Sunday, September 25, 2016

Story: Molly in Singapore. Part 14.

By Camille Langtry and Monica Graz
Still in a state of shock, I was walking down the road toward the Signora’s house, which fortunately wasn’t very far. I was feeling very vulnerable in my fetishistic French maid’s uniform, but in this rich residential neighborhood the streets were very quiet and only an occasional car was passing or an occasional maid was walking a dog. I was immensely relieved when I suddenly realized that I was clutching my purse, which contained my cheap mobile, some small change and Signora’s house keys; I must have grabbed it on my way out without even thinking, what a relief!

I was pleased to see that nobody was in the house so I run to my room, high heels in my hands, and changed instantly into my regular uniform and apron, not forgetting my white cap. I immediately felt that I was back in my comfort zone and all of a sudden I realized how deeply dependent I have become on my maid persona.   

I began ironing in the utility room, trying to diffuse my anger and frustration. Gradually I started realizing the enormity of what has just happened. The contempt in Mark’s eyes when he made me kneel in front of him kept returning to my mind and then I remembered Dr. Caprio’s words that I would need a shock to overtake that period of my life. The shock was given to me by Mark himself and together with the shock the catharsis came; I felt free to move on now.  
But what did it mean exactly, to move on? That question that Linda posed me with when I first arrived in Singapore - do you want to be a maid a decade from now? - was more relevant than ever. With my Julia life, with all its frustration and insecurity, now behind me, I had no choice but to fully embrace my life as Molly. That meant that the answer to Linda’s question was “yes, I do.” That was it then? I had to follow my Molly Apuya path of no return from now on?

With my broken English and my unfinished high school education - barely enough to meet Singapore’s requirements for an FDW - working as a maid was one of the very few relatively respectable vocations open to me. Another one was a wife and a mother. And that brought me back to John Carlo and our time together, but before I could really think it over I heard the key in the front door and then the Signora’s voice: “Is anyone home? Is that you, Molly, why are you back so soon?”

I rushed to the hall and with my customary curtsey said, “Yes, Ma’am, I back,” not forgetting my flawlessly bad English.

“You look terrible, have you been crying? What on earth has happened to you?” said the Signora, a suspicious tone in her voice. I suddenly felt guilty as if I’ve somehow let her down by not doing as instructed and returning home early.

So I had to explain everything and Signora was so eager to find out what happened exactly that she allowed me to speak with my Julia English, which, I realized alarmingly, was slipping from me more and more as I struggled with correct word order and vocabulary as some of the big words took a while to recollect. Molly was taking over even on that level.

I had no idea how the Signora would react to my behavior with Mark, but to my surprise she acted in her capacity of a psychologist and said exactly what I was feeling.

“This is your catharsis, Molly, and Dr. Carpio would agree with me. Mark is out of your system for good and you can move on as the Filipina you let yourself become,” she finally said after listening to my tale.

Her tone of voice was slightly ironical and had a finality that frightened me. As if to reinforce my thoughts she added in a casual tone, “Oh, almost forgot! I bought you a special tanning lotion in the pharmacy, I’ve noticed that you are getting a bit pale again and this remedy you'd been taking for a long time now, whatever it is called, is not acting as strongly anymore. Read the instructions and put the lotion on before you go to bed, let it dry on you and don’t shower until the next morning, is that clear, girl?”

“Yes Ma’am,” I answered with a curtsey, feeling grateful to her that she did not punish me for behaving so badly in Mark’s house.

Once again she read my mind because she added, “And don’t you worry about Mark, I’ll call him and apologize on your behalf. After all you are nothing more than a peasant Catholic ignorant girl and of course you panicked with his very macho Western behavior, completely misunderstanding his innocent intentions. And I’ll make sure he sends back your street clothing and whatever else you left behind.”

“Thank you, Ma’am, I very gratepul, Ma’am,” I said and she dismissed me with a hand gesture, sending me back to the utility room.

The signora took out her cellphone, went to the study and locked the door behind her, but I could just about make out that she called Mark. I had to fight the temptation to stay by the locked door and eavesdrop, but having the Signora catch me doing that was the last thing I needed given the circumstances. So I straightened my apron, set my cap straight, and returned to my duties, once again forgetting myself in endless household chores.

About an hour later I heard the bell ring. I rushed to get the door, which was my responsibility, but saw the Signora in the corridor, who motioned for me to return to my work. I did as instructed, but not until I heard her greet the visitor - it was Mark! I continued ironing, hoping against hope that he didn’t come to see me or that they’d somehow forget about my existence and just let me be. Of course, it wasn’t long before the Signora called me.

I entered the room, my heart racing and my knees trembling, and saw red-faced Mark. I couldn’t hear the conversation before I was called in, but their facial expressions were more than telling: he was clearly given a dressing down by the Signora.

“Mr. Fitzwilliam brought your things, Molly, and wanted to tell you something,’’ the Signora said dryly. “I will leave the two of you now.”

She left the room, leaving us alone. Mark made a step toward  me and handed me a bag containing my street clothing. I accepted it with a small curtsey without uttering a word.

“I brought you this, Julia,’’ he said.

For some reason it really made me mad that he called me Julia.

“My name Molly, sir,’’ I said in my sing-song accent. “I no Julia.’’

“Very well. If you want to continue playing this game, Molly,’’ he said.

“This no game, sir,” I said firmly. “This my life.”

“If you so desire,’’ he said and raised his hands in the air, as if he was giving up. “Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that I came here to apologize for our little misunderstanding.”

I just stood there, my work-hardened hands resting on my apron. Mark was silent, obviously expecting some sort of a response from me and I said in my strong accent: “I need do my duties, sir. Very many work.”

“Very well. Before you go, here is your payment for your work today,’’ he opened his wallet and handed me a blue bill - 50 Singapore dollars. “And here is a little bit more for your troubles,’’ he added and took another bill, this time a red one, from his wallet.

I really wanted to tell him to go screw himself, but, again, that would have been so Julia. As far as Molly was concerned, the 60 dollars he was holding in his hands were a significant share of her monthly maid’s wage - all for less than a day’s work. I was a Filipina maid and I was in this country to make money. And he did owe me. I reached for the money and put the folded bills in my breast pocket.

“I’ll be on then, Molly,” he said. “Good bye, Mrs. Moretti,” he shouted into the study. The signora let him out and locked the door.

“Please return to your work,’’ she told me and I did just that - my work as maid was never done.

22 comments:

  1. Molly/Julia has turned the corner. i luv where this story is going and i do hope there will be more. Thanx. Just loving the story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. An appreciative readerSeptember 25, 2016 at 8:13 PM

      I agree, this chapter seemed like a watershed moment. I feel she's just being carried away with the life she's made for herself and almost gone so far she couldn't return to Julia even if she wanted to... I am also enjoying Annabelle's New Role on this blog, now we just need a crossover story for Julia/Molly to meet AJ/Rose and discuss notes! ;)

      Delete
    2. Thank you very much. There will be more, just don't know how much yet-)

      Delete
  2. The main character's actions in this story seem unmotivated. She wants to try out being a maid so she does. She finds it horrible and humiliating, and doesn't seem the type to enjoy such things, but keeps doing them anyway.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Have you read the story from the very beginning? I am always open to constructive criticism, but I do think the elements you say are not there are very clearly stated repeatedly. I will admit though that the story does ramble a bit, owning to its on-and-off history involving three separate authors over nearly three years. I intend to return to day one once this version is completed and write a more coherent version, that will include a lot of plot lines that didn't make it in this time.

      Delete
    2. I had a different kind of problem with the story. It's about Molly, but Signora Moretti seems to be the one driving the plot in recent installments. The character of Signora Moretti never gets fleshed out. Signora Moretti just looks like some kind of whimsical Fairy Godmother type. That makes the story feel unbalanced. Also, I suspect, if I were Filipino, I'd be offended by the idea that becoming Filipino was degrading. I'm not Filipino, so I didn't dwell on that while reading the story, but the race angle felt like an unnecessary distraction.

      Delete
    3. That is a valid point, thank you. Wouldn't really call Signora Moretti a fairy godmother though. She's quite mean-spirited with a dominant streak in her, essentially experimenting with Molly to determine how far she can push her down that road.
      I personally think the racial angle is an important element of the story. There is nothing degrading in becoming a Filipino, what is degrading is becoming a third-world girl with no education, no prospects and barely any rights. Also chaning race in the process is an added "bonus" in my book. Maids in today's West are, to a large extent, foreign migrants, whether we like it or not.

      Delete
    4. Maybe "Fairy Godmother" wasn't the best way to put it. What I meant was that Signora Moretti seems to exist just to make Julia's dreams come true. to bring about the "magical" transformation of Julia into Molly. The dominant streak is part of Julia's dream transformation.
      I didn't mean to make too much of the racial angle. For me, it was just a distraction. I suspect though a lot of readers are more sensitive on such issues than I am. I remember there was a negative comment from a Filipino reader, some while back. Also, introducing race change stretches the reader's suspension of disbelief at least a little bit further. I remember a workshop a couple of years ago where the teacher said "H G Wells wrote a novel about an invisible man, and he wrote one about an invasion from Mars, but he would never have written about an invasion of invisible Martians. Remember, you are only allowed ONE McGuffin per story. And the less plausible that one is, the more plausible the rest of the story needs to be."

      Delete
    5. Well, one of the downsides of writing transformation fiction is that people have very different things they consider distracting or wrong. I could never work my head around it, but I am probably as guilty as anyone of wishing that a story X had Y, but less of Z.
      Interesting comment about H.G. Wells, I guess he was using his McGuffins sparingly!

      Delete
    6. Please don't take anything I say too seriously. I've spent WAY too much time in workshopping. (I suspect it shows.) It fascinates me to look at the way the same kind of issues come up in different kinds of fiction, especially different kinds of genre fiction. Maybe I'll have a try at a "transformation" story. I've thought about it before, but I was always afraid I'd end up revealing too much about my own thoughts and fantasies.

      Delete
    7. Not at all, thanks for your comments!

      Delete
  3. I really like the way this story is moving forward to, there are just so many possibilities

    ReplyDelete
  4. i agree there is more to tell about Molly/Julia. But truthfully... not very much. i mean she is starting to become more and more Molly. And it seems to me it is becoming more and more (sorry about to many 'mores')difficult to return to her former self. i fear the end of this story is just over the horizon. And i believe Molly will become Molly in every sense of the word. Pregnant, 6 kids. An un educated Filipina maid. Living in a dirt floor hut back in the Phillipines. OR.....

    You could have an old school chum come looking for her and finding Molly/Julia and bring her back to England as her friend and maid. Just a thought.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love this story so much. And yes, it does seem as if the end is near. I desire the happy Filipina housewife and mother ending, but I do wonder if that ending is that necessary. With the catharsis complete, might the need for this whole Molly enactment become unnecessary now? Perhaps now she might be free to return to her old life, having purged it out of her system. I selfishly don't want that...but I could see it as a possibility. Wouldn't she?

    Anywho...can't wait till the next installment! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting. You talk about the next installment. To me, this one read like an ending. It seemed to be trying to pull together all the unresolved plot threads. Maybe I'm wrong. The authors could always come up with a new episode. But this one looked like an effort to wrap it all up neatly.

      Delete
    2. Molly seems to want to continue down her path as Molly, but should she be allowed that? Maybe Jennifer will take her over as Molly and use her as a maid. From time to time Jennifer may call forth the former Julia to use as a plaything. Every time Julia is brought forth she will become more vivid in Molly's min increasing the humiliation manyfold.

      Sincerely

      Grey Master

      Delete
    3. A lot of interesting ideas, thank you! The end is indeed very near as much as I'd hate to say goodbye to Molly.

      Delete
    4. It will be a different scenerio if she had received the punishment from signora in front of her children and other people that she feel lowly and humilated in different manner as than there will be some temptation in her mind to return to julia life which she can not by its own now.In the current scenior there is nothing left as a julia in her look like , seems like she will be ready to serve anyone now as a maid and had accepted this life of being the last in pecking order.

      Delete
  6. I might come out as a minority relative to all the fans here - I really hope some how Julia would choose to be her own self in the end and stop taking the path to become Molly. Maybe retain a little of the Molly traits [^_^]

    Just expressing a personal preference, and never a suggestion. It really excited me to read something of the unexpected..

    ReplyDelete
  7. When we will be getting the new update.waiting on pins.

    ReplyDelete