Romantic Reminders from Patriciang Payatot

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They say that we like the stories where we can find bits of our own selves. A few days ago, I’ve read a quite notable short story that reminded me once again of the things I might be forgetting. The story was entitled Patriciang Payatot, which was by the way, a short story written by a Filipina. And it brought nothing but the remarkable feel of sweet young love, in its purest meaning. It caught my interest so much for the fact that I, myself, have been on the same track as hers. Being the sickly kid in the room, most of the time absent and in constant supervision by both my anxious mother and concerned elementary teachers, I found the story of this little girl remarkable.

Patriciang Payatot was a sickly kid who was always absent from class ever since she started kindergarten. But when she reached the fourth grade, her health improved a little. Because she was always sick, Patricia was so thin she was labeled the name “Patriciang Payatot” and had constantly received a lot of teasing from others because of her silly appearance (since she wasn’t pretty) and absences. However, when she reached fourth grade, her health improved a little, and her place in the social ladder coherently went high.

Patriciang Payatot liked a boy in her class named Felipe. And the fact that at the age of 10, Patricia have chosen quite well the person whom she’d like to invest her feelings to, reminded me of a few things about myself which come as follows:

  1. That I don’t find myself attractive – LOL, maybe it’s because I grew up used to hearing from other people what they think about the kind of physique I have (which is by the way everything but curves since I’m all sticks and bones). I already accepted the fact that I am not “physically attractive”.
  2. That what’s inside is more important than what you can see on the outside – Growing up, I couldn’t remember hearing from close and distant relatives or acquaintances any compliments as regards to physical looks, even from my parents. I grew up hearing adults compliment my cousins and friends from turning into beautiful ladies from little girls. But me? Nah. As a child, I often hear close relatives give credit for the accomplishments I get in school and from the “behaviors” I’ve come to develop growing up. They were most of the time fascinated by my trait of not being easily swayed by other people’s viewpoints and opinions, and for the thoughtful effort I give to my studies which my “pretty” cousins aren’t paying attention to. As a result, I made up my mind to instead make my character interesting (which I have no idea if I am doing correctly or not) instead of giving unnecessary efforts to things that will easily wore out like a pretty face. I’ve decided that it will be too shallow for me to mind my “appearance” and becoming shallow is at the bottom of my priorities.
  3. Lastly, of the kind of person whom I want to fall in love with – There was something remarkable about liking someone’s character. I think it’s the most authentic kind of like that we can ever give to someone. I mean, if you like someone’s character regardless of how they look like, the feelings wouldn’t be as shallow as liking someone for just the way they dress or look. In truth, the boy in the story was sort of my type. A low key individual whose potentials are only hiding underneath the simple clothing and appearance. A person whose charm only show up when you finally meet them.

Sadly, in the story, Felipe liked someone else. It was sad, actually for a childhood romance (that’s one-sided). The girl he liked was pretty. She was the complete opposite of Patricia. She was a mestiza which means she was really pretty as a kid and surely she will grow up to become a beautiful lady, to add up to the heartbreak. And Patricia was this awkward thin, sickly girl who was only not being bullied anymore because she was a smart kid. But come on. The world always favors a beautiful face more than a beautiful mind. So in the end, Patricia has been absorbed by this pool of childhood heartbreak when the beautiful girl whom she thinks she will never become, also likes the boy she likes. And the sadder part is that, he does too.


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