That was the last time my sister and I had a conversation under our parents' roof. Three days later she eloped. My Dad was devastated, but Mom was another story – she was furious, so furious that she had my sister's name taken out of the family registry. In an instant, I became an only child.
"I don't want any mention of that ingrate's name in my house! Isolde, I want you to ignore your sister when she contacts you. Tingnan natin kung saan dadalhin ng yabang n'ya 'yang kapatid mo! Oh, she'll come home crawling, let her learn her lesson!"
But my sister never came back and my family ran out of stories to tell to explain her sudden disappearance.
"My God, Isolde, do you know what other girls are saying? Your sister made tanan daw. Gosh, the things people say just to get attention," Cara, one of my friends, told me as we were having lunch at the school cafeteria.
I ignored what she said and continued to eat my baked macaroni.
"But I have not seen her around campus for nearly two months na. Where is she ba talaga?"
I did not reply.
"And you know what's more ridiculous? She made tanan daw because she's preggy—"
"What?" I asked my voice sharp.
Cara smiled ruefully at me. "Don't get mad, Girl. I am just telling you naman what others are saying, eh."
"Who told you that?" I pushed to my feet. "Tell me who is making these stories up about my sister?"
"Isolde, calm down," Queenie whispered before she pulled me to sit back down.
"Cara is right, Isolde. Siyempre we'll tell you what's been going around kasi nga you're our friend."
"Ano ba kasi, Girls, why are you so fond of listening to tsismis ba? It's impossible naman that Isabel made tanan, ano. Mas believable pa if she went abroad because she was bored. Besides, from what I heard she's going to marry Denton Sy so why the hell would she make tanan?" Leila, Queenie's cousin, remarked.
"Aw, nakakainggit. Denton Sy is super rich. Every week kaya he drives a new car."
"But he's super yabang."
"Didn't I say he's super rich? Of course he has the right to make yabang naman."
"Duh, Coleen, Mark Ong is super rich but he isn't mayabang, ano."
"Leila, Mark Ong is super pangit so he has no right to be mayabang. 'Yung character na nga lang n'ya 'yung saving grace n'ya, eh, aside, of course, from his money."
"Cara, you're so mean. Meaning to say if Mark Ong makes ligaw, you're not going to say yes to him?"
"Well...I will if he'll do something with his face," Cara said and my other friends laughed.
"He's nice," I butted in. "Our families are friends and even when we were younger he has always been nice."
I rolled my eyes at Queenie before I gathered my bag. "I'll go ahead, Girls, there's something that I need to do—"
"Like what? Like read those books na naman? Why are you such a geek ba?"
"Coleen, I would rather read books than discuss Denton Sy's cars or talk about Mark Ong's face."
"Girl, 5 PM pa darating ang sundo mo, ano. Besides, you can always tell your driver that you still have dance practice kaya he'll have to make hintay."
"Oo nga naman, Girl, Cara is right. Why are you in such a hurry ba? It's not even 3 PM yet. And your parents are in Hong Kong, 'di ba, so you have the house to yourself."