dear kathleen.

dear kathleen,

you single-handedly turned me off filipinas, and all asian/asian-american girls for that matter. i don't know what it was. it was my own fault, probably. i stereotyped all of them based on you. i thought that all asian and asian-american women were little rich girl primadonnas who didn't like asian boys like myself. i always thought you and the rest of them were looking to find yourself a white boy.

i have no memories of you, to be honest. i must've thought, here's a little filipina who won't talk to me, won't be my friend. just because we're filipinos doesn't mean we have to speak to each other. but you spoke to edgar, and you spoke to noel. i don't know why you did that. maybe it had nothing to do with race. maybe it was just because they were more outgoing, more confident in their own skin than i happened to be. i don't know how they were able to do that, to turn it all off and force themselves to believe that, yes, i am a filipino-american, but i am just as good as my rich white classmates.

someone once asked you, "can you speak tagalog?" to this, you responded, rather arrogantly, "siempre (of course)." and then you batted your eyes the way you sometimes did when you were trying to be cute. maybe this got the white boys excited, nerdy boys like bobby and greg, the kind of guys i always imagined would lead such lonely lives they would eventually have to resort to mail-order brides from third-world countries. sure, i was lonely, too, but i knew even then, even as a child, that i would never, ever get myself a mail-order bride.

kathleen, you had a brother and sister. maybe they supported you, told you that you were good and special and that they would stick up for you. maybe if someone called you a "chink" you could tell your brother and he would beat that person up, or at least threaten him/her. i heard that your dad was abusive. i'm sorry about that. i wish that you would've said something and then it would've weighed on my mind for so long that eventually i would have to tell a teacher. those types of things are the kind of things that weigh on my mind.

your parents got a divorce, and i heard that you and your brother and sister were excited about that. you were glad that your mom finally left the son-of-a-bitch. his name was gay, but he wasn't gay. it was your mom who was a lesbian, i think. i always got that confused, since his name was gay. i'd have to remember gay = not gay, but mom was gay. i'm not trying to be funny or disrespectful. i'm just trying to get it all out, tell you things i've heard.

your brother lives in the philippines now. he lives near the greenhills mall, which is a nice part of the city. i imagined him sitting in one of those condos, resting his feet on an ottoman, the air-conditioner blowing in his face as he sipped from a tall glass of a lychee shake. those lychee shakes are fucking amazing. i could see him up there, happy that he was no longer being abused, happy that he felt he belonged somewhere. i heard he speaks the language, too. i wish i could do those things, too. speak something other than english, feel like i really belong somewhere.

i tried getting in contact with you four years ago. i added you on myspace, but i don't know why i did that. i guess i have always been trying to reconnect with old classmates and see if we could've been friends. would we have gotten along? did you listen to low and feel insecure and inadequate most of the time? probably not. you had all these provocative pictures of yourself. you called yourself the p-kat, and you were half nude in just about every picture you posted. why did you do those tihngs? did it make you feel sexy? why can't i have the fun that you seem to be having.

the last time i actually saw you was at jamba juice, loehman's plaza. you were with some white girl, and you were both wearing sunglasses. i think she was driving a mercedes or a bmw. i looked over, and i expected you to recognize me. maybe you would come over and give me a hug, the way most people do with other people. the way you would've done with edgar or noel, had either of them been sitting there, sipping on a powersize mango-a-go-go with protein boost. but you didn't. you just walked by, and i didn't have the nerve to call out your name.

i couldn't face the awkwardness. i couldn't bring myself to put you in the situation of having to play catch-up with someone you probably didn't really feel the need to play catch-up with. so, i kept quiet. i drank and drank until you drove away.

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