Nicole-Anne Keyton



Her greatest pride at fourteen was her hair, long yet not unseemly, thick in volume yet thin and buoyant in the clutches of the wind infused with diesel rushing through the jeepney's open windows, a brown that shifted in hue from black to a fiery auburn either in the shade or sun. Her hair tended to part down the middle on a good day, yet after a morning shower, it would assume a part of its own, falling any which way it pleased according to the elements. In all, her hair was unpredictable yet malleable, lending her her easygoing demeanor, as she never too put much consideration or effort into her appearance.

You see? You read books, you end up like her. Books make you ugly. You read too much and your hair gets greasy, your face gets oily. No one wants to date a greasy girl, eh?

One day, I'll turn to my mother, with my greasy hair and my brown eyes turned murky from years of assimilation and my oily face and my father's light skin that burns and peels under the crisp summer sun and my mother's sallow glow that browns my skin like aged paper and I'll say:

Do I look mestiza now?




[This is an interactive text. Roll over the text block to read the work. Click the Philippine sun to switch between voices.]

In which the unnamed narrator considers her physical appearance in the heat of a Filipina beauty pageant.