never the same
I have my mind set. I wanted to take away Mama from my father. The recent happenings are enough to convince me that the safest place for Mama right now is anywhere but our own home. I think I have also found enough reasons that it is no longer healthy for this family to stay together.
In perhaps the biggest emotional confrontation I have ever been in my entire life, my father neither denied nor confirmed anything. He was just adamant in saying that he has done nothing wrong and I don't understand how he gets the nerve in saying that when everything else says otherwise. The moment he avoided my questions was the most painful experience for both me and my mother, it was a lot more than saying he was guilty. I would have wanted if he he had lied again in front me than just plain brushing off the things I wanted to know, I would have wanted him to try and convince me that the things I've heard and the things I know were not true. But he never did. His refusal to defend himself was like not defending this family that we've been trying to save, for me.
It was the first time in my living memory that I had actually talked to him that way and I have never felt so much anger and hatred. After that, I have only been given more questions than needed answers. And one more thing I guess I would never comprehend is the way my mother acted after that. Only after a few days, things are back again to what they would probably think as 'normal'. A house with a mother, a father and children - normal family. A family that I think I would never look at the same way I have ever done in my life. When my Aunt asked me a few weeks ago if I would want to have a broken family as I search for truth, I told her I would rather have one than to have a family bereft of honesty, and I would live up to it. I rarely promise anything but this time I swear, my quest for what is true has just begun.
The portrait on the living room wall, unnoticed and taken for granted just as the family it was supposed to represent.
breaking the silence
Whoever said that this year - the year of the boar is not for those who were born on the year of the boar must be the true seer. First day of the year and things have finally began falling to their rightful places. My doubts and my fears have at last been justified. I have finally been able to have the courage to ask my cousins Lael and Hansel if they find anything strange happening inside the house and it surprisingly didn't need any intense prodding for they perfectly knew what I wanted to know. Turns out that they have the answers to the questions I have long been keeping.
My father is having an affair. A few months ago, I have read a text message on his mobile phone saying sweet nothings from an unidentified number. Someone who is certainly not my mother. I have been keeping that number since and have seen it a couple of times after. My father never saves it but he was not too smart to empty his call register. He was even heard a couple of times saying I love you's to someone over the phone while my mother is either in the bedroom or in the bathroom. Perfect timing. I, myself was witness to his flirtations but have been in denial for the longest time. It never occured to me that something like this could ever happen to my own family.
Papa is an adept in maintaining his good image from other people and though I disapprove of most of his actions, I never knew he could actually get this far. At his age of 55, I never thought that it could still be possible. He has been the only man in my mother's life while he had his own children out of wedlock which my mother only learned a year after their marriage. He had the chance to choose between Mama and the mother of his other children when she had the nerve to show up then and at this very moment I wish he had chosen them. With that, I would have not existed and he would not have been my father.
When I was younger, he would take me along everytime she would meet secretly with my half-sister, Arlene. Apparently he wanted me to get close to her but he never really succeeded. I know his intentions were good but I never really find it proper to ask me to lie to my very own mother. He didn't want me to tell her that we were seeing his other daughter. I didn't think it would have actually mattered to Ma, considering the fact that she had accepted him with wide open arms despite the things he have done before, I know she must have already prepared herself for that moment when his children would be looking for him. But then I was helpless. I know it was wrong but what can I do? I felt like I would be in serious trouble with him if I speak. I realized that doing the wrong things makes it feel all the more wrong when the very people you trust are the ones who pushes you to do wrong.
For two occasions just this holiday season while my poor mother is in Bicol, he had brought some girls over the house past midnight, he claims they were his relatives but I knew perfectly who they were. And again in my life, he asked me not to tell Mama. Besides that, he would go home really late almost every night to the point of not going home at all for one time considering that he has no longer any corporate job to attend to. But I never said a word. It was all inside me.
If my father thinks I would still be that little boy who will just stand there and watch him do the things he do behind my mother, he is dead wrong. It would be hard, I know but he'll see. I'm going to stand up for myself and I'm going to stand up for my Mama. I'm just waiting for the right moment for I believe that out there in the dark horizon, the truth will be set free. No matter how long it takes, no matter when, I know it will come and the trail begins by breaking my silence.
It was the first three hours of the year. I think Mama's absence is finally sinking in. Five hours ago, I was very excited preparing what was supposed to be our new year dinner for me, Papa and my cousin, Lael. My other cousin, Hansel went home to his mother for them to celebrate the turning of the year together with his siblings by her. The food served on our table were the spaghetti and palabok
left over from Timmy's youngest daughter's birthday last night. She and her mom had been very nice to let me bring some of the food home after they learned that I will be the one who will be preparing for the dinner. I don't like to imagine what could have happened if I were really
the one who cooked for us. Everything on our table were from other people save from the barbecue my father asked me to buy from the mall earlier, in the unavailibility of pizza anywhere. We had left over adobo, menudo and puto also from Timmy and lumpiang sariwa
from Joy's sister, Ate Janice.
I have always looked forward to these kind of events, events that are normally shared by families and people who love each other. It has been innate in me to expect something great to happen every christmas and new year only to feel disappointed most of the time. It makes me feel like a small kid, watching a sideshow, anticipating that a magical spectacle is about to happen but only get to see the usual parade of acrobats hovering above, twisting their boneless bodies and nothing more than just that. It is something in me that I have yet to outgrow. I think it is high time for me to accept that moments like this and days like this are actually nothing more than just any other day.
Without the calendar being invented, this day would not have been any special, because after the spectacular array of pyrothechnics overhead across the entire metropolis, after the deafening cluster of fireworks around and after the new year dinner, rigorously and neatly prepared has been consumed by you alone with your dear cousin as your father announced that he is ready to sleep two hours before the countdown only to realize that he is not actually sleeping but talking to someone apparently not your mom over his mobile phone on his bedroom with doors locked, it is just like any other day. It might be the new year, but look around - nothing has actually changed.
Lael and me as we watched the fireworks outside.