Monday, June 27, 2016

Story: Molly in Singapore. Part 11.

by Camille Langtry and Monica Graz

I was embarrassingly standing in front of Signora, fidgeting as usual with the edge of my not so clean apron. It was early in the afternoon and I was already tired, disheveled and dirty after a morning of serious cleaning and tidying up. The house was messy after the party and although it was a Sunday - my alleged day off to go to the Church - it was my duty to bring it back to order.


The Signora, dressed in her flowery, just-above-the-knee dress and designer high-heeled sandals, looked fresh and elegant as ever. Then, of course, unlike me she didn’t spend her morning carrying piles upon piles of dirty dishes or crawling on all fours to clean the carpets from numerous wine spills and greasy spots left by guests . She walked across the room, leaving very visible footprints on the wet floor I’ve just finished mopping, took out a pack of Virginia slims from her light brown Birkin bag and lit a cigarette.  
“I had a swim and a light lunch with Mark and Rowena, in the hotel they are staying, probably you’ve heard about it, Molly, from your fellow maids, lots of them are working there,” she said and looked at me, obviously waiting for my reaction.  “It’s the Raffles’’.


I became instantly worried with the mention of their names. I couldn’t help, but ask myself what she was plotting again . Of course I knew The Raffles Hotel, it was notorious during the British presence in Singapore for its famous guests and its gin sling served  in the glorious long bar.


I curtseyed slightly - it was second nature to me by now - and said in my usual Filipino style, “Nice, Ma’am, most jealous por you, Ma’am.”


“What do you mean jealous, Molly; you wouldn’t be able to visit that hotel even in your wildest dreams, unless, of course, you were serving as a waitress around the pool or, more likely, a maid cleaning rooms there. Waitresses around the pool are more educated girls with very good English.”


She had this mischievous ironical look as she was saying that, she loved putting me down, always emphasizing how I was nothing, but a poor peasant girl, who couldn’t even finish high school. She stopped and looked at me again. “Where is your cap girl, you look much disheveled today.”


Curtseying again I said, “Sorry, Ma’am, very busy today, house very dirty, lost cap when dust.”


“Not a good enough excuse, Molly. When I see you again, I want you in a fresh uniform and cap. Understand, girl?”


I thought I was dismissed and started going back to my chores with a ‘yes, Ma’am’, but her voice stopped me again, “Mark and Rowena, in particular Rowena, found you a very efficient servant, they would love to have you when they move to their new apartment here in Singapore, but I declined, saying that your are too precious to me as a domestic to let you go. Plus the fact, of course, that we would be obliged to deal with a lot of complicated red tape to make it officially possible.’


“Thank you, Ma’am, appreciate, Ma’am.” I was relieved that I was avoiding direct contact with Mark, but Signora kept talking, “But I am sure you will come across Mark during your cleaning duties at the University. He is a visiting history professor for this year and he will have an office in the same corridor where professor Caprio’s office is located. Small world, I guess.”  


She finished her sentence with an ironical smile and I felt extremely uncomfortable again. I wasn’t certain if I should comment on her last remark and somehow I felt there was nothing to say and I started going with a ‘Thank you, Ma’am”.


She stopped me once more, “I’m sorry, Molly, that you missed your church going this morning, your fellow maids must have been looking for you. However, I have a surprise for you. John Carlo has asked me if I could let you go see a movie with him tonight at 7 p.m. He knows you are a busy girl so he asked me first. That would be nice, don’t you think?”  


Again this irritating and slimy John Carlo. Signora was really pushing him on me. On the other hand, I really wanted to get out of the house, even if it meant going on a date with John Carlo. I am sure Signora would have found something for me to do if I didn’t go - she was really good at inventing new chores - there was always ironing that needed to be done. Or she could ask me to clean all door frames to make sure there is no dust on top. Furthermore, I knew that she wasn’t really asking for my opinion - that was an order.
“Yes, Ma’am, nice por me go out, Ma’am. I finish clean and go change.”

“On the topic…Do you know what you will wear to meet John Carlo?”

“No, Ma’am. I look, Ma’am.”

“Let’s go and see what you have,’’ she said and, without waiting for my permission or even a response, she walked quickly toward my room, her stilettos clicking loudly on the wood floor. She opened my small wardrobe - again, no permission needed - and inspected its contents - my uniforms, a couple of well-worn t-shirts, old jeans and my “Sunday best” - the old-fashioned longish dress the Signora gave me to attend Church service.

“Is that all?’’ she asked and looked me over in bewilderment, as if she’d just realised her maid didn’t possess a garment for every possible occasion this season.

“Yes, Ma’am. I wear Church dress.”

“Don’t be silly, girl. Do you want to scare John Carlo to death? It’s a date, not a funeral. Don’t you want to look nice for him? You are a beautiful girl, no need to hide that!”

I wanted to protest, there was no need to make a big deal out of this date, but Signora was so determined to make it happen I just bit my lip and remained silent.

“Wait a minute,” she said and left the room, returning a minute later with a wallet in her hand. “Here, take this”, she handed me a 100 Singapore dollar bill. “Consider this a bonus for your wonderful performance the other night.”

I took the bill from her and curtseyed again.

“I could have probably lent you one of my old dresses I no longer wear, but I’ve given them all to charity last week. And giving you one of the new ones wouldn’t be appropriate. After all, it’s not often that one sees Filipina maids dressed in Burberry and Dior,’’ she smiled.  “And John Carlo would probably find it rather peculiar. Why don’t you spend this money to go to the mall and buy yourself something nice and simple? A summer dress, perhaps? Or a skirt? It should be enough. ”

“Yes, Ma’am, thank you, Ma’am,’’ I said, wondering how I would get to the mall. But Signora Moretti had everything pre-planned for me already, as always.

“Why don’t you give your friend, Linda, a call? I am sure she wouldn’t mind helping you with shopping,”  she said, all of a sudden completely losing interest in me, and walked back to the living room, high stilettos clicking on the floor I’ve just mopped.

----

Two hours later Linda picked me up and drove me to the nearest mall. We haven’t been in touch for a few weeks and she was chatting nonstop about her new life. She was apparently having an affair with her rich boss - she was no longer his secretary, but head of PR and marketing in his company or something like that - and he was showering her with gifts. She was driving a new car and was dressed very nicely - in sharp contrast to my shabby and tired appearance. When seen together, we could easily be mistaken for a mistress and a maid. Or a big city thing and her poor village cousin. Still, Linda remained predisposed to me, even though she was increasingly disappointed by my failure to “move on with my life”.

“I am so happy for you, Molly, that you are finally meeting someone!”, she said in her fast Tagalog. “We will find you the nicest things for your date! You look so tired, girl. Is you mistress really working you hard? Don’t let her. She has no right to exploit you like you are her slave. I’ve told you this before, but being a maid is hardly the only occupation in this city.  I know you don’t have any education to speak of, which really limits your choices, but even for a girl like you there are opportunities. I have a friend, who is a very successful hairdresser, some of the rich and the famous in this town are her clients. I am sure if I ask her, she could take you as a junior assistant. Would you like that?”

“Thank you, Linda. I will think about it.”

“That’s what you always say, Molly, and then continue to slave off as a cleaner. I don’t understand you, I really don’t.”

Linda took me to several shops and - despite my protests - had me try several outfits and color combinations. The shop assistants had trouble understanding my broken English and Linda took it upon herself to speak on my behalf and translate for me to Tagalog.

“Do you have this skirt  in blue? Size S,” Linda pointed to a pleated miniskirt of the kind that I saw  many young girls wear around town. It was apparently rather fashionable - and quite appropriate given Singapore’s hot and humid climate - but not something I would ever wear in my life as Julia, even when I was a teenager. Too girly.

The shop assistant - a short Chinese girl with glasses - brought me the skirt to try on. I went to the dressing room and and put it on with a top that Linda selected for me - a white blouse with short sleeves. I had to admit that I looked rather lovely - the short skirt exposed quite a lot of leg and the blouse came with a rather daring cleavage. Again, that wasn’t something Julia would have been caught dead in, but for Molly it just seemed fine - I’ve seen a lot of girls around town that dressed similarly to go out, including some of my fellow Filipina maids. Linda seemed very pleased with my appearance.

“Molly, you look fantastic! Can you twirl for me? Very nice. I am so jealous of your long legs, girl. Must be those Romanian genes!”

Indeed, among the Filipinas, I was the “tall one” even though, at 165 centimeters, I’ve always considered myself to be of average height. There were some girls that were about my size, but the vast majority - Linda including - were at least 10 centimeters shorter than me. John Carlo, who was rather large, also complimented me on my height - in his typical rude manner calling me a “big girl”.

We spent some time in the shoe store trying on various pumps and sandals until we settled on a pair of wedges that complimented my outfit rather well.  Linda was really excited to help me get prepared and I felt like a teenager getting ready for her prom. Only, instead of a hunky classmate, I was to meet an ill-mannered, pockmark-faced Filipino cook. I should have been repulsed, I should have protested and walked away right there, but instead I just went along with Linda’s attempts to beautify me for my big date. After all, she only meant well.

I was now at the very bottom of society - an uneducated, simple-minded girl, whose only possible ticket to success was her looks. Not her brains or her family’s connections, but her ability to find a man. This wasn’t what I’ve been told growing up and the very concept seemed alien to me, like something from a Victorian novel. Whenever I met my fellow Filipina maids, the conversation invariably turned to how come - at an age of 30 - I have never been married and don’t have children. Many of the girls I’ve met here had two or three kids back home - and some older ones, especially from the countryside, had five or six. Most were married in their early 20s and quite a lot were already divorced by now. What was wrong with me, they wondered. I was tall and beautiful and “exotic-looking” with my mixed heritage. Did I want to wait until my looks were ruined forever by all the hard work?

Linda, to her credit, was usually a bit more sensible than that, but still she couldn’t resist forcing me to undergo a minor makeover so that I could “impress my man.” She spotted a beauty salon and literally dragged me into it.

“When was the last time you had your hair done, girl?”

“I am not sure, Linda. Sorry, I don’t have money for it now, we spent it all on clothing and shoes.”

“Not to worry, it’s on me. Consider this a gift from an old friend!”

She gave instructions on my behalf and I was seated in a chair for my treatment. My hair was dyed a shade of brown of the kind that a lot of Asian girls here preferred to their natural black color. Long waves were now framing my face. I was then exposed to what seemed like hours of applying and reapplying makeup to give me just the right look.  Finally I was allowed to see the final result. By now I’ve long got used to the new me - the dark-skinned maid with her almond eyes and flat nose, her black hair always done in a bun and covered by a white cap. Yet I could hardly recognize the girl in the mirror!

The beautician really did wonders to my face, accentuating my Asian features and using my dark skin to my advantage. She used coral blush to show off my morena complexion, purple eyeliner and shimmery gold eyeshadow gave me a sexy look and I was given fashionably bold brows that many actresses or models sported these days. My lips were covered by bright, bold pink lipstick. I looked young and fresh and, if it wasn’t for my work-hardened hands, no one could have guessed I was working as a maid. Linda’s jaw dropped when she saw me and she gave me a hug, careful not to ruin all the layers of beauty on my face. “Oh, Molly, you look amazing! I am so happy for you!” It was only one hour before John Carlo was supposed to pick me up so we hurried back to the Signora’s place. I haven’t been so nervous since the day I landed in Singapore.



27 comments:

  1. And so our poor heroine's humiliation and disgrace continue . . . !

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  2. Thanks! The great saga is back again. p.

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  3. Oh I'm so excited. This seems to be going right where I was hoping it would! eeeee! :D

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  4. Will Molly perhaps entering into this arranged marriage with Roman catholic nuptials be the point of no return re. new identity for our heroine?(if marriage is in the script of course ,wouldn't it be demeaning if she somehow learned to love him and wanted nothing other than to honour,obey and serve him alone ... and he stood her up!)

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    1. My thought is that the whole red tape hurdle might be cleared up if she married to him. If he has status to work freely in Singapore, as his wife, she would partake of that. Then the two can just go over to Mark and Rowena's as a package deal.

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  5. Awesome .Also seems like there will be interaction between julia and mark in university while mark will be taking the history classes

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  6. Oh, just had an evil thought. After getting married and moving into Mark and Rowena's, she could wind up being surrogate mother for her client's baby. As I've said before, I kind of hope she never gets found out, and as surrogate mother she could bear the burden of a sexual relationship with Mark with none of the advantages. Yeah, I'm twisted >.<

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    1. And wish there could be pic of the style of clothing Molly now wearing.

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  7. When can we expect a new update.sitting on pins.

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    1. Working on it. Could be another week, but no promises as I am travelling for most of July.

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  8. Most of you will disagree, but I think the really important part of Molly's transformation to a Philippino maid is the maid part. Turning her into a half-Asian girl just added to the complexity of the transformation. So, I don't want her married or pregnant, I want her to carry on working as a maid, serving her betters. Another point is that for her Mistress, having a half-European maid should be a big plus (anyone see Maid to serve?). This should be exploited by using her more to serve drinks and food that cleaning toilets. I hope Molly finishes her time in Singapore, goes back to Manilla where she is exploited by Conchita's sister, has most of her money taken for extra teaching, and then sent on to a different employer, perhaps in Hong Kong. Eventually she should find herself back in Milan. How about Julia being declared dead, so only the Molly identity remains, complete with fingerprints etc?

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  9. Waiting for next version.any updates plz.

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  10. I adore this story. Please keep it up and further transform Molly both physically and mentally. How about reducing her vocabulary further and possibly a visit to a dentist for a check-up resulting in her getting veneers that give her a poor 3rd world bad teeth look. More please!

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    1. Thank you. Interesting idea, let me think about it. Molly's teeth are probably already in a pretty bad shape anyway so dont think they need veneers to look bad. How about getting gold or metallic teeth to replace some of her bad teeth? That would be very third world and low class.

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  11. Yes more please. I would like to have a speech change through light surgery. Making r's impossible and speaking like Asians, not any more able to British pronounciation physically either. But please do not make Molly ugly.

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    1. Very good idea, but how do you implement that in practice? Speech impediment or lisp is relatily easy to give, but it would not be contained to one language. There have been cases if people forgetting their native language due to accidents leading to brain damage. There are also cases of people developing foreign-sounding accents after sickness or accidents - the so called foreign accent syndrome. I dont think either can be achieved artificially.

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  12. I'd love to see Molly with some Gold teeth, that would be simply perfect! Following Anonymous's request for a lisp I'm sure a couple of tongue piercings could work. I do hope we get the next update soon, I am on tenterhooks...

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    1. It's coming soon. If you have other suggestions for Molly's additional "third world makeover" please share!

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  13. I'd love to see her having to spend more time working away from the Sinora as a contract cleaner possibly where she's very poorly treated, also finding herself drawn more and more to her new found Catholic faith. You've made poor Molly such a wonderful vulnerable creature, I luv your work.

    I'm working on my own story could I send it to you for review when it's finished or could I publish it on your site?

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    1. Nice ideas, thanks, will see what can be done. Yes, please send me what you have to camille.langtry@gmail.com

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  14. Here have been a lot of interesting suggestion for the plot of the saga. I personally do not want Molly to become fat or ugly, but be stuck in her life as Molly. And also maybe try to regain her life as Julia. Her mistress could plot to cement her Mollyness. Biometric ID, the first one for her. Maybe some additionsl surgery. The nose job is known to be very difficult to reverse, this mesns she will be looking like that for life.

    When will we get the next chapter? You spoke about the last week end. Thanks for the story so far. p.

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    1. Next chapter is this weekend, promise!-) Molly's already had a nose job to give her a flat bridge and fatty tip, but there is room for some minor changes still to further Asian-ise her face, we'll see.

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    2. I really like this story and it is fascinating to follow Julia's transformation into Molly. Concerning the alteration of her face, she already got surgery to make her eyes more almond-looking. What elso could be done with her face?

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  15. That sounds wonderful, the weekend can't come quickly enough

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