When I was younger, I saw everything in vivid colors. Life was easy, most problems were shallow, and even time seemed to bend to my will. There was no rush to accomplish things, no deadlines to meet, and there were fewer people to please. Like any teenager, though, I eventually saw past that. In fact, I overcomplicated things to the point where it was irreversible. Case in point: I was 19, I had a kid, and I got married.
My relationship with my kid’s dad wasn’t sour at first. He was my "one true love," my prince. Like any teenage couple, we planned on getting a house of our own, we knew how many kids we wanted. We even had our wedding motifs figured out! We've been together since high school, and at that time, it was inevitable that we'd end up together after college. Our plans were one. He was the one (or so I thought).
I was also never a teen rebel. I earned a scholarship fund, which paid for half of my tuition fee. I never asked my parents for anything. Truth be told, I was the type of girl who would go straight home from school. Other kids would try to sneak out of their houses at night to party, but I would try to sneak out of school activities past seven to get home. I didn't (and still don't) smoke and drink, and yeah, my entire social life revolved around my husband (my boyfriend at that time).
What went wrong? I don’t know. When I talk about this with other people, I always give out the same old joke. "Wala akong bisyo noon, sex lang." I know that remark can have people mistaking me for a nymphomaniac, but trust me, I’m not. What I was, though, was a love-dazed teen filled with hormones, and mixed with an urge to break out from being normal. And so eventually, I got my wish.
In April 2007, I took a pregnancy test because I was a month off my period. Even before doing it, I knew already that I was pregnant. I braced myself for what was going to happen next, yet I still felt assured, because I believed that although our baby wasn’t planned, we loved each other and my boyfriend and I just had to work through this together.
However, I was heartbroken when after breaking the news to him, he started giving me aspirins (cortal if I remember correctly), followed by strange bottles from Quiapo which were labelled "pamparegla."
I never drank any of them. I started selling snacks in school and my mom’s office hoping that I could get enough for a doctor’s appointment. I prayed night and day that my boyfriend would realize that he was going to be a dad soon. It was odd. Every day, I could feel the baby growing inside me and I felt scared and anxious of what was going to happen next. We were still together, so at least I was assured that I wouldn’t go through the pregnancy alone.
Four months in, my tummy was unmistakably big enough for my parents to confront me about it. They didn’t even ask me who the dad was; they just wanted to talk to my boyfriend. "Papuntahin mo yan dito kasama yung magulang nya," was my dad’s only request.
I called him to say that my parents already knew, but I guess he was scared. He didn’t want to tell his parents, he didn’t want to go to our house, and at that moment I thought he didn’t want me… US.
All hell broke loose when he hung up on me. My dad felt like we were in this alone. Reputations were at risk. Moreover, he was angry because I was already four months in, and I still hadn't had a formal doctor’s appointment. That night, my baby’s dad disappeared.
I wanted to kill myself; I told him I would kill myself. It was all in vain. He was just gone.
My dad took me to the gynecologist and got vitamins for me and my baby. I was having a baby boy. He was healthy and for that I was relieved. For the first time in my entire life, I saw my dad cry and I didn’t know how to say I was sorry. I decided that we just had to toughen things out. It was just me and my kid now but at least I had my family’s support.
Exactly a week after he disappeared, my boyfriend showed up in front of our gate with his parents. I saw from their eyes that they just found out about it. Until this day, I wonder how things would have been if he never returned.
Before we could even talk about anything, his parents begged me not to marry their son. He was their only child, they said. We were young and they even said that it was going to be tough for their son to find a job if offices knew he was already married and this angered me.
And to add insult to injury, they changed their tune when they found out I was having a baby boy. My boyfriend never said anything. It was as if he got his balls cut off. My emotions took over, and I insisted we get married. "I am not going through this alone," I thought to myself. "He will not get away with this." The next day, we all went to the Manila city hall, signed our papers and voila! We were married.
We didn’t live together immediately as my parents wanted me to finish my studies. My entire pregnancy was like a suspense thriller involving my school, but we’ll save that for another day. What’s surprising about all of this was that, I still kept on giving my husband chances. I kept on hoping that he would grow up and be the person I thought he was. I finished college, started working, and changed. I matured; he didn’t. He didn’t know how to react towards his kid. He didn’t know how to react towards me, and he grew worse after we started living together. We both wanted something else. I wanted something else. My baby was growing and while his dad was there, I never felt him contribute anything.
In the years to follow, we would split up and get back together again in a cycle that seemed never-ending. We were no longer teens. We had different views about things and every single day we grew further apart. We both eventually met different significant others. We were at the point of splitting up and and were discussing custody schedules already. For the first time in years, I felt relieved. I thought I was going to be free.
Unfortunately for me, it seems my husband's balls still haven't reappeared. Before we could talk to our parents, he switched sides, and made it look like it was entirely my fault. They wanted to take my baby from me. My parents wouldn’t let me split up our marriage, and neither would his. They forced us to live together once more and until this day, I am still with him.
Does he know how I really feel? I highly doubt that. I put on a mask so that even my son wouldn’t feel something is wrong. I want to get out of this relationship so badly. My husband is not a bad person, I believe that after seven years, he’s finally becoming the dad that my son needs. The only problem now is, I don’t love him anymore. I’m staying because I love my son and I don’t want to cause my family any more heartache. Such a shame, I brought this all upon myself. I had a choice back then; I thought I made the right one.
As I’m writing this, he’s on his way back to our country after being away for six months. I am undoubtedly experiencing the opposite of separation anxiety. Time to put my mask on again; if there’s one lesson I have learned, there are no happy endings. I will be the wife everyone expects me to be, I will give my son the happy family he wants. Mind over heart at all times, I should’ve done that from the start.