Synopsis from wikipilipinas.org: May Day Eve is a story by Nick Joaquin set at the turn of the century. It tells lyrically of the relationship between a couple that revolves around a superstition that a person could see one's future husband or wife in a mirror on May Day Eve.
Hearing the story of the superstion from an old woman on May Day Eve a lovely young girl, Agueda, decides to test it despite the warning that she might see, instead of her future husband, the devil. She peers in a mirror in a darkened room and sees the reflection of a young man--the drunken Badoy Montiya. Badly startled and embarrassed, she lashes out at him. Montiya is at once furious and fascinated with her.
The couple, after their marriage, each remember the incident at different stages in their lives as they find their daughter and their grandson also peering into mirrors. The grandson's attempt at the ritual using the same mirror Agueda peered in shows how enduring the superstition was, more enduring than Montiya's love and the couple's difficult relationship.
I've always been fascinated by this Nick Joaquin Short story. The Devil in the May Day Eve story was not the literal devil fleshed out from society's superstition but the Man that lovely, spirited Woman married. Going by the divorce rate in the industrialized countries, Mukha ngang tama si Nick Joaquin: The Devil does exist- and those divorced women, like Agueda in the story, married him.
I always associate this story with the play NO EXIT. ang sabi don, hell exists, and "HELL IS OTHER PEOPLE" Hell is the rough and painful relationship a married couple has. Hell is the imprisoning bitterness you feel against another person you hate with all your being. Hell is the unrequited love you have for a lovely girl who doesn't see your face but only remembers the devil's mask when she thinks of you.
You and me, we can be other people's Hell and other people's Devil in this lifetime if we choose too.
Just a reminder. May Day Eve ngayon e.