Introductions. All things begin in introductions. Usually. And because I do not feel extra-deviant today, I am starting with one. My subject will now walk into the room and stand in front of you, clueless about this whole writing exercise. Clueless about writing, in fact. She thinks writing is for the indolent and prefers running around kicking balls. She’s a soccer varsity player—“Football” as the Limeys call it, “Kickball” as I call it.
She trains every day and runs the length of the football field before six and after five, every drop of her sweat being a taste of her own life. During matches, she makes Beckham look even more gay. And instead of yelling, “Goal!” she grins, baring her teeth, and screams at the top of her lungs, “That’s soccer for you, suckers!” before spitting something on the ground: the gum that she never spits out until game’s over and that has already been chewed mercilessly, now tasteless and grimy after an entire two hours—or even more—of kicking, bruising, falling facedown on the mud, standing and kicking again, taking advantage of the legality of causing injuries in the game, spilling out the nastiest profanities, rejoicing in the moniker that the football folks have baptized her with: “El Diablo.” Rough and hard. That’s how she plays her game.
At present, however, there seems to be not a trace of that “El Diablo” anywhere. Her hair, cropped like a little boy’s, is neatly combed in place, her plain white tee under her orange polo shirt is immaculate, her khaki shorts look ironed—oh, but then again, her Nike Total Shift 90s are as filthy as hell. When asked about her name, she speaks in her deep voice—an “affected habitual pitch” that she has struggled to master all these years, an achievement that echoes far from her real optimum pitch—“It’s April. Er, full name?” She clears her throat before coughing out a hasty “April Rose Marie Mauricio.” Of course, a name that long can’t be too hasty for anyone to miss without trying hard not to snigger. It’s really not such a bad name. It is a common girl’s name and apparently, that is the problem.
“Uh-huh, it’s a girl’s name,” April mutters inside her head after the dreaded full-name introduction. Why can’t she be like Madonna? Nah, fuck Madonna, why not Seal? And why the hell not Prince? She runs her hand through her hair before she takes her seat across yours, pulling up her shorts so her knees can breathe. “I should’ve brought some gum,” she wishes silently, thinking that that might make her look cooler, more “astig.”
Obviously, one’s IQ may be determined by making him/her guess which month April was born in. Her second name, however, does not say anything about her. Her parents, Lyn and Johnny, only thought that a flower would be a cute name for a little girl. The “Marie,” on the other hand, says everything about her nationality. It appears that Filipinos have this undying love affair with naming girls “Maria.” Most Filipinas have it preceding Spanish ancient-sounding names like Rosario and Josefina, or long names after flowers such as Magnolia and Rosalinda. Sometimes it’s spelled out while other times, it’s plainly “Ma” with the dot. Some parents like the English version, “Mary,” while some feel extra-Francaise come Baptism Day and name their daughters “Marie.” In April’s case, Lyn and Johnny seem to have gone through the latter. And April never really forgave them for it.
“April” is already a bad enough name. If she was named “Georgina,” she could’ve lived with “George,” not “Ape.” If she was “Roseanne Joy”—like her teammate is—she could’ve gotten away with “R. J.,” and not “A. R. M.” But since her three names happen to be her names and hers alone, she has since decided to make do with “April” because she’d rather die than be called “Rose” and she’s always hated how Lyn calls her “Marrrrrrrr-eeeeeeeeeeee!” when her daughter has done something worth reprimanding. “April” is already a bad enough name, but not too bad.
There are only two things that she cannot seem to live with, though: her breasts and her vagina. She hates the bra but she needs the support since she’s a 36 (whispers “C” to avoid April from hearing). She couldn’t care less about the right fit of underwear while the other girls go crazy over sizes and external clothing, perhaps willing enough to not wear anything underneath than go to hell because of committing the ultimate fashion sin: showing “panty lines”. She doesn’t like having to sit in order to pee, although she hasn’t got much choice, really. She detests having to wash with icky liquid from pink bottles that say “Your partner’s best friend” instead of merely using soap. And she totally abhors hassling over changing napkins for that “monthly thing” (she doesn’t like saying “period” or “menstruation,” either).
Ask her if she hates girls and she’ll answer, “Naw, not at all.” Well, at least not all of them. April has fallen in love once. Her name was Emily. Emily was her former roommate in Waling waling Women’s Residence Hall. Some mouths in the dorm would even spread rumors about Emily and “April Boy.”
Mouth #1: I once knocked on their door and I thought it was okay so I opened it, and they were sleeping snugly beside each other—and there were three vacant beds ha!
Mouth #2: That’s nothing, I saw them kissing at the lobby once, (whispers) and I swear there was a lot of tongue.”
Mouth #3: No kidding, I bet they even take a bath together!”
And the tongues wagged on and on and on, while the two happily breezed through their little affair hidden under the monikers, “roommates,” “friends,” and “fellow girls” even. The dorm manager, who was a gossip herself, eventually found out about this little secret, and by next semester, took off April Rose Marie off Waling waling, and transferred her to another women’s dormitory with another flower’s name—Gumamela. The distance broke her heart and Emily, last she heard, is now going out with another varsity player from the swimming team and his name is Lee. As I drawl on about this, April has that far-off look, her face expressionless, before she fixes her composure and mentally wishes that she was chewing gum instead. “What the fuck am I doing here?” she asks herself.
Conclusions. Things like this have to have endings. Perhaps we’ll meet April again in a longer story, something that exceeds two pages and 1 213 words. Should it be a love story about Emily (Aw c’mon! Not another one!)? Or her being queen/king of the football field (Nah, I’m bad at sports!)? Or something like a coming-of-age story about being lesbian (Too clichéd!)? Or how much she hates having a vagina and does everything in her capacity to get rid of the damned pussy?? Now, there’s promise in that! Meanwhile, I’ll leave this one hanging. Thank you, April. You may now go ahead to your kickball practice.
She runs her hand through her hair and pulls her shorts up again, stands, and never looks back, muttering under her breath, It’s soccer, suckers.