I no longer had money to splurge on food so I had to go home to Lucy’s vegetable stew my Aunt had taught her to cook. The maid was alone most of the time for my uncle and aunt worked the whole day. She had already finished cooking the vegetable stew. She was dark and a little chubby, but her face was warm, friendly. She had finished high school and had wanted to study in Manila, but she did not have enough money; she worked instead as a maid for one of Aunt Betty’s co-teachers, but the teacher no longer needed her so she passed her on to my aunt who took her grudgingly although she often complained how difficult the housework was.
“You can eat now if you want to,” Lucy said at the door. I was warm and perspiring for though the rains had started and the brown weeds along the tracks had started greening, it was still humid.
The shower adjoined the kitchen and I started soaping myself with the laundry bar. I was a virgin. Though I knew all that should be done, the most that had happened was a brief interlude with Marie; she was in section B in our senior year and I often danced with her in our high school parties, holding her so tight her breasts pressed close against my chest, and I could feel the smooth curve of her thighs. But there were few chances for us to be alone and though we had some sort of understanding that we would continue the relationship when she got to college in Manila, her family could not raise the money for her tuition and board.
Anyway, I was soaping myself and had to do it again. It did not take long really and, though I enjoyed it, I looked forward to the time when it would be for real.
When I got out, Lucy was at the bathroom door, her face lighted up with mischief. I was very embarrassed when she asked in a bantering manner, “What have you been doing?”
She was slightly older than I — maybe 25, and I asked angrily, “What do you do when you take a bath?”
“It depends,” she said. “I didn’t hear the shower for some time.”
“You do not rub off the dirt or soap yourself?”
“It was not soaping or rubbing,” she said, looking at me, the grin on her face telling me that she knew.
I fumbled and did not know what to say.
Then, confirmation, the laughter crinkling the corners of her mouth.
“You peeped!” and I went after her.
I did not want to hurt her and I really was not angry — just embarrassed. I grabbed at her, but she was ready and we were soon wrestling like two children from the kitchen on to the living room. I pinched her buttocks and she yelped aloud, then she grabbed my arm and bit it so hard, I cried at her to stop. When she let go, I held her and dragged her to the floor then pinned her down, panting. She glared at me, her breasts heaving; and I had her legs wide apart, my torso between them. Her arms were pinned down and she could not move except to try too bring her head up. Then, suddenly, I felt this stirring and, bending down but still holding her wrists so that she could not hit back, I kissed her breasts. Almost immediately, her struggling ceased and when I looked at her face, the fight was no longer there — instead the unerring light of expectation, of wonder. Bending over, releasing her hand, I kissed her, thrust my tongue into her mouth.
I really did not care anymore if a sudden knock exploded on the door or if the windows were open, which they were not because they were always shut more as a matter of precaution against robbers than for privacy.
I thought conquest would be easy for, by then, the compulsion that were surging in me could no longer be leashed. But Lucy started pushing me, wriggling, and was all arms and elbows and pointed knees — but these, more than anything, served only to heighten my resolve and convinced me in afterthought that there was a latent ruffian and rapist in me. Her resistance, it turned out, was temporary; I do not know if it was just to show that she was no easy prey or she wanted to test how determined I was. Or maybe, she found out how physically strong and well beyond calming I was and there was no further sense in lengthening the struggle which, after all, I would soon vanquish.
My entry was gentle and smooth; through her gasps, she said: “Do not hurry … please. No one will be here … we have all the time.”
She did a lot of housework, but her hands were not rough. They were soft, beautiful hands, exquisitely expert and strong ; her breasts were firm and after a time she cautioned me for, as she said, they began to hurt.
We went up to my room after we had lain for a delicious length of time on the tiles which were cold but which we had become impervious to, sweetly unconscious as we were of the world except the rhythm and the warmth of our bodies. We took our time upstairs as she had suggested, savoring each other in the light of day, and then it was dusk, time for her to cook dinner. We were exhausted and it was an act of will for both of us to part.
Everything was not in the script, everything was not as I had read in those guidebooks that passed through our hands in high school — explicit American guidebooks to that mysterious domain which is woman. I had thought that I would be clear-minded and would recall everything — the step-by-step preparation, the plateau and the peak, the cozy, cuddling type of talk and display of tenderness that would cap it all — but I had merely acted out the hasty and irrational beast. I did not forget, however, to ask her if she was happy and in reply she looked at me — those big, black eyes dreamy and half closed — and she nodded.
From “Mass”, pp. 20-22, F. Sionil Jose, Solidaridad Publishing House, Padre Faura Street, Ermita, Manila, 1983.
I can’t remember if “Mass” was the first F. Sionil Jose (FSJ) book that I have ever read; or was it “The Pretenders”?
They are both parts of Mr. Jose’s Rosales saga, a 5-book epic spanning 100 years of Philippine history. They are very entertaining reading; especially “Mass” whose hero Pepe Samson epitomizes the typical (in my opinion) Filipino lower-lower middle class male, virtues as well as faults.
“Mass” also has the hottest sex scenes.
My other favorite author, Lualhati Bautista (LB), wrote a Tagalog translation of “Mass” (she titled it “Masa”), also published by Solidaridad Publishing House which Mr. Jose owns.
Excited is an understatement to describe how I am looking forward to reading the Tagalog translation. I am itching to know how LB managed to translate FSJ’s more, ehem, raunchy scenes 😉