Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Dissonant Stars (Second Part)





I  would  like to write about my cousin and the tragedy that befell his family. But their back story deserves another entry.  In the course of their unwritten journey,  my hope is for them to have a happy ending.

In  these days of strife - where violent blows hit not only the wife but also the aging mother; where neighbors choose to keep mum at what's happening inside their hovel, and where bloodlines feel  helpless to come to the mother's defense, a glimpse into their life is all that I could spare.

Consider this my way of easing the pain.



Tia Corazon's household runs on "utang" from the sari-sari store. Her husband works abroad, but the money he remits is not enough to support a family of three adults, two infants and a nine-year old kid. Her son - my cousin has no work. He didn't finish high school, his heart problem requires permanent medication and on top of it, he decided to bring home a wife who has never stepped foot in college.

A life on a downward spiral must have been too much for my cousin. After all, their opulence used to outshine our wealth. Failure broods frustration, and in desperation, he vents his anger towards the people around him.

The day before I showed up to deliver boxes of notebooks for the kids in my aunt's shanty neighborhood, a fight broke out between my cousin and his wife. What irked my cousin was her refusal to follow his orders. The wife was busy doing house chores, and could not get herself to buy his medicines. Between the fist fights and verbal tussles, their kids were caught in-between. My aunt came to shield her apos and in doing so, she too was caught in the crossfire.

"Si B2 nasa sahig habang nagsusuntukan yung mag-asawa. Talagang nangitim sa pag-iyak." Tia Corazon recalled.

"Si Criselda naman napunit ang damit kasi hinigit ko at masusuntok ng ama." 

The couple was not around when I showed up.

Their absence has allowed my aunt to spill everything that has happened.  She told me that my cousin smokes pot and the kids got sick but he didn't spare a single dime for their medicine. When she got sick days later, it was his adopted son  - a nine year old kid - who went  to the sari-sari store to buy a hard-boiled egg for my aunt to eat.  This of course, would be listed as utang.

"May sakit ako pero todo kayod pa rin ako dito sa bahay."  Tia Corazon relates.  "Nanghihina ako pero ako pa rin naglalaba, nagluluto, naglilinis ng bahay, habang namumura ng 'putang-ina mo,' kapag wala akong mailabas na pera."

She told me that my cousin accuses her of  keeping the money they get from his father.

"Minsan hirap na hirap na ako at pinapasa-Diyos na lang lahat.  Pero wala eh, hindi ako makakita ng pagbabago."

I asked her why she can't leave my cousin behind.

"Hindi ko maiwan ang mga apo ko. Ayaw kong maranasan nila ang mga naranasan ko." At that point she began to cry. "Tumatalon ako sa bintana kapag binubugbog ng lolo mo ang lola mo. Umiiyak ako sa may kanto kasi wala akong magawa."


All I could do was give her a tight hug.

"Bakit ganun J, sarili kong anak hindi ako mayakap? Bakit sa ibang tao ko pa nararamdaman ang pagpapahalaga?" I too have no answers.

"Kumakain sila sa labas na mag-asawa pero ni minsan, hindi nila naisipan na dalhan man lang ako ng pasalubong."

Tia Corazon poured her heart out as the teens who were with me waited outside the house. I gave clear instructions to report my cousin to the authorities the next time he harms  her and the kids. I also warned her that the children would carry the scars for the rest of their lives should she fails to act now.   



"Kunin niyo po itong bigay ni mama."  In my hand were several Ninoy Aquino bills.

"Salamat dito sa limang daan ha. Itatago ko ito."

"Nako tatlong libo po iyan, hindi lang limang daan." The small amount was part of the compensation we got from the late dictator.

"Ganun ba?!?"  Her eyes glowed with excitement.  She was on the verge of tears.



I went home disturbed and incapacitated.


"Sana malaki ang kita ko."

Yun ang lagi kong sinasabi sa tuwing magkikita kami ni Tia Corazon. Sa totoo, mas nakikita ko siya bilang nakakatandang kapatid sa halip na tiyahin. Siguro dahil mas nakikita niya ang tunay na ako nang maging magkasama kami sa negosyo ni papa.

Sabi ni mama na siya rin ang may dahilan kung bakit naging ganoon ang anak niya.  Na-spoil kasi ito nang sila ay may kaya pa. Siguro nga, you spawn what you nurture. Hinayaan mong tapak-tapakan ka ng anak mo, kaya ngayon ay mas malakas pa ang loob niya sa iyo.

Madilim na nang kami ay makabalik sa bahay. Unang bumungad sa akin si Baby Lenin, na noong ay natutulog sa binti ni Mama.  Habang inaalala ang aking mga pamangkin sa aking pinsan, isa lang ang tumatak sa isip ko.

Lalaki si Lenin na busog sa pagmamahal.   




   

11 comments:

jc said...

don't spoil baby lenin too much tho. magiging magaling kang uncle. :)

Spiral Prince said...

this is just sad. :(

be the best super uncle you can be! :D

Toilet Thoughts said...

ayo! you really are a blessing to each member of your family. I'll pray for your tita and her apo.

Oh yeah, I second JC, don't spoil lenin hahaha!

canonista said...

This is such a heart breaking blog entry... Sa totoo lang, halos maiyak ako habang binabasa ito.

Kasi, kahit may galit ako sa mommy ko, hindi ko siya kayang pabayaan. Naawa ako kay Tita Corazon.

Good thing you are there, your family is indeed blessed.

daniel said...

Ur very good in balancing things sis'. I just know, you will guide baby Lenin in the best possible way.

Godbless sis'

Louie said...

Nalungkot ako after reading this. It makes me think of an uncle who has slight similarities to your aunt who can possibly tread the same life sa pagtanda niya. :(

Baby Lenin is lucky to be surrounded by a loving family and uncle like you. :)

Seriously Funny said...

Naluha ako dito, J. Sobrang close kasi ako sa Mom ko and I remembered the two incidents when I saw her cry. Hindi ko kinaya yun. I swore during those times na wala akong gagawin para umiyak ulit sya.

Sean said...

this is heart-breaking.

may mga kilala rin akong physically abused. meron din yung emotionally abused kahit di pinagbubuhatan ng kamay. sad.

Desperate Houseboy said...

Ang lungkot naman. Pero kaya ka nandiyan papa Mugs, maybe thats your purpose para kay Baby. :)

cArLo said...

i just hope all the physical (and verbal) abuse would soon end.
as for the guy who smokes pot: isumbong n'yo na talaga yan pag di pa magtino.
i have friends who smoke pot but aren't violent like that, plus they are one of the best people i've known sa office. responsable pa and works for their own money at mas matino pa nga sila sa mga kawork ko dati na nagba-bible study groups pa sa office.
but that guy in your story...
siguro nga nasobrahan na s'ya sa pait ng mundo kaya naging ganun na s'ya lalo na't pag nasa "karimlan".
oh well..... sana maging maayos din lahat...

Désolé Boy said...

we can't blame anyone from what become a person
.
.
not that i'm making this about me again but when i rebelled years ago, i stopped when i saw how my mother is hurting.
.
.
anyway, knowing you (at least in a bit that i knew) Lenin would be more than fine ;D