Morsels from Past Romances

ECQ (Enhanced Community Quarantine) here is going to end very soon and I doubt if I can secure time again to be able to write after lockdown gets lifted on May 16. I’m trying to write down what I can especially in these times when nobody’s sure what’s gonna happen in the days to come. Whatever befalls me, I’m at ease knowing I’ve at least chronicled as much as I could in this blog. Besides (in case I survive the pandemic), my scripts here will provide some sort of cushion when I start forgetting everything by reason of senility. 😀

Since I’m having difficulty drawing inspiration to generate a lovely piece on the subject of my romantic history, I’ve decided to simply recount a few of the memorable moments and brief descriptions of the rogues who had touched my heart. Here we go:

First Love: We were sitting side by side by the stair window on the fourth floor of our university building while in deep conversation. He was on my left. We paused talking for a few seconds. He slowly edged closer and gently placed his hand on the side of my right hip. We resumed our exchange though his hand remained in that position for the rest of the time. It was an intimate moment that just felt good.

Our big date was at the Luneta park. We ate cheeseburgers at a cafeteria in the Chinese Garden. We took a stroll, sat down in front of Manila Bay and talked till nighttime.

Never permitted him to kiss nor touch me, even though he was the one taking out his wallet within the duration we were “on”. He once stole a kiss on my cheek and I went apoplectic. Poor guy. Crazy me.

When I was having a hard time during enrollment and there was little he could do to help me with the school procedures, he kept buying me little snacks throughout the whole afternoon.

Our teenage relationship could’ve blossomed into something more precious and beautiful if I had given him the chance. I didn’t. Because I thought I was too good for him. That he was gearing up to become a civil engineer failed to register on my lame brain.

A year after I broke up with him, he came over to ask for a reconciliation. I laughed at him — and coldly left him on the street. Yeah yeah, I treated the boy badly. A year later, I ran across him holding hands with a girl in a pretty blue dress, and she was way way more beautiful than me. No jealousy on my part but… I looked so plain then and felt so ashamed. 😀

Second love (first major love actually)

We met at work — my first job. He became my boss shortly after our affair began as I requested him to absorb me to his department. We lasted four years. Highly toxic. He was many years older than me. A womanizer… yet lousy in bed. Too bad — considering he was my first lover. Oh there were good times. Friendly and extrovert, he’d take me to social meal gatherings, meeting up with his fellow managers and long-time associates. All I could manage to do was sit down and munch food during their discussions. Now I understand why he would string me along: To show me off to his pals.

Third love (became my husband)

A year older than me. Sweetest romance. The best lover I’ve had. (I already wrote a post on the father of my son)

Fourth love: So much younger than me. Good-looking, he was also the exuberant and talkative type. We lived together for a few months and he regularly played board games with my son. The young dude was good in bed.

Okay, I’ll stop right there. The next ones were either insignificant or not serious. On top of it, the level of assholerism was staggering. Not really worth writing about.

There. Finally, I was able to pop up a post regarding my romantic past. Item on my list checked.

sunset view from my bedroom window may 5 2020

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.

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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.”

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.

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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.