Especially your nonfic prof at grad school. Mommy issues galore because everything is Freudian.
There is an old photo of my mother at around eighteen, in an album at my grandparents’ house. She’s sitting on the patio of her old family house in Manila, wearing a beige sweater with little flowers embroidered in a neat semi-circle around the neckline. She’s looking straight into the camera. Her mouth is poised deliberately open like she’s saying something. Her hands sketch illustrative circles in the air. Her manicure is, as I’ve always known it to be, pristine—the nails filed in a perfect arc, extending just beyond the tip of the finger, painted with a wine-red polish no regular kolehiyala would think to wear.
Her most striking feature is most definitely her Ponytail, so distinguished it deserves the capital P. All the hair has been scraped back from her face, pinned down under the vise-grip of an elastic band. It sits high on her head, squarely in the center and therefore equidistant from every other point on her scalp—the alignment is so exact you could probably chart its coordinates on a map, and draw the path it makes like a highway plunging stick-straight down. My grandmother once told me it used to take her the better part of an hour to get it right, but by the time she entered college she could do it without even looking in the mirror.