A Kiss To Remember

By
The Philippines. Such a beautiful, cultural, and poor country. My mom is Filipino and my dad is American so I'm somewhere in between. I've been there a few times, but there is one time I will never forget.
It was 2002 and I had my 12th birthday there. We were visiting family in Esperanza, Mindanao. All our luggage was packed in the back of my uncle Joven's rickety truck ready to take us to the port to catch our ship to Visayas. THe air was dusty and hot and smelld like dirt and starfruit ( My lola had a starfruit tree in her back yard). Faintly, you could hear the pigs and chickens in the background clucking and snorting their discomfort from the heat. My aunts were cleaning up after breakfast and my uncles were helping my Lola ( "lola" is grandmother in Tagalog, the main dialect in the Philippines). It was time for us to sayu goodbye to Lola Marging (Margarita).
This was the first time I actually met her, and little did I know, it was also my last. She was 84 years old and I couldn't understand a word she mumbled. Besides, I only knew a few words like "good morning", "good night", "yes", and "what is...". Every morning, I had woken up to go buy a dozen of pandisal for her from a bakery down the street, then I would walk back and buy one for me.
So, standing in the street, not a patch of grass in sight, a very aged woman hobbles toward me. Under her wrinkled shin, though it drooped from her face, a slight smile was evident. Tears were forming in her graying , dull eyes making them glitter.
"Bye mom," I could tell my mom was saying to her, " I love you, I'll miss you."
"Goodbye lola," I said to herand leaned forward to hug her. She grabbed me and pulled my head down toward her face. For a moment I thought she was going to whisper something in my ear I wouldn't understand, but to my surprise she kissed me on the cheek.
"Goodbye," I seemed to understand her saying and a few tears rolled down my cheek, for at that moment, we understood each other. I loved her and she loved me.





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