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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 )
:iconwolfrug:
Wolfrug Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
(just got to reading stuff through FFM) 

This was a very well-deserved DD, I have to say: and yes, it does give you an idea of Philippine colonial history! And most other similar stories, unfortunately. What did your professor in the class have to say about it?
Reply
:iconilyilaice:
ilyilaice Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2014
She gave me an A! I was glad. She talked about it in front of the class. She said, "Here, Berry (my name) talks about the three significant men in her life...." I was like, uh ... no. Just no.
Reply
:iconindependentsoul97:
IndependentSoul97 Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2014
No wonder you got a DD-- this is great!  I didn't realize that the characters mirrored history until I read the author's comment, but after I did, I could definitely see the metaphor.  I really like the way you broke it up into three sections, and I especially loved this line: Handsome Jack. Party Boy Jack. Condescending Jack.
Reply
:iconilyilaice:
ilyilaice Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2014
Thanks for reading! Glad you liked it. :heart:
Reply
:iconvenof-unis-jinanx:
Venof-Unis-Jinanx Featured By Owner May 1, 2014  Hobbyist
Hmmm...this is rather alluring. I can sense the great resemblance of your approach with those of Rizal MD.
But, there are some of these issues that intrigues me.

First was Jack's vices. It's a suitable metaphor for a lot of what the US had brought (good and bad) in the Philippines but at the time of WWII, during Japan Imperialism, both natives and westerners engaged in that war. I think, Jack should be in a different state here..maybe a fight with Hideki's friends (?) fled afterwards leaving Philippa behind or whatever rather than flirting ;

and second, Jack's friendship with Hideki...both are powerful, both are wealthy, but at that time, they're not allies. Philippa should not have assumed that the last two boys were comrades (cause that idea is most applicable at this present time not then).

Pointing these out would  befit the story more, well, for me anyway haha (no need to be angry Sweating a little... Wink/Razz ).
These are my thoughts haha
I may be a lot wrong so please do share your reasons if you may :D
For the rest of what you've mentioned, it's great...I've enjoyed reading it.

Points for critique? (My point of view and mine alone)

1. Yes. At a glance, the characters made their impressions, not that specific though.
2. Yes. It's not unique but it is different.
3. Yes. It projects the bitter truth, but in every destruction, there lies reconstruction. People adapt so on and so forth and Philippa will too.

I may have been idealistic and literal in every way but please do share your thoughts.
Congrats on a well deserved DD :D
Reply
:iconilyilaice:
ilyilaice Featured By Owner May 4, 2014
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. You raise many valid and interesting points, things I can look into during editing. You've been immensely helpful.

:heart:
Reply
:iconvenof-unis-jinanx:
Venof-Unis-Jinanx Featured By Owner May 5, 2014  Hobbyist
:TipOfTheHat: 
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:iconilyilaice:
ilyilaice Featured By Owner May 5, 2014
:hug:
Reply
:iconceanji:
ceanji Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2014
This is amazing. I was confused at first, and was thinking it might be some kind of love affair or some kind of drama. But after reading Diego, I realized the connection of the names, Jack then Hideki- of course! Spain, US and Japan. Now to answer the questions: 
1. It doesn't tell much if the person reading it is not familiar with the history, it might confused them, but as a metaphor, it pretty much fits the characters.

2. I like the style. A subtle way of telling the history without literally giving the facts. Though there might be misconceptions, since there could be a lot of interpretation on the actions of the characters. But overall it's quiet creative.

3. I like the ending because it's open ended and leaves a question that is true. Hits hard. Our country has become a melting pot of different cultures, a little bit of this and that, and the worst part most of their legacies had negative impact on us. I think the country would have been a better place if none of them ever came. 

Just a thought. Congrats on the DD!
Reply
:iconilyilaice:
ilyilaice Featured By Owner May 4, 2014
True! We suffer such an identity crisis as a nation, but what's done is done and I guess we have to learn to work with what we have. Thanks for the constructive comment, man.
Reply
:iconkirihearts:
KiriHearts Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2014
This is amazing - although I did think that Jack represented the UK. So much for my history knowledge. :roll:
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:iconilyilaice:
ilyilaice Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2014
I didn't know any very American-sounding names so I randomly got Jack from Leo's character in Titanic. Weird, eh? At least Hideki can't be mistaken as anything other than Japanese. . . .

Anyway, glad you enjoyed it!
Reply
:iconkirihearts:
KiriHearts Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2014
This is true! It's a pretty popular name in both countries. But there is the Union Jack for the UK flag, so maybe that's why!
Reply
:iconilyilaice:
ilyilaice Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2014
Yeah, I better find an indisputably American name. If there is such a thing.
Reply
:iconsplash-light:
splash-light Featured By Owner 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:
ilyilaice Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2014
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:
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:iconsplash-light:
splash-light Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh, I see. :)
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:iconivanradev:
IvanRadev Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2014  Professional 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:
ilyilaice Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2014
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:
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:iconivanradev:
IvanRadev Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2014  Professional 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:
ilyilaice Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2014
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.
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:iconflummo:
flummo Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2013  Student Writer
this is incredible :jawdrop: and congratulations on the DD!
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:iconilyilaice:
ilyilaice Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2013
thank you. :heart: i'm still weirded out that i got one. haha.
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:iconcristinewakesuphappy:
cristinewakesuphappy Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
congratulations on your daily deviation! :trophy:
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:iconilyilaice:
ilyilaice Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2013
Thanks, man. I'm super psyched and humbled by the feature.
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:iconmeowclopspurrcat:
meowclopspurrcat Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2013  Student General Artist
This was a wonderful way to depict Philippine colonial history.  I now understand more about a location I knew little about, and you wrote it in such an eloquent and memorable manner. Congratulations on the well-deserved DD. ^^
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:iconilyilaice:
ilyilaice Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2013
Thank you so, so much. :heart: I'm glad you found my work both informative and entertaining. That means a lot to me. :blush:
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:iconthemoltendragon:
TheMoltenDragon Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
This is wonderfully written and the DD is absolutely deserved. Aside from that, I would not have realized this was about Philippine colonial history if you had not elaborated.
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:iconilyilaice:
ilyilaice Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2013
I guess maybe it works alone as a love story gone awry too, which is okay, isn't it? But that's why I specifically put that particular subtitle, to make it clear to everyone what I was trying to do here. I was inspired by George Orwell's Animal Farm. :nod:

And thank you! :heart: I'm happy you liked it.
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:iconthemoltendragon:
TheMoltenDragon Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
It definitely works both ways :)
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:iconilyilaice:
ilyilaice Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2013
Thank you. I'm glad you seem to think it does. :heart:
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:iconheatphoenix:
HeatPhoenix Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2013
For those of us uninitiated with Philippine history, which countries represent which men? 
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:iconilyilaice:
ilyilaice Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2013
Diego represents Spain, Jack represents the United States, and Hideki represents Japan. :nod:
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:iconheatphoenix:
HeatPhoenix Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2013
Oh! Thank you!
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:iconilyilaice:
ilyilaice Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2013
No problem! I'm happy to answer questions about my works.
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:iconalwaysraincheck:
AlwaysRainCheck Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2013  Student General Artist
Clap DD? You should get a nobel...
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:iconilyilaice:
ilyilaice Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2013
Oh, I don't know about that. :blush: But thanks so much for the sweet words!
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:icondailylitdeviations:
DailyLitDeviations Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2013
Your wonderful literary work has been chosen to be featured by =DailyLitDeviations in a news article that can be found here: dailylitdeviations.deviantart.… Congratulations on your DD!

Be sure to check out the other artists featured and show your support by ing the News Article. Keep writing and keep creating.
Reply
:iconilyilaice:
ilyilaice Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2013
:heart: I'll definitely read the rest of the artists featured when I get the time. Thank you.
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:icongdeyke:
GDeyke Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2013   Writer
Definitely an interesting way of presenting this. I've learned something.
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:iconilyilaice:
ilyilaice Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2013
Thank you! :heart: I'm glad it enlightened you in a small way.
Reply
:iconthegalleryofeve:
TheGalleryOfEve Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Congratulations on your well-deserved DD!!! :iconflyingheartsplz::iconlainloveplz::iconflyingheartsplz: :clap::clap::clap:
Reply
:iconilyilaice:
ilyilaice Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2013
thank you so, so much. i can hardly believe it even now. :heart:
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:iconkori-hibana:
kori-hibana Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2013  Student General Artist
I love this. Sorry I can't say much more about what exactly I love about it, but I really do. d:
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:iconilyilaice:
ilyilaice Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2013
i feel the same way about every work i love - they strike me speechless. haha. anyway, thank youuuuu. :heart:
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:iconclevermessenger:
CleverMessenger Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
woah, this is touching! great job.
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:iconilyilaice:
ilyilaice Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2013
thank you! :heart: glad you enjoyed it.
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:iconlovelyambey:
LovelyAmbey Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
oh my very nicely written i just wish it had a happier ending!!!!!!
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:iconilyilaice:
ilyilaice Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2013
me too. :nod: i'm hopeful that in time philippa (and what she represents) will have a happy ending though!
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