Settling In

“Is she your only daughter? Ms. Vargas asked.

Why would she think I’m an only child? Lisa thought. Now, she had regrets seeing how distressed her mom was having to tell her previous classmates that she already has six kids.


“I think she’s smart enough to meet this school’s high standards,” Lisa felt a lump in her throat upon hearing ‘smart’.

“She’s second honor in her school before,” her mom shamelessly bragged.

Lisa believed her parents were still deluded that she is a bright child so they tried sending her to the best school they could afford. Her younger siblings were schooled near their granny’s home. Luckily, (or not so), her elder sister’s high school building was next to hers.

“You should find a friend of your age,” a cousin three years older than her, advised.
“I don’t mind being friends with older ones.”
“It’s different. We don’t play as much as you do.”
“Okay,” trying to hide her reluctance. From that day on, she knew she wouldn’t ever belong to her big sister’s clique.

June was a festive month, ironically, the saddest for Lisa’s family, too. Celebrating the ‘get wet’ day, every home in town invited anyone in to nibble their special foods. Marlon, her buddy, walked by her house after another to grab a bite. He talks less, bikes well, swims fast and gives in to any of Lisa’s whims so long as she keeps his secret “big crush” to her elder sister. Lisa felt a bit sorry for Marlon’s idiotic “feelings” for his cousin.

And why was this day the gloomiest?

Lisa’s father had to leave to work in Manila. He didn’t cry when he parted with them yet Lisa’s mom was not as tough as she caught her drowned in tears nights after he left.