9 – Diksyunaryo

2

Naipalabas noong Pebrero ang We Choose to Go to the Moon para sa Fringe Manila Arts Festival.  Isa itong proyektong nag-umpisa sa pag-imbita ni Fitz Bitana na mag-devise kami ng isang serye ng vignettes na naghahalukay sa mga relasyong nabubuo at nasisira sa mundo at panahon ng Internet.  Ang mga naplanong istorya’y ibinato sa cast, pinag-isipan at sinubukan kung alin ang mga mukhang gagana pag naisaentablado.  Pag sa tantiya ng grupo’y mukhang hindi tatalab, kailangang hanapan ng kapalit.

Ang nasa ibaba ay isa doon sa mga ideyang sinubukang gawin pero hindi na muna nailahok sa run nito noong Pebrero.  Tungkol sa isang single mom na naghahanap ng mapapangasawang foreigner, sa tulong ng kanyang DSL connection at ang handy-dandy na English-Tagalog dictionary.  Sana’y may matuwa sa ilang bahagi ng vignette na ito.  Bahagi ito ng 31-day Writing Challenge.

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Magsisimula ang eksena sa paghahanda ni Karen na humarap sa videochat. Halata ang kayang kaba at excitement. Makikitang may hawak siyang dictionary, mayamaya’y maglilista ng mga salita. Tumitingin-tingin siya dito habang nakikipag-chat.

Karen
This is tinola. From our neighbor. But this is different tinola. A…variation I guess. No…iteration! Because you know, this tinola has the usual chicken and ginger, and…and…pakshet ano nga ba ang sayote sa English…other vegetables…but my friend…the neighbor…she also put pineapple in the tinola. One of those TV cooking recipes I think. It’s okay naman I guess. It’s…edible, I mean, it’s exquisite. Sorry I’m not used to chatting with Webcam, it’s my first time. You know it’s a Filipino value, being shy type.

Francis
You’re doing fine. Go on, dear. Say what you want.

Karen
Thank you. Anyway. I like cooking. And singing. And writing, usually songs, but only before. I like Joey Albert, you know Joey Albert? She has powerful voice, such melody also in her songs. The lyrics are good also, especially that one with the points of view, and also that one about loving the only one. She also had cancer, but now she does not. She beat cancer like three times. Instead of being killed by cancer, she killed cancer. That’s a very Filipino quality e, not killing cancer ha…being a survivor. Foreign artists, I like Mariah. Not just because of singing, but her vocabulary also. She’s like me, always having a dictionary beside when making things. Like for example, instead of “singer,” she says she’s the “elusive chanteuse.” I’m like “wow, nosebleed.”

Francis
Nosebleed?

Karen
Nosebleed, when we read or hear something deep, usually in English. It’s a joke, here in the Philippines.

Francis
You’re cute.

Karen
(giggles awkwardly) Not really, just a little. Anyway, I like Mariah’s songs, especially the old ones. I mean, she’s not very old. But she has lots of songs already. Vision of Love, Emotions, Hero, all that.

Francis
Well, I think I’m having a vision of love right now.

Karen
(kinikilig) stop that! I’m shy! Stop that already.

Francis
Tell me more.

Karen
I feel scared. No, terrified. I mean, intimidated.

Francis
Why are you scared, my dear?

Karen
Maybe I just feel that when you know me more, maybe you’ll go away. So many things happened already. Maybe you won’t stay.

Francis
Everybody has something to hide. Just go on, no judgments.

Mangingiti si Karen. Time lapse, pagpapakita na nagpapatuloy sila sa pag-chat.

Karen
You see, I was a teacher, you know, I finished BS Educ Major in Filipino from Calamba State University. But there was no vacancy for Filipino so I became the Math teacher. Pakshet, I said. I was like pasang-awa…am…wait…pasang-awa like…like…barely there…failing almost but not quite. In Math ha. In Filipino I was good. But no more items. Filipino not international daw.

I only taught math for one year. Then, they didn’t need me anymore. Cost-cutting, I think. But the principal said there is vacancy in the admin office. So I became secretary. Then the religion teacher got fired because no more religion needed. No, I did not become a teacher again, but there was a choir…I became choir master.

My first boyfriend, he didn’t like my new job. Or I mean, he didn’t like the payment. So low e. Tapos he said I was so noisy when I practice the choir hymns in our small apartment. He was always drinking. He was always angry. I try to sing, but he doesn’t want noise. No God in the province daw.

But I still sang. I sang “Unto to thee Oh Lord.” It was like concert slash boxing. I sang and he pushed. I sang and he kicked. I sang and he punched. Unto to the oh lord—ouch—do I lift up my soul—aray ano ba—Unto to thee Oh Lord—pakshet dede ko na iyang sinasapak mo—do I lift up my soul…

Oh my god (Oh my god) I trust in thee (I trust in thee), let me not be ashamed let not my enemies triumph over me. I was so ashamed. I can’t go to school because I look black and blue. I was, you know, how do I say this…devastated. I prayed, I prayed, “Lord, please make it stop, make it go away. Take me some place else.” Then one day, it went away. Him. He went away. When my menstruation stopped, he stopped coming home also.

I went home to my Mama. Of course at first it was not okay to them. They called me “disgrasyada, pokpok,” how do you say this…accident-prone. But later they cooled down. It’s Filipino culture. Forgiveness.

I helped them sell palamig and shrimp balls in the church. Palamig, the drink with gulaman, jelly, yes jelly. Oh my Jesus, our shrimp balls, they’re made with real shrimp really ha, not like other balls with many flour. I also tutored Filipino in rich families. Some families, please don’t say I’m rude, but oh my Jesus, the kids sometimes are so idiot in Filipino. And Math! Sometimes I ttutor many subjects at once because the families are rich but so kuripot to hire many people. Kuripot, I mean thrifty. Then my belly got so big. My baby arrived. He looked like an angel. I think he looked a lot like Jesus. I always knew my little Jesus would save me. It’s very Filipino, I think, being faithful and hopeful. I named him Jesus Salvacion.

 

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