The Triangle Man and the Flightless Diwata

Center for Art, New Ventures & Sustainable Development (CANVAS)

Osias tells a story of two socially awkward beings who try to discover their niche in the world.  Can they recognize their own strengths and accept their weaknesses first in order to accept others and the realities surrounding them? 

The day the Triangle Man came was the day that Amparo finally found reprieve. It hadn't been easy as the only diwata unable to fly; it had been worse looking so different from the fairies that darted and whizzed (and fluttered and buzzed) in an explosion of color, along with the soft wisps, sparkling fireflies and shimmering dust flakes.

But when the Spectrum Mirror burped and expelled the 'Triangle Man,' Amparo was suddenly no longer the strangest of all.

"A little strange, a little odd

Isn't he a little flawed?

A triangle head and no wings,

Isn't hge an ugly beast?"

The diwatas repeated their cruel rhyme again and again until nightfall. When they had all left, Amparo gathered her courage to approach the stranger.

"Are you all right?" she asked from a distance.

"Leave me alone," the Triangle Man said, sounding very much like a boy.

“I know how it feels,” Amparo said. “Just keep quiet and eventually, they’ll get bored.”

“Will they?”

Amparo didn’t have the heart to lie. The only time they had left her alone had been when the Triangle Man had come. So instead, she sadly smiled, then left.

The next day, the diwatas were back taunting him.

“A little strange, a little odd,

Isn’t he a little flawed?

Squinty eyes, and big fat feet,

He’s the ugliest thing you’ll ever meet.”

Later that evening, Amparo, feeling a little braver (and a little sadder for him), said, “They used to say something similar to me.” Mimicking the diwata’s high-pitched voices, she continued,

“Clumsy and tall and fat,

A funny nose, the body of a rat.

How can she fly if she’s that big?

How can she fly if she eats like a pig?”

For a few moments, Triangle Man was quiet. And then, he said, “I don’t think you’re fat.”

“And I don’t think you’re odd,” she replied.

And then they both smiled. Amparo felt less alone.

The days that came followed the same pattern. The diwatas were never at a loss for insults (‘so dark, certainly, some sort of devil’) and Amparo offered comfort when the diwatas were gone.

It was during one of those quiet nights – without the diwatas, the wisps and fireflies and dust flakes were more mellow, exuding a softer-hued light – that she asked him the things that have been bothering her from the very beginning.

“Why are you here?” she asked. “Why do you stay?”

“Because I’m lost,” he said. “Because I’m too afraid of using the Spectrum Mirror again.”

Amparo had nothing to say to that.

“Why are you here?” he countered. “Why do you stay?”

“Because this is where I belong,” Amparo said. “I mean, where else can I go? What else can I do?” she added.

“We always have a choice,” the Triangle Man said, sounding older. “Mine is to be afraid, but it’s a choice.”

In the following weeks, the diwatas became increasingly brazen. They began taking dust flakes and throwing them at Triangle Man. And then, they started throwing bigger things, like petals and leaves. It wasn’t until they began throwing colorful sap from buckets that the Triangle Man finally surrendered to his tears.

“Please, stop! It hurts!” the Triangle Man said, his face splotchy with colors and tears. “Please stop!”

But the diwatas were jubilant. This was the first time they were able to make him cry. They called on their friends, and their friends’ friends, and when they had exhausted everyone they knew, they called on Amparo.

“Clumsy and tall and fat,

A funny nose, the body of a rat.

Come and join us, make him weep,

Banish this beast, make him leave.”

A bucket of sickly yellow sap was thrust into Amparo’s hands. Pushed and nudged (and urged and pulled), the diwatas brought her nearer, and nearer, and nearer until she was right in front of the Triangle Man.

He didn’t stop crying. He didn’t ask her to stop. Instead, he simply put his hands in front of his face.

For one surreal moment, everyone and everything stilled, as if every wisp and firefly and dust flake and diwata knew how important this moment was to Amparo. It was the moment when she could become one of them. It was the moment when she could stop being the outsider. It was the moment when she could take flight and finally belong.

But all she could see was Triangle Man, tall and large, with small eyes, so very different from her, so very different from all the other beings in this land, quivering in fear. Her decision was suddenly very clear.

“No,” Amparo said as she turned to face the crowd of fairies. “He’s different, yes, but he’s not odd. He’s taller, yes, but he’s not a beast. He has a triangle for a head, yes, but he’s not ugly.” She dropped the bucket. “I’m different, too. And maybe that’s not a bad thing.”

Everything started moving again. The diwatas, one, then two, then many more began throwing buckets of colorful sap in Amparo and the Triangle Man’s direction. Amparo didn’t know who started it, but once it began, it could not be stopped. Everyone was doing what they thought everyone else was doing. Her words didn’t matter.

Amparo turned to Triangle Man, who was still crying. He was still trying to crumple inward to make himself smaller.

“Let’s go,” she said as she pointed to the Spectrum Mirror. “Let’s leave this place.”

“But we don’t have any place to go to!”

“Someone told me everything is a choice. Let’s make ours. Let’s choose to be brave. Let’s do this together.” Amparo held out her hand.

Trembling, Triangle Man took it. Together, splattered with color, they walked into the mirror to find a place where they could truly belong.

Artworks by Dex Fernandez & Story by Kate Osias
Credits: Story

Copyright by CANVAS, 2015
First published in hardcover, 2015

Printed in the Republic of the Philippines
Book and layout design by Daniel Palma Tayona
Edited by Annette Ferrer

Download The Triangle Man and the Flightless Diwata at www.canvas.ph.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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