“Clean up this mess you’ve gotten into Santina, or else you’ll lose your job, I’m serious,” said Mr. Peculla in a thundering voice.
All the heads that had appeared above the half-size walls of the office cubicles to see what the commotion was vanished again, when Mr. Peculla walked out of the landscape office.
“I hate that old bastard. Argh!” said Trina irritated.
“What are you doing hiding there?” Santina asked Trina, when she saw her friend standing behind the old filing cabinet.
“Duhh! I been here since that boss of ours, aka the old bastard, came and bawled you out. Good thing that he didn’t notice me hiding here. My God! I almost became a part of that dusty old cabinet!” Trina carried on complaining, while dusting the cobwebs out of her hair, so all the office girls started laughing.
“What are you doing there anyway?” Santina asked.
“I just came for a chat, when I noticed that old bastard Peculla stomping into the office, so I hid behind the filing cabinet,” Trina explained, still trying to brush the cobwebs off her dress.
“Tsk! You shouldn’t be so nosey you know. You might get into trouble,” Santina said.
“Why was Peculla mad at you anyway? Is it about the exclusive interview with Ferreira?” Trina asked eager to hear some gossip.
“Yes. Like what he said – I’ve messed it up,” Santina said grimly.
“Ooh. What did you do? Did you kick him in his crotch with your Louboutin stilettos?” Trina asked, her face one big question mark, while she was sitting on Santina’s office desk with her slim legs crossed.
“Uh uh. It’s a long story,” Santina said.
“For real, girl? Wow you’re really amazing!” Trina laughed so loud that the other girls in the office started to pay attention to the intriguing gossip.
“Your voice!” Santina warned her friend, “Mr. Peculla has ears like a bat.”
“He looks like a blood-sucking Dracula bat too,” Trina said giggling.
“Guys, Santina kicked the very famous Ferreira in the balls with her high heels,” Trina humorously and loudly informed the fifteen other girls in the office, about how Santina had dealt with the big-time client. The girls started giggling at such news, wishing they also had the balls to kick some self-important rich people in the balls. Santina was their secret heroine!
Santina Dimantag works in Esperanza Street, in Makati, Manila, as a writer for a very prestigious magazine, “Famous People”. It is one of the best-selling international celebrity magazines, specialising in news and exclusives about the rich and glamorous. She is one of the top writers. She had been given a top assignment. However, little did she know that the job would awaken a ghost from her past. She had kept her deepest secret hidden. She had suppressed it, and pushed the anxiety-provoking memory out of her mind. What was this memory she had suppressed? It was none other than Jameson Ferreira, who is the CEO of the Metropolitan Bank, and is one of the most eligible men of the decade here in the Philippines.
Santina had been given the assignment of interviewing him, for a story that would be published in the next month’s edition.
Mr Peculla, the boss, was very happy that they had caught this celebrity on the hook. He’s known for being very elusive and has never been interviewed by any magazines or appeared on any TV celebrity shows. He’s a multi-billionaire who has inherited the major shareholding of one of the largest international banks. However, he is also of great interest to the magazine, because he is a so-called hunk-of-a-man and still a bachelor, although there are rumours that he has a ‘hidden past’. The Filipina women dream of catching such a giant fish on their hooks, and will buy any celebrity magazine with tit-bits about him – thus, the magazine needed to boost their sales by getting such an exclusive interview, which would titillate their readers.
“How come you were able to stiletto his balls? He must have about twenty bodyguards at least?” Trina asked excitedly, waiting for more gossip.
Santina stopped what she was doing and looked nervously at her friend. She had been her best friend for almost five years already. Santina didn’t really want to be an office gossip, but this was different – she needed someone to talk to.
“It’s not what you think. I can’t explain it here. Let’s have some dinner tonight, and I’ll explain the whole thing,” she said.
“Okay?” Trina looked confused. She hadn’t expected this to be some major intrigue about her friend’s life, but Santina bore a very serious expression and had spoken in a subdued voice.
Later that evening they met at a restaurant in Makati, “Lorenzo’s Way”, in Greenbelt Mall.
“Spill the beans frenny,” Trina said, as the waiter walked away to attend to their orders.
Santina swallowed hard. She didn’t quite know how to start to tell her friend the biggest secret of her life.
“What? You’re quiet all of a sudden,” Trina said impatiently.
“Ehermm eherm,” she coughed and got ready to tell her all about it.
“What? If you won’t tell me, I’ll make you pay for this dinner you know Santi,” Trina said jokingly.
“He’s my husband,” Santina said almost under her breath.
“Who is it? You’re married?” Trina looked confused, as she looked around the restaurant to see if she could spot the husband her friend was talking about.
“Jameson Ferreira,” she answered.
“What? Can you please elaborate?” Trina asked irritably.
“Jameson Ferreira is my husband,” Santina said.
Trina’s eyeballs almost fell out of their sockets at this news, and she laughed loudly and incredulously. “What!?” She exclaimed.
The other diners turned round and gave the two young women a wondering look.
“Wow! That’s a good one, Santi – pull my other leg – it’s got bells on! Now tell me what you really wanna talk to me about?”
“Do I look like I’m joking?” Santina said pissed.
Trina looked at her friend horrified and stunned. She thought Santina had flipped.
“No one is going to believe me,” thought Santina to herself. “After all, I’m just an ordinary Filipina girl who has to work like a slave just to make ends meet. Of course, no one could imagine that I would be married to a noble prince like Jameson Ferreira who was born with a golden spoon in his mouth. He doesn’t need to work, and probably sleeps on a mattress stuffed with $1000 bills.
“Hey snap out of it Santina – are you dreaming?” Her friend asked, as Santina was going through these thoughts in her mind.
“Is it for real?” Trina asked, with a look of shock.
“I know I’m joking sometimes, but I’m serious now – although I know you can’t believe it,” Santina replied, so that her friend almost collapsed in her seat.
Santina continued, “I know it’s difficult to comprehend that the biggest secret of the century is true.”
“Oh My God!” Trina exclaimed.
“And you’d better shut up about this, bitch
– you’re the only one apart from my lola
who knows I’m married to Jameson Ferreira!” Santina warned her friend, and took
a sip of her glass of Chardonnay.
“How come? What happened? Did it really happen?” Trina continued asking her friend.
“I can answer all your questions one by one. But I can’t answer all your questions at the same time, you know?”
“So spill the beans. I can’t wait anymore,” Trina said excitedly.
“Eight fvcking years ago! Sit back and I’ll tell you what happened at that time.”~
“At that time, I was attending classes at The Lyceum, when I was a little late one day.”
“ ‘You’re always late, Santina Dimantag! If you come late one more time, I will send you to the councillor’s office.’ ”
“That was Professor Lancer, the very strict biology instructor. I walked with my head down, as I went to my assigned study place, but I saw that someone was already sitting there. An athletic-looking guy with chiselled features, suggesting a strong character. I hadn’t seen him before.”
“ ‘Excuse me, mister? But you’re in my seat,’ – but he just looked at me blankly.”
“ ‘Was yours,’ he simply said with a boyish smirk, and looked away.”
“I was already irritated, because of the professor bawling me out, and now there was this vain newcomer stealing my place – so surreptitiously, I just gave him a kick in the shins , and said, ‘Move your ass bub’.”
He couldn’t believe a little girl like me was beating him up, so he looked completely shocked.
“ ‘What did you just do?’ He asked under his breath with gritted teeth.”
“ ‘You stole my seat, and refuse to budge – so you deserve it asshole.’ ”
“ ‘Do you know who I am?’ He continued.”
“ ‘You talk as if you were God Almighty! You want some more? Eh!’ I exclaimed in an irritated whisper, cocking my leg!? ‘This is the last time I’m going to ask you!’ My adrenalin was starting to rise, ruling out my common sense.”
“This shocked him, but had an effect, as he suddenly moved back in the chair, so the metal legs screeched on the floor, attracting the attention of the professor and my classmates.”
“ ‘Yes, Mr. Ferreira? Is there a problem?’ The professor asked very politely, as if he was addressing some high-and-mighty lord.”
“What the heck?” I thought. “The professor must be having a brain lapse – why does this ‘Ferreira’ get the special treatment?”
“Nevertheless, I was adamant. This guy, ‘Mr. Ferreira’ glared at me, but I kept to my guns, and I glared back at him. In fact my guns were cocked and loaded.”
“ ‘Nothing. Please continue,’ ‘Ferreira’ said and the professor meekly obliged.”
“I was nonplussed that ‘Mr Ferreira’ had such a mollifying effect on the normally belligerent professor. But at least I got my seat back, and subsequently forgot about this little episode until ….. .”
“A couple of days later I was sitting in the university cafeteria eating the usual slosh they serve up. My God! Pork Adobo and salad – the miserable salad saturated in something that looked like manure sauce, I think it was pig’s manure! As I was saying, I was sitting eating the crappy food, when I heard a voice behind me say ‘Hi’! – so I almost choked on the filthy college pig swill.”
“It was the stupid vain guy who had stolen my place in the lecture auditorium.”
“In an irritated tone I said, ‘What do you want now?’ ”
“He had an apologetic look on his face, despite my cantankerous response.”
“ ‘I just want to say sorry. I know I was wrong for what I did earlier,’ he apologized, giving me a ‘puppy eyes’ look.”
“I was pretty confused, suddenly – this asshole, who seemed to be an arrogant and vain guy was now coming on to me with stupid ‘puppy eyes’ and apologizing. But at the same time my mind managed to make a switch – because he was one-hunk-of-a-guy – and seemed to carry some importance with the university employees; and I was surprised that his ‘puppy eyes’ gave me a sharp twinge between my thighs.”
“ ‘Have you been drinking too much at lunch, perhaps?’ I cheekily asked, implying he must be drunk coming on to me in such a way.”
“But, I was a little charmed by him, but didn’t want to let my defences slip straight away.”
“ ‘Some apple juice? Why?’ He asked looking confused.”
“ ‘I thought maybe you had drunk something slightly more intoxicating, now that you want to apologize to me? Because you were pretty arrogant before, when I asked you for my seat,’ I remarked with furrowed eyebrows.”
“ ‘I’m sorry. I was just a little bit stressed at that time,’ he tried to excuse himself.”
“ ‘Alright. Apology accepted,’ I said to him, so that a smile appeared on his face.”
“ ‘Friends?’ ”
“ ‘Friends,’ ” I smiled while shaking his hands.
It was a long story Santina had to tell, so she ordered another glass of Chardonnay, while Trina ordered some Bailey’s, as she had such a sweet tooth. Santina drained the last drops of her glass of Chardonnay and carried on telling her story to Trina who was listening avidly.
“We became so close as the days and months passed by. Jameson is extremely handsome – a mature man in his thirties, but his manly presence suggested he was much older. He is kind and thoughtful – he’s the full package as they say. I also learned later that his family have a majority shareholding in the university, so it’s no wonder Professor Lancer was so polite to him at that time. All the girls at the university were crazily interested in him – I must have been the only girl who didn’t know who he was – and then he accidentally fell for me. But I kept my feelings close to my breast; I was scared that he might reject me. At least we were close friends, and the only one at the college who got close to him – and for me, at that time, I was content with that.
“Then one day out of the blue he asked me: ‘What’s your plan for Valentine’s?’.”
“ ‘Since I’ve had no boyfriend since birth? Nothing. What about you? Which one of your girlfriends will you ask for a date?’ I jokingly asked.”
“ ‘I don’t have a girlfriend,’ he said looking embarrassed.”
“ ‘Then it will be a lonely Valentine’s Day for us both,’ I said.”
“ ‘Since we’re both single, why don’t we dine out together on Valentine’s. My treat’ he offered, which delighted my heart, but I tried to hide my feelings.”
“ ‘Are you seriously asking me? Sure I will, if you’re treating me,’ I happily answered letting down my defences a little.”
“ ‘Great.’ he replied.”
“Valentine ’s Day came and I was so excited. Having a date on Valentine’s with Jameson actually made me start to dream that I could be his girlfriend.”
“ ‘Are you ready?’ He asked, when he picked me up at home. My grandmother already knew about him. Remember I told you before, she’s the one who took care of me since I was a small girl.”
“ ‘Yes. I’m looking forward to it,’ I said nervously.”
“ ‘I have booked a really nice place for dinner, I hope you’ll like it,’ he said – his gentle voice calmed my nerves.”
“ ‘This is my very first date, you know,’ I admitted shyly.”
“ ‘How can that be – a girl like you who is so beautiful. Every guy wants to date a girl like you,’ he said, making me feel a little self-conscious.”
“ ‘I’ve always been careful – I didn’t want to upset my “lola” who devoted her whole life to taking care of me –that’s why some boys maybe think I’m too strict,’ I said in explanation.”
“ ‘But they never realised that although you’re shy and strict, that you’re truly a diamond in the rough,’ he said.”
“My God I thought – Ferreira – he’s such a bolero. Well, that’s alright, because I love the way he lies, I love the way he lies.”
“His words caressed me – stroked me, and made me feel weak and utterly drugged – my heart melted and my knees turned into jelly.”
“ ‘You’re such a sweet talker,’ I said, trying to hide my true feelings.”
“ ‘It’s true. You’re beautiful inside and out. If you’ll let me be your boyfriend, I promise I’ll never let you down,’ he said.”
“His words almost made me faint – it was
suddenly all my dreams coming true – but I didn’t want to show him my true
feelings – at least not yet.”
Trina was enthralled by Santina’s story – although the whole thing seemed to be some kind of fairy tale. Trina was not totally convinced – this was some kind of young girl fantasy, she thought. But she gave her friend the benefit of the doubt and wanted to hear the whole story anyway, even if it was only a fairy tale.
Santina carried on with her story – she and Jameson were celebrating Valentine’s together:
“ ‘Wow! This place is so nice. Thanks for bringing me here. This Blackbird restaurant is so lavishly decorated, and in the style of art deco. It has such a romantic ambiance,’ I said as I looked around the restaurant soaking in the atmosphere.”
“ ‘You deserve nothing but the best,’ he replied while looking intently at me.”
“I stopped and looked back at him with questioning eyes.”
“ ‘Why?’ I asked.”
“ ‘What I said earlier, I mean it,’ he said.”
“ ‘What do you mean?’ I asked, with my heart almost jumping out of my ribcage.”
“ ‘I’ve known you for quite some time now. From the very first moment I saw you, I felt electricity running through my veins. I can’t understand it myself – I just woke up one morning and realised that I loved you. Don’t be startled – I’m just telling you what I feel. I’ll be very happy if you’ll give me just one chance to court you formally,’ he said, so that I had a problem keeping back my tears of joy.”
“Despite being already madly in love with him, I wanted to hold back a little – so I said, ‘I like you too, and maybe someday it could become more,’ scared that he might change his mind, if I didn’t offer some encouragement. But I didn’t want to offer myself freely to him in case his desire would suddenly fade away.”
“ ‘Oh damn! Are you sure? I’m so lucky. This is the happiest Valentine’s I’ve ever had. Thanks to you, sweetheart,’ Jameson said, barely unable to control his feelings.”
“In retrospect, I had him well and truly on the hook. By managing to be interested in him, but at the same time a little reluctant – I promised a more succulent bait in the future, so his desire for me quintupled. Any fisherman knows that it is wise to allow a bite time to develop, and not draw in your line straight away. If you tease with the bait, so he bites the hook hard, then you can reel him in. But if you want to catch a big, powerful and formidable fish like a Marlin (Jameson Ferreira), then you have to be prepared for a hard struggle before you can finally pull him on deck and have him gasping for breath at your feet. But perhaps I share some genes with Hemingway, because I was ready for the fight. Without being boastful, there were few men that could resist such tasty bait as me at that time. And why let some small fish taste your bait when you can reel in a large one.”
“My lola always said to me ‘you have to think of safety first’. My lola was actually my lola sa tuhod, so she was really old and had fallen in love with a black American soldier in World War Two. He was part of a force trying to liberate us Filipinos from the terror of the Japanese here in Manila. Well he used to play old 78 records with Bessie Smith – and the one song she liked the best was “I’ve Got What It Takes (but It Breaks My Heart to Give It Away)”. The song is about a pretty girl (she’s got what it takes), and she was surrounded by sharks trying to take what she had ‘saved up’, but she wouldn’t let any of them touch her ‘dough’, because it breaks her heart to give it away. It’s in demand, they want it every day. But she had been saving it up for a long time, so she thought to give it away free would be more than a crime. She thought, ‘their eyes may roll, their teeth may grit, but none of my money will you git. You can look at my bankbook, But I’ll never let you feel my purse. Cause I’m a woman, believes in safety first. If you want my money, then you have to be a real good man.’ ” This was the way I thought, like my lola had taught me – it was true 100 years ago – it’s still true today – I wanted a ‘good man’ and a serious relationship.”
“Time flew by, and Jameson and I had what you could say was an ideal relationship that people want and are often envious of. We were the stereotypical ‘happy couple’. We didn’t argue and fight much, but if we did, he would always back down and claim he was in the wrong just to prevent further disagreements. He was not like some other men who thrive on conflicts.”
“When the time came for me to meet Jameson’s parents, I was very apprehensive about how I should act and behave in front of them, and what I should say. They are high up in society; in fact, the family are descended from a long line of Spanish nobility, which is evident from their family name. They are what we indigenous Filipinos call ‘Kastila’ (Castilian). What most attracted me to him was his light skin and non-Asian Spanish features – his straight blue-black hair and his chiselled features, and high intelligent forehead. They say his family even reaches back to the conquistador Miguel López de Legazpi of Cebu who also founded Manila, and that it was due to his influence the islands were called the Philippines in tribute to the king he served, King Philip II of Spain.”
“So you can imagine my apprehension on meeting the parents of my high-born lover – I was a mere Plebeian girl who had by some miracle emerged from the Filipino masses, and was able to touch the hand and heart of this exalted noble Spanish prince.”
“ ‘I’m so nervous, I hope your parents will like me,’ I said.”
“ ‘Don’t worry. I’m sure, they’ll like you. Just relax,’ he said, trying to calm me with his words.”
“In fact his family are rarely in contact with the Plebeians of Manila, because they live in a walled-off community, which bars the admittance of ordinary Filipinos – that is, Plebeians like myself. They live in Forbes Park, a gated community, and barangay in Makati.”
“We went to their mansion in Forbes Park, Makati, which was extravagant and magnificent. The place was protected by heavily armed guards, as if they were expecting an imminent invasion of the barbarians (ordinary Filipinos). It constituted a private army defending this private fenced-off area. But at least his parents could sleep safe at night, as they were protected by the huge number of guards who were armed with an arsenal of handguns, rifles, shotguns and automatic weapons.”
“Wealth and sophistication were shouting out in every aspect of the Ferreira mansion. I felt quite out of place there. The only luxury I was used to was shopping in the corporate owned malls, such as the Mall of Asia (which is also defended by private security guards – but not so heavily armed – as they welcomed being ‘invaded’ by ‘barbarians’, as long as they had money to spend). We were to dine together with his parents. Jameson held my hand tightly as we walked towards the very spacious dining area of the mansion, which had a very bright and large chandelier hanging from the centre of the ceiling and illuminating the whole room.”
“His parents were already sitting there in the room when we arrived, and his mother, Imelda, rang the bell when she saw us coming. A huge number of uniformed helpers appeared with casseroles containing a large variety of foods, which they then put on the dining table. Everything there spoke of class. I started to wonder if the rugs on the floor were also fashioned from the dust of diamonds.”
“ ‘Good evening mom and dad,’ Jameson began.”
“ ‘Good evening son,’ his parents replied formally in chorus.”
“ ‘This is Santina, she’s my girlfriend. Santi, these are my parents.’ he introduced us.”
“ ‘Good evening, Sir, Madam,’ I nervously greeted them, noticing that his mother looked askance at me.”
“ ‘Take a seat; dinner is ready,’ his father said welcomingly.”
“This was the longest and most tedious dinner I had ever partaken in. I couldn’t help noticing that his mother was constantly ‘inspecting’ me – and seemed very judgemental. I was just hoping the whole thing would end soon. But I still tried to smile and get along with them; perhaps I was paranoid, and imagining the whole ‘inquisition’ thing. It was then that an amusing thought struck me – that’s it – they are not only descended from Spanish nobility, but also from those people who made up the Inquisition. It seemed, his mother, Imelda, thought it sheer heresy that I, a Plebeian, should ‘bewitch’ her aristocratic son by devilish means.”
“I managed to ‘wake-up’ from these imaginings – and remembered that Jameson had told me that his parents were strict, especially his mother, Imelda. So, I had to get out of this frame of mind that his mother disliked me.”
“ ‘How’s the pork adobo, dear? I hope they didn’t use too much garlic and pepper,’ his father asked me.”
“To tell you the truth I was sick-to-death of ‘adobo’ because of the pig swill I had to eat at the college, and would rather have had some ‘Chicken Joy’ at Jollibee. But I couldn’t say so, so I said, ‘It’s good, sir. Thanks for inviting me here.’ ”
“ ‘Of course she likes it,’ his mother commented, implying that I would be satisfied with anything, that is, that I normally dined at Jollibee with the Plebeians, or bought cheap food from street vendors, when I couldn’t afford Jollibee.”
“ ‘Are you okay?’ Jameson asked when he noticed that I looked a little uncomfortable.”
“ ‘Just a little stomach ache,’ I said.”
“ ‘You wanna take a rest?’ He kindly asked.”
“ ‘If it’s okay,’ I said.”
“Jameson drove me home, but I couldn’t sleep that night, because of what had happened. I had nightmares about ‘Maleficent’ (Imelda) pricking my finger with a drug, so I would never wake up again – but the nightmare and interminable sleep was broken by the dream of Jameson’s kiss of true love. So the next morning, I went to college with my head spinning.”
The next day at college one of my classmates came up to me and said, ‘Santi? Someone’s looking for you.’ ”
“ ‘Who?’ ”
“ ‘I don’t know. But she’s in the Dean’s office.’ ”
“I headed to the Dean’s office and found Jameson’s mother, Imelda Ferriera, there, talking to the Dean. The Dean left the office on the mother’s instruction when I appeared.”
“ ‘Madam? Are you the one looking for me?’ I asked the obvious.”
“ ‘Yes it was me – and I will be frank with you. You’re a very beautiful and nice girl, but I can’t permit your marriage to my son, because you are his social inferior. We consider it almost traitorous to marry outside our class. I have already picked out a suitable girl for him of his own class. I would never permit my son to marry a squatter from the north side of the Pasig River. Is it correct that you live amongst squatters in Tondo? A girl from the gutter may not marry into the upper class, however nice and pretty she may be. Moreover, if you really loved him you wouldn’t expect him to stoop so low as to marry you, and give him bastard children with tainted blood’.”
“Her words stung me like a thousand bee-bites. I had suspected this was how she felt about me, because of her glowering looks, when we were eating dinner in their Makati mansion. But I wasn’t going to take her vitriol lying down, and decided to fight back.”
“ ‘I’m sorry, ma’am but we love each other. And everything you say is wholly untrue. I may live in Tondo, but my family are not squatters, they are God-fearing Christians and respectable. It’s true – Jameson is of noble birth – but he has explained to me that love is more important than class – and he has even said he would relinquish his class for my love. Would you despise Mary, the mother of Jesus, if she were not of nobility?’ I said, but she just smirked cynically at my defence of my love for her son.”
“ ‘He’s young and so are you. He will change his mind eventually. He won’t stoop to your low level. Why don’t you just tell me how much money you want? I can offer you a gift of one million pesos if you just stay away from him,’ she said.”
“ ‘I’m sorry, ma’am, but I love your son and I don’t need any money from you,’ I said bravely, while my heart was racing.”
“ ‘I’m trying to be reasonable. We can do this the easy way or the hard way. You refuse my generous offer – the easy way – and insist on dragging my son down into your Tondo gutter amongst the vermin. If you hate my son so much that you’re hell bent on trying to destroy him with your whorish ways then so be it. I will sacrifice him and destroy you to protect our family name and honour. I give you this one last warning – stay away from my son!’ which were her last words, as she marched out of the Dean’s office, casting a murderous look at me as she passed by.”
“My knees were trembling. I even started to think she was right. I wasn’t a squatter like she accused me of – but was I thinking about what was best for Jameson – would he be happy marrying below his station and going down in the world. Would he always feel embarrassed introducing me to his high class circle of friends as if I were some floozy, he had picked up one night in a bar in Ermita? But apart from these considerations, his mother, Imelda Ferreira, had actually threatened both me and Jameson. It was as if she had kamikaze intentions and would destroy part of herself and her family just to prevent our love and union. She’s a very wealthy woman and has the power to turn her threats into reality. I had to admit she held all the strong cards.”
“I even tried to break up with Jameson, because I partly believed what his mother, Imelda, had said – that I would be ‘dragging him down’ – perhaps not to live with the squatters in Tondo – but to a respectable and hard-working milieu amongst ordinary Filipinos. But when he discovered that his mother was behind the whole ‘break-up’ thing, he refused to relinquish his love for me.”
“ ‘Why didn’t you tell me? Do you think I’m so weak that I can’t do anything about it?!’ He said in a rare fit of anger.”
“ ‘I’m sorry. I just didn’t know what to do,’ I said, bursting into tears.”
“That day, he confronted his mother. I tried to stop him, but he was adamant. Everything ended upside down for us. Especially when he commanded that we run away together and get married in secret, with no care about the practical plans for the future.”
“I gave myself wholly to him, and believed
our love was so strong. He was my sun, I wanted to follow him everywhere.”
“Jameson took me away to live in Bicol. Far away from all the judging and manipulation of his family – or rather his mother, Imelda. He used his savings, but after a few days, all of his accounts were blocked. But fortunately, he had extracted some cash from his accounts beforehand, so we were now living on credit. We rented a small one-bedroom house and started our new life together there.”
“The house was humble, but was a romantic enclave, where we could consummate our marriage. In other words, it was a humble bridal suite. I was totally innocent in these matters and hoped Jameson would guide me.”
“The furnishings of the small house included an antique sofa and footstool. Relaxing on the sofa, I was dreaming of my new perfect life, despite the difficulties. I was unsure how our marriage would be consummated in the eyes of God, but lay on the sofa awaiting further instructions from my master, my husband, Jameson.”
“I hadn’t been lying there long daydreaming, when Jameson abruptly awoke me from my reverie and said, “Darling I’m sorry about this very humble place I have taken you to, but it does have a simple bathroom. I have asked the landlady to prepare the bathroom for you with towels, soaps and perfumes. I hope it’s not too simple for you?’ He asked.”
“ ‘Darling you’re always so considerate. The bathroom here is more than enough for my needs,’ I said.”
“I went into the bathroom – my body was already tingling with the expectation of what was going to happen. Although I was just an innocent girl, my more experienced girlfriends often joked about boyfriends that were too timid, or too insistent, or that their maleness was too insufficient or too sufficient. In this respect, I thought Jameson and I were perfectly matched souls, but would we be matched in the world of physical dimensions? Would he be too large, and hurt me, or would he be too insignificant and leave me unsatisfied? All I could do was go and shower and get ready and see what would happen. But as God had sanctified our marriage, I was also sure that He had taken this into consideration.”
“I perfumed my body with Chanel No. 5, which a girlfriend of mine had given me as a going away present.”
“I came out of the shower wearing a white-towelled bathrobe.”
“As soon as Jameson saw me, he fixed me with an intense gaze.”
This was our first night as husband and wife. I was only 18 years old, and had no experience of men, apart from holding Jameson’s hands and his light kisses on my lips. I must say although I was eighteen, I was often mistaken for being 14 or 15, because of my childish ways, fresh face, and slim petite body with boyish hips and butt. Perhaps this was what initially attracted Jameson to me – as he often remarked I was so ‘innocent’.”
“We had been married by a local priest in a private ceremony in Masbate Cathedral, with only the priest present.”
“To tell you the truth – like I said before, I was eighteen – but my mind was that of an innocent young girl – I hadn’t even contemplated what our marriage vows before God would mean in the bedroom. Was Jameson going to plant seeds in the land that he had purchased, and which had been blessed by God? I was now his legal property, and he could do with me as he liked.”
“I hadn’t really thought about all this at all, and felt very shy. He was lying on the bed – but after coming out of the bathroom, I went and lay on the antique sofa again, some distance away in the corner of the room.”
“ ‘Why are you so far away from me? Come here. You look so nervous – remember, it’s just me, your husband,’ he said, while smiling invitingly.”
“ ‘You know I don’t have any experience yet. I don’t know what I should do?’ I said shyly.”
“I was totally willing to be his slave now that he was my master, and was just waiting for his next command, which of course I would obey.”
“He said, ‘I’m going to take a shower, when I come back I want to worship the innermost part of you. I will sanctify our holy marriage.’ ”
“I didn’t expect my man to be SO commanding, but I was his willing maiden, and would do anything to please him. So, I cast aside my bathrobe, and waited for him to reappear.”
“When he emerged from the bathroom, and I saw that he was stunned by my welcoming nakedness. He had perhaps not expected me to follow his every instruction. I was a shy girl, but I was now his slave, so only did what he commanded. Despite my shameless nakedness, I still bore the look of an innocent child, and it was this that invigorated his manliness.
“ ‘Darling, I would never have guessed that you were so beautiful – underneath your clothes, you’re a song written by the hands of God,’ … his words warmed the core of my womanness.”
“He came over to me, and snuggled close. He started by kissing my forehead softly, as if I was his beloved child. He carried on like this for a while, and uttered words of love quietly in my ear. He touched my breasts gently. He then started to stroke my spindly legs – and on each touch moved closer to the core of my sex. After an interminably long time, I felt moist and warm. He suddenly became more forceful, and kissed my inner thighs. I felt paralyzed, and my legs uncontrollably splayed themselves welcoming him to taste me inside. He wasn’t hesitant – and then I felt his tongue penetrate me. I pushed my womanness towards his face welcoming his tongue, which went deep inside me.”
“ ‘Uhm uhm,’ I couldn’t say anything, but just moaned.”
“He stopped making love to my womanness, and started to kiss my lips, and I could taste my own love juice on his lips, which made me even more turned on.”
“ ‘Let me kiss your lips, sweetheart,’ – he said while inserting his tongue inside my mouth.”
“He kissed me torridly. He became engorged with lust as his eyes roamed along my naked, young girl’s body, kissing me everywhere. He then kissed me between the thighs, and inserted his tongue deep inside me again. He frigged my pussy with his fingers, and I became lost in a paroxysm of pleasure.”
“I don’t know what happened to me – but it must have been what other girls had talked about – ‘cumming’ as they vulgarly say. My whole body went into a state of uncontrollable shaking and intense pleasure. I felt totally limp. While lying there on the bed as if in a state of paralysis, Jameson whispered in my ear saying, ‘You’re so beautiful, sweetheart. I’m so lucky to have you.’ ”
“He carried on showering my body with his delicate and wet kisses. But I was now so limp that I needed time to recover, and stroked his hair and held him tightly to me. We relaxed for a while in each other’s arms. After some time I felt his desire starting to rise again. My desire was also burning. I felt totally in love with him now – not just mentally, but now that we were physically one. I also saw that his manliness would be able to satisfy me through a long life. His strong body could not only protect me, but satisfy me.”
“He started to suck the brown nipples of my ample breasts – I was a skinny girl but I was blessed by God to be a woman who could satisfy a horde of suckling children.”
“ ‘Ooh’ I moaned as he sucked my nipples, as if he was expecting milk like a child – but that day would come, I thought.”
“ ‘The scent of you makes me delirious sweetheart,’ he moaned as he carried on kissing my body and inserting his tongue in my orifices.”
“He lowered his head to my honeypot and started sucking and eating it out with his long and quivering tongue. I almost went crazy with the sensation that his snake-like tongue was giving me, so it was only now I started to understand the story of Genesis in the Bible, and Eve’s love affair with the snake.”
“ ‘Do it now please. Make love to me.’ I begged him.”
“I was totally wet just waiting for him to enter me. With a jolt, his hard, long spear pierced my virgin flower. I was expecting some kind of pleasure, but instead it felt like a sharp blade had punctured my innards. I suddenly hated this man, inflicting such pain on me.”
“ ‘Oh. It’s so painful hu hu hu,’ I cried.”
“ ‘Shhh. I’ll be gentle. If you love me, you’ll trust me. Don’t worry it just feels like this at the start – you’ll soon feel pleasure in time,’ he assured me.”
“He carried on thrusting hard into me – he was very large – perhaps too large – the pain became worse – I don’t think he was in pain – in fact, it was the pleasure of his desire that drove him on to inflict me with pain. But I loved my husband – I had to obey him and take him at his word. I am a Christian girl so I have to obey the words of God as written in the Bible. I must ‘submit to my husband as to the Lord. For my husband is the head of me, as Christ is the head of the Church. Now as the Church submits to Christ, so I must submit to my husband in everything. Just as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her, and the Church submits to Christ, so also I submit to my husband in everything’ (Ephesians).”
“I would sooner or later feel pleasure he said – but all I could feel now was excruciating pain and I could also feel the blood pouring out of my vagina and down my thighs, staining the white bed sheets with a profusion of red blood. It felt like he was murdering my virginity.”
“He saw I was in pain, so he slowed down his thrusting and started to kiss me gently on the lips, and say ‘I love you darling.’ ”
“But through the teachings when I went to church as a young girl, the priest had told me that woman was the first sinner because of her love of the snake. God had said, “I will sharply increase your pain in childbirth; in pain you will bring forth children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you” (Genesis, 3:16). So, I had understood at a young age that pain is the fate of women. They will suffer pain when they give birth to their children after being impregnated by men, but they will also suffer pain when being impregnated, that is, when man ruptures them and spills their blood, as this is ordained by His Lord, God.”
“He went in and out of me slowly just using the head of his hardness, but I was still in severe pain. But in obeyance with the Bible, I must ‘submit to the head’. He kissed me on the lips again, so I felt less hurt. And then the pain suddenly turned into great pleasure.”
“ ‘Oh. Faster, it feels so good now. Faster please, ahh,’ I screamed in pure lust and desire.”
“ ‘Oh sweetie. You’re so tight, I love being inside you,’ he sighed.”
“We made love that night for three or four times more that made me sore, so I was hardly able to walk the next day. My love had turned me into a cripple! We filled our small and humble home with love and joy that money can’t buy.”
“But the world needs money. And something turned our life upside down. Jameson worked on a small construction site, but after a month of being employed there, the company fired him for no valid reason.”
“ ‘Don’t worry. I can find another job, sweetheart. There’s a lot out there,’ he assured me. But I guessed that his parents were in some way involved – with the intent of making us suffer.”
“ ‘Yes Jameson, we can do this. But I’m worried, because you’ve been coughing for a week now – and seem to be lethargic and have lost some weight,’ I said to my dear husband. But he didn’t want to go to the local clinic.”
“ ‘Don’t worry about me. I’ve lost weight, because you’re so good in bed my sweetheart,’ he said jokingly.”
“ ‘Jameson, please watch your tongue’! I warned him, but couldn’t help but laugh inside.”
“We were certainly happy, but now we were having more problems than ever. I also became scared, because I think Jameson was sick, but he just wouldn’t admit it.”
“Then the day came, which I hoped never would arrive – Jameson got terribly sick. He started coughing up blood and had fever, so he became bedridden. The doctor was called and tuberculosis was diagnosed. Normally, well-off people like Jameson didn’t contract the disease; but he must have picked it up from one of the poor workers at the construction site, because many of them were slum dwellers from Legazpi City. The disease was highly infectious, and it was enough that someone coughed while you were drinking coffee in the break time.”
“The doctor, a Mr. Finlay, said perhaps his immune system had been weakened, because of all the stress caused by family problems. Doctor Finlay said he needed immediate care and attention and medication; but that the government health services were unreliable, and that private health care would be much better. It was very expensive, and only well-off Filipinos could afford such private care when they were sick.”
“The doctor said, ‘I thought he is from a wealthy family that can afford to take care of him? I have to be honest with you, thousands of people die every year in the Philippines from tuberculosis, because the public health services are unable to provide adequate medical care for ordinary Filipinos. But this shouldn’t be a problem for your husband, because I understand he is a Ferreira – one of the richest families in the Philippines – and deserves better care than an ordinary Filipino – private medical care?’ He concluded.”
“The doctor recommended that we should admit Jameson to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in the local hospital – he was confident his family would foot the bill, which was by no means cheap, if he was to have a private room, and personal attention by doctors and nurses.”
“I was confused – I didn’t want to contradict the doctor and say that he was estranged from his family, because he had made the ‘mistake’ of falling in love with an ordinary Filipina girl – me! So I said nothing. I didn’t have the money to pay for the care of my loved one – but hoped things would work out in one way or another. So I just nodded, and said to the doctor, ‘I’m so glad I met such a professional and understanding man like yourself, who can take care of my husband.’ I even ‘lied’ and said – of course – I will be in contact with his family straight away.”
“However, it seems I didn’t have to contact his family, because the ‘grapevine’ must have informed them. On the afternoon of the day Jameson was admitted to Legazpi City Hospital, a nurse in the ICU informed me that there was a woman waiting at the reception who would like to meet me concerning the admission of the new patient, Jameson Ferreira. My heart started beating faster. I walked quickly towards the reception and saw Jameson’s mother, Imelda Ferreira, standing there waiting.”
“ ‘Please help him, ma’am,’ I pleaded. But her face remained hard like stone.”
“ ‘I will do anything to save him. Please!’ I continued, bursting into tears.”
“ ‘You will do anything?’ She seemed very happy, when I said this.”
“ ‘Yes. Please save his life,’ I said.”
“ ‘I can pay for all the medical bills on one condition,’ she began.”
“ ‘Please ma’am – I will do anything,’ I said begging.”
“ ‘Stay away from my son, and never make contact with him, or any of our family from now on,’ she cruelly demanded, so that I almost swooned on hearing her words.”
“It was such a hard condition – but what could I do – I wanted to save the life of my husband – my loved one. So I had no alternative but to obey the cruel edict of my mother-in-law. It broke my heart and half of me died that day.”
Trina had been sitting listening attentively to her friend’s story. It was almost as if it was just a ‘story’, but there were so many realistic details she chose to believe it was all true, despite how fantastic it sounded.
She thought, ‘rich people could fall in love with poor people, and rich people could even contract diseases from poor people. Our society may be socially segregated between the rich and the poor, but we’re nevertheless connected physically in the ‘real’ world; we breathe the same air – the air that had infected Jameson.’
Trina was astounded with herself that she managed to have such profound and insightful thoughts. But it wasn’t so difficult for her really, because she was a devout Christian and had been brought up to believe that all men and women, rich and poor, are equal in the eyes of God.
“Wow. That was quite a dramatic story! Why didn’t you tell me about it before?” Trina asked.
“I actually didn’t obey the instructions of my mother-in-law, because I still kept myself informed about Jameson’s progress in the hospital. I had a friend in the hospital who worked there as a porter who kept me informed about his progress. After some weeks, I contacted the hospital and learnt that he was fully recovered. The disease is not really problematic, if one receives proper medical treatment, although thousands die from it every year.”
Santina continued, “After many years, I finally met him in person again, because I had been given the job of interviewing him. It was in one sense ironically comical – because the first time we had met at the university, I kicked him in the shins. And now, many years later, I had advanced in my kicking skills and kicked him in the balls with my stilettoes.”
“Our boss, Mr. Peculla, had arranged the interview, but hadn’t informed Jameson about my name – just saying a young and most attractive female journalist will interview you. Jameson must have taken the bait – I don’t know exactly what Peculla had said about me – but he probably made me sound like Liza Soberano. It was arranged that he would meet the young delectable journalist at Fridays in Robinson’s Place, Pedro Gil, Malate. He chose such a low profile location to avoid any other magazines getting in on the act.”
“He was already seated in Fridays when I came along, and was sitting there drinking a San Miguel Pale Pilsen. This was just as well – because had we met outside the mall he might have just turned around and walked away.”
“When I suddenly appeared in front of him he looked very shocked, and couldn’t quite believe his eyes, and took a large swig from his glass of San Mig. Realizing the situation required some explanation I said to him, ‘I didn’t want to meet you, but I was given this assignment, and might have been sacked had I objected. My grandmother is now in hospital, and she is absolutely dependent on me getting a pay-check every month.’ He didn’t look very convinced, but nevertheless agreed to carrying on the interview.”
“We ordered a seafood plate, some side dishes and a bottle of good Australian red wine, Yellow Tail. But now he acted like a different person. He wasn’t the sweet man I used to know. I made lots of notes, and by the time we had finished the meal and the interview, we were ready to part our ways. It was then he said he could never see me again under any circumstances, and that he only agreed to carry on the interview out of consideration for my grandmother. It was at that point I lunged under the table with my stilettoes at his manliness. Despite being in Fridays, he let out an almighty screech, so that all the faces in the restaurant turned towards him.”
“Maybe he was mad that you suddenly disappeared without explanation – especially when he was seriously ill. Did you try to explain matters to him?” Trina asked.
“He was so rude when we met again, so I started to wonder exactly what his mother, Imelda, had told him about me,” she said, while taking a sip on her drink.
“Girl, you two need to talk again. Explain your side of things. Maybe he’s been given the wrong story,” Trina suggested.
“What for? He seems to have moved on already,” Santina said irritably.
“Come on – he doesn’t know a thing, and you still need to apologize to him for kicking him twice with your stilettos!” Trina said with a smile on her face. She added wickedly, “Maybe you two can never have kids, because after all the kicking you have given his balls with your sharp stilettoes, he is perhaps now infertile – you have put an end to the centuries’ old Ferreira Dynasty with your ball-kicking antics!”
“I don’t want to give birth to his bastards,” Santina replied.
“Come on – you can’t leave things at such an impasse,” Trina said trying to encourage her friend to repair her marriage.
“I know. But let’s see,” she said.
Santina and Trina were devout Roman Catholics and believed divorce was a sin.
“Okay keep me informed. Can we meet tomorrow at Starbucks in Robinson’s, Pedro Gil, so you can give me all your news? If you’re not busy afterwards, we can go to a few bars in Ermita or Burgos Street with a new friend of mine, a Scottish professor called John McClean. He’s very generous, so we can have a night out, and lots of fun – because there’s never a dull moment with him,” Trina said to her friend.
“I’m not sure about the clubbing with your professor, but we can meet in Starbucks – I really need someone to talk to – and you’re my best friend.”
“Ok! It’s a deal then – send me a message tomorrow and we can meet at Starbucks.”
Santina followed her friend’s advice, and decided to keep an open mind, although she was sceptical about talking to her estranged husband.
The next day Santina messaged her friend to give her the latest update. They met at Starbucks – although they could hardly afford to go there, as just one coffee and a New York cheesecake cost about 500 pesos, which was a day’s wages for simple Filipinos like them. They managed to find a seat among the Westerners and Koreans who seemed to like Starbucks, as it was ‘trendy’.
“Ok girl what’s happening?” Trina asked her friend straightaway, more out of wanting to hear some tasty gossip, than a feeling of empathy towards her friend.
“Well, you’re not going to believe it! But let me start at the beginning,” Santina began.
“I returned to the Ferreira Empire the next day in the Trump Tower in Makati. Mr. Peculla almost dragged me along. I didn’t have any choice but to face the man that I didn’t wanna see anymore. Mr Peculla had managed to convince Jameson that it was absolutely imperative that we have a second interview, if the magazine were going to be able to present Mr Ferreira of the Metropolitan Bank in a favourable light. Mr Ferreira was worried about the reputation of his bank, as they were undergoing an international investigation about major money laundering in connection with the international narcotics trade. So Mr. Ferreira and his bank were sorely in need of any kind of good PR (public relations). So although he had refused to meet me again, he did so with the hope of stalling any national and international investigations. Amongst other things, Peculla had stressed he might want to give Famous People more information about any charities they were contributing to, such as aiding the plight of Manila squatters, and contributing to more donations to Filipino hospitals.”
“So obviously it was not out of love of me that he agreed to a second interview, but with the aim of trying to deflect investigations into his corporation.”
“So, I met his secretary in the reception on the ground floor, and we took the elevator to his private office on the 57th floor, which took us quite some time travelling upwards to the business haven of my husband-mogul. When we finally arrived at the destination, she knocked twice and then opened the door for me.”
“ ‘Sir, Miss Santina from Famous People is already here to interview you’, the secretary informed the man sitting behind the large desk in the office.”
“ ‘Please go in, he will attend to you soon, but he’s a very busy man – good luck with the interview,’ the secretary said, as she closed the door of the office leaving me inside the room with him.”
“The office was much larger than our humble little house in Bicol, where we had enjoyed a short-lived married bliss. The room was oval in shape. It had five large north and east facing windows, showing a prospect of the Pasig River, and a view below of Burgos Street. Fortunately, we were south of the Pasig River, as being south or north of that river seemed to have some significant meaning for his mother, Imelda – which I remembered from our conversation some years before. I don’t know why she was so concerned about the dirty old river, as it is a sewer and filthy on both the north and south banks. The rich men in their shiny skyscrapers use it as a cost-free garbage dump for the excrement which is spewed into it from their high-profit factories and businesses along the banks.”
“I walked towards his desk, where he was sitting with his back to me looking out over the grimy Pasig River, and engaged in an ‘important’ telephone call.”
“When he had finished his phone call, he still carried on looking out the window, as if ruminating on something.”
“ ‘Eherrm,’ I coughed to attract his attention.”
“He swivelled around slowly in his sumptuous leather executive office chair, and gave me a grim look.”
“ ‘Yes? And what reason do you have for me not suing you? I remember the last time we met, you physically attacked me for no accountable reason – and it was only by luck I managed to avoid a serious injury,’ he said in a gruff and accusing tone.”
“ ‘I’m sorry sir. I didn’t mean to. It was a spontaneous reaction, I thought you were being rude to me,” I said, choking my pride – I didn’t want to end up being sued, or even worse in jail!”
“ ‘So you’re saying it’s my fault now!?’ He said irritated.”
“ ‘It’s not what I mean sir,’ I said.”
“ ‘So you believe I’m always the one at fault,’ he said nonetheless.”
“ ‘Sir?’ I asked, confused.”
“ ‘I will not report your criminal assault to the police, or instruct my lawyers to initiate civil proceedings against you for injury, under one condition,’ he said.”
“I started to see a resemblance to his mother, Imelda, – laying down conditions, giving ultimatums and making threats, so as to get his own way. At the time, I thought it is perhaps a way of life of the rich and powerful, manipulating by making threats, laying down conditions, spinning the facts, paying lawyers to do the dirty work, and so on, to get their own way, just like a baby who would murder the world just to get a stick of candy.”
“I couldn’t believe these words were being uttered by my husband, and a man who had made intimate love to me. Nevertheless, I didn’t immediately protest at this absurd new stance of his.”
“ ‘What is it Sir?’ I asked.”
“ ‘In recompense for your despicable behaviour, I want you to serve as my housemaid for seven days and seven nights,’ he said, as if he was appointing me to an executive position in his corporation.”
“ ‘You can stay here in Trump Tower – there is a small maid’s room on this floor, where you can stay. You will also be provided with meals free of charge. I have an adjoining apartment; I want you to take care of all the housemaid functions – my nanna will instruct you about all your cleaning duties and other responsibilities,’ he said.”
“ ‘What?!’ I responded in a state of shock.”
“ ‘Okay. If that’s the tone you want to take, I’ll meet you in court then, and the police will serve you with a summons directly – I only have to make a phone call – and they’ll be here in ten minutes. I have informed the security guards to not permit you to leave the building until I give the green light. You will be held here until the police come to arrest and jail you, while awaiting trial. The police chief of this barangay is my personal friend, so I hope you’re taking my words seriously.’
“He continued, ‘I should perhaps also remind you that women in the custody of law enforcement officials are vulnerable to all kinds of abuse. Although my friend the police chief is an honourable man, he does not have a 24-hour watch on all his police officers and jail guards. The police chief has informed me that as long as there are beautiful women in custody, there will be cases of abuse. I don’t have to remind you how beautiful you are,’ he said in conclusion.”
“This was obviously blatant blackmail and extortion. But I feared he would not hesitate in turning his words into actions, which is the way of powerful men, so I had no other choice but to prostrate myself before him. So I begged:
“ ‘No sir, okay sir. Please forgive my impetuousness.’ ”
“ ‘Settled then,’ he said with a victorious smile.”
“He continued, ‘I have already spoken to your boss, a Mr. Peculla. In fact, I have gone higher up and spoken to the CEO of Famous People. Due to the global recession, and the transition to digital media online, the magazine has been making losses. I have proposed to boost the company by purchasing a large part of the shares, and offering a large loan so the magazine can modernize, focusing on online delivery of the product. I informed Mr. Peculla that we need to have a more in-depth interview spanning one week and suggested you could reside here in Trump Tower, while being relieved of all your other work responsibilities for one week – to which he acquiesced.’ ”
“He continued his lengthy harangue, ‘Of course, this agreement is just between me and you. You will have to sign a confidentiality agreement – a nondisclosure agreement, which means that if you disclose any details of our agreement to a third party you will be subject to prosecution and be sued for damages. My lawyer, Mr Cohen, has also drawn up another agreement, which states that if you serve as my housemaid for one week, I will drop all criminal and civil proceedings against you. But this agreement is also subject to non-disclosure requirements. You have to sign both agreements.’ ”
Trina had been sitting patiently listening to Santina’s narrative without saying a word – but then she interrupted:
“My God, you’re his wife, and now you have agreed to be his slave?”
“Yes but I still love him – I’ll do anything he commands me to do,” Santina said.
“My god! You’re addicted to love – you’re really a victim of love! Your lights are on, but you’re not at home, your mind is not your own – your will is not your own.”
“Yes it’s true, I can’t deny the fact that I still love Jameson.”
Trina replied, “Okay – I’m too depressed at this latest news – I’m not in the mood to go clubbing with you and John McClean. I hope things work out for you – let’s meet here again in a few more days and you can tell me how things are working out.”
So the girls didn’t meet for another few days. They finally met at Starbucks again. Santina was addicted to love, but Trina was addicted to hot chocolate.
“Okay girl what’s happening now?” Asked Trina with a creamy moustache, as she made love to the hot chocolate with cream topping, licking the whipped cream that was oozing out over the brim of the mug.
Santina responded, “Everything is changed now. I’ve been his cleaner for a few days. He made me clean everything and wash all his dirty clothes, sometimes insisting that I do the same job over again, because I hadn’t removed the stains from his underwear and bed sheets. He’s slaving me to bits. It wasn’t surprising there were lots of stains on his underwear and bed sheets, because he was bringing home many different Burgos Street girlz, which he picked up in the street near his Trump Tower office.”
“I know I’m only a housemaid now without any rights, but still I couldn’t stop my heart from being hurt – especially when I was sleeping in the next room, and I could hear him having sex with hookers. And one time I heard the bell ringing and went into the master suite to answer the call, when I saw a naked Burgos Street whore sitting naked on my husband’s bed with a sluttish dirty look on her face – waiting for my husband – he was in the en-suite bathroom preparing himself.”
“It’s okay, Santi. You only have four days left, and then you’re as free as a bird again,” Trina said to her friend.
“It’s not that simple – one day I was cleaning the kitchen, when he came home drunk with a Burgos Street whore and started trying to touch my intimate parts. It seems he wanted to have a ménage à trois – him and his wife/housemaid – that is me, and the Burgos street whore.”
“ ‘Stop it, you asshole. I’m not one of your whores,’’ I said to him, but he only smirked.”
“ ‘You’re worse than them. Would they leave their husband for money?’ He said in a rabid voice like a mad dog.”
“ ‘What did you say?’ I said to him, shocked. I quickly figured that this is what his wicked mother, Imelda, had told him.”
“It seems he had been drinking with his whores in Burgos Street and was now drunk and aggressive.”
“ ‘I don’t repeat myself, bitch – you should pay attention – are you deaf or what?” he shouted foaming at the mouth. He then tried to touch me in a vulgar way, pressing me against the freezer and grabbing me between the legs and trying to stick his tongue down my throat. I pushed him away slapping him hard in the face, so his cheek turned a crimson red.”
“I was the angry one now – I screamed at him, ‘You don’t know a damn chit, Jameson, … you don’t know the real truth,’ … but then I completely broke down and started crying hysterically.”
“He was surprised at this turn of events, and changed tack.”
“He said, ‘Ok – why don’t you tell me the truth huh? Tell me another lie,’ still trying to cling to his anger and feeling of self-righteousness.”
“I looked away from him, so I could get my bearings. I didn’t want to completely break down. But I kept on, because I thought he needed to hear the truth.”
“ ‘Why don’t you ask your mother,’ I said in an adamant voice.”
“ ‘My God – what’s my mother got to do with this!’ He said – his anger starting to rise again.
“ ‘She’s the one who holds the key – she knows everything,’ I replied plainly.”
“ ‘Yes she knows everything of course, because she’s the one you asked for a pay-off – she’s the one you asked for money!!’ he said heatedly.
“ ‘Then I’m sorry to say your wrong! You’re right about the payoff, but I didn’t ask her for it, she offered it to me, and I refused. It was then she said she wouldn’t use her money to pay for your expensive private healthcare, unless I stayed away from you. She threatened to let you suffer penniless and without help like any other poor Filipino not blessed with rich parents. She threatened to excommunicate you from the family and leave you to the charity of the Church and the state, which is a meagre offering. In other words, I had to agree never to see you or your family again in exchange for your safety and health,’ I exclaimed.”
“ ‘Don’t lie. She couldn’t have done that,’ he said, almost in a whisper. It was as if he had suddenly realised this was something which his strict and domineering mother, Imelda, was capable of. She only wanted to increase the wealth and power of her own family, so she wanted to keep her son separate from the rest of Philippine society. It was this that had made her and her family so rich – being able to exploit ordinary people in order to increase the wealth of her family. So from her point of view – it was almost a traitorous act – to marry below one’s station, as she had spent her whole life raising her family above others.”
“ ‘Why don’t you ask her,’ I said crying.”
“ ‘I can’t.’ he said slowly.”
“ ‘Why not? Because you can’t accept the fact that you’re so wrong about accusing me of things that are totally wrong!!’ I shouted, frustrated.”
“ ‘Because she’s already dead,’ he broke down, and fell to his knees weeping. I couldn’t comprehend what he had just said – so I just remained confused and unbelieving.”
“ ‘Wh-what?’ I couldn’t really take in what he had said.”
“ ‘She’s dead. Two years ago already,’ he just said plainly, and walked out of the kitchen leaving me there.”
“I couldn’t believe that his mother, Imelda, was already gone, most likely to Hades. I’d never received any news of her death; of course, this was because I had followed the mother’s instruction, and when my husband made no attempt to contact me, I just archived our marriage away into the file ‘past life’. When his mother had been so adamant, and he never contacted me, it seemed absurd that I should in some way force myself on them, as I felt they lived in a world apart from mine. Jameson and I had finally had “a talk” in his kitchen, but I felt I needed to pull my life up by my stockings and have a real talk with him.”
Trina had been sitting patiently listening to her friend’s intriguing story, hardly believing it. She had long since finished drinking her chocolate and cream, and said to her friend, “Yes you need to have a final showdown with your outlaw husband.”
“Yes it’s true – everything seems to be too fantastic – but I need to bite the bullet – and invade his Trump Tower emporium one more time,” said Santina.
“Okay girlfriend. Do it! And keep me informed. Don’t forget to invite me to the second wedding!” Trina said with a glint in her eye.
“Ok – I’ll do it tomorrow – I’ll call you and maybe we can meet here again.”
The next day Santina put on her gunbelt with two six-guns and made her way to the Trump Tower ready for the final showdown at high noon. She had made up her mind she would rather die in a ditch than not get this mission impossible accomplished. She had to confront him, and decide the final outcome of their lives.
The next day Santina made her way to the Trump Tower in order to have a final showdown with her husband.
Two days later she met Trina again at Starbucks, and recounted her continuing story to her.
“Are you getting the chocolate drink again – remember to ask for extra cream,” Santina said to her friend.
Trina was now sipping her chocolate and waiting for the latest instalment in the Santina-Ferreira saga.
She began: “I had made my way to the Trump Tower, and was shown up to his office again.”
“ ‘Can we talk? I can’t stop worrying,’ I began when I entered his oval office.”
“ ‘About what? Maybe about me being an asshole,’ he said, with his head bowed down.”
“I was shocked by his sudden about turn – his change in sympathy towards me. But thinking on my feet I managed to say in indulgence to him ‘It’s not actually you’re fault. We can’t always blame people for the way things turn out.’ ”
“ ‘I’ve been a fool for hating you. My only excuse is that you just disappeared after I woke up in that hospital bed,’ he said almost breaking down into tears.”
“ ‘You were so sick at that time. You needed to be taken care of, but I didn’t have the money to pay for your healthcare. It was then I met your mother at the ICU, where you had been admitted, and she proposed her plan,’ I said, thinking that he deserved to know the truth.”
“ ‘I asked her to help you, and said I was willing to do anything so you would get well again. Little did I know that she already had a plan prepared – so in the end I didn’t have any choice but to agree to her conditions,’ I continued.”
“ ‘Why didn’t you show up and tell me!’ He shouted.”
“ ‘For what, Jameson? You know how powerful your parents are. I wasn’t scared for myself, I was thinking about you. You were so vulnerable and sick, and they were the only ones who could help you. Your mother was willing to sacrifice your health and perhaps even your life, than have me, a lowly Filipina, besmirch your family name with our marriage communion and bastard offspring. Don’t act like you are the only one broke into pieces. You don’t know how I have had to pull myself together, to be whole again,’ I cried.”
“ ‘But still you should have told me,’ he said, almost whimpering like a lost child.”
“ ‘I was so helpless at that time. I couldn’t let you be sick and suffer just so you could be with me. You deserved everything that I couldn’t give you then,’ I said, bursting into tears.”
“ ‘I’m sorry that we ended like this. I’m sorry for hating you the way I did for a long time,’ he begged asking me to forgive him, while breaking down into tears.”
“ ‘It’s all done now and past. We need to get on with our lives,’ I said pragmatically.”
“Out of the blue, he said – ‘Do you still love me despite all the bad blood between us – I know it’s crazy to ask you this when I have been so despicable in every way – nevertheless, I still have a glimmer of hope!’ He said in a begging voice almost breaking down.”
“ ‘It doesn’t matter anymore. There’s no use in cryin – you go your way and I’ll go mine,’ I said not wanting to challenge what it seemed fate had destined for us.”
“ ‘But you still didn’t answer my question Santina. Do you still love me?’ He almost shouted, his voice was now hoarse from desperation.”
“ ‘What difference would it make,’ I said avoiding his question and his stares.”
“ ‘Please tell me,’ he said falling to his knees in an act of suppliance, asking for forgiveness and begging for love.”
“I had been his slave and wife, but now he had become my slave. I was not sure I could forgive him, so I rejected his offer.”
“ ‘Please believe me – I never stopped loving and worshipping you. I’m ashamed that I have sinned against you so badly,’ he confessed.”
“ ‘I always told myself to hate you, but I was just denying our love – I don’t know how I can ever make it up to you if you will let me,’ he said lying prostrate and grovelling at my feet.”
“He continued, ‘I beg you please forgive me! I will serve you as my mistress throughout my life. Please fulfil my wish, my mistress – allow me to serve you.’ ”
“Although we were married, and had lived together many years ago, it suddenly occurred to me that although I had that Marlin fish on the line, I had never really hauled him on to the deck and seen him gasping at my feet. Well that time had finally come. I looked at him gasping and grovelling there on the deck. He may be big, powerful and formidable swimming around in his own world gobbling up all the small fish – but now he had entered my world on the deck of my life and was completely powerless, as he lay there paralyzed by my hook. His bulging eyes begging me to take out the hook – but not yet I thought – I’ll leave it in a little longer, otherwise he might lash out and bounce back into the ocean again. So I said to my tortured victim in a loving whisper, ‘Jameson.’ At that moment, Hemingway would have been proud of me, for finally reeling in this large Marlin. Men like fish are not that smart. They think that they are the hunters, but in reality they are the ones being hunted, and if you have the right bait and a strong line you’ll always be able to reel them in no matter how big they are.”
“He said, ‘I love you with all my heart sweetheart. Please give me one more chance. Let’s fix it up and start over again,’ He said still lying prostrate on the floor, while his eyes wandered upwards along my legs looking up my skirt towards my core. His gaze lingered awhile on my full and sumptuous breasts and then finally fixed on my eyes looking down at him.”
“I stroked his hair and pulled his head towards my core, whereby I pressed his face into me. My panties got soaked as my love juice mingled with his tears.”
“ ‘Jameson, I can’t say anything now,’ as I held his head and pressed his quivering lips against my rose.”
“ ‘Can’t we do that? Just be like before? I love you so much and I only want to be together with you,’ he said begging me like a little boy wanting sweeties.”
“Pulling my panties to one side I gave him something sweet there and then; clasping his head with both hands and pulling him towards my flower, he had no other alternative than to kiss my hip lips. I held his head between my legs, so he could French kiss my lips. I grasped his hair, offering myself gladly, enthralled at the wondrous feeling of his snake-like tongue.”
“Despite my wondrous feeling as he made love to my honey pot – I managed nevertheless to keep a cool head. My hands still had hold of his hair. So I pulled at his hair, moving his head away from my pussy. I twisted his hair so that he had to look up at me, as he still was on his knees before me. I held his hair tightly as if in earnest, but not in anger, and said to him in a serious tone: ‘But how can I know you will be more true this time. How can you prove your love is sincere? Can you buy me a diamond ring, which I never got when we were married?’ I said.”
“ ‘Darling before my mother’s death I had no control over the company’s funds. Now she is dead – God bless her soul – my father has given me complete control of the company. My love for you is worth a thousand times my own life. I can buy you the biggest diamond you can ever imagine, and anything else your heart desires,’ he said almost ecstatically. I smiled, and pulling his hair once again, drew his head towards my rose, letting him taste my honey some more.”
“The next day we went to the jewellers and he bought me a diamond ring, a stunning 10.47 emerald-cut diamond flanked by two large baguette diamonds. The ring was by renowned French jeweller Cartier, and Jameson paid $4 million for it; but this represents only a small part of his huge wealth. It is reckoned that his family are so rich that they own more than what 99% of the Filipino population. On buying me the ring he said it was much too ‘cheap’ as a symbol of our love – and that he would soon buy me a larger diamond ring on the anniversary of our ‘reborn marriage’.”
“And now he gives me sugar in the morning, sugar in the evening and sugar at suppertime, and loves me all the time. He puts his arms around me, and swears by the stars above, he’ll be mine forever, in a heaven of love. Sugartime is anytime that he is near. So I’m drowning in the sea of love. He gives me sugar-coated love. Now I don’t have to worry ’bout money, ’bout clothes. I don’t have to worry ’bout anything. He gives me everything – love and money. What is the most important you might ask? You can have money without love, but can you have love without money? The best things in life are free, but give me money – that’s what I want!’
“My God I can hardly believe it’s true. It sounds like a fairy tale,” Trina said to her friend.
“It’s true. And now Jameson has signed half
of his corporation into my name. I will need a ‘lady-in-waiting’ to serve me in
the Trump Tower. The salary is at an international standard, that is, $200 000
per annum. I really hope you will accept the position!”
 This is a translation of the original version written by Sara Jhen Neri, which was written in Tagalog. It has been edited and adapted by M. Maharlika. The illustrations are created by M. Maharlika, and based on originals sourced on the World Wide Web. Copyright permission for the originals is pending. For instance, the sketch of Imelda Ferreira is based on a painting by Picasso.
 Lola is Filipino for granny.
 Philippine adobo (from Spanish adobar: “marinade,” “sauce” or “seasoning”) is a popular Filipino dish and cooking process in Filipino cuisine that involves meat, seafood, or vegetables marinated in vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and black peppercorns, which is browned in oil, and simmered in the marinade. It has occasionally been considered as the unofficial national dish in the Philippines. Adobe in Spanish can refer to clay or brick, and perhaps is related to the idea of marinating in clay pots.
 This is a literal translation from Tagalog (“since birth”), and a common utterance of Filipina girls, reflecting their strict Roman Catholic upbringing. But the cynic might ask the question: “Is this true?” Moreover, the literal translation is comical, because you would hardly have a boyfriend when you were one year old (“since birth”)?
 In Tagalog, if a Filipina woman calls a man a bolero, she is saying he is a smooth talker – giving complements that are not genuine. But at the same time most Filipina women like men to behave like this without admitting it.
 Tagalog: Great grandmother.
 Philippine adobo (from Spanish adobar: “marinade,” “sauce” or “seasoning”) is a popular Filipino dish and cooking process in Filipino cuisine that involves meat, seafood, or vegetables marinated in vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and black peppercorns, which is browned in oil, and simmered in the marinade. It has occasionally been considered as the unofficial national dish in the Philippines. Adobe in Spanish can refer to clay or brick, and perhaps is related to the idea of marinating in clay pots.
 Jollibee is a Filipino chain of fast food restaurants.
 Philippine law does not provide for divorce inside the country, and it remains the only UN-member state beside Vatican City without legal provision for divorce. The only exception is with respect to Muslims, who are allowed to divorce in certain circumstances according to their religion” (Wikipedia). “Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits “adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery” (Luke 16:18).