J. rolled Frank Ruby’s wheelchair across the street to the Foodland parking lot. “Who’s she?” Frank demanded, gesturing at me. “She’s a volunteer. She speaks Spanish,” G. told him. “You speak Spanish, but you’re Chinese?” “I’m Filipino,” I replied. “Ahh. Maganda ka. I had a Filipina wife. You know what I said?” I nodded. I know everything about a middle-aged, non-Filipino man when the first thing he wants to tell me is that he “had a Filipina wife,” past tense. “Tell me, where do you think I’m from?” I studied his weathered face. I didn’t want to play this game. He stared back at me. “You could be from anywhere,” I shrugged. “Maybe I’ll marry you, if you’re good,” he challenged. He asked if I was married; I said yes. “To a white man?” “That’s a personal question.” I didn’t care; I was just done talking.
“In my country, there’s no such thing as a personal question,” he scoffed. Frank Ruby told me there was nothing personal but the relationship between you and God.