It was the first day of the new year. I was waiting for the much-delayed plane which would fly me away to busy Manila. I was only a bit pissed. It meant I have a few more minutes to spend with the family.
I talked with my parents and sister-in-law while my niece played in the car, trying to catch our attention. She fought with her mom. Asked if she could play farm games I downloaded for her in my laptop. I declined. She shrugged her shoulders and asked her lolo to buy her a popsicle instead. After licking the flavor off of the popsicle stick, she demanded for another one. Ever the obedient lolo, she was licking another popsicle in no time.
After an hour of waiting, the plane always late finally landed on the runway. A few minutes later, I could see across the street through the airport terminal window the other passengers gathering their bags. I picked my backpack. It was time to go. I hugged all of them. After more than a decade of coming and going, I was still not used to saying goodbye.
I crossed the street to the airport entrance. Then I heard my niece shout “babay uncle”. I almost lost it right there and then. I glanced back and she was grinning and waving madly at me. I waved back, tightened my hold on my backpack, and stepped into the airport.