What are the chances of me ever drinking a Sex on the Beach? Limited. So, when the rare occasion came up to feature a story on the same subject and same locale as Jodi Ettenberg’s from last week, I had to go for it. I mean, what are the chances? Thanks to Janet Brent for today’s Summer Chick Tale.
“Look at the moon. It’s really pretty tonight,” Joemar told me. We had just stopped to rest for the night during our 600+ km walking journey in Palawan island, Philippines. As usually happened, people along our way would offer their hospitality and a place to rest. Sharing food, stories, and laughs as I desperately tried to keep up in a new language I am not yet fluent in.
This time we had landed in a small fisherman’s village and a single man in his 40′s hosted us. He had the best smile that I can still remember, tight muscles and forearms that come from working all day in the sun.
“Be sensitive to your surroundings. Just flow.” Joemar said quizzically.
I wasn’t sure what he meant by that, but caught in my own thoughts of natives teaching me how to flow in water, I abruptly cut my fantasy into fear, when I realized that maybe this fisherman wasn’t someone we could trust. Maybe he was trying to tell me we might be in danger!
The rest of the night was uncomfortable and spent in unease. The man didn’t seem like a serial killer. I began shifting my weight from side to side on the hard wooden bench that I was sitting on. I am often so out of tune with my own body, but something seemed to be “going on down there”. I felt damp and then I smelled that stench that made me question whether it was from hours of walking, and not having access to daily showers, or if it was something else. Something else like the red tide.
I sheepishly excused myself to the bathroom, asking where the “CR” (comfort room) was located.
I don’t know why they call it the “comfort room” in the Philippines, because they usually are anything but comfortable! I was lead outdoors to a small outhouse slightly reeking of urine. The wooden door wouldn’t close by itself and Joemar held it shut for me outside, patiently waiting for me to finish.
My suspicions were right. I had just started my period! And I was completely unprepared. The only thing I had was a roll of toilet paper, and even that I had bought recently, often resorting to the hand or leaf method.
I fumbled in the dark. I rolled my toilet paper around and around and around my underwear. I “flushed” the toilet by dumping a bucket of water. I was going native style.
The next morning, there was an awkward silence as I had a suspicion that Joemar knew my friend had come all along, based on his strange comment I had initially thought to be about my external environment instead of my internal one. How could he have known??
“Last night was a full moon…” Joemar said, breaking the silence as if he had read my mind. He didn’t even have to say more to confirm that he knew. He amazed me with his keen observational skills; already sensitive to my mood changes before I was ever aware of them.
That day, I felt in tune and one with the universe. The atoms and particles that made up my mass mirrored the mass of cosmic space. From macro to micro, we all mirror life. I understood the push and pull of the tides and the push and pull of my body to the moon.
We are made of mostly water, after all.
Author bio: Janet Brent is Philippine born, American raised, and back in her motherland to get in touch with her cultural roots. She currently lives in the ghetto as a graphic/web designer interested in sustainability and change. You can find her on her blog, Purple Panda, or follow her on Twitter.
Summer Chick Tales was conceived from my love of the season and my obsession with slurpees. I always have one every summer. I also love women writers. Lots. If you want to submit a story or be in charge of the mojito station, see the editorial schedule. Come on, join the XX chromosome party.