(Fiction) My sister, Isa, speaks English and Tagalog. But one word, she could say in many languages: koigokoro, beminnen, mahal, amor. “It’s the most important thing,” she used to say, “the only thing. L-O-V-E. Love.” So when we learned that we would be moving to California, to a city called L’amour, she called it home, the place where we were always meant to be. I believed her. This was January of 1974, our final days in the Philippines. Isa was sixteen, I was eight, and we were from San Quinez, a small southern village surrounded by sugar-cane fields and cassava groves, with a single paved road winding through. Every house was like ours, made of bamboo and nipa and built on stilts, and every neighbor was somehow family. No one was a stranger where we lived.
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