America Is Not the Heart PDF Book by Elaine Castillo


Click here to Download America Is Not the Heart PDF Book by Elaine Castillo having PDF Size 3.1 MB and No of Pages 367.

that’ll save you. You’re the second eldest child and the second eldest daughter of a family of six children, and your parents are subsistence farmers—your mom sells vegetables at the local market and when that doesn’t make enough to put food on the table, you sell fruit and beans by the side of the road.

America Is Not the Heart PDF Book by Elaine Castillo

Name of Book America Is Not the Heart
PDF Size 3.1 MB
No of Pages 367
Language English
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About Book – America Is Not the Heart PDF Book

Growing up, everyone says you’re stupid, you’re clumsy, you get into at least one fight a week, and even your light skin, while universally covetable, is suspicious; your father often accuses your mother of having taken up with a Chinese merchant or Japanese soldier or tisoy businessman while he was away. Did that happen? You don’t know.

Some days you collect enough to carry home for your mother to steam, using the lower half of your shirt as a basket, but sometimes you can’t wait, yanking one out by the leg and dashing it on the ground to stun it, then eating the whole thing right there, live and raw, spitting out bits of calcium. Sometimes instead of a crab you pull out a wiggling frog, but most of the time you throw those away, watch them hop to safety.

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Around this time your mother’s great love affair is with Atse Carmen, your eldest sister, who’s room-silencingly beautiful in the way older sisters often are, and who gets away with everything. Atse Carmen somehow gets a gold tooth fitted in her mouth despite the fact that everyone in the family eats one meal a day, if that.

You begin to save up. You go to the only dentist you know in town; not the same dentist who gave Carmen her gold tooth, but another one who apparently doesn’t balk at accepting dirty and wrinkled pesos from an adolescent promdi girl. The dentist doesn’t ask where your parents are; he doesn’t ask if you have their permission.

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When you’re sixteen, you get into Saint Louis University, a Catholic college nestled five thousand feet high in the mountainous forests of Baguio City. You’d wanted to take your aching gums to Manila, but your mother absolutely forbade it; the cost, the distance, the demonstrations. You’re the second and last girl in the family to go to college.

You have, in fact, always heard this growing up: that poor people have dusty, gray heels, and rich people have smooth, moisturized heels, red with health. You have a tendency to hide your feet, even though you’ve always rubbed cream into them religiously so they won’t look like your mother’s heels, desert-cracked.

There are nine of you in total, and all of you are the first inhabitants of that newly built dorm, Cardinal Cardijn Hall. You’ll never really know who Cardinal Cardijn is; those are just words to you. Another new building on campus that year is the Diego Silang building, named after Diego Silang y Andaya. America Is Not the Heart PDF Book

Even your future Ilocano husband will remember Diego Silang as an Ilocano, will remember that the revolutionary as a young boy lived and worked in Vigan, his own hometown. But you know a different story: you know that Diego Silang was born in Pangasinan, just like you. His mother was Ilocana, but his father was Pangasinense.

Gabriela’s siege doesn’t work out; Spanish forces overpower her troops, and they retreat into hiding. Eventually, the Spanish capture them and hang them all in the Plaza Salcedo, not far from the home where your future husband’s family will have lived for hundreds of years before the word Filipino ever even existed. Abangan ang susunod na kabanata.

Occasionally, a moment of guilt interrupts your bliss; you know how stretched money is back home, and you have younger siblings who’ll have to go to school eventually, too. But all the girls do it, you tell yourself, a little kupit here and there when you’re living away from home, it’s nothing, you could stop if you wanted to, and it wouldn’t make any difference at all. America Is Not the Heart PDF Book

Your mother at least has the sensitivity to realize that your sister’s acceptance into Baguio General is pushing you out of a city you’ve made your own. She asks you if you want to come back to Pangasinan. She says that she knows somebody who knows somebody at the College of Nursing at the University of Pangasinan, right in Dagupan City

Once you’re in Dagupan, you don’t study as hard or push yourself as much as you did in Baguio. You still want to leave the country, but you’re getting tired of holding up the weight of your own desires. You just want to get through the year.

He asks you, without really asking you, if you want to come to a demonstration. The look on his face says he knows you won’t come. You remember that Tato went to Mangaldan National High School; every morning he walked through the massive Greek pillars of the school on the way to his classes. America Is Not the Heart PDF Book

It’s your mother who tells you that one evening, when he’d come back to Mangaldan to visit his parents for the weekend, Tato disappeared. Auntie Bobette had been outside with a basket of kangkong, plucking the leaves off the long stems, planning to make monggo for dinner once Tato was back from drinking with his barkada.

They didn’t acknowledge her words, or even flinch at Tato’s name, only repeating that they were willing to pay for the death of her husband. They spoke as if reciting a speech they had memorized. Bobette said, in Pangasinan, replying to an answer they hadn’t given: So they’re both dead.

You ask how she is, sounding inane even to yourself, but you can’t find the words to speak about Tato or Uncle David. Auntie Bobette seems to understand that, because she only shifts the weight of the bulging duffel bag she’s carrying, full of some of the last things on earth that have touched her son. America Is Not the Heart PDF Book Download

Shortly after Tato disappears, you’ll meet the man who’s going to become your future husband and the father of your first and only daughter, the man whose ancestral family home stands at the center of Vigan, up north in Ilocos Sur, one of the old colonial homes that used to belong to Spanish officials or Chinese merchants.

It’s hate at first sight. He’s one of these mayaman jet-setters who’ve been all over the world and speak the English of commercials and foreign movies, the English of Asian kings played by white actors. People say that he’s recently divorced, that he found his first wife, a cousin of Marcos, in bed with another man.

You’re not going to let it happen. You’re going to get the rounds over with and get back to the nursing station and do your paperwork without using an English dictionary for once. In the middle of the rounds, you realize that in your haste to finish, you’ve advanced several steps ahead of him. You turn around. America Is Not the Heart PDF Book Download

You think about ignoring him, the way you should have ignored him when he opened the door for you that morning, the way you should have ignored him when he made the comment about how fast you walked. You didn’t even realize at the time that he must have liked it because he’d gotten the chance to stare at your wiggling ass.

It is ridiculous, but not for reasons you know yet. You don’t know yet about his brother, about his mother, about the beloved niece of his, also named after his mother, who joined the New People’s Army in college and whom he long assumed was dead.

You don’t know yet that you’re going to love him, and that you won’t be able to differentiate this love for him from your devouring hunger to be recognized. It’s not that you’re imagining that he’d whisk you away to his mansion in Dagupan City or Vigan or Manila and you’d live happily ever after. America Is Not the Heart PDF Book Download

As usual, you’re getting ahead of yourself, but there isn’t enough road in the world for how ahead of yourself you need to get. You need to get so far ahead of yourself that by the time you reach yourself, you’re a different person.

Doctor Garnett and his wife, Louise, both mestizong-itim and wearing matching pale yellow dress shirts, ply you with iced tea in blown-glass tumblers that you hold with trembling hands, terrified of breaking something so precious. They tell the nurses not to hesitate to come and seek them out should they find themselves in need, or even just homesick.

A year earlier, you might have been shaken, but your newfound American confidence inspires you to ask for Pol in English. And it’s in superior English that the woman tells you: I’m Doctor De Vera’s wife. Who’s calling? America Is Not the Heart PDF Book Download

Now you have a choice. San Jose Medical is in the South Bay, where you’ve heard most of the Filipinos live, along with Daly City just south of San Francisco. The Veterans Hospital, on the other hand, is in Palo Alto, a moneyed white neighborhood you won’t be able to afford to live in, so you’ll have to commute—but it pays much better than San Jose Medical.

Years later, when your first daughter is born in California, you contact the direktora. Over the crackling long-distance line, heart in your throat, you ask if she would do you the honor of being your daughter’s ninang. The direktora, after a moment of startled silence, warmly accepts, says she’d be happy to be the godmother, and thanks you for asking.

That was how Hero got permission to use the Toyota Corona that Pol had driven to pick her up from the airport. Paz drove her own silver Civic, a newer model than the Corona and eternally covered with a fine layer of dust and lime scale. Pol’s Corona was at least ten years old and a shocking shade of blue. America Is Not the Heart PDF Book Free

Paz was a few years older than her; looked younger. Hero saw her alone on the veranda, in a black dress patterned with what looked like large sampaguita vines. Her center-parted hair reached just to the top of her ass; it was the most expensive-looking thing about her.

The restaurant was empty when they walked in, save for one young light-skinned man in his mid-twenties, who didn’t look Filipino, at least not at first glance. He was eating a plate of what looked like beef tapa with rice, using his hands. There was a television propped up on top of a VCR, both on a table in the corner of the restaurant.

Hero put the Tupperware in the refrigerator, unsure of its proper storage. The video she put on the table, then started on the coffee. When Hero was finished, she didn’t know what to do with it; whether she should bring it out, whether Pol had actually wanted coffee, or whether it was just a way of telling her to leave. America Is Not the Heart PDF Book Free

Hero found she was—nervous, waiting to play the tape. She hadn’t listened to it in a while, not since Soly’s place, though she’d listened to it nearly every day, then. She was afraid Rosalyn wouldn’t like it, which wasn’t fair, she knew, considering she’d made fun of Rosalyn’s music within a second of hearing it.

When she looked closer, a dim shaft of light cast onto the border where the kitchen met the living room. She pushed Roni back toward the front door with more force than necessary and put the plate back on the floor. Hero waited in the living room, obscured by the wall. America Is Not the Heart PDF Book Free

It was plain to see that Carmen had been a stupefying beauty in her girlhood, and now, in her late thirties or early forties, she was still staggering. She wasn’t mestiza, which added to the marvel; all it took was to be a little mestiza to be considered halfway pretty, at least.

Belen approached Hero, smiling, greeting her in a mix of English and Tagalog, saying it was so nice to see her again. When Hero handed the bag of medicine over, she casually rifled through it like she didn’t want to be too blatant about checking that everything she’d asked for was there.

Hero showed up to work and found the restaurant empty, blinds drawn, CLOSED sign hanging unmoved on the door, all the lights still off. The restaurant was always open at seven, at least an hour before Hero ever showed up after dropping Roni off at school. America Is Not the Heart PDF Book Free

Adela had woken up in the middle of the night to pee, only to notice Boy unresponsive next to her. She’d called 911, and the ambulance had sped the two of them to Kaiser, Rosalyn and JR tailgating in the Civic behind them, Rosalyn wearing her sweatpants and Hero’s Baguio T-shirt, an old pair of oversized tsinelas not safe enough to drive in.

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