Issue 50 (June 2016)
My dad liked to say, “Ang nakaraan ay hindi kailanman nawawala, nalilimutan lamang,” or rather, “The past is never gone, only forgotten.” Whether a salawikain of the Philippines or something he made up, it seemed to fit. And I’d come across no better example than when I received an unexpected friend request online.
The festival lanterns were strung up with steel string between the lampposts. They swung in the slight breeze, nodding first to the neon shop signs and festival flags, then to the revellers in the street below with their masks and fans. It was a gaudy night in the city. They had already lifted the portable shrine down the main street, its gold foil glory followed by a procession of drunkards, children and hand-woven sandals. They had already had the fan dancing and the taiko drummers. The streets were clearing like water in a sand pit, dripping away so quietly that Keisuke suddenly found that they were in the company of the drunks and the street-cleaners only.
“Neh,” he said, touching the hand of his date, “are you hungry?”
I didn’t cut my hair for the first time until I was six. It grew out thin and delicate for years, tickling my ears, then my chin, then the nape of my neck. The ladies who came to my mom for healing fawned over me, tugging through it from the roots, asking my mom what home remedies or spells she used to keep it so beautiful. “He’s a little kid,” she would say. “That’s just how his hair is. No magic required.”
Once there was a chica who was a predator who was a wolf who was a senorita and she followed me home because she said she liked the way I looked in my red dress. When mi abuela said good girls don’t date lobas that wolf gobbled up her soul and spat out the bones.