You Make Me Feel Mighty Real

No, this isn’t about Sylvester’s disco song from 1979 nor is it about Jimmy Somerville’s techno interpretation from the late 1980s…

It’s about love affairs and how they lift — aside from one’s sexual organs — one’s sagging spirits and even one’s ego…   😛

Her equally rich husband, who had lost interest in her soon after their marriage in the late 1930s, had passed away in the mid 1980s.  I remember his Wake at the Santuario de San Antonio in Forbes Park because I accompanied my distinguished uncle who came to pay his respects, as the deceased was the eldest brother of the husband of a first cousin with whom he was very close.  The Wake had a lot of “tone”:  distinguished-looking corpulent gentlemen in polo barongs and coiffed and perfumed plump matrons arrayed in genuine South Sea pearls made up the crowd [ tons of Chinese cultured pearls sold by Muslims were not available in Greenhills yet ].  It was plainly obvious that the deceased was “A Somebody.” 

The plump Widow was somber, seated in the front pew, dripping with enormous black pearls, swathed in an enveloping black silk “manton de manila” shawl.  Tiny embroidered slippers.  She was, as my uncle described:  “half dead.”  Or was she simply in reverie?  She was surrounded by a battalion of “amigas” lady friends who were chatting merrily and fanning endlessly.  On one side was a platoon of young nurses, who were also chatting merrily and eating endlessly.

My uncle and I greeted the plump Widow.  A tired smile.  She summoned a senior aide and gave instructions that we were to be seated with her brothers “Senorito ****” and “Senorito *****” and that her aide should serve us drinks and hors d’oeuvres.  Her ebullient younger sister, fanning furiously, approached and greeted my uncle effusively.  The lady was dressed for a party in a Christian Lacroix-like confection in black silk gazar.  Manolo Blahnik stilettos.  On her ears were large Arabian pearls from an international jeweller; I was dazzled by the enormous emerald cut diamond ring, perhaps 50 carats, on her raised hand holding the wine stem.   

And that was my enduring vision of The Widow:  “half dead,” hair pulled back in a bun [ by the maid, not by a coiffeuse ], no make-up, black pearls, black “manton de manila” shawl…

Some years later…



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