It happened last year while I was waiting for someone at a mall in Makati and decided to spend all my time in a bookstore. BAD DECISION. An old woman, whom I believed to be a member of the bookstore’s staff, was subtly following me. I can see her from my periphery making eye contact with security ready to give them the go signal to tackle me if I decide to put a Gabo book inside my bra, which, after fourty-five minutes of going back and forth into three aisles, was the only logical plan of action.
As I was browsing through Nabokov’s pedophilia books while also simultaneously keeping an eye on the staffer, I saw it. The signature cat glasses. In a sea of people it’s almost always easy to spot Jessica Zafra (maybe not in a sea of cats)–boots, a little body bag, a brown cargo jacket with several layers of clothing underneath, curly hair–she was as eccentric as her writing. I hurriedly looked in the book she was holding but it was unfamiliar, and I actually heard my brain say “wow” because it was confirmed: she’s INDIE. I love indie.
I could’ve easily harassed her but I needed a moment to absorb the fact that it’s possible for us to exist in the same dimension and breathe the same air because duh. Jessica Zafra. She’s the only Filipino female writer I read religiously.
So I panicked. duh. Of course I panicked. Is this a time where I must respect her privacy or must I take this chance to talk to her? Should I ask her to sign my shirt or should I opt to have her sign my arm instead? It’s a moment of life and death, and a potential moment to develop speech impediment while I was practicing how I should introduce myself. Eventually I just went ahead and use the classic excuse of asshole writers that I can do whatever I want for existentialist purposes and for art, and decided to walk towards her.
“Hi ma’am are you Jessica Zafra?”
“Can I take a picture with–”
*like away from me*
*into the Classics section*
I was just glad I didn’t follow my heart and started with a quote from her blog.