I wrote a story about a prostitute I met last December submitted it for the Corps Magazine's Alumni issue... It was rejected. The thing with this story is that I wrote it in Tagalog. I was trying to experiment with the language and see if I can also be effective in writing in the national language. But as I said it was rejected and somehow I felt bad about it. When I competed at the Naga Press Conference I decided to write about the same prostitute and it landed me the 10th place for the whole Luzon. Of course, the version I wrote for the competition was in English but nevertheless I feel they are the same; both of them give justice to the life of a young prositute who was eaten up by a system of passive people who simply did not care. In my feature article in Naga, I said that this woman was cheated by people like you and me, cheated by the opportunity to have a better life because we simply are selfish, we just want to have what we can get out of people even at the expense of their humanity. So I am giving justice to this prostitute by posting her story I hope that by my narration your life will be touched the same way she touched mine. I will try my best to write it the way I wrote it during the competition.
Life is not fair.
Life is not fair.
Oftentimes, I hear of so many stories emphasizing this point. I hear my family, my friends, my classmates, even people that I do not know just complain about the so many injustices one can experience in a lifetime. For my part, I can begin a never ending sonata of ranting about life being unfair. One time, I joined this contest, prepared for a long time and gave it all I’ve got, in the end I lost. Later on, I found out that the contest was rigged and no matter how good I did, there simply was a predetermined winner. I complained but to no avail, the perpetrators just got away. They did not care how I really feel, they just did their thing and left.
Jopay is a young woman. She is 22 and beautiful. She said “Sa panahon ngayon, pera perahan na lang yan.” Believe it or not that statement came from a young woman who still had a lot to experience in this world. Certainly it can’t be that bad. I basically felt that this woman has lost all the hope in this world. She knows that it is unfair, accepted it and just decided to have a life where the bottom line is simply “pera perahan na lang.” Such is the irony of life. Some people just have lost their appetite for a good life that it boils down to things that are in the long run really short lived.
I, myself, am not someone who has had the luxury of a good life but I have not come to that point. More often, we complain about things then at some point reality sets in and it is as if we have one painful wake up call. In that fateful day, I went to Batangas to visit some friends. I did not know that it was the birthday of one of my friend’s father and as usual there were drinks. By 9 PM, some of my friends decided to go some place else. Being new to the place I had no idea what was in the place and I simply went along. At around one in the morning I found myself talking to Jopay, inside a motel room. And it was from there that she told me those very words that shocked me and somehow felt pity for her. Jopay is not really her real name. She later revealed that she was really Joey. Jopay was in fact a prostitute.
Jopay, or Joey, is a woman that we have cheated of life. I asked her if she was contented with how she lives her life. Her reply was a dull no. Later on, I learned that she was from Davao, stowed away from her family and is now “doing business” in Batangas. A young woman who has so much future ahead of her is with me in some cheap motel room, so far away from her family and is ready to give even her body. Coming to think of it, it was a sad reality to a young woman like her and even for me. She was a woman who has been used by men over and over again consuming all the hope and faith she has in the good things in this world. And sadder is the fact that in some way I was part of it. Life was not fair for this young lady because people like me and all others were unfair. It was cheating in the highest form paying an amount for something that can not be bought. We were actually stealing from her something that was rightfully hers and should never be taken from her.
She left the hotel room one and a half hour later with 500 pesos, a condom that we were supposed to use and a smile in her face. I just hope that the smile she wore was some hope that there is still good in this world, maybe a hope for good things to come, a hope for new life – a better life. For my part, I went out a couple of minutes later with a bigger smile. Life is unfair but it is never a reason for us to be cheaters. As I ride the bus going home, I think about Jopay, I look up the sky, close my eyes and just wish that somehow something that she lost will just be returned to her. I just hope she gets it back.
Well that's the story. hope you enjoyed it.