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(Contains: sexual themes and violence/gore)
The Three Significant Men in My Life
A Parable about Philippine Colonial History



Diego

It was summer when I met Diego. I was wearing a floral-print dress and a sunhat when we passed each other on the street. His eyes sliced sideward. He stopped in his tracks and glared at me, inexplicably antagonistic. I continued walking, but the saunter in my stride was now gone. My knees trembled. I could feel him watching me until I turned a corner. His icy stare left shallow cuts on the backs of my thighs and calves.

This was the beginning of a turbulent relationship. It was a year long but it could have been several centuries, such was the sheer torture of his toxic presence. It was a time of no sundresses and sunhats; I wore trench coats and wooly scarves even in the stifling heat of summer. But even then all those layers were not enough. More, he said. Put on more layers to hide your bare skin. Don more hats that will shield your eyes. Never show yourself to anyone. He'd see the furrow forming between my eyebrows and he'd justify, your body is mine alone to see.

But I don't think he ever saw me, really. Being with him sometimes felt like being a beat-up old stuffed toy that was never loved very much. I was just something to lug around, something to own and control. Something, not someone.

He was just too possessive, at times even bordering on tyrannical, and eventually I grew tired of him. I told him I was leaving him. I thought he'd be on his knees, crying and begging me not to go. Instead, he locked all the doors and windows. Then he went to my room, where I was on the bed packing my things into my largest canvas weekend bag. He strode right to where I sat and hit me hard across the face.



Jack

All my friends liked Jack. He was rich and metrosexual and cultured, as well as classically handsome. An influential boy from an influential family. My friends said, what's not to like? You need a treat after that jerk Diego. And this boy Jack is certainly a catch and a half. Phillie, they said, you must go out with him. So I did, if only to appease them. It was nice sometimes. He'd take me to all the parties in town. I'd be on his arm and he'd introduce me to his friends using my full name. Meet Philippa, he'd say. He liked that. He said it made me sound more sophisticated. I wasn't as smart as him – I certainly did not have a doctorate degree to casually mention in polite company – but even I could infer the insult from his remark.

Handsome Jack. Party Boy Jack. Condescending Jack.

He had such a smooth tongue, though. Smooth in so many ways that I sometimes forgot that I didn't much like him. With his angel's tongue, he could make the coarsest, crudest words sound positively alluring. He had such a power over me, almost hypnotic. I'd see him wearing his immaculate black suit and starkly white shirt and dark necktie with pale gray pinstripes, I'd see his light brown hair tousled boyishly, I'd see an impish grin tugging on his mouth, fire dancing in his eyes, and just like that I'd do anything for him.

He told me he could teach me to be like him. I hadn't realized there was anything wrong with me in the first place. But before I could even begin to protest, he grabbed me by the hand and towed me along, taking me on a tour of his wild side. I found myself sitting on lime-green-tiled kitchen counters, coughing out the ashes of foul cigars. I found myself licking and sucking tequila from the belly buttons of Jack's stripper friends. I found myself inhaling white powder by the packet and bobbing my head to non-existent music, smiling to the beat of a memory I never had.

I found myself acquiring all of Jack's bad habits, and worse, acquiring that same ridiculous superiority he held for his flawed and infinitely counter-productive code of ethics. There was nothing I could do to get rid of Jack. And I wasn't completely sure I even wanted to. Jack, too, was an acquired habit.



Hideki

Jack left me lying on top of the dining table and holed himself up in another room of the house with some other girl. I was giggling, all curled up, all limbs and sweat and human garbage, and I couldn't even bring myself to care that Jack wasn't there anymore, he never was.

Another drunk boy climbed up next to me on the table. He peered at me with narrow black eyes, watched me with unashamed desire. He looked familiar. One of Jack's rich friends. I asked him who he was. He said his name was Hideki. He asked me who I was. But I couldn't remember.

He started touching me all over, and even though I was high on Jack's latest wonder drug, I could tell that I did not like this at all. I tried to push Hideki away, but he slammed me down on the table, hard enough that I felt something in my body crack. Then Hideki unzipped his designer jeans and started cracking me in other places.

In the two minutes it took for Hideki to rape me, he became the singly most significant man in the history of my life.

Satisfied, Hideki clambered off the table and drifted up the marble stairs of the house. As if on cue, Jack was suddenly next to me, lifting me off the table. "We're going home," he said. His eyes were red and he stank of the other girl's tacky perfume.

"Jack, wait," I murmured, disoriented. "Didn't you see what happened?"

Not even listening, he carried me to his car. Once he threw me into the backseat, he leaned on the open car door and puked all over the grass. I didn't bother to watch. I stared at my reflection on the rearview mirror. Who was that girl staring back at me? I didn't recognize her at all.

"Who am I, Jack? Tell me that."

"You're Philippa," he said, wiping his mouth, looking at me as if I was insane.

"I'm not Philippa. I'm not. I'm not." I started to cry.

I wasn't Philippa. I never liked that name anyway. I was Diego's punching bag, Jack's project, and the faceless object of Hideki's lust. But not Philippa. Anyone but Philippa. Who was I? Why couldn't I even remember? Philippa is dead, but now I am no one.
EDIT (November 24, 2013): Whoa! I got a Daily Deviation for this?! My mind is still reeling. It's pretty surreal. Infinite thanks to =doughboycafe and ^neurotype for being the sweetest people I've never met. And for all those who commented on and added this story to their favorites, thank you very much for the support. :heart:

Written for my Making History paper in Philippine History class. It was also featured by =DailyLitDeviations on April 26, 2012. Here's the feature article: dailylitdeviations.deviantart.…

Points for critique
1. Just from reading the story, does it tell you much about Philippine colonial history?
2. Do you think the style I used is appropriate for this piece?
3. Do you like the ending?

Thank you. :heart:
Add a Comment:
 

Daily Deviation

Given 2013-11-17
A metaphor extended: The Three Significant Men in My Life is by ~ilyilaice. ( Suggested by doughboycafe and Featured by neurotype )
:iconsplash-light:
splash-light Mar 8, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
It's a very interesting poem. About your three questions:
1. Maybe I skipped over some important parts, but I didn't see any information about Philippine history. Though, I don't think you need to focus more on that because that isn't the main focus of the story.

2. I really like the style of the piece. It is interesting and sounds very true to life. 

3. The third part is rather sad, but written very well. But, the very ending (the last paragraph) is good, but it could be better. I think that this story needs to end very solidly, but your ending is more thoughtful.

Anyways, good story. 
Reply
:iconilyilaice:
thanks for the comment! i intended the story to be allegorical, so i used the love story as a metaphor for the colonial history of the philippines. that was how i tackled the historical aspect of it, in case you were looking for that. :nod:
Reply
:iconsplash-light:
splash-light Mar 9, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh, I see. :)
Reply
:iconivanradev:
IvanRadev Jan 2, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
This is a rather interesting story. Here's my answer to your questions:

1. Not really, sorry. I mean I understood the metaphor about Spain, America and Japan, pretty much guessed that there may have been a war with Spain, the US introduced the drug industry to your country (probably) and Japanese people did something very wrong to your people, but it's rather vague. Let me point out that I am only guessing, I have no idea what the actual history is.

2. Yes.

3. Yes, but it is rather sad. If anything, something good related to the Philippines might have added a bit of nuance to the story (just my own opinion).


By the way, on my University congregation ceremony I met a young man from your country and he was probably the friendliest guy in our graduation batch.
Reply
:iconilyilaice:
1. Not far off the mark, actually. There were a lot of wars going on, but the US was the only that tried to keep a humane facade as it colonized the Philippines. It introduced education and democracy, etc, but it was a double-edged sword - the Philippines has always been deeply influenced and somewhat dependent on it ever since, as far as I know. For example, language-wise, a great percentage of Philippine youth today is way better versed with the English language than with the national language, Filipino. Yes, me included.

3. Great advice. I might have focused too much on the bad stuff, as I do tend to view our whole history as a terrible tragedy. I'll see what I can do to make Philly seem more redeemable in the story. Or maybe I could write a whole other story that highlights her good points too, focuses on those for a change. Yep. Perfect.


Oh yes. Filipinos are generally friendly. They get along easily with other cultures, adapt quickly . . . perhaps because they were often forced to adapt to other cultures historically. But it kind of ended up as a good thing, so that part at least is great. Anyway, thanks for the very thoughtful comment, man. Really appreciate it. :heart:
Reply
:iconivanradev:
IvanRadev Jan 3, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
1. That sounds pretty sad. It is mainly because here in Europe we take many things for granted (education, democracy, stability) that such stories tend to be interesting in a strange way. Though for the language, I think it was inevitable either way. Here we had practically nothing to do with either the UK or the US, but still many young people tend to use English in facebook and other social media (for which they are justly reprimanded :) ).

3. You've won yourself a DD, so probably a lot of people like it as it is. I am just used to reading only good things about our own history (which is not that good). Matter of fact, I would probably be lynched if I dared write something like this for my country. :) If you read enough European history, you'd notice that it's just military victories, and in the rare occasion of a loss, everyone blames the weather (or the ruler at the time). :)

It was easy to notice, we were having a rather unpleasant debate with a Scottish lady when he showed up and started making jokes about himself. He really changed the horrid atmosphere.
Reply
:iconilyilaice:
Hmm. Have you ever written or made a work that somehow tries to communicate the history of your country? I think that would be interesting. I'd like to see that. My country has a history that reads like this whole long, bloody, dramatic saga, but I think the history of yours would be equally interesting because then you'd have to capture the subtleties, nuances.
Reply
:iconflummo:
flummo Dec 18, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
this is incredible :jawdrop: and congratulations on the DD!
Reply
:iconilyilaice:
thank you. :heart: i'm still weirded out that i got one. haha.
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:iconcristinewakesuphappy:
cristinewakesuphappy Dec 2, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
congratulations on your daily deviation! :trophy:
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