It happened one day.
I was laying down on my bed, with my blue pajamas still on, when a noise came from somewhere within my still, dark room. I recognized the sound as my phone ringtone so I tried looking for my phone around me, only to remember I had left it on the table yesterday night. So, I stood up, stumbled around in the dark and knocked things off my study table in search for my phone. The minute I grabbed hold of my phone, the ringtone stopped. I paused.
Should I call back or should I wait for them to call again? I settled for the latter thinking that whoever it was would call again if it was something important so I laid down on my bed again, this time with my phone. I waited for two…five..
.ten minutes. Just when I thought of forgetting about the call, my phone rang again. I looked at the caller ID and realized it was my dad calling, so I sat up and answered the call. “Hello?”, I said.
There was silence on the other end of the line. I looked at my phone to check if the call was still connected. It was.
So, I asked again, “Hello?”. Another moment of silence. Then I heard a shuffling sound, then more noises. “Hello? April? Sorry, I forgot about the call.
” Finally, my dad responded. Hearing him call me April made me relax a bit as I realized the call wasn’t about anything serious if he called me by my nickname. “Pa, hello. Anong meron? Bakit ka tumawag?”, I asked as I searched for the light switch. (Dad, hello.
What’s up? Why did you call?) “April? Bakit hindi ka sumagot kanina?” (April? Why did you not answer the call earlier?) “I couldn’t find my phone,” I said, turning on the lights. “Oh, well anyway, go to your school tomorrow. Process your papers and quit school. We’re moving. Ok, I’ll call you again later,” he told me in a hurry and then I heard the end of the line.
“Huh?… Ok.” I answered fully aware that the call has already ended.
I stared at the black screen of my phone for a while, unable to process my thoughts. We were moving, again? What? We were a family of immigrants. In Philippines one moment, in another country the next. We moved here and there. So, that time should not be any different.
Except, it was. It was indeed different. Sure, moving was not too difficult if I was still in high school but I was an incoming 3rd year college student that year. I only had a few more semesters before I could graduate.
Was I expected to leave all that? I was. I got my answer when my parents came back from Oman to the Philippines in December that year. They told us that we were moving to the United States after a long application process that took them almost ten years. We were left with no choice but to move as they believe it would be what’s best for all of us. We were supposed to leave the next year and the only thing left for us to do at the moment was to wait till the right time comes. Christmas came and along with it, came the shining lights and the joyful sound all around the neighborhood.
Our relatives came from all different places and gathered together to celebrate the yuletide season. Bright lights decorated the house and a variety of boxes wrapped with colorful gift-wrappers adorned the Christmas tree. Everyone was busy, running around in their bright red and green clothes, cooking mouth-watering dishes and delicacies, and taking pictures of each other. It was all accompanied by the cheerful music in the background and the noise and the ringing of the bells from the church nearby.
It was that blissful time of the year where we get to see everyone again, and it was all I could think of that time. Gone were my thoughts of moving into an unfamiliar country. Or so I thought. As with the coming of the Christmas season, came its passing. As John F.
Kennedy once said, “For time and the world does not stand still.” Just as how quick the days seem to pass, so did Christmas season. What was left were the leftover food, the remains of the gift-wrappers that were thrown away and the reality that we were leaving the Philippines soon.
I was once again face-to face with the truth that we were moving and I had really wanted to punch it at the face that time. Time passed by, and the day finally came. We were finally moving to the US. The ride to the airport was bumpy, and it was a painfully, long one.