Our marital union took place in a simple civil ceremony inside the Manila city hall middle of December. The day after, my new husband, who was still living with his family, arrived at the house where I was staying. We didn’t have a place of our own yet; I was also still sheltered under my parents’ abode. And I was five months pregnant.
It was supposed to be a tranquil afternoon for the two of us – a fine afternoon to relish our time, now as husband and wife, together. We were lying in bed, relaxing, when he said these words: “Now that we’re married, I should know everything I need to know.”
(Jeesuz, what is it this time?) “What are you implying?”
“A solid relationship is built on being open with the facts about each other’s lives – both past and present.”
Twisted premise it is, I thought in secret. An inconspicuous dismissal would be the wisest move to make; I chose to be quiet. For more than a year, I had endured his subtle display of outbursts due to his irrational jealousies; him once coming face-to-face with my ex-boyfriend, Vern, and him being suspicious of the men I merely chatted with. This is no time to feed one more round of his particular neurotic tendency.
It didn’t stop there, though. He got up and proceeded to search for something inside my room. “What are you doing?” I asked.
“I’ve had this notion there’s something in here for me to find.”
“Oh help yourself then,” I dared nonchalantly.
A lot of books and notebooks were in my possession. The “one” he could be searching for was hidden in a location I was sure he wouldn’t be able to spot. He kept on looking, nonetheless, in earnest — opening every shelf, drawer, closet; rummaging around my stuff – and did so until late into the night. I felt tired and went to sleep. Throughout my slumber, I’d open my eyes only to see him still going through my things relentlessly; I’d close my eyes again.
It was already morning when I finally woke up. My eyes stumbled onto my husband across who was sitting on the floor; he seemed not to have slept at all. And he was sitting…holding something. Something unexpected…
He was holding and reading the diary he was not supposed to find.
Panic rose up inside me and I started feeling sick in the stomach. But I decided to appear calm as I moved to climb out of bed. Acting cool was my only shield left.
He looked up at me and stood up. The room started to feel like hell.
Slowly and carefully, he enunciated the words from an entry in my diary I made some two years ago. “It says here: I made love to Leon on Saturday. The very next day, I went to bed with Vern.”
Speechless, I headed towards the door, avoiding his gaze, while my mind echoed, “This can’t be happening.” I departed from our bedroom and went down the stairs to put distance between us. A few minutes later, he came down as well and left the house without saying goodbye.
He called me on the phone later – just to give vent to how much he hated me. He almost yelled pointing out that he loved me — what the f%#k gave me the nerve to commit what I had done, he demanded to know.
I explained to him that during that “specified period” in my diary Vern and I were still in a relationship. But I had fallen in love with him (Leon, my eventual spouse), and made my choice. As to the day I broke up with Vern, well, I made the mistake of having “break-up sex” with the man.
Our phone conversation ended in bitterness. The next day, my mother talked to me. She said my husband had called earlier and told her everything – like a schoolboy reporting to the school principal how his classmate did him wrong.
I received an earful from my mother and she concluded her diatribe with the remark, “You should have thrown that diary in the first place.” She, of course, went ahead to narrate my “story” to the rest of the family.
I must have cried that day – mostly out of embarrassment that my family learned of a very private matter concerning a previous deed of mine that should have never been disclosed for good. I wasn’t angry at myself for retaining a record of what had been transpiring in my life. I was rather angry at my husband. Because he found my diary.
It was late in that afternoon when my husband surfaced again. Upon seeing him in the garage, I ran upstairs. I was upset. He caught up with me. I primed myself for another confontation but, to my surprise, he embraced me instead. He said he had talked to his brother about the whole thing (Oh my God, I reckoned: so now the whole world knows). His brother, who was a witness to our wedding, advised him to let go of the past. That we should begin our new life together – especially for the sake of the child we were about to have soon.
“We’re going to be okay. Things are going to be okay.” He reassured me while he kept enfolding me in his arms. I embraced him back…and could only strive to believe him with all my heart.