Ted chews the pancit he has shut into his mouth. He stares at Melissa and raises his brow, as if to ask her if anything’s wrong. She hasn’t said much throughout the meal, and she’s only spoke to him intermittently since he arrived.
“Have I told you this pancit is delicious?” he mutters.
“Thanks,” she says, folding her arms.
He piles strips of cabbages and mushrooms on the side of his plate. “I don’t like vegetables, darling,” he’d say, “I just like the noodles.” She used to argue with him that the taste of the vegetables have seeped into the noodles anyway, and that’s how the real pancit guisado should come as, so he might as well eat them, the lot. She can’t be bothered now, though. Besides, in their arguments, he always wins.
Continue reading Does it really matter what the dead think? (Part 2)
Her hand still holds the telephone handset. The sound of it dropping onto its base seemed like a closing door, banging and locking her into her guilt and uselessness. The clear blue skies outside her window in Armidale seemed to have turned overcast like the grey skies of her General Santos town. She cups her mouth as she lowers herself onto the floor and feels the tears roll down her cheeks. Her mother’s cry on the phone keeps playing in her mind.
“Inday, ulahi na ang tanan. It was too late for all of us. We tried, but Nene didn’t make it to the hospital.” The old lady’s controlled voice showed the sincerity of their endeavors to save her sister. “We could have saved her if we’ve known beforehand.”
Melissa, or Inday to her family in Gensan, knows that her sister and her sister’s baby could have been saved had her sister been admitted to the lying-in clinic. There, midwives would have been able to determine her state of pregnancy earlier and prescribe a caesarian procedure at the hospital. Melissa had insisted that giving birth at home with the assistance of a midwife would be okay. This is what most women do in the Philippines. Nene agreed.
Continue reading Does It Matter What the Dead Think? (Part 1)