The Father of My Son

This one I’ve been meaning to write for a long time for the benefit of my son who never knew much about his father. It’s been more than 10 years since we last saw him. I believe I owe my son this post. He’s 20 now and perhaps, if he’d come across this piece in the near future, he’d already have acquired more awareness to discern some of life’s complexities and thus be able to understand more or less what happened in our past.

My son and I never talked much about the man who was once a huge part of our lives. Vague and hazy memories are all he’s got. We reckon we’ve got more important things to do than talk about the man who extricated himself and took the easy way out by totally disappearing in our lives. Nonetheless, I believe he deserves to know some things about his Dad, and our history together as a couple.         

There have been more than fine memories I still keep of the one I married and loved for ten years. We met at work when I was still hacking it out in the accounting field of the international firm Data General Philippines. Quiet and reserved like me. Practical minded. Unassuming. Passionate and sweet. That’s my ex-husband, whose personality isn’t different from the shrinking violet that I am. And somewhere between our 20s and silly eccentricities, we fell in love. Once upon a time.

Apart from him, I’ve never been loved as much by any other man or received as much romantic ardor and affection. I remember the heady days when he’d call to ask me to meet him up so we could simply take a stroll around the neighborhood hand in hand.

He could cook and was the one who whipped up various dishes for our meals (I never liked cooking by the way), and he took care of me at certain times when I got sick.

I also remember during a particular lean time in our finances when we met out of the blue one morning outside my parent’s house. I told him I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet so I was feeling hungry. He proceeded to search for the last remaining coins inside his pockets to buy me pieces of bread that I could munch on from a nearby store. I believe the bread got tastier then because of that particular display of caring he had shown me.

We’d also hang around inside the mall until late at night when the movie clerks stationed outside would finally go home and we’d run and sneak inside the movie house, giggling all the way, to watch the movie for free.

Certainly a few memories I’ve treasured of our simple fun and sweetness as a twosome.

Every weekend, we would meet in his sister’s rest house located in a peaceful suburban village and spend the whole day basking in the glow of our love for each other.

Good times, good times..                  

Months of passionate trysts on end went by until one day I mysteriously got sick. It was aggregated by a high fever for a couple of days, some vomiting and just feeling terrible.

My sister asked me pointblank, “Are you pregnant?”

“Of course not!” was my quick and bewildered reply.  Honestly, that probability never entered my mind but I soon rushed to him and together we proceeded to the nearest maternity hospital for some test.

Result: Positive. OMG..

We had been careful and did our best to follow the calendar method. How could it have happened?  

We weren’t ready for anything like parenthood and responsibility yet. We weren’t even sure we were truly the Right Ones for each other.

In the end, we decided to have the baby and got married in a civil ceremony. The officer who performed the rites joked about my ex-husband’s cold hands after shaking hands with him. Only his brother and aunt had been present to serve as witnesses. Oh by the way, he belonged to another religion.

Looking back, difference in religion could have factored considerably in the demise of our marriage. I am a Catholic, though not a practicing one. His family had been generations-long members of the second most powerful religion in our country that has been considered quite clannish and tribal by many. They have repeatedly asked me to join their Church. All I managed to do was attend and sit out at some worship services and that was it. I guess you all know by now, I can’t possibly bring myself to do or join anything that doesn’t feel natural for me.

In the course of time, he managed to make one thing quite clear. His mother and siblings would always come first. My son and I could only come second. He reasoned they needed him more. I guess he inferred his immediate family was more of a sure thing in his twilight years than my son and I combined. He could have also realized I was capable of bringing up our child on my own after all. That fact apparently granted him the audacity to pursue his own goals that don’t include my son and me.

He worked in the Middle East intermittently as a contractual electrical engineer. But everything he earned went to his family, that is, his mom and siblings. I’ve always been capable of earning my own money so I didn’t ask for his share, though I got increasingly frustrated that he didn’t make any attempt to pitch in. How come there was no way for me to detect these ominous elements earlier in our relationship?

As time went by, our stark differences took a more profound shape as well. It’s like we each belonged to disparate worlds. Our dissimilarities in choice of leisure activities became more pronounced. He branded my tastes in TV programs, movies, reading and music as being uppity and was never able to relate much to the literary leanings I had had.

I guess he had wanted me to share in the glee with the things that gave him amusement. I tried but couldn’t be genuinely upbeat doing it. A huge stone of discontent had come to lodge in our relationship as it slowly dawned on both of us how different our preferences were in many ways.

There could have been recognition too on his part that I’m not that much of a wife material, the kind that he needed in his life. Perhaps I might have been the wife that made sense only on paper but not from day to day in its domestic essence.

To his credit, he had been faithful in the years we were together as husband and wife. I never had to confront with the perils of infidelity or grappled with a skirt-chasing husband during our union.

Before our marriage completely came unglued, we got to see less and less of him until he drifted away for good. There was not even a final farewell from him.

That was a little more than ten years ago, when my son was barely 10 years old.

My son’s idiosyncrasies and occasional flash of outburst now is sometimes reminiscent of the man I once loved. Whenever that happens, I can’t help but go “Oh, it’s his father alright” in my mind. A father’s blood will run eternally in his child’s veins.

This is my side of the story. My ex-husband’s side will never come to light because I have a feeling we’ll never see him again. Whatever reasons he might have had for his unconscionable deed of turning his back on his son carry no weight upon me anymore. Besides, we’ve fared just fine.

 Maybe he’s in a very far away land now or, for all I know, he may already be in another dimension… There’s a chance I will never get to know for sure and frankly, I’m fine with that.

And so is my son it seems.

 

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14 thoughts on “The Father of My Son

  1. It’s his loss, for turning his back on something that could have been the best thing in his life. Nevertheless, you still have to thank him for even if it didn’t work out, he once made you happy and best of all, he gave you your son. 🙂

    • I agree. I mean, about having my son as the best thing that came out of that union. My experience is also a testament how love can’t guarantee us anything much in life. That what seems so real today might not be a sure thing tomorrow. But we can always seize the exuberance of the moment before it fades away.
      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on this post.

      • Yes, I definitely agree. Even if I haven’t been in too many relationships (in fact, I only had one), I’ve already known that what may seem to be everything right now, could be nothing tomorrow.

        You’re welcome. I like your posts, they’re really good and it really makes me realize a lot of things. Thanks for sharing them. 🙂

  2. As a man who has suffered significantly in his own life for not always seeing how fortunate he was to share even a brief time in this life with someone he loved, I must confess that we men often long for the unreachable star in the distance, blinded by its brilliant light, and miss the warmth and light that exists right in front of us. The experience of loss is universal, but each of us suffers in our own way, and I do not pretend to know how you have suffered from your experience.

    But I can assure you, even though you may never know personally, that the father of your son has suffered greatly in losing the life he once had with you and your son. Your love for your son is a gift of immeasurable value, and sharing your story as you have is courageous, It is heart wrenching to read, but illuminating in a very important way. Great post!

    • We know we’ve got to embrace suffering as part of life. Still, the pain I went through then was something I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
      I can’t extol enough on the healing virtues of time though, and somehow we have to come back to write the stories that once lived or still live in our hearts.
      Thank you for your comforting words, John.

  3. It’s his loss. He’ll never get a chance to know how much you valued what you had, nor to see his son grow up into a man. Again, the hindsight. 🙂 Beautifully expressed I really enjoyed this story and love your visual writing style. I hope you and your kid are doing well.

    • Your hindsights are becoming more and more valuable to me, Pete. 🙂 No kidding.
      I’m glad that you liked this one. I confess I’m not in the habit of rereading my “life sagas” I’ve already posted here. They make me wince in embarrassment for their absolute verity and exposed sentiments. But discovering blogs like yours that tell of the humanness and beauty of both our conventional and quaint lives have been inspiring.
      Thank you.

  4. I was struck by how extreme your ex-husband’s behavior seemed to be: He sent all of his money to his mother and siblings. He completely disappeared from your lives. Yet he was apparently a sensitive person who couldn’t bear to see you hungry. “Passionate and sweet,” you wrote. It’s almost as though he was two different people.

    • My sentiments exactly for most of the last decade, Charles.
      This could be the greatest mystery in my life that would never get unravelled. 🙂
      I was told there could have been another woman in the picture (something I never attempted to find out) but I don’t know..
      Regardless, I had wanted to lay bare here both the good and the not-so-good angles of our union the way I still remember them.

      • WS, a number of factors played in the demise of my marriage. I had a feeling then it wouldn’t last forever, although his totally disappearing on our child was the startling blow I failed to grasp. My ex-husband remains to be the sweetest guy I’ve ever met. But there is this one thing I learned from all this: His kind does not necessarily make life-long spouses.

      • I’ve wondered sometimes if maybe I fall into the category of “not husband/father” material. Definitely got a bit of “Peter Pan Syndrome” going on, and I might be too much of a loner. Hard to say… I waited a long time to get married, and then it was a short-lived disaster.

      • I believe some people aren’t meant to be part of a couple. Sharing your life with someone involves a lot of compromise, sacrifice, and forgiveness. I, for one, may not be the type who’s willing to bring forth or undergo all of them for the whole duration of my adult years. 🙂

        I hope you’ll get to write about your married life experience someday.

      • Yeah, I may be the same way. I sometimes think it’s best for everyone that I’ve been single all my life, despite how much I also wish there was someone in my life. The latter may be a greener grass thing… I’ve had a fair number of serious relationships, but none have lasted. That must mean something.

        I’m not sure I’ll ever write much about my marriage; not for years, anyway. That would involve details about someone who is still contemporary in my life. (I think the days of interaction are behind us now, but she’s still “around” in some sense.) Perhaps more to the point, those details still fall on the “not living my life online” side of the line.

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