Tuesday, July 08, 2008

A Woman Scorned

I was at my friend Guada's home the other day along with some people I haven't seen in a long time. They lived in a rather affluent suburb south of Manila, in a large, spacious mansion filled with antique family heirlooms. You see, Guada and her family are what you and I would call 'old money'; in fact, she herself is descended from a long line of Spanish-Filipino mestizos, which, to this day, carries quite the social capital here.

Usually when one talks about mestizos, the overwhelming mental image that appears is that of a life of consummate ease and affluence. So, amidst the gleaming marble floors and priceless works of art, and beneath a giant crystal chandelier imported from Belgium in the late 1800s, our friend told us a story that was, frankly, iconoclastic.

When Guada's family moved into that suburb some 20 years ago, there weren't a lot of people who lived there yet. So they were able to build big, grand, and expensive. The house was truly gigantic, and was surrounded by an immaculate sea of green, and had numerous trees as well, creating the illusion of some secret garden or a pocket paradise. One the first people who moved there, according to her, was a Spanish couple, exceedingly wealthy, and 'tienen cara de Dios', meaning they were also very good-looking. The lady was tall, at least 5'10, and possessed a classic beauty at once timeless and relevant; the husband was also tall, dashing, a veritable conquistador in stature, apparently expensively educated in England and Switzerland, and whose aristocratic ways charmed all who met him.

It was an open secret that the lady kept a closet full of couture, from local designers and venerable European houses alike. It was likewise acknowledged that the dashing groom was an excellent sportsman, and whose collection of classic cars was the envy of many. Living next to such a charmed couple, Guada's family, usually very low-key, took pride in being seen with their new neighbors.

Everything went well until that fateful day...

Guada awoke one morning to find the dashing groom running scared from a seemingly supernatural foe. Her room had a view of the next door couple's spacious lanai, but it was only then that she exploited this fact. A shout, followed by the sound of something heavy crashing to the floor, followed. Out comes the lady, her hair still in her curlers, wearing a very matronly 'duster' (a 'house dress' popular with spinsters, usually very cheap and tackily designed), a cleaver in her hand. In crisp and crackling Tagalog, she shouted at her husband: 'P----g ina ka, ilang babae na ba ang binalahura mo? Tarantado!' (approximately 'You son of a b-tch, how many women have you perverted? Damn you!') which she then followed by a litany of curses in Spanish. The poor husband was quaking! The lady ordered her maids out and told them to pick up rocks with which to hit her philandering husband on sight. But it was the senora herself, wielding one of her husband's expensive golf clubs, who scoured the vast garden... While she wasn't able to bludgeon him, she did make mincemeat out of that golf club!

But that was not all, the Lady, incensed at the countless adulteries if her husband (all of which she seemed to have found out about in the same day), escorted herself to the garage, where, in a fit of rage worthy of Godzilla, she smashed the windows and windshields of many a classic Jaguar, BMW, and even a priceless Aston Martin!

The next day, however, it was as if nothing had happened at all-- the elegant lady appeared once more in public, ever charming, dressed in all her finery and jewelry. The Poor Husband, nowhere to be seen, had been 'grounded' by his wife for the rest of the week! LOL!

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