Years later, across a crowded room, our eyes will meet, linger even. Time will stop for a moment and our love, now past will flash before our eyes like a movie.
Years later, across a crowded room, our eyes will meet, linger even. Time will stop for a moment and our love, now past will flash before our eyes like a movie.
“YOUR ABUSIVE PARTNER DOESN’T HAVE A PROBLEM WITH HIS ANGER; HE HAS A PROBLEM WITH YOUR ANGER.
One of the basic human rights he takes away from you is the right to be angry with him. No matter how badly he treats you, he believes that your voice shouldn’t rise and your blood shouldn’t boil. The privilege of rage is reserved for him alone. When your anger does jump out of you—as will happen to any abused woman from time to time—he is likely to try to jam it back down your throat as quickly as he can. Then he uses your anger against you to prove what an irrational person you are. Abuse can make you feel straitjacketed. You may develop physical or emotional reactions to swallowing your anger, such as depression, nightmares, emotional numbing, or eating and sleeping problems, which your partner may use as an excuse to belittle you further or make you feel crazy.”
― Lundy Bancroft, Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men
This quote reminds me of my ex-husband who doesn’t only believe and did everything that has been said above he also thinks that being his wife means I have no right at all. He is the exact opposite of the saying what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. He alone has the right to say and does everything his heart’s desire.
He spent a lot of times on the front of the computer tracking women, chatting them, meeting them and went on vacation with them but I was not allowed even to touch the computer. He changed its password every other day and forbidden my children to even breath a single letter of that bloody password to me. How’s that for unfair?
He disappeared for days not telling where he was and if I dare to ask him he will tell me it wasn’t my business. He drinks as if there is no tomorrow, violent beyond belief, rude, distant and utterly, utterly abusive not only physically but mentally as well. And the way he demanded sex from me was out of this world. As if I was created solely for that purpose. As a result, I cultivated an abnormal aversion to it and avoided being intimate with him at all cost and believe me it cost a lot.
Yet for him, I was the bad one. He often accused me of not behaving like a wife and not doing my duty. That I’m good for nothing and has nothing to offer to a man that I’m lucky he keeps me because no man will ever want a short fat and ugly someone like me. I will not survive out there he said. Without him, I will not make it.
It took me thirteen years to learn to give him a taste of his own medicine and to find out that eat your heart out is a wonderful motivation to survive. And another seven years to actually find the courage to walk out and leave him for good.
That was fifteen years ago.
Still, the nightmares continue. The damage that he caused I (and my children) will carry for the rest of our lives. The consequences of his cruel and senseless thoughtless actions will resonate through the years and will affect generations to come. The pattern is set.
“I have to admit, an unrequited love is so much better than a real one. I mean, it’s perfect… As long as something is never even started, you never have to worry about it ending. It has endless potential.”
This quote above reminds me of an episode when during the happiest, wildest, confusing, enjoyable painful saddest ride of my life when I was lost looking for my rainbow connection the captain ball of my basketball team refused despite his teammates urging him to put a stop to his shenanigans and properly court me so we could all move on (meaning if I turned down the guy the next in line can try his luck and if I accept him then they will know the chase is over and life can go back to normal) he said: “Why would I do that? This way, you can all wait forever and I will always be at the head of the queue.” He was seventeen, sweet and such a handful. I was thirty-one, looking like sixteen, daring and crazy like hell but has a decency and sense not to give in to temptation. Those were the days.
It took me three years to divorce him. I had to relinquish everything for him to sign. It was two years before I learnt to trust myself again. And another two before I dared trust anyone else. I still have trust issues… I still have nightmares… still run to the basin to wash myself… still check the bolt on every door…still jump out of my skin every time I hear a sound I don’t recognize… still sleep with a big knife under my pillow… I keep telling myself I’ve done the right thing and kudos to myself for having the courage to stand and fight back and eventually leave. Now all I have to do is believe I am safe.
Meet Lizzy. She’s a survivor.
Once upon a time, there were a lot of them. There was Tommy, Abigail, Lucy, the gypsy triplets Scheherazade, Esmeralda, and Aurora, the English one Emily, Annie the country girl, Mollie the baby and a lot more but I have forgotten their names already.
Out of the 27 pieces of antique porcelain dolls in my collection, she alone escaped the wrath of my ex-husband when during one of his drunken episodes he decided to murder all of them using a screwdriver. He stabbed them one by one right in the face. One doll I found his weapon of choice still buried deep in one eye. Luckily he passed out before he could damage my beloved Lizzy. The reason? He got none aside from his opinion that I loved the dolls more than him and spent more time in their company than in his.
It reminds me of the time he flushed my goldfish down the toilet and let out my parakeets in the middle of the winter, killed the giant pothos his late grandmother had given me, removing the leaves one by one until there was nothing left but the climbing pole for exactly the same reason: They took so much of my time he said. Well, it’s all water under the bridge now.
Lizzy’s face neck and chest together with her arms and legs are made of porcelain and the only doll in my collection who has movable joints. I love her big innocent sorrowful chocolate brown eyes, baby limbs, and pouty lips, her traditional attire too. When I finally had the courage to walked out from the hell house, I took nothing but the clothes on my back and Lizzy.
You can read the rest of our journey to freedom here.
We moved to a much smaller house in the suburb two years ago after selling our six bedroom Edwardian property in the country. The place was too big for just the two of us. It was a hell to clean and even more difficult to heat up properly. Period houses are money pits that demand bottomless pockets and tireless enthusiasm from the owners. We found out we lack the dedication and the courage to keep up.
Moving the contents of a bigger space to a smaller one proved to be impossible. We get rid of all the furniture and sold most of the trimmings. The ones that nobody wanted to buy, we donated to charity, but still our new garage is full to the brim it is an ordeal to navigate in there. Day by day we try to sort things out, keep what we need and get rid of the rest. I found out that those that carry emotional values are the ones that hard to say goodbye to, I still have bunch of silk flowers and plants lined up on a top of a big picnic table together with vases, candles and candle holders, figurines, books, albums, videos and cds. Throwing them away is like throwing all your experiences, deleting your past life, erasing your memories. As if you trying to start fresh as someone else.
The other day I opened one of the boxes to sort out and I found this small yellow stone on top of a pile of ledgers from previous courses. It has very fine yellow crystals, probably quartz. They shimmer under a light or in the sun. The stone is beautifully nondescript and unusually singular. I never seen another stone like it. But what makes it more special is the story behind it and the person who gave it to me.
Arjay was just a boy from the neighborhood. One of those children who accompany me wherever I go whether I like it or not. He was the first to jump in a tricycle if I was about to go somewhere, most of the times without permission from his parents. Only now I did realize the seriousness of the situation. I was the only adult among them. I was solely responsible for their safety and well beings. Those minors who hiked, swim, climbed waterfalls and rooftops, spent overnight in the mountains with me were vulnerable. Anything could happen and what then? But that time, those thoughts were the last things in my mind. To me, I was in vacation, my time was limited, every second counts. I have to make the most of it and I savor every moment without thinking of the consequences and there were few. Nothing serious. More damaging to my reputation than anything else. I gladly took those too. Who cares about what other people think when I know the truth.
Among those youngsters who followed me around was Arjay, a cute enthusiastic kid who was small for his age. I thought he was ten- twelve years old, I was surprised to find out later on that he was two years older than I originally assumed, he was fourteen. One time we were sleeping in the house of one of my Godmother’s boarders in the mountains when in the middle of the night I found Arjay staring at me, his face inches away from mine. His presence was not the reason why I suddenly woke up, it was the noises that the other boarders were making that aroused me from my slumber; they said Arjay was trying to kiss me. I thought it was a joke (what else it could be?) and shrugged it off but when it happened again and again I asked his mother what was the matter with Arjay, she said he had nightmares sometimes. I was so relief to finally get some explanation of what was happening with him. The kid had nightmares. No wonder he was acting strange.
He continued to to be part of my vacation each year since then. If we were at some party and I got tired and wanted to lie down, he will suddenly got a headache and insisted on being in the same room or bed with me. Luckily there was another kid who kept an eye on Arjay (or me) and every time he saw that Arjay was acting strange again he will see to it that he was in the same room with us. If I leave he goes with me, if Arjay goes, he stays. Kids.
I didn’t know the whole story and I didn’t ask for the reason why one day the kid asked Arjay to settle their differences by fighting it out. According to him Arjay was unrespectful and what he was doing was wrong. I don’t understand but I find that it’s not my place to ask and leave it at that. As far as I know, Arjay didn’t accept the challenge which was a relief because they were both good kids. I would hate to be in the middle of adolescents conflict and the last thing I would want to do is to choose sides. Their mothers are both my Godmothers. They were like brothers to me.
My mother died and I stop going home. I have no reason anymore to comeback so I lost sight of the bunch. I saw their profiles on Facebook, they are grown ups now and some of them are married and have family of their own. Arjay got married just last month. He has become a good looking young man like I thought he is going to be. Still small but presentable. I made a mistake of connecting with them a year ago and regretted in an instance my decision when I was bombarded with personal messages and telephone numbers. I quickly turned off my profile and never returned the messages. Personal contact isn’t my cup of tea and rekindling past relationships doesn’t set good with me. I rather leave the past in the past so it stays that way and I am able to visit whatever it is in my memory whenever I feel the need to do so. I find that tampering with what has been taint the memories somehow, ruining the good part and altering if not erasing the original stories. I rather remember them how they were and keep what we had the way it was than risk changing the impression they left in my recollection of the good old days when all of us were still innocent and young…
This song sums up my past affairs (yes affairs plural) and for the most part, the greatest times of my life. They are echos now, but those brief moments had given me unforgettable memories I often revisit when I need a place to hide or something to sustains me when the weather is bad the company dull the evenings dark and the morning cold.
Daily Prompt: Sincere
When I was young, despite our reduced circumstances, I always find Christmas the most exciting time of the year; better than New Year which is always dominated by extreme noises and possible fireworks casualties. I remember going from house to house all over town wishing the occupants merry Christmas and in return, you will get small change or sometimes a meal. A privilege reserved only for children. As an adult, it is seen as morally wrong doing the same thing.
I had a small pink plastic piggy bank for my holiday coins. All the cents I gathered on my tour, I put in there. It helped for the rest of the year when I needed money for school projects or to buy snacks during recess so, I will not feel left out and different from other kids. When my coins were finished, I put white wildflowers in the slot of my piggy bank; it looked good in my playhouse, just like a flower vase.
But the Christmas I will never forget was when I was a freshman. After 11 years of managing the fishpond, my father found himself in dispute with the owner. Proud as my father was, he rather dragged us down the drain than give into something which was against his principles; we found ourselves homeless overnight.
Out of desperation, lacked of other immediate resources and nowhere else to go, my father built a one-room shack just outside the perimeter of the fishpond (how stupid and embarrassing that was, but I believe if he didn’t think about us, I have a very strong notion that he rather pack his bags and move to another town very far away from our then current location – he done this before – and never come back. But as it were, he swallowed his high pride and settled us in temporarily) you can read the rest of the story in details here.
That particular Christmas eve we locked our door early and tried not to hear the merriment outside, pretending we were asleep; in the dark, I can hear my stomach growling, we didn’t eat supper that night but no one complained. We all suffered in silence.
Out of a sudden I heard someone calling my name outside, my father put his finger on his lips and gestured for me not to open the door; I went back to my place.
But the person outside the door kept knocking and calling wishing us the usual holiday greeting and begging me to please open the door.
After a while, my father gave in and allowed me to see our visitor.
When I opened the door, I was surprised to see Macedonio; he was one of the seven brothers who just moved to our village couple of years ago.
I remember when we were still living in the fish pond; he initiated an introduction between his brothers, me and my siblings by purposely landing a big kite in the middle of our place, which was separated from the rest of the neighbourhood by an electric fence. He managed to convince my father to let them in to retrieve their kite, the rest is history.
Macedonio courted me briefly till my father (as always) pointed him to the fact that I was still underage and will not be available for such things until I’m 100 years old or so. He remained a trusted friend of the family as well as his other brothers who for some reasons don’t look like each other. Not a single resemblance. As if they are handpicked from different places and by some chance ended up together as one family. I have never seen more good-looking young boys in my time than Macedonio and his siblings.
Opening the door finding him standing there smiling at me was a (pleasant) surprise. He was wearing his usual lopsided grin which if I was more experienced that time, I will recognize as designed to melt every girl’s heart. But I wasn’t. What caught my attention was the enormous plate he was holding full of Christmas delights. There was a mountain of pancit, a loaf of bread, suman, kalamay, sinukmani, half of a fried chicken and rice cakes! I looked at him full of disbelief! Still smiling, eyes twinkling, he poked his head inside and looked around. When he saw that my father wasn’t looking; he gave me a peck on the cheek and said: “Merry Christmas you gorgeous.” He winked at me before turning his back and disappearing into the night. I was left flabbergasted.
He must have been aware of our situation (not much one can hide in a small village like ours) and how kindhearted of him to think about us in that time of the year and provide us with a holiday meal without hurting the sensitive pride of my father. Bless the people like him. Not only for making our Christmas unforgettable but restoring my fate in humanity…
Do you remember the time you were serenading me across the street on your knees while your friends were hovering in the background encouraging you? How about purposely throwing away important basketball matches simply because you thought I was more concerned about Jethro’s game injuries than yours?
You were so childish. You were only 17 after all. But it was not an enough excuse to behave like a four year old. Remember, you only going to ride in a vehicle if it is maroon, fairly new and with sound system on board? How about the times you refused to leave a mall arcade unless you get an ice cream sundae? You know why I tolerated you as much? Because I thought your mother was a friend of mine. Well, she was; until…
Did you forget already that you got so angry with me because I didn’t wait for you to come home from school so we can go to the cinema and watch Titanic? I went with Leo instead. You must know that I am not the type to wait. I have my own schedule and it doesn’t stand still for anyone. Not even you.
You were full of yourself. You demand constant attention from everyone and will do anything to get it. Like disturbing a team meeting by coming so late, singing a song while putting off your shirt. Or ringing me hundred times a night till my brother had enough and hanged up the phone on you.
I don’t know why you did those things, you lived just across the street from me, your bedroom was facing mine, and I could even see you while you were making those calls.
Do you think singing: “There was a time in my life when I open my eyes and there you are” at 4:00 in the morning was cute? No, it was not!
Louie cannot appreciate (who can?) that you kept scandalizing us whenever you saw us together. Hindi ka nakakatuwa, even when you waited for hours outside our gate because I refused to talk to you.
Probably the only thing you did right was when you invited me to dinner on Valentines Day and gave me… ah-hum…roses and sang a song for me. But you made so much drama out of it that it eclipsed whatever good intention you might had.
People found strange that you had to interrupt the performer in the middle of her repertoire to ask for the microphone so you can blurt out “Remember me” by Renz Verano, and Jesus! You could not even sing!
When you stood up to offer me the flowers in exchange for a peak on the cheek you got applause from everybody, and that seemed to encourage you to act up further. Every time I reached for your gift, you re-tract your hand and hid it behind your back just to repeat your infantile performance over and over again.
I wanted to walk out; leave you there on your own; but one of us had to be an adult and it will never be you.
It didn’t end well between us, isn’t it? I should not have taken you to court for harassment, but you left me no choice! The concept of “no is no” was not only unheard of but totally not acceptable for you. I know that you are used to getting what you want all the time, but I am not like everybody else; I can only tolerate that much. Enough is enough.
When you started calling my name in the videoke almost every night and you didn’t return a piece of my personal clothing you took without me knowing… then I knew it was time for me to do the right thing; teach you a lesson.
Your mom will never forgive me, I know that. Her ego could not take that someone would dare to defy her and shame your elite influential family. Well, I guess you all didn’t know me. Nobody but nobody can intimidate yours truly. At least, your brother understood, and why not? He knows you after all.
I heard you didn’t make it to UAAP, you become an engineer instead.
And I am right about your daddy am I not?
Another blow on the carefully staged image of your mother.
If only she had believed me then.
Anyway, all water under the bridge now. But they say you still the same, still treating women like your MVP trophies. I can believe it.
The last time I saw you, you greeted me as if it was only yesterday. You even tried to stop me from walking away from you by grabbing my wrist.
You’re lucky I didn’t smack you right on the face. It will probably wipe off that perpetual smug look on it. Kudos though, you can read expression now. No need for me to say something. One look from me and you let go of my arm. I can’t forget the disbelief that was written on your face while I was walking away. You read it right, I DON’T DO THE SAME MISTAKE TWICE.
Since I I left my home country along, long time ago,
I miss a lot of things, the food, the sounds, the ambiance and the weather…
The way the rain feels on my skin when I run around the beach,
My hair flapping in the wind or drying in a gentle breeze.
My father with his fishing net, my mother cooking our favorite food,
My siblings playing with each other while I was pretending to be a pirate…
Chickens running everywhere, we had a dozen of loyal dogs,
They were guarding the property, day and night, hail and storm.
Up until now till forever my favorite food is seafood,
I grew up surrounded with crabs, shrimps, lobsters, fish and scallops…
Meat was then foreign to us we had it only on Sundays,
If we’re lucky we feast on it, on New Year’s eve or Christmas dinner.
Life was hard, we didn’t have too much of material things,
we had couple of blankets, selfmade pillows, plastic cups, plates and saucers…
Table and chairs we never had, no TV, phone or computer,
But we owned a transistor radio, my father’s most prized possession.
Now I have a lot of things, I owned a couple of houses,
A manor in the country side and a modern cottage in the suburb…
We ride the latest model of Gran Turismo 3 BMW
And on the side we also have a jeep GLC Mercedes (I have pictures, it’s not exaggerated)
But I will exchange my life now if I can go back then,
I will gladly switch existence with my former self without a second thought…
Only it is impossible I now long established here,
I get used to the luxurious life I bet I cannot survive there.
But the most important is my children are here with me,
The only positive outcome of my disastrous previous marriage…
I cannot leave them no matter what, they are my joy and my pride,
I want to see them get married, have children, be successful and fall in -love.
So, in my head I will go back to that place in my memory,
When everything was so simple and life was happy and carefree…
I will hold onto the feelings, the sensation and the flavor,
Of long forgotten years when I was young, innocent, sweet and healthy…
A song comes on the radio and instantly, you’re transported to a different time and place. Which song(s) bring back memories for you and why? Be sure to mention the song, and describe the memory it evokes.
Wow! This particular prompt is popular. By the time I came back from hiking (around 20:43) and saw it, there was already 212 people responded to the challenge that I had some momentary doubt if it is still worth adding mine to the list. But I thought: why not? What I’ve got to lose? The worst thing that could happen is nobody like it and even then…
Okay, enough chit-chat, let’s start answering the prompt.
Like I said before, I don’t listen to music unless it evokes certain feelings, people, places and memories; otherwise they are just plain noise to me. A little intermission: while I was writing this there was a big fly trapped inside the window panes and it was making too much sounds I had to chase and kill it. Excuse me for a minute while I attend to the matter at hand. Be right back.
That was taken care of nicely. Where are we? Ah, songs I listen to which evoke memories… I’ll always love you by Michael Johnson. It reminds me of the night of my birthday about eleven years ago when I was dancing with someone in our terrace without music. Instead, he was singing that song softly in my ear.
What else? Ordinary song by Mark Velasco… the night Monday failed to study for his mid-term exam because he was singing that song to me while strumming his guitar. We were sitting on the floor of the boarding house at one o’clock in the morning, back against the wall, he was half naked (I didn’t know why exactly) just looking into each other eyes.
Here I am by Air Supply. The time I broke up with someone because he had acquired a tattoo without telling me first and I hate guys who treat their bodies like paper. Few days later I was at my friend’s house and she dialed the phone. I thought she was calling someone (and indeed I was right ) for herself, then she passed me the horn and the first thing I heard was the song, my ex-boyfriend came on the phone afterwards and asked me if like it, the next day we’re back together. But not for long…
Now for the real deal it got to be Heaven by Bryan Adams. I can’t say much because of privacy matters of all the people concerned. All I can say is: just like the song “but how can I forget you, when there is always something there to remind me…
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