HOME IS WHERE . . .
by Ligaya Victoria Fruto (Anglo-American and Filipino Literature Fifth Edition, pg 398)
The girl sat tensely on the edge of the Consulate bench, her face carefully devoid of expression. The bird-of paradise pattern was gaudy on her aloha shirt, the thong sandals looked slovenly on her feet, and on her head, riding the loose curls, was perched a big hibiscus flower. Her hands were tightly fisted in the pockets of her old jeans as she listened to the older woman seated before the passport clerk’s desk. She looked at the woman, then at the clerk, with one eyebrow slightly raised. Too many movies, the clerk thought amusedly as he listened to the older woman talk. He smoothed the passport application that she handed him and read: Benita Medina Sales, born in Narvacan, Ilocos Sur, in 1908. On the back, in the space for names of persons to accompany the passport applicant, he read: Lucille Sales, born in Wailoku, Maui, Territory of Hawaii, on June 14, 1931. ‘Your daughter is going to the Philippines with you, Mrs. Sales?” the clerk asked. “Of course she is going with me.” The woman said, turning to the girl on the bench. The girl looked back at her, and the two locked stares for a long moment while the clerked fidgeted with the papers. She gave these to the clerk and the latter leafed through them with some interest. He glanced quickly at the woman as a copy of divorce decree appeared in the batch. He checked the names on both documents, then studied the remaining papers. A frayed certificate showed the old Philippine Commonwealth seal, and next to this were two thick photo copies of the girl’s birth certificate. “You can see I was born here,” the girl spoke up. “I am an American citizen. I cannot go to the Philippines. I will not go!” “Oh yes you are going,” the mother’s voice shook a little. “You are coming home with me.” “This is my home,” the girl said. “I am an American citizen. I will live here all my life.” “You are a Filipino,” the...
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