully of home you know, you’d want to come back until you realize there’s nothing else to come back for.” What is he talking about? I stare daggers at him until he leaves my room. Rose comes and ushers me to the car.

The End

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