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.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Strangers

Two Sundays ago, my partner and I decided to go to Malate for a drink. Actually he was the one who asked me to accompany him for a drink there. I was a bit surprise because both of us don’t really frequent the area since he doesn’t request that so often,I agreed. Besides Monday is a holiday and I don’t have clients to deal with so I don’t have to wake up early the next day.


It was already 11pm when we left the pad. On our way, rain started to pour along Nagtahan Bridge, I wanted to ask my partner if we should go back because of the rain but my willingness to spend the night with him alone (and the desire to drink too hahaha), I didn’t.


Just right before O-bar we asked the driver to pull-over and we ran to the nearest place to shelter us from the rain. My partner told me that he has an upset stomach due to his hyper-acidity so we strolled around the area to buy medicine. After searching we were able to find one near Pan Pacific.


We strolled for few minutes more because some of the places he used to hang out were already gone. Then we decided to go back to Nakpil Street and try to look for a place there instead.


Then we finally settled to (I forgot the name) some place which serves inasal, ihaw-ihaw etc. It’s located on the 2nd floor of another bar. We ordered beer and pulutan. He was not able to drink a lot due to hyper acidity so I grab the opportunity to drink more.


After my seventh beer I glanced down the street of Nakpil then took a glanced at O-bar. I am really curious about that place but so afraid to go because gays patronized the place. As much as I would like to explore, I didn’t because I still value my discreetness and have no plans on outing myself.


Then I noticed this one guy looking at me while he walked (maybe he’s going to O-bar). I can’t help but look back. Then he stopped walking and continued his stare at me. I flushed. I have no intention of introducing myself to the guy and besides I’m on a date with my beau. He nodded at me asking me if I’m interested. I didn’t replied back; instead I looked to another direction and completely ignored him. After a while I looked down again to check if he was still there and he was. So I signaled him that I’m with someone while my partner went to the restroom.


It was already 4am when we decided to go home. After paying the bill I went downstairs while my partner went to the restroom for the last time. I was standing outside when another guy approached me. He looked at me and smiled. I smiled back. He went to my direction.


“Hi,” he greeted me.


“Oh sorry, may kasama na ako eh,” I replied knowing what his intentions were (alam ko na mga ganyang moves so before he could start his introductory spiel ayun sinabi ko na may kasama ako. Pero sayang din kase cute din siya hahaha).


“Saan ba siya? Uwi ka na ba?,” he asked (pa cute pa).


“Oo, uuwi na kami ng kasama ko,” I replied him politely.


“Ah ganun ba. So kelan ka babalik?,” he asked again.


But before I could reply my partner was already there next to me.


“So pano, aalis na kami, nice meeting you,” as I bid goodbye.


The stranger just nodded and continued to smile as we passed by him (sorry na lang siya at mas gwapo partner ko hahaha).


While walking towards Taft along Nakpil Street my partner made sarcastic comments.


“Cute ‘yun ah. Bakit hindi ka pa sumama sa kanya.”


“Tange ka ba. Nag-hi lang ‘yun. Sama ka diyan,” I answered back.


“Asus, ma-appeal ka pa rin talaga kahit mataba ka na ngayon,” he continued teasing me.


When I smile he added, “Malandi ka talaga.”


“Ano ka ba? Ako kaya nilapitan. Eh ano gawin ko paalisin siya. Napakarude naman ‘nun,” I explained.


“Oh, andyan pa siya sa likoran natin sumusunod. Lapitan mo na uli,” he informed me.


Tara na nga at bilisan na natin at may araw na,” I angrily told him while trying my best to hold my temper which is very short when I’m drunk.


Few minutes passed by before we finally caught a cab. Before entering the cab I tried to look back across the street and found the guy standing looking at our direction then slowly turned around, maybe to go back and search for another lonely soul to spend the night with.


After a few days while we’re laying down the bed and were about to sleep, he turned around to face me.


“Alam mo. Gustong-guto ko bugbugin ka nung nakita kita may kausap sa Malate habang umiihi ako. Itulak dun sa pader at ipokpok ulo mo nang natauhan ka.”


“Grabe ka naman wala naman ako ginawang masama. Siya lang naman lumapit,” I tried to elucidated.


“Alam ko. Basta,” he retorted.


Silence. Then we fell asleep.


Xoxo


The Curios Cat


P.S. Image courtesy of http://processinteractive.ca/genestho/images/20070315093644_stranger_fog.jpg

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Client

Recently, a lot of incident happened (which I might write on a separate entry) to me which results to clients lost. I can’t help being depressed because it’s not entirely my fault. I can’t stop my clients in looking for a replacement because they need the same services immediately which currently I can’t give them.

I am hurting because even my friends don’t seem to bother telling me first before they look for another replacement. Some of the themes and ideas were offered to me first and some ideas were even mine to begin with. Ano lang ba ‘yung sabihin muna sa akin, siyempre, I’ll let them because I can no longer do it for the mean time but the thing is, I don’t hear a thing from them. Nalalaman ko na lang from other people or nakikita ko na lang ‘yung results.

It’s been three weeks since the last time I was able to give my services to my clients. It’s depressing and nerve wracking even. It’s like you’re in one day the next day you’re out.

I am having a financial issue that’s why I can’t replace my computer to buy a new one (computer is needed for the post-production of material before presenting it to the client for final go). I might need to get something from my savings account to get a new one in order for me to get my clients back. Loyalty is not really treasured nowadays. Mapa-client man ito or lover.

Actually, yesterday I was about to buy a new one but when I tried contacting my clients to ask them how they’ve been, grabe no one, as in, one replied. I didn’t buy na lang kase na-depressed na naman ako.

Kanina, one of my friend send me an SMS informing me that they’re ok na daw with our common friend (whom she had a fight with over pride). That they will work on another project with another professional. Grabe, even her! The nerve. So much for friendship. Wala na talaga. I even texted our common friend informing him that I’m good to go na on Saturday but as expected, no reply from him.

I am about to quit. Pero napaisip ako na what I’m doing now is what I’ve been dreaming of when I was little and I am actually enjoying it so why give up now. Instead I’ll make projects for the meantime for myself. Maybe it will help me realize why I am doing it in the first place. It’s not really about the money or the fame. It’s about the recognition I get from other people. It’s about the criticism, both good and back as long as it’s constructive, that I received. It’s for the love of what I do. But then again, given the scenario, I can’t help feeling down.

By the way, yesterday, my partner accompanied me in shopping for new computer. After the search we decided to eat. While walking my partner signaled me to look ahead.

“Psst, may cute,” he told me while pointing at someone (by pouting his cherry red kissable lips, naks).

Siyempre I got excited ako kase alam ko taste ni partner. Sa kamamadali ko tingnan hindi ko namalayan na pababa na pala kami so natapilok ako. Nadapa ako at tuluyan sana masubsob pagmumukha ko sa kalye if I was not able to hold my partners arm.

Dahan dahan ko tinaas ang aking mukha para masulyapan pa din kung sino 'yung tinuturo nya. It turned out that person was actually looking at me. Nakasando at pawis (siguro galing sa pagwork-out kase galit pa mga muscles niya) kaya nanghina ulit mga tuhod ko. I blushed. Sobrang nahiya ako. Kase tago ka nga and then parang na obvious ka tuloy. So I stood up (with grace pa din) and try to brush off the dirt from my pants.

Napatingin ako one more time (the guy still looking at us) then started walking towards the resto na naka-akbay kay partner. Wala na lingon lingon this time.

“Grabe ka. Nadapa ka na nga’t lahat lahat tiningnan mo pa din,” my partner teased me after we get pass through the person he was pointing at awhile ago. “Landi mo kase,” he added.

“Oo nga, cute nga niya hehehe,” was all I could reply.

Sometimes when you're down and low, God will make a way to make you smile. Thank you God.

Xoxo

The Curious Cat

P.S. Image belongs to http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/image/s_handshake3.jpg