Si DOCTOR JERRY
I walked fast the crowd then hurried to the nearby card shop.
"God, grant me the serenity to accept
the things I cannot change;
the courage to change the things
I can and the wisdom to know the
I held a bunch of roses in my hand.
"Pwede po ba kay Dr. Jerry?", I asked the guard. He nodded as he opened the gate. I went aboard the ship passing guarded doors and passages. I knocked at the door of his cabin, he opened it and I came in.
He was pale. "Are we going today?" he asked. "Yes.", I replied as I arranged the roses and the cards on the small table beside his bed. "Where?", he asked again. "Sea Breeze Hotel", I answered without looking at him.
We went out the cabin, passed through the passages and the gates, unmindful of the eyes that were staring at us. We walked fast as if to escape. Off we went in a taxi to the hotel.
The lobby was quiet. At 10:00am, there was but a receptionist on the information corner. I felt so light like a bubble in the air ready to burst any moment and disappear. We never said much words but we seemed to moved with synchrony. We waited.
"There she is!", I exclaimed with control. He looked to the direction I was pointing to with such eagerness. I saw in his eyes a glitter but one with a hidden loneliness when he gazed at the lady in that royal violet blouse and white slack on the stairway up the hotel. "Let's go!" he told me and I followed him.
There was real silence. We walked like detectives trying to spy a villain on that hallway to the hotel room. We knocked. The door opened partially. "We are from the ship", we informed. We were in.
She was there, the lady in royal violet blouse. Her looks were so soft, her face had a sheen of the Venus I saw in pictures. She was like a sculptured saintly figure I saw in the processions on Holy Weeks... a Virgin Mary who have come to life. She was a faith healer.
I was watching silently in a corner while Dr. Jerry and the faith healer was talking. For me, I have done a part which perhaps no one yet has done; bringing a doctor who claimed he has AIDS to a fatherly. I saw her touched him, said a prayer for him and gave him "holy water". I saw him knelt in front of her. He cried. He surrendered.
Dr. Jerry was just one of the many men who for sheer pleasure, abused a lot of women with consent and without, on board a ship he was working. I was one of his "supposed-to-be victim", the thing was, I was smarter than he was. Perhaps he heard me sang "Master, The Tempest was Raging" that night that it made him slept so peacefully after he said an "indecent proposal". I felt I was luckier than the other women and girls for I have guts. How I pity them.
I befriended him though after that "indecent confrontation" he never wanted me. I was too real and I talked too much. But he never had a choice. That day we went to the faith healer he considered me more of a blessing rather than somebody he could have played tricks with and could have gone to bed with him. I was his real friend.
The last time I saw Dr. Jerry was when I went Manila in 1998. He was distributing biblical tracts on board the ship and proclaiming God to be his GREATEST FRIEND!
And when I got home that evening after that visit with the faith healer I hummed:
"I would be true for there are those
who trust me,
I would be pure for there are those
I would be strong for there is much
I would be brave for there is much
I would be friend to all the foe,
I would be giving and forget the
I would be humble for I know my
I would look out, and love and
lift and laugh and live!"
Maria Gina Nismal Mandin