Thursday, February 10

Hemingway, With Fraps

Renaissance Girl does Hemingway's "Hills Like White Elephants," only with mocha fraps instead of cervezas:

Leo told me it wasn't going to hurt. I suppose he didn't know he was wrong -- as that pain is one he could never feel.

"You will experience something like a bad menstrual cramp; so take deep breaths," warned the old man in the dingy lab gown, as a humming from what sounded like a pump filled the small window-less room in the basement of the hole-in-the-wall maternity clinic Leo spent weeks finding. As the pain heightened, I kept my eyes were glued on the dove pin on the doctor's lapel -- the exact kind my novena-praying aunt wore. Part of me wanted to yank it off; but my hands were too busy shaking. "Do you want you boyfriend to sit by you?" -- the doctor's voice was void of true concern.

"Okay." I managed.

"Babe?" Leo walked in a second after the man peeked out the door. This was the same Leo who told me I had lips like Angelina Jolie. The same Leo who had grand plans when we graduate in March. The same Leo who told me our little set-back could never change what we have. After this mess, he said we would still watch movies like we used to. We would still splurge on those overpriced vendi caramel frappucinos which were my most favorite things in the world. We could finally drive his dad's SUV from Luzon to Davao like we planned. He said if I wanted the world, he would have it giftwrapped.

Leo sat beside me and held my hand in silence, waiting for the pump's wailing to fade. Soon, the doctor nodded, signalling it was done.

"Babe, how do you feel?" Leo brushed the hair from my eyes. "Are you okay? You want me to get anything for you, babe? Just tell me what you want. Anything."

I wanted ... nothing. Even the world Leo promised could never fill the void I bore inside me now. Ever.
I'm not saying it's her version of the Hemingway story. It's more like they tackle the same story, but with somehow different sensibilities. I've read another story, Fran Ng's "White Elephants Like Hills," which was more direct in saying that it was, really, a feminist reading of the Hemingway original.

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