By Virginia Jasmin Pasalo
LIKE any overseas Filipino worker (OFW), she had a hard life in Singapore. Being a member of the band is not an easy job, even when the pay is better compared to the Philippines. The pay is better, but not enough, especially if your parents and siblings have demands, for the daily sustenance and education. So she took odd jobs here and there, sometimes posing for photographers, and having been exposed to this crowd, developed a sense of liking for it.
Photography gave her a respite from the daily grind. She took photos of street life, faces of strangers and flowers. She loved the moments when all she focused on was an object other than herself.
At night however, she could not escape the loneliness. This is how she met Lizardo, a Facebook friend. He was smitten by her photos and in a short time, they were on. She decided to visit him in 2018, in the mountains of Baguio, where he proposed marriage. Then she got curious about a woman who seem to be “constant” in his FB account. Her intuition told her, this woman is more than just a friend to Lizardo.
Eaten by curiosity, she used a different account and sent a message. She pretended to be a friend of Lizardo’s girlfriend and eventually found out that Calla is not only a friend, but a girlfriend, at the same time that they were having a relationship.
She did not mind that Lizardo is sixty-nine years old, and ignored the advice of her peers that the difference of twenty years is prone to issues of generation gap. She loved this smooth talker with all his flaws and his secrets, his underemployment and his diabetes. She married him.
And then she left him. She is now back in Singapore, taking photos of flowers.
I think of you lying in a silk bed
looking at the lizards in the ceiling
wondering when the male stops
biting the female’s neck
as she wriggles, unable to move
We are watching, eyes transfixed
like kids watching female spiders
fight each other on a thin stick
wondering which one will be bitten
and swiftly woven around silk
we watch patiently, for an hour now
as the male lizard eventually mounts
his prey, still holding on to her head
and then, exhausted
he tucked away his testicles
still, we watch the ceiling.
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