Saturday, September 19, 2015

Story: Molly in Singapore. Part 6.

by Camille Langtry and Monica Graz

On the way home I couldn’t get Linda’s question out of my head. “You don’t want to be a maid a decade from now, do you?” Indeed, did I? Who did I see myself as in the future? Did I want to return to my real home country? Would I want to return to being Julia? Or did I see myself sinking deeper and deeper into my new identity as Molly the Filipina maid until my old life was nothing but a distant memory? Is that the life I truly wanted for myself? Or will I end up regretting it - if not now, then in a few years when it would be too late to change anything?

Ever since I landed in Milan I had all the decisions made for me by other people without asking me what I needed or wanted. I have completely surrendered all the authority to Signora Mattei, Conchita, then her sister Juanita and, now, finally, Signora Moretti.  As a matter of fact, the thing I really wanted - even if I didn’t fully admit to it - was to have all those life-changing decisions made for me.

My path of submission got me to where I was now. Where would it take me further? I was still young, I still had at least 30 years of active work life ahead of me. I tried to picture myself as an old and destitute Filipina maid, her knees swollen and her skin rough from many years of scrubbing the floors and doing other endless household chores. Was that the life I really wanted for myself? Part of me screamed “yes”, it was a dark and disturbing - yet, strangely appealing - fantasy of mine. But the other part of me found the prospects incredibly scary.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Story: Molly in Singapore. Part 5.

by Camille Langtry and Monica Graz

I wasn’t sure what to wear for my orientation day, but Signora Moretti made the choice for me, grabbing a simple light blue maid’s dress from my small wardrobe and putting it on the bed.

“You are an FDW in this country, Molly, there is no reason to hide this fact,’’ she said casually. She turned her back to me, but not before urging me to dress as quickly as I could as Mr. Singh was already waiting to take me to the orientation, or the Settling In Program.

“Yes, Ma’am. I be bery past”, I uttered in my thick Filipino accent, but she’s already left the room.
I slipped on the dress and, almost without thinking, tied an apron around my waist. I quickly brushed my pitch black hair - I dyed it again just days ago when still in Manila to conceal my natural auburn color - and put it in a simple ponytail, when I heard Signora Moretti shout from the hall: “Girl, are you ready yet? Mr. Singh is waiting! You are running late!”

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Story: Molly in Singapore. Part 4.

This is an experiment for me. As much as I admire Monica Graz's writing I had still been bombarding her with endless ideas and suggestions. As I result she has kindly agreed to allow me to write a chapter of my own. The next chapter will come from Monica herself, possibly followed by one from me.

Molly in Singapore. Part 4.

by Camille Langtry I was sitting in a small room with a table and two chairs and nothing else. The grey door was shut. There was a mirror, taking up half of the wall to my right. I’ve seen enough movies to know that in reality it was a one-sided window that allowed people from an adjoining room to monitor me. I didn’t know how long I’ve been there, but it must have been a while.  Suddenly the door opened and a Chinese officer in a navy blue uniform entered, holding a thin folder, and set in front of me.

“Do you know why you are here?” he said by way of introduction.

I nodded nervously and the officer took it for a “yes”. He opened the folder and took out my passport and several pieces of paper.

“Are you Molegunda Angelica Apuya, born on September 10, 1986 in Romania?”

“Yes, sir, I am, sir.”

The officer shook his head disapprovingly and put my passport away.

“We both know this is not true, Molly. Or, shall, I say… - he grabbed a piece of paper from the folder and read from it in a rather dramatic manner - Julia Ann Simmons, born on September 10, 1986 in London, the United Kingdom?”