Thursday, July 21, 2005

Falling leaves return to roots.

I have been debating if I should write about this for quite sometime now.

I think I needed to. I don't know if I wanted to.

But I need to know that it's okay. Even though I'm not sure if it is.

It's okay.

Is it?

A couple nights ago, while I was on the phone with my dad, asking him for money, and out of the blue, he told me that he's chasing a woman.

"All of you are growing up. I'm getting older. I need a partner to grow old with me," he said nonchalantly.

This line inevitably take me back to 1998, when it all started. I was 15.

We've always been pretty well off. My dad is a business owner, while my mom is a primary school principal. Ever since I was a little kid, we've always had live-in maid working for us. She does everything except cooking. My mom takes care of that. We love her cooking too much to let other people cook for us. To sum it up, we were all spoilt brats. All 4 of us. We still are.

One fateful night in 1998, my mom crept downstairs, and saw my dad was about to get it on with the maid. Later, when shit finally hits the fan, we found out that 1) he's been doing this for a long long long time, 2) my sister caught him once, but he managed to talk my sister into keeping it to herself and 3) he is a cheap mother fucking bastard who fucks hired help.

Apparently he shits where he eats.

His family trusted him, and that mother fucking son of a bitch used us. Not just once, or twice, or thrice. Try 9 years. No wonder most of the maids won't last long. He always told us he thought they were incompetent, stupid, have bad body odor or something along that line. He always sent them back to the agency, and get another one.

Never judge a book by it's cover. Not even your own father.

The person that had it the hardest was my mother. She trusted him 100%. In a way, she's stupid for doing that. There's one time, a maid asked my mom if she can lock her bedroom door at night. She asked her why. The maid said it's because my father has been molesting her. My mom brushed it off like it was the most absurd accusation she's ever heard. Not long later, said maid was being sent back because she was "incompetent".

There's another time, another maid was returned to the agency due to her "lack of IQ and common senses". Right before she left, she told me mom to keep an eye on her husband, as he is not who she thinks he is. And of course, my mom brushed it off again. That's how much she trusted him, her husband, the man who gave her a black eye twice when they were newlyweds; the man who have her running back to her parents when they were newlyweds; the man who married her not because he loves her, but because his parents were nagging him to get married.

And yet, she still gave him all of her.

My parents would always go to the agency together. And right there, my dad would begin his weeding process. They are always too "ugly". Looking back, we should've known. Who chooses a maid based on her looks? At the agency, he would touch the prospective maids extremely improperly, while my mother looked on. She never said anything. She never complained about it. To her, he was just choosing a maid his very own way. No harm done. Seeing him touches their thighs was a routine for her.

My point up to here is, me, my mother, my sister, my brother and my younger sister, all 5 of us trusted this man completely.

That would probably be the biggest mistake I've ever made. It was certainly the biggest mistake my mother has ever made.

My father is also very manipulative, one of the reasons why he is a successful business owner. He is one of those people who can make themselves believe in lies they concocted. To this day, he still thinks he's innocent. That he didn't do anything wrong. To this day, whenever someone asks, "where's your wife?", he would either say "she's dead," or "she ran off with another man."

I don't quite remember what happened that night when my mom caught her husband cheating on her. What I did remember was, the next day, said maid was still in our house. My dad would not get rid of her, as he "didn't do anything wrong."

That night, my parents fought.

No, I take that back.

That night, my dad hit my mom.

With a machete.

And he threatened to kill her.

And he spat on her.

And he kicked her when she was on the floor.

I was so scared. So terrified that it didn't even cross my mind I should've called the police. So terrified that I just lay there. So terrified that I did...... nothing.

The next day, my mom made a police report. My dad went to the jail.

"I should've killed her and then just go to prison for 30 years," he told my sister.

He only spent a night there. He has money. He knows people.

This is a battle my mom will never win. She knows it.

My mother moved out. My siblings and I stayed with my father because a school principal doesn't make shit there. It would be impossible to support the 4 of us financially. So we stayed, like cowards.

That was 7 years ago.

Over the years, we have all moved on.

They say time erase everything, I say time dilute everything. My mother and I have gotten so much closer. One thing for sure, I love my mother more than I ever have. And for the first time in our lives, we started telling each other that.

They say time erase everything, I say time dilute everything. My hatred for my father has slowly diminished over time. One thing for sure, I no longer love or trust or respect the man I call Papa.

I remember the time I hated him so much I wanted to move out of the house and cut every single ties I had with him. I was 15.

I remember the time I hated him so much I didn't ask him for any pocket money for school for a year. I was 16.

I remember the time I hated him so much I secretly planned my revenge. I would grow up, he would grow old, and I would throw him into some mediocre retirement home and never see him again for the rest of my life. I was 16.

I remember the time I hated him so much I swore to myself that I will never ever grow up to be like him. I was 17.

I remember the time I hated him so much I can't wait to get away from home, from everybody, from everything. I was 19.

And I did.

I'm nothing like him.

I'm 9000 miles away from home. Been gone for exactly 2 1/2 years. And I never looked back. The
u-turn is still no where in sight.

Over the years, my mother tried to reconcile with him. But he refused. He won't even talk to her. To him, she is the wicked witch who made him spent a night in jail. To him, she is the evil woman who walked in on him. To him, she is the home wrecker. To him, she is wrong and he is right. To him, he is always right. Always.

"Okay now since I have you on the phone, I might as well tell you this. I'm chasing another woman. She's nice. She's from China. I've seen her only twice. So I don't know if I'll be successful or not. What do you think?"


"All of you are growing up. I'm getting older. I need a partner to grow old with me. She will be my life partner for the rest of my life. What do you think? You approve? No?"

"No. No. Err... It's good. Uhh... if you want to, go for it."

"If she accepts my offer and everything goes smoothly, I might even bring her to your graduation. I have to go to your graduation, don't I?"

"Yeah of course. Uhh... Sure. Yeah, bring her. It's good."

Truth is, I've already known that he is chasing another woman. My sister told me that. Even my mother told me that. The thing that caught me off guard was the fact that he's telling me this. We never tell each other stuff like this. Our relationship is as formal as me and the produce guy at the grocery store. We don't chat. We've never chatted.

But, that was fine. It's his life. He can do whatever he wants.

I called my sister right after that. She said she heard it. She asked me why am I so surprised.

I didn't tell her I wasn't surprised.

I didn't tell her I felt like I betrayed my mother for encouraging him in his endeavour.

I didn't tell her I felt like I betrayed my mother for not disapproving his actions.

I didn't tell her I felt like I betrayed my mother for allowing him to bring his new mistress to my graduation.

Most of all, I didn't tell her I failed my mother.

Because she wouldn't want me to encourage him. Or approving his actions. Or allowing him to bring an outsider to my graduation.

Something deep inside me tells me that she would want me to speak up for her. The same feelings tell me that she would want me to stand by her, be the son she can count on.

But I didn't.

I didn't.


I'm sorry.

Can you ever forgive me?