Wednesday, February 19, 2014

An excerpt from "The Other Woman Narrative"

By Daryll Delgado

Hey. I took your advice and worked on something. Wanna hear it?

Sure, sweetie. Let me just finish in here, and you can read to me in bed, hmm?

Stop it! It’s not that kind of story!

Oh, yeah? That’s too bad. How many pages? Is it long? Need to sleep soon and be up early for the meeting with the Dean. He finally agreed to let me do a full program assessment of the entire offering of the college. You should sleep too, if you want to leave the house with me tomorrow. Weather’s gonna get worse in the morning. You can go to the gym while I attend the meeting

It’s short, a very drafty draft really. Can you listen? Tell me what you make of this: 

She works for a multinational company, as an executive assistant to an American boss, an asshole who takes advantage of her and puts her in her place, flirts with her and steals her ideas.

Hmm. Can you throw me that pillow? Uhm, I’d say: Very good, right away you’re laying out the following: a) power dynamics, b) gender issue, c) race issue. But must I be in there again? Why does he have to be American? Why is he an asshole?

You’re only half American.  And this is fiction!

At least they’re not graduate students, or adjunct professors. Just kidding, love. Okay, give me more, more details, establish the setting.

Sure. Let’s say:

There is a new project in Vietnam. From her experience, these things usually take about a year and a half. She anticipates making at least three trips to the country, something she looks forward to. But she promises herself a long leave of absence once this project is under way.

Vietnam. Good choice. Affinity with a fellow colonized state. More issues. Representation, subjectivity, ideology. Bring them on! God, my back hurts. Can you massage it? Here, here. Yeah, oh yeah, right there

Shall I continue?

Yes, just one more minute. Oh, that feels good.

I mean, with the story?

Ah, yeah, sure, continue.

She has always wanted to visit the former French colony, the site of American failure and folly…

Ha ha, I like that. Failure and folly. But kind of trite, the, what do you call it, alliteration?

… the site of American failure and folly, and the setting of the musical to which she almost got accepted, twenty years ago, when she was seventeen, a freshman in Diliman. The year her mother died.

Ah, nostalgia… • 

Daryll Delgado currently works for an international labor rights NGO. She is married (to her college editor) and divides her time between her homes in Quezon City and Tacloban City, when she is not traveling for work around Asia. Her short fiction and critical essays have appeared in Kritika Kultura, Philippines Free Press, Philippine Graphic, and Metro Serye, among others. Her first book of short stories, After the body displaces water, was published in 2012 (UST Press). 

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