A ThoughtCatalog article made me decide to write this. I’ve been meaning to write about this for the longest time but I just don’t know how. I’m usually a lady who’s got a lot to say (20k tweets? #sorrynotsorry) but when it comes to this… I’m at a loss for words. But, here I am. Typing this out. Praying I get this right.
Most people would probably think of an affair as something thrilling and entertaining, thanks to the Anne Curtis and Derek Ramsay and other local movies that depict and romanticize it. However, there’s something missing from the formula The Secret Affair or Not Other Woman used. The Family is absent from the equation.
I’m the eldest in the family. My siblings are way too young to understand what was going on but I saw the signs. It was like I was watching myself in a movie, trying to pick up on clues like late-night phone calls, shattered keyboards, raised voices and weekend absences.
My dad talked to me on Christmas Day and admitted everything. Yes, he has another woman. I love her. And I love your mother. I love you.
I didn’t look at him. I couldn’t. I buried my face on my handkerchief. Trying to dig my eyes out so the tears will stop. Putangina naman!
I felt like I wanted to punch him. I could have if I weren’t so weak from crying.
Tapusin mo na ‘to. Pumili ka.
A few months later, my old man decided to end things and he started to try and make up for what he did. He took my siblings to shop for school supplies. He spent a lot of time at home.
He was trying.
I was awful to him. He lost his job trying to provide for his two families and I kept on jabbing him about not working. “Naghahanap ka ba ng trabaho?”
“Oo naman, anak. Syempre, magttrabaho din ako.”
On my 20th birthday, he convinced me not to go out with my friends and have dinner with the family instead.
That was the night when my family’s life changed.
I went out with my friends for a while and decided to just go home in time for dinner around 7PM. It was just around 6 when I started to get calls from my grandmother. She urged me to go home because something bad happened.
I was so angry. Birthdays are like free-passes for life. You get to do what you want because it’s your special day. And there I was, prying myself away from my friends and giving this really lame excuse to go home. It was fucking pathetic.
I went home and everybody was in chaos. Two of my grandmothers were in hysterics, one was crying her eyes out, crying to God and the other was yelling at me for not getting home sooner. My youngest sister was in front of the table, not touching her food.
It was fucking chaotic. Yells. Screams. Tears.
I went upstairs. I went to my bed and let the tears fall. I didn’t know what I felt that night. It was probably a mix of anger (to the world), sadness and pity (for myself).
I went downstairs and my mom was there, along with my aunt and two of uncles. They brought home chicken from Chowking. I felt so pathetic. It was my birthday. They sang Happy birthday to me and I tried hard not to cry on the spot. Some birthday.
I told some of my high school friends what happened. I felt so bad giving them such bad news. They were at a loss for words but I didn’t need their opinions or insights. I just wanted to let it all out.
Thankfully, no one in UP knew what happened. Thank God. I wasn’t prepared to see their reactions. I only talked to my high school friends via chat or text. I couldn’t take seeing the shocked expressions on their faces.
I blamed myself. It was the most irrational thing to do but I did it anyway. I probably wasn’t a good daughter, didn’t get high enough grades, wasn’t very responsible… it was my fault. I wanted it to be my fault because believing the alternative? It was too much. I’d rather tell myself that it was my fault instead of believing the fact that my dad could do all that stuff on his own.
I was probably too hard on him. I basically pressured him to provide for the family again. His manly ego must’ve broken at that point.
Yeah, it was my fault. That’s the reason. Case closed.
A few months later, we visited him. My mom visits him every weekend but it was the first time we were to see him after That Night.
He was wearing a yellow shirt and he greeted us with a smile on his face and his arms outstretched. He looked the same. His belly was still big, his head was still balding. He looked exactly like the person who would wait for me to hug him when he picks me up from school.
He hugged me last and as I cling to his neck I just let the tears fall.
“O, bakit ka umiiyak?”
“Ikaw kasi eh.”
We laid down the banig and listened to him talk for hours. He explained what happened and why it happened.
He explained how God approached him with a second chance. He said that he was planned on killing himself. Drive the car straight to Antipolo and off a cliff. But the car wouldn’t start.
“Why wouldn’t it start? It worked fine when I drove it a few hours ago. It mysteriously malfunctioned. It was a sign from God.” he said.
The next day, he found a Bible under his pillow.
“It was the second sign!”
My dad proved to still have a lot of wisdom as we talked. Well, it was him doing most of the talking.
He told us that he made a mistake and now he’s paying for it.
“But my mistakes don’t define you. Make a name for yourself. Right now, we’re at our lowest. There’s no way but up.”
We visited him a few more times after that. It got considerably lighter since the first meeting. We usually play Lasing Bobo (sans alcohol) or Pinoy Henyo.
I’ve decided to stick by him no matter what happens. Other people might know different versions of what happened but he knows that the most important people know that truth. For 19 years of my life, he was a wonderful dad. (He still is.) I wouldn’t let one night erase all those years.
I’m fine, though. I don’t cry myself to sleep every night anymore and I don’t get depressing thoughts about my birthday (thanks to my very awesome friends). I can talk about how my dad is doing to my friends and all of the very interesting stories he has. (It isn’t as scary as movies depict it is. Calm yo tits)
I think some of my friends still expect me to talk about him, bawling like a baby, (there was one night I finished an entire bottle of vodka, the hangover wasn’t very nice) but I don’t anymore. I don’t need to. There’s nothing to say.
Sometimes, though, I relapse.
I just miss him. Every day. Tonight more than the others.