It turns out, that Jobay and her Japanese John were staying in the same hotel as me. I was not sure that this was the couple that my friend had spoken about but, I could be sure that this girl with the missing front tooth and a frame the size of a middle school student was not of age, and probably not even close. Her “boyfriend,” a Japanese man with a shaved bald head, had a scar running across his scalp with a mouth full of gold teeth and a well exercised 45 year old body, was certainly too old for her.
For the first couple days I was in town we would share smiles as she walked in and out of the guest house grounds. As soon as I saw her and her boyfriend walking, I was immediately interested in what was happening in her situation; What was her story? How did she get her? Why was she with that man? How did she feel about being with such an old man when she was so young? Was she really as young as she looked? What was her financial relationship with this man and did she view him as her boyfriend?
The questions filled my mind in an unexplainable way.
America views the life which she lives as the utmost taboo, the most illegal, despicable, immoral, unjust, invasive, and INTERESTING topic there could be. What news program could possibly get more ratings than the times when Michael Jackson is thought to be sleeping with a young child? Gary Glitter? All of these stories of pedophilia grab the minds and imaginations of the west, in good ways or bad, and I was sleeping not 30 yards from the site where it was definitely happening. Our first direct contact came when I was sitting on the patio reading my PADI Advanced Diving Manual in preparation for a dive. As the rainy season was about to start, the rain drops were constantly parachuting from the sky, while not a downpour nor even enough to get you wet, the small droplets of moisture pattering at the neck and arms was enough warning to make people constantly pack an umbrella. Jobay walked out of her apartment, on her way to who knows where, fiddling with an old umbrella which was clearly suffering from rust in the joints and buttons. She saw me sitting and asked me for help, to which I obliged by taking apart the mechanism with a butter knife and making sure it could open properly. She thanked me for my MacGyver like actions and went on her way, but not before I could get her name, “Jobay.” At the very moment I was helping her, two fat-ass foreign girls walked by looking at me and Stanly like we were the biggest scum to ever set foot on the Earth. Fuck them, I was fixing her umbrella. Later that night, those two fat chicks had a threesome with a guy I know. To quote Stanly, “People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”
Later in the same day Jobay was standing on the walkway next to the water, just watching the waves hit the barrier wall and obviously in deep contemplation. Since we had previously met, I did not feel too uncomfortable starting a conversation with her. I did however, feel a bit of fear that those sanctimonious obese women would come and view me as more than a lecher.
“Hey Jobay, what are you doing?” I asked to break the ice.
“Nothing, just I am bored and fighting with my boyfriend, so I come outside. Nothing to do now, but later we will go to play billiards.” She informed me.
"What is your boyfriend doing then?”
“Oh, he is just watching TV. I do not want to watch TV now, so I just take a small walk.”
“So where do you come from, what is your home town?”
“I come from Manila, but I have been staying here for four months.”
“Four months with your boyfriend?”
“Of course, we stay here together for four months.”
“Wow, you have been living in Sabang for 4 months. Do you dive or swim?”
“Nope!” “Do you go hiking in the mountains or take trips around the island at all?”
“So, what do you do everyday for 4 months?”
“Umm, I don’t know. Play billiards, go to a bar…like this.”
“You mean that for 4 months you have stayed on this island, in this town and you do not dive, you only play billiards and go to the bars?”
The thought horrified me; how could any person, especially a young female, live in that town for 4 months without enjoying the sea and without going out of town? How could a person keep from going insane when they only went to those girly bars every night? For some people it might be a brilliant life, full of reading and learning. But from the sounds of it, she was trapped in her own life as being the live in entertainment for a more privileged individual.
“Yeah!” she replied.
“So, you go to the bars with all of the girls with your boyfriend?”
“Oh, no. I do not like those bars, so I do not go in them much. If my boyfriend wants to go, I can just wait for him at home.”
It was a relief to hear that she did not have to go into those bars every night and watch girls bounce around in bikinis while girls were being rented at an alarming rate. It is a guarantee that if she were to enter these bars, she would not be accepted as “one of the girls” and others have a good time with her. Those girls in those bars are on the job and want nothing more than a payday, and she interferes with that; she is their competition. I moved the conversation to other subjects.
“So, do you speak Japanese or does he speak English?”
“I only speak small Japanese and his English not so good too.”
I found this funny because if his English was no good and her Japanese was not great either, there would be no way they could communicate, but regardless of my thoughts on the situation, they had been living together for 4 months. As the conversation drew towards an end, I decided to ask the question that I really wanted to know, that was really on my mind all of the time;
“So, how old are you anyway?”
Her eyes grew big and she looked at me with investigation. I was not the only person that wondered about her age it seems. Maybe she was often asked this question. After pausing for thought, she replied;
“I am 17, but I will be 18 next month.”
Of course, if she were actually 17 then I would be shocked. To me it appeared that she was so obviously under age that she considered it a better idea to say she was underage, but only by a little than it was to say she was 18 because no one could possibly believe it. Our conversation came to an end shortly after that. Later in the afternoon, while eating lunch at the big apple, we saw Jobay playing billiards with her boyfriend. Their communication was minimal. “You bad shot. I good. Why? You drink?” This was the sort of daily activity that they had been participating in for four months.