December 18th by Caitlin Hanna

December 18 (AW)

San Francisco International Airport. December 18th, 2011. My mother and I nervously walked through the line of Philippine Airlines. I held our luggage as she dug in her purse for our passports.

“It’ll be fine, baby,” she cooed. “Don’t worry.”

We slowly shuffled to the front of the line. People murmured in various Filipino dialects, and while my American ears failed to pick up the exact lyrics, I understood the excitement of returning home for the holidays.

The last time I was in the Philippines was when I was seven. Now I was a nervous fifteen-year-old waiting for my ticket to homecoming.

I handed the ticket agent my passport.

She immediately asked me, “Where is your father? Do you have consent to go?”

My mother told her, “He’s not flying with us.”

“I’m sorry, but due to the policies of Philippine Airlines, we require consent from both parents for minors to fly international flights.”

My mother let out a distressed cry as she tearfully explained our grand reunion plans and how my despicable father wasn’t a part of our lives anymore.

“I’m sorry” was the only response we received as we were escorted out of the line and into the waiting area.

My mother angrily asked me, while sobbing, “Why aren’t you crying?”

I looked at her, apologetic, my hands clenched into fists. I told her, softly, “I’m sorry.”

Three syllables. All my body could muster.

I looked at my hand.

I wanted to disappear.

I wanted my illegitimate existence to disintegrate.


Caitlin Adel Hanna: a freshman philosophy and communication studies double major, a writer of sad evenings and glorious afternoons, a “comedianne” with a poor sense of humor. Proud daughter of an independent mother.

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