A/N: Hello readers! This is my first fanfiction ever, so any feedback would be gladly appreciated. Anyways, I hope you enjoy this part of my story.
"Tatay": Tagalog for Dad
"Nanay": Tagalog for Mom
"Lola": Tagalog for Grandmother
"Lolo": Tagalog for Granddad
"Tito": Tagalog for Uncle
"Tita": Tagalog for Aunt
"Anak": Tagalog for literally "My child." Kinda like the equivalent of "Sweetie" or "Honey".
"Paalam": Tagalog for "Goodbye"
Disclaimer: I do not own Evangelion!
"Flight 479 to the Tokyo-3 International Airport will depart in ten minutes."
The announcer's crisp and clear voice brings me back to the ordinary hustle and bustle of the LAX. Going to the Land of the Rising Sun has always been a dream for me, but not like this. Never thought I would go there on behalf of the U.S.
Anyways, I'm standing in front of my Mom, two sisters, and countless of my other relatives, including titos and titas, lolos and lolas. Some of them are crying, like my Lola Amor. Some of them are talking to me. I couldn't even keep track of how many relatives I said goodbye to! After all this chatting, I finally end up on my Mom and sisters. I take a look at each of them. My sisters, Jalena and Jaide, are hugging each other, tears flowing down their cheeks. On the other hand, my Mom, Jackie, is wearing a mask of composure and calmness, a very well-hidden one at that. But I can still see a little bit of some unshed tears in her eyes.
Not able to bear looking at Mom I quickly avert my gaze away from her face, instead opting to look down at my wolf-grey Air Max 1's, the last thing my Dad gave to me before that day, the day everything changed...
"Anak?" My Mom's warm, kind voice brings me back to reality. "Is everything alright?"
Startled by her question, I reply, "U-uh yeah, Mom. Everything's good." 'Ugh, that definitely didn't sound like I was alright.'
I think she noticed that I was looking down, so she places her thumb and pointer finger on my chin to lift my face up a little. Even when I'm avoiding eye contact, I feel eyes that were attempting to look into mine, trying to see if everything really was fine. After a moment of motherly, nonverbal interrogation, she says:
"Really, Jeremiah Jante Cabrera? Very convincing."
That brings a chuckle out of me. She's always had a way of making me smile.
"Just nervous. You know, pre-flight butterflies, that's all."
I look back at her, and Mom raises an eyebrow, still unconvinced. "I can tell when you're lying, anak. I can see right through you."
I let out a sigh. 'She's always had a way of telling if I was lying,' think to myself. 'I guess it's women's intuition.'
"Welp, you got me." We then just stand there for a little bit, not saying anything. Mom breaks the silence.
"JJ, I have a little something for you."
From her pants pocket, she pulls out a bracelet of some sort, lifting up my right hand to enclose it in my waiting palm. Looking at it, I notice that there are 11 wooden beads making up the bracelet, one slightly bigger than all the rest. There's also a small cross and a mini version of the Miraculous medal of Mother Mary. Wait, this wasn't any ordinary bracelet. This was...
"A rosary bracelet!" Filipinos are religious, after all.
"Yup," Mom replies. "Always pray, JJ. No matter what, God'll be there for you. One more thing, anak."
"What is it?"
The expression on Mom's face looks hesitant, as if she was about to say would forever alter the fabric of space and time or something. Her face seemed to make up its mind as she started speaking.
"Look, um, I understand how you feel ever since Dad... died." I wince at how bluntly she said that. She keeps on. "But... promise me one thing. Silly as it may sound, promise me you'll make friends, ok?"
Oh, snap. Wasn't expecting that. 'Ugh, my family can be so cheesy sometimes. Still, they're my family.' With a smile, I say, "Sure Mom. I'll make friends." Although to be honest this wasn't exactly the most honest thing I've said. I don't need friends anyways, I have me, myself, and I.
'I got it over with, me.'
Again, there's that awkward silence.
To break it, I joke in an innocent toddler voice: "Aw, are you touched by that? Wanna widdle pwinky promise?"
Apparently, not only did Mom laugh, my sisters and army of relatives chortle as well. Their laughs in turn make me smile. Mom then asks this:
"Do you have everything, anak?"
I nod my head.
"Really now?" Suddenly, from her purse she pulls out something. Oh no. Is that what I think it is? It's my favorite volume of "Hawt Babes Guaranteed To Make You Randy!" A cute blonde in rather skimpy clothing adorns the cover in a suggestive pose. I recognize that what she's holding is my favorite of all my magazines. Volume 69, more specifically...
I feel heat rise to my cheeks as I look away from the magazine. Even worse, this makes my relatives howl like hyenas! "U-u-uh...," I try to respond, clearly struggling with words to say. First off, how the heck did she find it? I bet little Jaide found it. Snitch.
After a round of stuttering I have the courage to turn back my head to where it was before and look Mom in the eye. I speak with the most seriousness I can muster.
"Mom, what is that thing! I would never buy something as disgusting as that!"
"Sure. Tell that to your order history," Mom counters as she puts the magazine back in her purse. Some of my cousins holler out "OOOHHHH! JJ got burnt!"
In response, I say to myself 'Thank goodness! She wasn't actually going to give it to me. Even if she did, the TSA would be real suspicious...'
"Are you really sure you have everything?" Mom asks again. Before I could say anything, she adds with a mischievous smile, "minus those 'Hawt Babe' magazines?"
I've had enough with these shenanigans! "YES MOM! Now can you stop teasing me? Geez..." I yell out. My reaction causes my everybody to laugh even more. Some of them literally have tears in their eyes!
"I can't believe you've grown up now," Mom responds. "The government's taking you away, and... I'm worried about you, my baby boy."
"Ugh, Nanay! I'm not a baby anymore! I'll be fine." Though, actually, I feel like this is hard on her. After losing Tatay, too. Who can blame her?
I realize that my flight was about to leave soon after some more talking with Mom (who reminded me over and over about video calling them and if I have everything, including underwear. Seriously, who doesn't bring underwear to a foreign country?) and with my sisters and relatives. It's time to leave. I give my sisters and Mom one last big group hug and say:
"Paalam, everybody. I have a flight to catch."
As I walk away from them, I decide to look back one last time at my family. My Mom's... crying those tears from earlier. The ones unshed when I had looked in her eyes. It hits me that I've never seen her cry, even after Tatay passed. The army of relatives all wave at me or nod their head as if to say ,"Go on". I decide to give them a nod and wave in return. My own eyes suspiciously wet, I turn my head to the terminal in front of me and think to myself:
'I guess this is it. My first ever trip to Japan begins here.'
A/N: Hope you enjoyed the prologue! Please make any criticism/feedback constructive, ok? I'll update hopefully sometime soon.