Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dad


We used to be best of friends. I don’t know what really happened but somewhere along the way we just drifted far away from each other. Until it came to a point wherein I don’t really know my dad at all.

“Son, when I die don’t burry me next to your mom when the time she passes away too,” my dad told me so long ago.

I just sat beside my dad, unable to utter a word. Confusion engulfed me life rapid wild forest fire, consuming me. I felt cold all over my body.

“Promise me son,” he said to me while he stared blankly pass the view in front of us.

I was eight or nine years of age then. My dad and mom was about to break up. Gossip circulates the community like thick smoke that can’t be ignored.

Week before that, I accompanied my mom to their company’s annual family day. This time around it was held on a beach. Like any other family day, all family members were expected to join. Unfortunately my dad can’t join us because he also had his own job to attend to.

The day went normal, every adult drunk, had fun, joked around and being silly was ok. I was so happy to see my mom so happy, joined every kind of game, laughed, and just having great time.

The last, perhaps one of the most spectacular scene I’ve ever seen, was my mom sitting on the beach looking into the horizon, embraced by her sister ho sat beside her until the sun sets and the sky went orangey-red.

After a few days, our whole family went to my mom’s Christmas Party. I was looking for my dad when I saw him talking with her sister. When I approached them, her sister told me to go away for a moment because they have something important to talk about. I had always been suspicious of my dad’s sister. I don’t really like her. She’s always jealous of us. My instinct was telling me that something is about to happen. She always brings trouble, like a catalyst that can spark Armageddon.

I went back inside the office but hid behind the door, still observing them. My dad seemed to be uneasy and very mad. My dad left and I ran to follow him but he was too fast. He went home, so I thought. Then when I turned my back, I saw a grin across my dad’s sister’s mouth. Chills ran into my spine.

When we got home, my dad was home already, drinking alone. Then he saw us and hit mom – really hard. The next scenes were unimaginable. Me and brothers shocked and our minds went blank.

Later my mom packed our bags and decided to go back to her parent’s house.

“Son, your dad needs you hear. Do you mind staying here for him? Please, he has nothing left if you will go with us. Your brother is still young so he needs me. But you’re big now, accompany your dad – for me,” my mom begged me to stay with dad. I can’t seem to respond, my mom’s face was swollen all over, her eyes red from crying in pain. I wanted to hold her face to mend the pain, but I know the pain she felt from within is too much.

I bowed and told her, “Mom I want to be with you. Don’t leave me please,” as tears begun to fell from my eyes. I was shaking my head, to tell her that I don’t want to stay.

The next thing I know was I was in my mom’s parent’s home, safe and far away from dad.

From what I was told, my dad’s sister told him that my mom was having an explicit display of affection from one of his officemates during the Family day at the beach. That they have been having an affair for like eons already, right under my dad’s nose. As a sister, it was her duty to tell dad about it and to put an end to it. I can’t digest what I just heard because, I was there and his sister was not. How could she tell those things where in fact she was not even there at the Family day? I was told that a reliable source informed her. If it did happen at the beach, then it was a lie. I was with my mom all the time. I didn’t left her side all that day because my dad wasn’t there so it’s my duty to look after my mom.

All the crazy things you could invent out of jealousy and self-pity. Apparently my instinct that day during their conversation was true.

Even though most of the people who were very close and supportive of my mom were telling her not to accept my dad again after what happened, but my dad began courting her and urging her to come back to him, her love for my dad won. I can’t fathom how she must love him to be able to forgive him that easily.

People forgive but don’t really forget. Every time my dad gets drunk he will recall what his sister told her that fateful day. He would hit her again, while she cries secretly outside our house.

Every time my dad gets drunk, my brother and I would hide, listening to my mom’s soft cries and anguish. Then when we think that my dad had already fallen asleep we would embrace our mom. As if telling her that we’re here for her and would always be there for her.

Years pass by and three members of the family were added. Being the eldest I need to work so decided to go away and look for a better job that our humble town could never offer me.

One night, my phone rang. It was my brother’s wife.

“Hello, napatawag ka. Kumusta?,” I gleefully greeted my brother’s wife.
“Kuya, si mommy. She was locked inside their room with dad. He was hitting her hard – again. This time really hard, she cried.

“Your brothers are trying to open the door but to no avail. What should we do?

I was in panic now but won’t let my sister in law take notice of it. “Just calm down, ok?,” I told her. “Try to call nanay (my dad’s mother) and tell her of the situation.”

“Sige kuya, sila Dino* (my brother, her husband) and Ryan* (my brother, 4th of the family), kuya. Galit na galit kay daddy. Papatayin daw nila si dad if something bad will happen to mom. Kuya ang tahitahimik na sa room nila. Hindi na naming alam kung ano na ang nangyayari,” she sobs while she narrates what took place.

“Si Philip* (youngest brother) kuya na shock. Kawawa naman si bunso. Natutulala na,” she added.

“Ok si Diana*? Where is she,” I ask sounding as calm as I could.

“Hindi pa naka-uwi kase may project sa school so baka next week pa siya makaka-uwi,” she replied still sobbing.

My sister Diana is attending college from a University. She only get to go home during weekends.

“Sige, tawagan mo na si Nanay at si tito Juan* (my mom’s youngest brother) for help, Ok? Don’t panic, be alert just in case,” I instructed her then the call was dropped.

My mother’s sister who used to defend her was in abroad so we decided not to tell her for the mean time.

My phone rang again. It was my sister Diana.

“Kuya! Mom and dad!,” she was crying now.

“I know, don’t panic ok? Let’s call for help,” I told her calmly. I was feeling cold now. Telling them all to stay calm but the truth is I am so much afraid now. Memories of distant past came rushing at me - Hunting me again. Picturesque of gruesome painful encounter feels like it was happening all over again.

For a long moment I can’t seemed to think at all – Being away made me feel so helpless. If only I could fly and go home that instant I would already have. I felt so useless. Immobile.

Then I received an SMS from my brothers wife.

“Mom managed to escape and we’re here at the plaza waiting for tito Juan to fetch us,” the text read.

“Mom already called Uncle Danny* (my dad’s youngest brother who are close to mom and dad) to accompany dad so he won’t do anything stupid.

“Nanay is on her way to the house as well.

I didn’t bother replying because I know it won’t help a thing. All I know is that they’re safe for now.

Then one day my dad finally felt all of us. My mom told my dad’s mother that she had enough and couldn’t bear it anything. So she had to return dad to her.

Days had passed when my mom decided to visit me. She texted me before the visit.

“Son, if you want to ask about what happened, I’m sorry but I won’t tell a thing. But it’s ok for me if you ask your father instead. I don’t want to say things anymore. It won’t be of help anyway.”

When I saw mom, I hugged her tight. She hugged me back. Then let go and smiled.

It will all be very different for us now. After 28 years of having dad with us, he finally left us. I think I know what mom really wants to tell me thru her text message. My mom wants us to remember dad as he is. The loving dad we used to know – The thoughtful man who would do anything to protect his family.

After seeing mom’s bruises and marking from that fateful night. I can’t help but admire my mom’s courage to endure everything. That despite what happened she still loves him enough not to say anything what truly happened behind that locked door. Maybe that’s why I still love my dad no matter what he had done to us.

There was once when my dad tried to visit Philip at school and asked him to talk to him. Philip did not move a foot near dad. Maybe he’s still in shock of what he seen at a very young age.

There was once when my dad talks about my sister Diana to common friends in town, about how they used to be so closed but now as if they don’t even know each other. But in truth no matter how my sister hated what he did that night, she would drive her motorcycle around town just to be able to have a glimpse of dad.

There were times I tried reaching out to dad to ask him if he’s ok. He didn’t return all my call and didn’t reply to all my text. Then I just got tired.

Ryan seemed to be the one most affected. He doesn’t want to hear or know anything about him.

Only Dino had contact with Dad.

“Diana, kung mamatay ako pagmamanahan ko ikaw, si Dino, Ryan at Philip. If you and Ryan refuse to accept, then I give it to Dino and Philip. If Philip won’t accept it as well then by all means it will all be Dino’s,” my sister showed me one of Dad’s text messages that she didn’t delete.

I was hurt so bad because my dad did’t even mentioned me. It’s not about the amount of how much he will give to them but it’s all about being recognized. I don’t know if my sister takes noticed of it, but for me not being mentioned at all feels like some part of me died inside.

Then there were many first for us. First Christmas without him. First New Year. First birthdays. So on and so forth.

Some nights I still cried for him. That despite it all he is still my father. My mentor, my one time best friend and someone I used to look up to. But no matter how much I long for him, time won’t ever heal what he had done. He can’t undo it. I think I might already have forgiven him, but I just can’t forget just yet. If ever our paths will cross in a distant future, I don’t think I can face him too. It’s just too painful. I might just pass by his side like a stranger who just happen to be there.

As I now recalled dad’s request to me that he won’t be buried next to mom when they both pass away, I think I don’t I need to do it myself anymore. He already makes sure that it won’t happen himself.

Xoxo

The Curious Cat

*Names not real to protect real people.

11 comments:

  1. Dude, don't buy it - you are never forgotten. You are the eldest and you should have the capacity to be the first to understand. Your dad no longer needs to give you an explanation. He is confident that you are now a grown up and has a better way of looking at things as compared to your siblings.

    How can a father forget about his first child when all firsts are never forgotten.

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  2. sabi nila, kayang tiisin ng mga anak ang kanilang mga magulang pero ang mga magulang di kayang tiisin ang kanilang mga anak.

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  3. your father only says that now. he does not forget you. but i tell you when the time comes, and it will, he will be a changed man. he'll say sorry for his mistakes and all the bad things he did to his family.

    time heals all pain. you'll just need to forgive and forget.

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  4. This made me sad.

    I sincerely hope that everything will be resolved in due time.

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  5. Remembered how I stood up for my mom when dad was spiraling down the path of destruction. Kaya ganito ang companionship ko sa nanay ko kasi ever since kami lagi ang magkasangga.

    And dad realized his mistake. He tried to patch things up, but I was so very cold then. Ni hindi nga ako dapat magrereact nung sinabi ng sister niya na na-stroke siya eh.

    But time heal all wounds. Dad, in his passing found peace, not only with us, but with those around him. Fate was still kind to grant him the best funeral he could afford and the best honors he still deserve - despite everything.

    Like everyone who posted a comment said, you are not forgotten. It so happened you're all grown up and he sees you more of an equal than his kid.

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  6. if that were to happen to me as well, i would've been hurt too. but above the hurt and all and no matter how f*cked up he is, he is still your father, the other half of the pair that brought you to this world. just try to understand where he is coming from and just let time do the healing. it ain't easy but just let things fall into their proper places because after all, he is still a part of your family.

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  7. were you able to find out the reason why he acted the way he did?

    sometimes, there are things that we will never understand even if it hits us right straight in the face. but whatever happens, believe that your dad loves his children, especially his first-born. you.

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  8. this made me sad. when i was writing about my blog entries, akala ko napakalaki na nag problema ko. but when ive read this entry of yours, narealized kong parang napakababaw ko pla.

    Trials lang lahat yan.. malalagpasan mo rin yan =) and, wag mong kalimutan si Bro.. =)

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  9. Dearest xtian,

    All family have their fair share of downs. I am truly grateful that you shared yours.

    My mom always says that family can be together forever through Hevenly Father's plan. I geuess mom's are all the same. They never wished anything but goodness for her family.

    I'd give you a hug for comfort. You have made it clear that you love your dad and that you have high regards for him... but underneath you also made it clear that there is something inside you that needs to be heard. I think you can let go now and hope that things will continue to be ok.

    Here, I want to share this to you... Please watch this...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yW759z7HsTw

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  10. di ko alam ang sasabihin kasi naman ay hindi ko naransan.

    gayunpaman, magulang natin iyan. respeto pa din ok?

    nakakaproud ka sa post na ito. larawan ng isang tao na matibay talaga

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  11. Oh my... Ang bigat sa loob nitong entry na 'to.

    I admire your courage. Hands down!

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