SSM – Day Five
Today, the three stories are authored by Filipino writers – not that every other day they’d hide, no, no: I just wanted to dedicate a day to our literature, because yes, dear high school batchmates, we have one.
Anyway. Here are today’s stories:
#13 – “The Housemaid” by Timothy Montes, from A Different Voice: Fiction by Young Filipino Writers, a Philippine PEN Fiction Anthology edited by Vicente Garcia Groyon. I chose this short story from the PEN antho because it has been bugging me for the longest time – I keep remembering the scene where the protagonist watches the whores climb the bus back home, after a day of shopping. And I keep remembering the part where Mario tells Cirila not to worry about getting pregnant, because he “knows how to control [himself]”. Don’t ask me why those are the details I remember about it. They just are, okay?
#14 – “The Painted One” by Lakambini Sitoy, from Mens Rea and Other Stories. It’s not a secret that I am mad about Sitoy – there is a rather embarrassing scene in the internet shop regarding a Facebook Contact-Adding that does not need recounting. And that day in Dumaguete. And the night of Sir Marne’s book launch. Yup. It don’t need recounting.
“The Painted One” holds significance for me because I tried it. Yes. Yes, I did. That paint thing? DO NOT FOR GOD’S SAKE DO IT WITH HOUSE PAINT IT BURNS LIKE YOUR MAMA. Ahem.
This is one of those stories that I can’t say much about because I will only embarrass myself, thank you very much.
#15 – “In Caress of Beloved Faces” by Wilfrido Nolledo, from Cadena de Amor and Other Stories. I wish more people knew about Nolledo – really beautiful, really dense language, all intricacies and convolutions. And the mishmash of fictional technique is executed so damn fine that it never makes me want to pull my hair out – it makes me want to crawl into a canopied bed and munch on grapes. Nolledo is love. Nolledo is a five-minute inebriation, man.
And now they made love very sincerely. They did not know anything; they did not ask. But they moved like white clouds on a clear sky and their children in the time after could boast that they were realized quietly, collected calmly, and even in the deepest strongest need, they were quietly taken from the warm hands of a Gentle God.
Love: many things came to her. When she was born; her first tooth, when she first became conscious of flowers. He: his first fist fight, the alarms of his father, the arms of his mother – the sea. He again: his first dance not dancing, outside, waiting and thinking deeply for his age: whoever she is, she had better come soon and beautiful…
This is the love story when you’re all breathless and seemingly filled with so much wisdom that the world’s all a-roar in your mind, all at the same time.