Some things are hard to write about. After something happens to you, you go to write it down. And either you over dramatize it or underplay it, exaggerate the wrong parts or ignore the important ones. At any rate, you never write it quite the way you want it.
I have been spending quite some time trying to find the right words to perfectly fit the right thoughts. But then, It’s hard to put it in words. There’s too much of them, swimming around my head like slimy little tadpoles in muddy waters; waiting for some sort of miracle to happen for me to able to forget all these memories that keeps on haunting me. I wish I could Shift + Delete all these suffocating emotions.
There are a lot of things that my Dad didn’t teach me when I was young. Part of these are to forgive and forget, Mom never fails to remind me that. But I know deep inside, it’s been the hardest pill to swallow.
I loved Dad so much that I put him on pedestal. I looked up to him. Wherever he goes, I always by his side. I was a daddy’s little angel.
I remember how I lived for each moment of us being together, laughing with and loving each other—the very picture of a family written in elementary textbooks.
I wish I can still treasure the times we are together, in our house, eating dinner as a family or as we lay around on the living room with our pj’s on, in silence which I used to love since I felt like I could listen to our hearts beating in harmony, a sacred symphony conducted by love.
I don’t wish that I could turn back nor I could travel back in time but I wish I didn’t have to grow old, to grow up.
I wish I remained innocent as to not wonder about the answers to my empty questions I used to ask Mom whenever I feel alone or whenever I feel the loud thumping sound in my chest and wonder about the painful indecision of the adults around me; how sad it was when you realize what someone you thought you knew becomes clearly they aren’t who you thought they were.
Mom want to buy a new house but Dad don’t want to leave. Mom said we need to move because it would the best thing to do. I can see in her eyes the vast ocean of the things she dream for us all but in Daddy’s eyes I can see nothing but how he lives a very self-centered life. I couldn’t help but ask myself what was wrong with Dad, he doesn’t have any dreams for our future. All that matters to him is himself and his friends.
I never understood why on a calm, typical afternoon in a month I can’t remember now, how sun on that day hid itself behind the clouds as if to betray us, to forsake us. Mom made Dad to choose, I remember my voice, small and squeamish, begging for what he was never ready to give, demanding for what was already insolvent, but in the end, Dad didn’t choose us.
There was a bomb explosion in my head. The house should fit all of us. It did not occur to me how many we were in the family. I did the math in my head: so there’s Dad, Mom and me plus my brother and sister, multiplied by zero, by which we get the product of the same. Then we add the unnecessary variables in the family multiplied by the exponential sum of Dad’s extravagant mistakes, of Mom’s silent withdrawal, of us their kids being not enough to make this family happy and intact, and we get the equivalent value of a house that is not home, divided by the shattered pieces of our inability to ever calculate the equation.
I never understood not a single thing; not Mom, not Dad, not even myself. I didn’t understand what made my Mom stayed with Dad when we could just leave for the better? I didn’t understand why Mom chose to support his selfish decisions—Dad would talk to her, under the heat of fluorescent light in the kitchen while I sit at one corner in the living room and wait for time to pass, trying ever so persistently not to listen to their conversation but failing just the same. And I would hear Dad speak words I could not quite understand but loathed, hated, cursed, with every iota of my energy as soon as he speak them.
I didn’t understand Mom’s submission because whenever I look back, I only remember a mother who loved her husband and her children that she did her best to balance the world for them. Such balance, but I never understood, not one of Daddy’s many decisions and indecisions nor a sentence of Mommy’s careful and patient explanations about why the world is cold, unforgiving, how love becomes sacrificial.
I could weep for Dad or feel sorry for Mom, in hope of making them understand that we exist as the third members of the family and that we have a share of the burden, whatever that burden is. Hoping that Dad will come to his senses and finally become the father figure he’s supposed to be. But it didn’t happened. It will never happen.
I remembered how the sun was ablaze that day like it did today. I peeked through the door of ICU because they never allowed an eleven year old me to get inside the room. I saw Dad laying in the hospital bed, surrounded by helpless professionals, surrounded by death, how he waved and welcomed serenity from above the hospital ceiling, as his body—wrapped in cables and wires—slowly lost all its human movements.
I closed my eyes.
The faint lights that has been sitting at the corner of the room finally consumed me. I felt the whole world dance with all melancholy as my heart falling over an infinite abyss.
In the warm afternoon of May, I remember the look on aunt’s face as she stepped out of her car. At that very moment, I already knew that Dad leave us for real.
I remembered I held a flower on his wake and watched as his motionless body lay asleep behind the glass coffin. To turn around the excruciating pain that clutched the insides of my heart, I let the tears rolled down my cheeks and twisted my heart in a whooping 360 degrees, just to tuck away whatever pain there is left.
It maybe an ending for Dad’s pain since life was tough on him, but death so gentle, so kind. But for us he left behind it was just the beginning of everything.
Every time I remember our house in the South, I tasted the bittersweet memories lingered to it. For in there I was once have a happy childhood, safe and sound, it also slowly turned every bit of it into nightmare—I hated it.
I hated all the paper people on that place. I hated how each one of them put me, mom and my siblings on the pedestal and forced us played the part of the clown and laughed at us while they were unraveling us, as if it was a solid show of entertainment, our long line of history as a fool.
I hated how Mom helped them but in returned they betrayed her. They talked nonsense things behind her back. I hated those paper people who she treated not only as her friends but also as part of the family but they were the one who condemned her, crucified her after Mom introduced her new boyfriend to them; It didn’t end there. They made up stories, spread lies. They smashed us into pieces. Those times, I would bow my head down and wish for these people to vanished from our lives and hoping that my granny and aunties won’t believe them because in my young screaming head I knew what those eyes meant and how they slash through my innocence; the looks, those poisonous words, the hollow sound of all the paper people who never understand and know nothing about our family, devoid of silence and understanding. I knew what they all meant: that in that darkness phase of our lives, the world is ‘cruel.’ People are cruel. That five letters and one word is a right word for the gravity that weighed us all down.
We received the most insensitive and the most hurtful remark of our lives. I still could not believe how those people said those such things when they have no idea the hell Mom went through and it’s her time to finally feel loved and to be happy for real. I guess I will never understand prejudice the way I understand the pain it brings.
I floated in a thin air of chaos and confusion, desperately trying to reach gravity and find my way back to the ground. My soul is suffocated by a cloud of pain. I hate how I never forgot that night, how it burned in my memory like a mad bonfire in the vastness of my brand new world, I heard the voice of my mom’s sister that spelled astonishment and began to feel my heart closed in against me. Suddenly, it felt difficult to breathe in the same air as she threw a deadly words upon Mom. I was standing there listening intently while she began to show no mercy by attacking Mom’s heart with her piercing words. I bowed my head to let my hair fall and took cover behind my strands if only to protect my heart from pain. But to no avail. Her words were lethal, noxious. It fed my veins with poison and killed every part of my delicate spirit. I was hurting for Mom. If I could cut her head open, I would see all the words that she kept inside her for so long. If I could write her thoughts, I would never bear the pain of it all. As Mom sat motionless in her presence, I saw how Mom accepted gracefully the gravity of her criticisms. Listening to them, I never imagined that all through the painful years of my life, I have left that little girl to die in silence.
I couldn’t help but to awaken my hatred for Dad. I wish to point my fingers at him and scream. “Look at what you’ve done to us!” I wish to pinpoint every source of pain and blame, blame, blame each of him for all the weight I, Mom, and my siblings now carry.
Most people would suppose it’s easy to live with the reality of having a family like ours. After all, things like these aren’t new in our age and time. Films, pop songs, social media, and even our own first-hand experiences have us bastardized and debauched by the reality of marriage disintegrations. But still the prevalence of unhappy marriage does not in any account alleviate the burden it brings not only to the parties involved but to their children as well.
If I could only stand next to Daddy and demand from him the compensation for the moral damages that were inflicted upon my brother and sisters. If could only weep for Mom and asked her to fight for herself and for us. If I could only look straight at Dad, our relatives and neighbors in our old house and insist for an atonement, for anything at all. The law does that, doesn’t it? But what do our lawyers tell us about indemnification? They tell us not about getting even, but about getting more. They tell us to demand for money, for property, to pay for what was damaged, what was lost.
But how could I demand from Mom and Dad when they themselves were the casualties, when they themselves were victims of the flaw? Maybe after all these years everyone have already moved on. Maybe my brother and sister have already moved on too. Maybe I am the only one left in the family who knows not to let things go. Maybe, a thousand maybe’s.
I took refuge in a little space I have prepared for my fragile heart and there, swore to myself that I will never let Mom and myself get hurt again. It takes a lot of ‘getting used to’ in the way the cruel world works but then, I guess that’s just how it goes. I trod the empty boulevard of my uncertainty, a place of the unknown and realized that I know only one absolute thing. When words finally lose their meaning and when the hearts stop from feeling, hate now stands between the empty spaces. After an endless rhetoric of words that slashed my being—the damage done was too much that after a few seconds of solitary, I felt my heart limping with pain.
“Hate is not the opposite of love. It is the absence of it.”
I broke into an ocean of tears and bathed myself under the dim lights of my room as I wished for an undoing of things. I would like to dive into that deep sleep and wake up no longer remembering all that have happened. I felt my lips and tasted something rotten between it, my decaying soul within the walls of pain and time. The damage inflicted in my younger years will only remain just as that. No amount of time could ever heal the irreparable assault on my childhood just as no amount of eulogies could ever wake up the dead. We tread on unceasingly through life with these damages. I’m slowly, gradually, taken away like burning paper, through the cold chambers of time, allowed myself to grow older and older, away from the gloomy episodes of my childhood. But of course it seemed too easy when it deal with things. But with people, and with life in general, letting go was a task too herculean for my fragile heart. It demanded from me my whole life, my whole soul. And as if that was not enough, the price I had to pay for braving to let go was an equally tormenting path. But who ever said life was supposed to be easy? What I learned from all these years was to accept what’s already done and wait for tomorrow eagerly with full of mad hope. I have learned, slowly, painfully, to let go of the pain they brought me when I was young, their unconscious non-deliberate decisions that pushed me back to the far corners of their indifference, their fears, their errors. Plus the poisonous-unnecessary remarks of other paper people in our lives. I have learned that I could never correct their mistakes any more than one can correct a crooked line written in pen. I could only chose to forgive, let go and allow myself to heal from the pain that I didn’t ask for, that could not have happened if only Dad chose us, if only Mom become brave enough to fight for herself and for us, if only Dad was a responsible father. I tell myself over and over again that it’s too late to blame Dad, it’s too late to ask Mom to do what she supposed to do fifteen years ago. The only thing that is still waiting to be done is my life, all polished and clean, washed away from the inside out by the mistakes of the people around me. In the dire attempt to understand the perpetual parade of time and the ceaseless transitions of pasts, presents and futures, lies that familiar whisper in my ear that says “Let everything go.” And so tonight I make a final count. I close my eyes and think of every painful memory of what was said and done, I’ve learned to stand strong and to pave the way for forgiveness and healing for a heart that has been damaged with a thousand lethal words. Stitches, for all that was bruised and broken.
The pain that I had to go through in my childhood pushed me to create a world where I exist, not just as a body made up of skin and bones, but as well as a human being with an irreplaceable worth, with value, with voice. I do not exist anymore as the lonely-weak girl who can’t even voice out what’s inside her head. Then I’d surrender this life and shall leave it to time, to God, to fate, to destiny, to the cosmos, the universe, and live this bittersweet freedom.
City girl, you are now free.