Listen. This is how I got the knife.
A couple years ago my sister said she’d pay for my plane ticket to visit our mother in San Francisco. Our mother was going blind, she said, and wanted to see us while she still had some vision left. My sister doesn’t have a United States visa. You know how hard it is for single Filipinas to get a tourist visa. The consuls at the embassy always think the moment you land in the States, you’ll go looking for an old American to marry so you can stay the country. Or become a TNT, tagongtago illegal immigrant. But that’s not fair. We’re not all like that. And it’s not like their economy’s what it used to be before the global bust they caused, trading in all those paper shares and fooling around with commodities.
Anyway, I had a multiple-entry tourist visa so my sister said, You go. At least Mom will be able to see one of us – while she still can.
I didn’t want to make the trip. There’s a gap between me and my mother that’s an ocean wide and an ocean deep for a lot of reasons, mostly to do with painful stuff that happened while I was growing up. I don’t want to talk about that right now.
I said, I don’t want to talk about it.