I was in second year high school, i think, and we were having some sort of party/presentation. catol sang basia, “time and tide.” our group danced. i don’t know to what. but i remember what i wore—something of my mom’s, or what my mom designed for me. i didn’t care what i wore then, and my mom and auntie ebot were into having things sewn for them and us kids. it was very conservative and so not me: a sabrina-cut blouse with matching full skirt. i think it was a batik blue lightly streaked with white. i wore it with grey canvass flats i picked out myself. i loved those shoes. another pair of shoes i loved were maroon bass loafers. anyway, i remember myself waving my hands along my side, stepping in tune with my other groupmates. my skirt swung heavily. i didn’t care what i wore then; much unlike sim, who has very specific tastes. till now, i wear ali’s hand me downs. no biggie.
onto the second: AGS shoes. remember, there was a store called American Golden Shoes in marikina shoe expo in cubao? the one they now call cubao x? during the Bagets craze—i was in the 5th grade—my mom took us there to shop for the multicolored sneakers Aga Muhlach made so popular. i chose a high-cut pair. it was violet and yellow and red. it wasn’t flat, like converse is; the uppers were quilted. i wore them with baggy jeans and took a couple of my mom’s gold chain necklaces to string in my belt hoops, with the extra length making another loop that dangled (i hoped) nonchalantly from my waist. with a colorful polo and a shirt underneath, and the sleeves folded into each other, my Bagets look was complete.
i wore this outfit during family occasions. i think we were in Larion (our ancestral home) during a holiday that i wore it to a party. i remember my promdi aunts and uncles and cousins gushing over how i looked. for all i know now, they were probably just humoring me. they particularly liked my shoes, my quilted, multi-colored, hi-cut sneakers.
i remember my AGS shoes and i remember one day, almost 20 years hence, when i visited Larion as an adult, newly married to my future ex-husband. the house had lost its luster; it was just a big house kept clean, a repository of furniture. the air—once smelling of constant cooking—smelled like sheets that had been over-starched and resting a lifetime in mothballs. I had a pair of leather slippers (“step-in”) from celine that i had bought with a GC, and that i realized i didn’t like. one of my aunts is blessed with the same-size tiny feet as i, so i decided to give them to her. i see her: she is excited and grateful as she tries them on. i can see her taking them out of the box, sliding her feet into them, flexing her toes. “thank you Goo, ha.”
she packs them away, happily, like a woman who seldom receives gifts.