Scottish Highlands, UK
The calendar on my phone glares April 26. I look back up at my mirror and think of how in another world, I’m jet-lagged giving awkward mano's and beso-beso’s to family who last met a teen foreign in her brown skin. Climbing into a rented van big enough for 10 but housing 12, soaring along the Skyway exchanging spit and stories in the stuffy air I can’t release because I don’t know the word “window” in Tagalog. Pabukas, pabuksan yung? I take my 7th, 8th, 9th steps of the day to open my window, remembering the BBC article that advised to keep rooms ventilated. It faces the back, nothing but grass and a Highland hill to greet me. I think of my grandma’s room, po, her window facing east overlooking the turn into our barangay, crowded with trundling tricycles and vendors hollering tahoooo! at 10am. I glance back at the mirror. It’s 5pm and I just catch the waning sun. It slides over thick eyebrows, Spanish eyes, a wide nose that flares slightly as I test a smile. I imagine how I could have been: prouder, grinning wider for the reunion photos, skipping in the Pilipinas sun soaking back the melanin I’d returned to the Scottish sunset. I watch myself, grimacing alone in a dimming room, and I wonder when I’ll have another chance at redemption. Bintana. That was it.
Monique (she/her) is a Filipino-Brit who’s still unsure how her Scottish identity feels in that hyphen. She’s currently spending lockdown figuring out how to make her favourite Filipino dishes vegetarian
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STAY HOME DIARY
an online archive of diary entries by Asian artists and writers, recording our lives from March to April 2020.