Thursday, November 29, 2007

Malambing na pusa

I know of a person who can never add the word ‘malambing’ in her list of upheld virtues.
(Is malambing even a virtue?)
If translated in English, the closest word will have to be ‘sweet’—debatable, of course,
but it fits more likely than, say, ‘thoughtful’ which in Tagalog is ‘maalalahanin’.

So this girl I know of is not one. Really.
Or so people say.
By survey and statistical analysis, there are actually two adjectives that wont fit her bill—the former and another one: ‘graceful’.
She gags at the sight of sweetness; she thinks it’s too much for her to take.
No hard feelings per se—she’s just wary of it.
She hates sugary pitched voices (her voice is classified alto 2), and thoughts of weak damsels in distress.
There’s this lingering feeling of manipulation and disguise—she can’t shake it off.

One time when she was still in school, she won an interpretative dance competition,
And not because she dances well, but because of her ‘creativity’—one the judges said.
She recounted how funny it felt that the judges had to come up with another award of sort
(probably to compensate)—‘one that recognizes grace’ they announced. Of course she didn’t get it.
She didn’t really want to win anything anyway--joining the competition was a requirement.
Dancing is not even her cup of tea.

Ah, sweetness and grace.
Very feminine,
Very un-her.

She’d rather be seen as a person who can take on anything—a free spirit.
Walking in the woods does not require grace,
Neither does writing a story, or a poem.
It does not call for her to do swift, flowing gestures with her hands.
Or flattery, or small voices, or soft lips and pleading eyes.
She joked one time of killing herself if she turns ‘to the dark side’.

She was okay.
And then the boy came.
And more boys came.
And no one, it turns out—not one of them wants her as she is—
accomplished, ambitious and raw.
It makes them uneasy.
Can she at least be more graceful and sweet?

The sight of sights came upon me one day when I saw her
Walking nearby.
Ruffled up, dolled and high heeled.
She does look sweet and graceful.
I was convinced that she made it,
Until she smiled—then I saw something,
that spark in her eyes I used to see more of, that grin that can mean lots of things.
For a moment there I thought I saw the good ‘ol her.

‘and how are you?’ I asked.
The sweetness in her voice sounded sincere. ‘Im great.’
‘Used to it?’ I joked.
And she just laughed.
Her man walks from behind, and takes her away, bidding me goodbye.
He starts talking about getting a maid or assistant to accompany her, as he has to always work late and travel.
I overhear ‘But I can handle everything’
‘Really? Including me?’ was the playful retort
‘Of course, my love’. Very sweetly.

Hands at her back, I see her flick a middle finger.

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