I’m back in New York and head to the hospital where I’m sure my mother is in. I see my father and rush to him. I see Silena sitting on one of the benches and I join her.
“Hi.” I say.
“Hey, you’re back. Where did you go?”
“I went to the Philippines to visit my family.” I explain and she laughs.
”The Philippines? Really? What’s important there anyway? Dark people with bad fashion sense?” I can’t take it anymore. I stand up and raise my voice as high as I can.
“Don’t talk about it like that! You’ve never been there! You’ve never seen what I’ve seen. The people there aren’t who you think you they are Silena. If you’re my best friend, you wouldn’t judge me and where I came from. And if you don’t like the Philippines, you’d better leave.”
Silena looks at me gaping. The whole hospital heard and her cheeks, like mine are flushed with embarrassment. She stands up and walks toward me.
“You’re in a lot of stress I get it. I’m sorry I said those things. Call me when you’ll be back at your house so we can hang out together.” She hugs me and leaves.
My cheeks are red with anger and I hear someone calling my name. I look around see my mother with her hand reached out to me, whispering my name. I move closer to her.
“Why were you screaming at Silena?”
“She was making fun of Rose and Brian. I just told her to stop. I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to wake you up. I should’ve been more quite.” My mother laughs.
“It’s okay. Tell me all about Vigan. Did you like it there?”
I moved in to tell her all the things grandma taught me. Mom would smile and nod and when I was done, she spoke up. “There’s a reason I sent you to Vigan, Kaylie. You needed to know we would live there because your father is being deported. That means we’ll have to come too. You’re a Filipino by heart and soul. Never forget that.”
“I won’t. I’ll never forget it.” I assure her. Mom falls asleep and I watch her until father comes back. He explains to me everything. I nod and he apologizes to me for keeping this secret but I smile.
“You’re apologizing? I should be thanking you. If you hadn’t send me there. I’d never get to know so much about my culture.” I hug him tight and he hugs me back.
After a few weeks, mom gets better and Silena and I are friends again. She comes with us to the airport, when my mom is in good shape to travel. “You’ll call right. Call me before you go to sleep. It’s going to be hard though, with the time difference and all.” I laugh.
“I promise. I’ll work something out. Same number right.” She nods.
”See you.” I say when my parents beckon me to get in the plane.
Here I am again, going back to Vigan, back to my cousins, the rich cultures and this time, I’m going there with my parents to stay. I am a Filipino by heart and soul and no matter what happens I’ll stay in Vigan, a place where I really belong.