Oh. If you only knew how I’ve been longing to go home to that place where people grew up in order to escape, perhaps, you might want to listen, even for just a split second, to my soul’s rumblings, before everything in this world could turn upside down. Why can’t you show any mercy? Why can’t you just show a sign—a sparkle in your mocking eye, a twitch of that wrinkled, old mouth, and I’d drop everything—the breaking news, the ratlife on Palosapis street, the daily press conferences, the days like this when we are running out of rice because I bought books from my rice budget, the lots of elbowing around with stupid, by-line hungry wannabes — and I’d follow you underneath the coconut groves, you no longer had to bother loading the tired back of that old, beloved horse of yours to carry basket loads of coconuts to the awaiting pugon. I would gladly take its place. I’d manually haul the huge baskets and carry them straight to the oven, where they’d be cooked into copra—if only to prove to you what I can do as a woman who wants to have a writing life of her own. What’s that incredulous look on your face? Think! Show mercy! Take, for instance, my expanding waistline—do you think they’re the pleasant remnants of leisure and happy life? They’re my unhappiness stored through the years, of serving the whims and caprices of machines and cold-hearted institutions; of being powerless and out of control; of having no money and no life of my own. Why can’t you just hear me above the mad hissing of coconut fronds, swaying to the breeze of a sunny Sunday morning? Why can’t you see the image of what I am trying to say? Why can’t you just say something?