I know what they’re thinking.
When they look at me,
they automatically assume
that I spent more hours
sitting in front of a computer
rather than get a career
and that probably
I was the kind to always want the
easy ways out of life.
They will start cracking jokes about how
you rescued my family from poverty and how
big my budget was for papaya soaps
and pedicures, which never did a lot
for my “native” look anyway,
this money, which came from you anyway.
When I talk, I’m sure they will listen.
They will listen to every
word, watch out for incorrect prepositions,
interchanged pronouns, or a run-on sentence. Sometimes,
I want to indulge them and say an
unforgivable grammar mistake, but I can’t.
I’m well-read, well-versed and eloquent, fuckyouverymuch.
They’d think that we met in Boracay,
spent a weekend together, then brought you home to introduce you
to my family–they’ll even try to guess which
godforsaken probinsya I must’ve come from
and debate whether electricity or good Internet
connection was running there.
They’d assume you came to see me and
marry me because I will take care of you and be your
official caregiver, and you’d be my ticket out of this third world,
not because we are madly in love.
Maybe they’d even throw in a joke or two
about how we may never fight because whenever
we start to, it would end by you saying, “Green card”.
Honestly, I know all of these.
I know all of these by heart.
I can feel it in my
bones, feel the weight of the words
they so want to speak. I feel
the heat of their stares and the pangs
of their disappointment. And I know,
that every time I seem to prove
them wrong or when we look ridiculously happy, I know
they’re jealous of me.
Yes, they’re jealous of me.
Their own racism is killing them. And that,
when I know, I always want to bask in its glory,
feel the moment; I’ll carry it on my way home,
put it in an airtight bottle,
bathe in it every waking morning.
Karla Stefan Singson currently leads her Davao-based events and PR outfit, PREP (PR, Events and Promotions). She also writes for print and online media.