I remember that she came to visit our home. I’ve never seen anyone like her before. She was same height as I was, but the similarities ended there.
She did not look like or any of my friends. We all had straight black hair (they teased me sometimes because mine was lighter than black–the sun hitting strands of brown), dark black brown eyes (they teased me because my eyes were not dark enough–speckles of brown all over), and we had skin of golden brown (except they’d tease and pinch me to see how red my skin would get–because it was lighter than theirs).
She did not look like any of us.
She came up to me with hair the color of a banana, and curly like the doll that my father brought me. Her skin was too pink, and her cheeks were red from the sun. Her hair was long and fell below her shoulders while mine barely graced my neck as my bangs lazily hung above my brows. Her eyes looked like the blue crayon in my pencil case–the one that always broke.
She smiled at me, and said, “hi. Do you want to play?”
I said, “Ok.”
My nanny pulled me to the side, “ok, she and her nanny are only going to be here for a short while. Keep an eye on her because her nanny told me that she can’t sit still and she doesn’t know how to behave properly.”
“Ok,” I said. But, I thought what kind of little girl does not know how to behave properly?
My question was answered.
The banana colored hair girl took off to the garden, and she started to step on the potatoes. Her hair bouncing behind her as the sun hit her pale head. Banana.
“Stop! You can’t do that! We’ll get in trouble!” I yelled at her.
Banana looked at me and said, “it’s ok! We’re not going to get in trouble. We didn’t hurt the plants, you see?”
“You’re still not supposed to step on them! That’s rude!” I said.
One of my uncles came by, “are you girls behaving? I hope you’re not stepping on the plants!”
“I’m not,” I said.
“I’m not.. really,” Banana said.
My uncle looked at both of us, shook his head in disapproval, and walked on.
“Do you always listen?” Banana asked.
“Yes, because I’m a child, and when an adult tells you to behave–you do it,” I said.
“I don’t listen to anyone. I do what I want,” she said.
“Then, you’re a naughty girl,” I said.
“If you listen to everyone all the time, you’re never going to get to do what you want,” she looked at me and twirled a curl in her index finger.
“If you don’t listen to everyone, you’re always going to be a stubborn brat,” I said rolling my eyes at her.
My uncle walked by us again, and looked at us as if we were two aliens. He shrugged his shoulders and kept walking.
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” Banana asked.
“I want to be Wonder Woman,” I said.
“Me too!” Banana said.
“You’re going to be the bratty Wonder Woman, and I’m going to be the Wonder Woman to save the world,” I said.
“Not if you’re always listening to everyone,” Banana retorted.
Our nannies came out of the kitchen laughing, and walked towards us. Banana’s nanny told her that they had to go because she has to get dinner going.
“What were you two talking about? Uncle Tony said you two were chatting along,” my Nanny looked at both of us, “you, (she pointed to me), was talking in Tagalog, and then you (she pointed at Banana) was talking in English. And, then you two switched.”
I shrugged my shoulders. Banana shrugged hers. We said our goodbyes.
I never saw Banana again.
Decades later, I see Banana in everyone.
I see her when a woman uses her voice to speak creating a ripple of change.
I see her when she defies the norms.
I see her march on with her huge ass poster–eyes intent and focus on equality.
I see her when a woman speaks her truth.
I’m still the Wonder Woman though. I still listen to everyone.
But, I listen to my own voice–first.