45 Minutes

Riding that 45-minute flight back to Davao was one of the longest wait in my life. I sat restless and jittery, wanting to make time pass faster, to make the plane reach our destination. When I finally went out of the airport’s local arrival gates, I almost broke into a run to my father’s embrace. I was finally home.

It was summer before my junior year in high school. I was going to this summer camp in Tarlac for almost two weeks. I was burst of energy, when I knew I would be one of the participants. I listed the things I would bring, harassed my parents into accompanying me to the mall and imagined all the new things I would be experience. I counted off days to the D-day of my sixteen year old self.

With all the happiness going on, life just wants to get even. One early morning, I woke up to the voice of my ate calling all of us to my brother’s room. He wasn’t waking up. My kuya lies on his bed, looking bluish. He was so still, I couldn’t even notice him breathing. They rushed him to the hospital while I sat alone at home. The phone rang and my father asked for my aunt living next door. When my aunt picked up the phone, she burst into tears.

My parents still asked me to go to my summer camp, telling me my brother would have wanted that and constantly reminding me to be careful out there. They told me this while sitting in front of my kuya’s casket with tears in their eyes. At camp, I was an awkward person. It wasn’t as marvelous as I thought it would be. I didn’t even make friends, just mere acquaintances. I slept alone in my tent and crossed off the hours until my flight back to Davao. When my family called me, I wanted to transform into waves that can travel across the wireless connection between us. I have missed them this much.

As I sat down in our car, going through the familiar route to our house, I was nostalgic. I shared stories that sounded better that they really were. I smiled more in that car ride compared to the past weeks. It was one of the best summer experiences. Sitting in the back passenger seat covered in synthetic leather, surrounded by my parents and sisters, I felt I was finally home