Each month, we would receive a letter from Raymond, my brother. The letters were always the same. He wrote, "I'm fine. School is fine. How are you? Sincerely, Raymond." Mother, Nanay, read it out loud while father, Tatay, tore up the envelope looking for money.
"No money again," he said.
Grandma, Lula, nodded, as I picked up the torn pieces and looked for the American stamps. The stamps were my favorite part of his letters. They were shiny and colorful. I wanted to go to America like Raymond.
In the Island, we had two seasons. Dry season started in December and rainy season started in June.
A month passed and we were right in the middle of rainy season. Another letter came. Nanay read it, as usual, and Tatay tore up the envelope looked for money. "No money again," Tatay said as he dashed the envelope to the floor.
Lula nodded as usual and I had more stamps.
Another month went by and another letterÃÂthis time different. Mother read it and father fussed again. "No money, again."Grandma nodded.
Mother smiled at me and said, "Imperial, you are going to America.""Whut you say?""My baby's going to America after the rainy season." She cried and fell to the floor.
That night, we celebrated. Nanay made my favorite dish, rich with chicken's blood and dog meat. Rice was our main dish in the Island. We ate rice three to four times a day.
Dry season came. Another letter came. Nanay readÃÂthis time a surprise for Tatay.
"Money," he said ecstatically. He held it up for everyone to see. "Five dollars! Now we can get a maid."Nanay prepared me for America and before long it was time to go. Nanay and Lula cried while Tatay hitched up Sally, our water buffalo. Sally...