Sabi nila pag marami daw ang kalapati sa isang bahay, ibig sabihin niyon e masaya ang pamilya,” Krister told us while watching the slew of pigeons that roam the yard of a friend’s house. Marveled by those in flight and some lining the eaves, memories from the past began to clear up in my mind. We used to have four pigeons in our house and none of them chose to stay with us.
I fully understand why those pigeons left. Who would like to live in a house of black and white, so silent and still as if time has stopped? [No one, I suppose.] The father goes there to visit one or two days each month; sometimes once every two months. The mother would drop by every weekend and leave before the Sunday’s sun touches the horizon. Within those gray walls were two siblings, continually waiting, looking forward to the next time they’d see their parents. Their parents are not separated; they just chose their professional careers over their own children. Remembering my childhood brings back the pain that I’ve been suppressing from the time I gained appropriate understanding of reality.
For more than a decade, I lived in that house. After more than 10 years, finally, my family is somehow can be considered together. I thought everything would be fine from the time we moved here in Manila. I was filled with hopes for the pains to be buried in the abyss eternally, only to prove myself wrong in the end. The pains remain and new ones are sown.
She, the mother that I used to see every weekend then, always shout at me, scolding me even for the smallest mistake that I committed. A blind eye to my actions and achievements and a deaf ear to my words, she only sees my mistakes and not my efforts and my love for her as my mother to whom I owe my life. She only knows a daughter who is so perfect, intelligent, a constant achiever, respectful, and obedient — a willing puppet. For so many years, I struggled not to shatter this illusion of hers — an illusion of a daughter that is not me. For the real I was chained, sealed, until the time I had enough strength to break free from those chains. Alas, she doesn’t know who I really am; how could she, if she was never present. She was not there when I was being bullied in school. She never attended PTA meetings at school. She was not there to teach me what is right and wrong. She was not there to hold me high when I fall down. Same goes with my father that I would usually doubt if I really know my parents beyond knowing their names and faces. I never felt the warmth of love that I longed from them. I stretched out my voice to them, asking them to see/know the real me, but they never listened.
I became tired of living for my parents satisfaction, leaving grief and disgust for me to endure alone. I wanted to live for myself, for my own happiness. A decade of suffering from the pains of unrequited love and neglect is enough. And so, the chain was broken.
Starting a renewed life, everything changed; it’s like opening a door frozen in ice. I searched and found my own bliss. Alas, when I’ve learned how to live without them from their long absence, they showed up and took from me the control of my life. They detached me from every source of happiness that I found. They stopped me from doing my hobbies. They made me take a course which is far different from what I want. They shove away some of my friends. They took me away from the man who truly loved me and from his family who gave me the unconditional love that I never received from my real parents. I guess my parents did these to mend the shattered illusion of me that they have in mind. “Studies alone should be of focus,” they would tell me. I know they did that for my own good. They are over-solicitous, choking me by giving me no freedom. Having no control with my own life, my heart is left ailing. Losing my grip to those things, I found myself once again chained but with a stronger spirit to face future struggles and a clearer vision of the way that I chose for my life.
I am assured that all things work together for good [Romans 8:28]. I know God has plans for me and those days of sorrow are all part of the grand scheme God has plotted for me. Maybe, I should thank my parents, because if not due to them, I would have not been the strong person I am now. I understand that my parents are imperfect like me. But after all that has happened, deep inside, I still long for the day that I could hear them affirm their love for me and be able to deliver myself to tell them how much I love them, that one day I’ll look forward to going back to our home.