The first time I saw him cry put a wound deep within me. I never though fathers are capable of shedding a tear. Not in front of their child, anyway. Do I see weakness in him? Not sure. I listened intently as words flooded out from the silent man I grew up with. His whole body’s trembling as the tears continue to flow.
Finally he said, “Kapag namatay ako ‘wag mo ako ilibing katabi ng mama mo ha.”
I looked at him more keenly as I tried to absorb every letter in each word that made up the phrase he just told me. My mind seemed to refuse to understand and part of me wanted him to repeat what he just said but another part of me told me not to. It would only hurt me and eventually haunt me in days to come.
“Promise ha,” he added.
We were sitting on a wooden chair in the front porch that day. It was near dusk and crows began to fly back to the mountains to evade the setting sun. It’s was oh so quiet except for the irregular sobs my dad generated. I felt so insignificant and so small. Sitting beside my dad with his right arm around my shoulder, I felt helpless – powerless.
I only managed a nod in reply. But I know that my dad felt my answer weren’t sincere he hugged me tighter as if telling me it’s ok. He knew how hard must that be. After all, I am just a little child and my mind can’t comprehend what was happening at that time.
Later that night I heard sobbing outside my window. So I opened the window a little to peek as to who’s making the sound. I saw my mom, her back in front of me with her face on her palms rested on her knees.
“Mom?,” I asked. My heart skipped a beat. The scene before my eyes impaired me intensely it’s hard to breath.
She must not have heard me as she continued to cry.
I went outside to check on her and probably asked her why she’s crying.
“”Nak dito ka lang ha, iwan ka sa dad mo. Bantayan mo siya. Kawawa naman siya kung wala maiiwan sa kanya. Isasama ko kapatid mo,” my mom pleaded.
“Ayoko, sama ako,” was my initial reaction. I don’t know where they’re going but all I know was that I have to go with them. How could she leave me here? I asked myself.
My mom continued as she led me inside the house. I don’t know why they had to leave. I don’t know why dad had to stay. I don’t know many things. After all, I am just a little child and my mind can’t comprehend what was happening that time.
Then she packed our things, went to my mother’s parents taking me and my brother with her.
I knew deep within my heart that no amount of effort will make things as they used to be. It will never be the same again. My little brain told me and my little heart agreed.
Then they got back together.
After so many years, I was disturbed by a late night call. It was my sister-in-law. She was crying on the other line. I can barely make up what she’s trying to say but I already understood.
After all, I am no longer a child. My mind can already comprehend what’s happening. It doesn’t take a genius to figure it out.
My parents separated and this time I think it’s for good.
My younger self was right. Life was never the same again. Our family was never the same after the first break-up. I may not have understood it before but I remembered it all too well.
Though it hurts me to recall all these things and how our family turned out this way but deep within my heart I knew that it was best this way. Ending up like this somehow ebbed out the pain they caused each other – the pain it caused us all.
The Curious Cat
P.S. Image courtesy of http://blogs.wvgazette.com/johnmccoy/files/2009/11/rain.jpg