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.