oh my heart

I don’t want to write him back. I can’t be another one on a long string of pearls. But I miss him. I hate love…

You’re still in it. You’ll always be in it. No, not literally. But in your heart. Nothing ever ends, not if it’s gone that deep. You’ll always be walking wounded. That’s the only choice, after a while. Walking wounded, or dead.

Julian Barnes, from The Only Story

Yes yes, Mr. Barnes couldn’t have said it better.

I should just look forward to go traveling again. Even though I have no more money. 😀

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musings on a very hot busy summer day

Beware: Stark honesty ahead.

I keep on saying I like men in general. I admit though the self-centeredness could get so appalling at times. All the males here basically wanted their egos to be constantly stroked. It’s tiring sometimes but I enjoy the patting most of the time. It’s what we women are good at.

My current apple of the eye, although generally a good man, is someone who seems to be basking in his social media fame over the attention he gets from very young ladies and, uh, girls. Imagining about it, considering his age, makes me go “Eew” but, you know, I need the inspiration and I won’t be able to write anything nor be productive if I dwell on such an unpleasant reality. (Of course my insecurity is apparent right this moment — what middle-aged woman doesn’t feel this way?) We are all flawed. And I am being judged no doubt too by the people I’ve interacted with here who’ve been surely disappointed by my foibles and mediocrity.

I’ll be totally honest in saying I’m glad to have found him and I like “loving” this poet cum librarian because he’s not really a mean person. His FB friends (duh, I looked at his profile) had expressed the man has got a golden heart — how refreshing, for a change. Because I’d had it with intellectuals who were frighteningly insulting and verbally abusive.

I also need this kind of distraction…badly. When I lie down to sleep at night, I remember the ones I’ve lost — especially the most recent one. I miss her despite the fact she didn’t love me. And I’m reminded of how I could have been a better daughter to her — which I chose not to be, because she had hurt me so much. I don’t have a golden heart, yeah…

I’m enjoying both the poetry readings and my piteous poetic attempts, to boot. I guess I’ll be staying in this realm for good. Reading and writing. With or without the men. Brokenhearted or not, I’ll find a way when the time comes my present “love” is not worth being my Muse anymore.

Anyway, these have been my sentiments and ponderings as of late.

in Wilderswil Switzerland last December. Up close, I don’t look that young: Of course I use an app to erase a few lines; I’m now in my 50’s, fyi. But people say I’m still beautiful –face to face–in person, and I fucking believe it. Hah! 🙂

the woman my father loved (emended): my autobiography 7

Originally published: Aug 25, 2016

Because I saw him irregularly when I was a child, my longing for my father’s love and physical presence was a mainstay throughout my long youthful episode. His constant absence at home intensified my deep devotion to him. Papa’s actual residence became an enduring mystery to me — as much as his whereabouts which I felt sure nobody really knew, not even his first legal family. “Where does his heart find loyal shelter?” Secretly, I might’ve been carrying the notion there was a third woman in the picture — another woman whom my father trusted could provide the right cushion for a full rest down of his body and spirit after the night had fallen. A notion of mine which the years to come would prove to be true.

Fast forward to more than a dozen years:

Her name was Lucrecia. Both her looks and her intelligence were nothing to write home about. Unsophisticated, uneducated – unmistakably a native from some faraway province.

But it was her character or perhaps her bearings that won my hidden admiration: her strength, diligence, resourcefulness, attentiveness. Knowing my father, I wasn’t surprised she turned out to be the kind of woman he was proud of. Their partnership began when she became his all-around assistant at the nightclub he used to own. They were together for the longest years. 

But it was a love put to an end by the complexity of our family situation.

Somehow my mother was able to convince my sister Lucrecia’s daily visits and presence in the house to look after my ailing father were ruining her image to the neighbors. The issue of money got in the way, too, as my sister had all the authority; the dispute between them got uglier and uglier. I had to remain civil in my dealings with Lucrecia and kept my distance so as not to add to the convoluted condition and out of fear I’d earn the combined wrath of my mom and my sister.

My sis and my mother made the joint sudden and final resolution to ban Lucrecia from the house. The latter had to give in but not without a fight (taking her case to the municipal hall). The outcome: She was given an amount of cash as settlement. She had no choice but to completely stay away from the man she loved and took care of for four decades or more.

My father, who was bedridden had no inkling as to the events that were taking place. I was told to be tight-lipped about the reason for Lucrecia’s unexpected disappearance. My sister persuaded me Lucrecia’s permanent absence would be best for our father and the rest of us. Since my voice had been deemed weightless for as long as I could remember, it’d be futile to go against their decision. And I had my own drama to deal with as a single parent caring for a sickly child and all. I was fed up with my own circumstances and tried to find solace at whatever temporary pleasures that would come my way. I also wanted to be happy, not be miserable due to this incessant flesh and blood theatricals. I myself couldn’t understand what I’d been feeling and going through. Yes, excuses that I have come to regret and currently pay for.

I never saw Lucrecia again.

I could sense how it broke my father’s heart so much. He thought Lucrecia simply got tired and abandoned him. I couldn’t tell him. His knowing the truth would be pointless. It’d devastate him, not to mention the family feud would escalate and things could only have gotten worse. His downward spiral, however, began as he moved on to heavy alcohol consumption; which my sister, my brother, and my mother came to allow – he was in his late 80’s anyway, they rationalized. I bid him to stop drinking, but he expressed his wish to end his life. He was clearly committing suicide.

***

Except on Father’s Day, nobody else really comes to visit my father’s grave. I have no idea what has happened to Lucrecia. She would visit from time to time if she had known. She must not know for sure where the love of her life now rests in peace.

 

One Proud Mom Although… (emended) My Autobiography 6

Originally Published: April 17, 2014

It’s of utmost pleasure on my part to reveal here my son placed 2nd overall in the recent Board Exam for Electronics and Communications Engineers. People have congratulated me; they said I must have done something right in bringing him up singlehandedly. That made me feel good.

His success in the national exam was actually the outcome of several months of his commitment to diligent studying. In addition, he has always felt passionate about his field. His father was into the technical profession, too, by the way. Like father, like son.

Before starting his college studies I had expressed my wish that he take up Music instead. My son is also a talented pianist and guitarist. I made sure he had the best training at playing those musical instruments in his childhood and teenage years. I’ve been a firm believer that Science and Maths are the tools for living while Music and the rest of the Arts are the reasons for living.

Nonetheless, he was adamant in his selection to become a full-fledged engineer someday. I backed down.

Six years later, here we are. I am beaming with pride. I’m happy with the results, of course. My son seems to have made the correct choice.

DSC02792

But I am here not just to tell you how proud I am of my son. It isn’t my style sugarcoating my reality. A spirit in pain is also hiding behind my smiles in our photos. For he and I are currently undergoing a difficult period in our lives. I am still hoping it’s an evanescent phase for both of us.

There’s a downside to having a child who’s endowed with way academic strength than his progenitor. Suddenly, nothing I say seems to matter anymore. Suddenly, there’s nothing left for me to do but take a backseat. It’s as if any contribution or suggestion on my part is necessary no more. So I just keep reminding myself oh yes he already turned 22 this April.

This made me ruminate on the following parental guidelines I’ve subscribed to for so long: Do your best for your child. Show him unconditional love. Make sure that he knows how much he matters to you, etc. I did my damnedest to follow them all. Now I realized all those loads of advice…are total crap. Nothing in life is guaranteed. No relationship maxim – even between mother and child – from whatever sphere on this planet, is a sure thing.

You might think I must have done something not right that brought about this predicament. I do own up to not being the perfect parent and to having committed some mistakes along the way. But God knows how hard I tried. How hard I really tried. And only God knows how much I have loved my only child. The love which made me swear to all the angels in heaven I’d be a much better parent at raising my child than my own parents combined in rearing me. I had thought I was succeeding through all the years my son was growing up. He appeared to be turning out finer and finer each passing day – at the same time that I’d been clinging to the notion the bond cementing us would be stronger than steel.

Nowadays, I keep on questioning my performance as a mother and asking myself what went wrong. Or I might’ve deserved this because I hadn’t exactly been an ideal daughter to my parents either.

Still, how poignant it is to discern I have failed in everything. Motherhood, I had promised myself, would be my redemption: The one thing, I thought, I could do well in life. How could I have been so mistaken.

After the oathtaking ceremony, my family and I went to a restaurant for a quiet celebration. During dinner, while my son was occupied shooting the breeze with his cousins, my mother and my siblings took time to ponder and talk about the situation.

“It’s hard having an only child, I guess.” I conveyed in somberness to them.

My sister responded, “No. You just had it hard being the only parent.”

Women Kicking Men’s Ass, in the Movies, that is (emended&edited)

Originally Published: January 28, 2012

 

“I am the deadliest woman on this planet.” Beatrix Kiddo declared as she flaunts a stony look in Quentin Tarantino’s outstanding action-packed film “Kill Bill.” It’s the ultimate line I wish I could deliver in equal stoic fashion — sans the subsequent chuckle.

Kill Bill, Salt, Resident Evil, Matrix trilogy, Charlie’s Angels and most recently, Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire starring female martial arts expert Gina Carano all feature sexy, beautiful, smart ladies you can’t mess around with. Such a thrill to watch these movies depicting formidable kick-ass women.

Lucy Liu’s graceful nevertheless dangerous moves in her slam-bang movie with Antonio Banderas “Ballistic:Ecks vs Sever” held my complete attention. Ditto for Daryll Hannah’s malevolence as Elle Driver in all her ice-cold lethal charm in “Kill Bill.”

One thing though, majority of the movies of this genre have the hardest time convincing me the ladies could physically battle and defeat single-handedly an all-male batallion. Uma Thurman’s acting might be convincingly tough but she looked skinny and frail. Yet she was able to maim nearly a hundred samurais dressed in suits who were all below her height and who moved hysterically with their swords like queer little men possessed by ogre spirits. Oh please don’t get me wrong – I’m a fan of Quentin Tarantino and “Kill Bill” is an all-time favorite of mine.

Evelyn Salt – played by the slender-figured Angelina Jolie – engaged in some judo karate combating burly CIA agents. Cool. Though while watching, my mind was like “Yeah right…next thing we know, she’d be lifting an eight-wheeler truck using just one arm.”

Exceptionally entertaining but fantastically unbelievable. Can’t stop scratching my head.

I recall my father’s sweeping remark, “What silly movies — women can never be physically stronger than men.” How I’ve come to agree with him. He had always been cynical about it all — albeit one of his favorite TV series was Angie Dickinson’s “Policewoman.” Well…

Be that as it may, let me tell you that in some parallel world, I am the swash-buckling Milla Jovovich in the movie “The Three Musketeers.” Head strong, driven, conniving, calculating, indomitable, you name it. And how incredibly beautiful. So…

Get out of my way, baby.

The Father of My Son (emended) : My Autobiography 5

Originally Published April 28, 2012

This one I’ve been meaning to write for a long time as my son knows very little 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 of life’s complexities and thus be able to understand 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 a few things about his Dad and our history together as a couple.

*****

Fine memories I keep hold of as to the man I married and loved for ten years. We met at work when I was still hacking it out in the accounting department of Data General Philippines. Quiet and reserved. Practical minded. Unassuming. Passionate and sweet. That’s my ex-husband, whose nature isn’t different from the timid ardent soul that I am.  Somewhere between our 20s and silly eccentricities we fell in love.

In hindsight, there hasn’t been any other who loved me as much. Nothing, before or after, could outburn the flame of romance we’d had. I remember the many heady days when he’d suddenly turn up just to ask me for a simple stroll around the neighborhood hand in hand. There was this one morning during our leanest financial days when we met outside my parents’ house out of impulse, I told him I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet and was feeling hungry. Worried, he searched for the last remaining cash inside his wallet so he could buy me pieces of bread to munch on. Hence the satisfying taste of the bread got to be unforgettable from such display of caring.

He could cook and was the one who whipped up our meals (I never liked cooking), and he took loving care of me the times that I got sick.

We’d also hang around till late at night inside the mall waiting for the clerk stationed outside to go home — running and sneaking inside thereafter, giggling all the way, to watch a movie for free.

And every weekend we would meet at 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.

Heady times, indeed …

Months on end of passion until one day I mysteriously got ill — which aggregated to high fever for a couple of days, some vomiting and just feeling terrible.

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

“Of course not!” was my quick and bewildered reply. The probability hadn’t entered my mind — although I immediately rushed to him and together we went to the nearest maternity hospital for a test.

Result: Positive. OMG… We’d been careful, hadn’t we? How could it have happened?

We weren’t ready for anything yet like parenthood and responsibility. We weren’t even sure we were truly right 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 husband’s cold palms after they shook hands. His brother and aunt served as witnesses. By the way, the man whom I married belonged to another religion — a highly tribal one at that. It didn’t occur to either of us then how that would factor heavily in the eventual disintegration 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 by many. They had 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 couldn’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. That fact apparently granted him the audacity to pursue his own goals that don’t include his wife and only child.

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 hardly asked for his share. Still, I got increasingly frustrated that he didn’t make any attempt to pitch in. How come I failed to detect these ominous elements earlier in our relationship?

As time went by, our stark differences took a more profound shape, too. 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.

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

Admittedly, I’m not that much of a wife material. 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 or grapple with a skirt-chasing husband.

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” inside my mind.

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.

moonstruck for a while

A brief encounter with a Tumbler resident who fondly describes himself as “a librarian by day a poet by night” precipitated a jumpstart of my writing objectives the past week. Fully inspired, I went over the annals of this blog to polish a few stuff for the end purpose of entry redux. Boy, was it painful reviewing my prior scribblings. Was my writing that harrowing? No kidding, I wrote all that junk?

See, the mediocrity was staggering. There were numerous instances of an oversupply of conjunctions and adverbs, generous display of redundancy and corny perspectives, not to mention the manifestation of a below-average intellect. I wonder how could’ve those owners of avatars within those tiny boxes below permitted themselves to pop up beside the word Like. 🙂

To think I’ve been careful not to lose this site because it serves as key to my essence as a soulful being — housing, to boot, the entirety of my opus. (chuckle chuckle)

Anyway, while trying to get my bearings Mr. Dcootey and I reconciled, too, a few days ago when he reached out unexpectedly — resulting to us getting back in each other’s arms as FB pals. Sort of. I’m a forgiving gal, what can I say.

So I’d been somewhat smitten with the middle-aged poet-cum-librarian. Kind of gotten over it by now — as I’m determined these days to focus on refining my composition skills. Will be spending more time on Tumbler although WordPress remains to be my homeland.

Do wish me gargantuan luck. I need it oh so badly.

Image may contain: Marjorie de Leon Mamaradlo, smiling, standing, sky and outdoor
In captivating Vienna last December 2017. So so cold though….