my mom and dad separated when i was in grade 3. nothing really formal. in the eyes of the law, they are still legally married, but they never shared the same bed again.
i remember when i was younger, it was really tough for me since i was such a papa’s girl. when me and my mom would argue, she would always tell me that not only did i look a lot like my father, i also acted like him. and because of that, i have romanticized the image of my father. that everything would probably be better off if we stayed with him instead of my mom.
but now i know that it can never be the same with my mom and dad, and that’s really fine. along with growing up, i began to see my dad for what he really is: a human being.
he’s a chainsmoker and a womanizer. he owned a gun as early as 16 years old and always gets into fights. he was kicked out of high school and he never finished college. he was never affectionate, and the only language of love that he knew was to be a provider, and it was not even that regular. he curses a lot, and is irritatingly stubborn.
but even after all of that, it all boils down to this: he is my papa. without him, i wouldn’t be here right now. and that’s all that matters to me.
i spent the day with him today. half-heartedly, to be honest, since i had a 3 hour class tomorrow that i seriously needed to study for. i only went because the last time i saw him was last january, and it was also for a family dinner. today would have been no different, since it was the only thing we knew to do – dinner and his monologue of his past and present troubles.
when we got there, he gave me a present. it was an “i love UST” pin from papemelroti. the last time i even entered that shop was when i was in grade 7, and uso pa ang papemelroti non. it couldn’t have been more then 50 pesos but it tugged my heart so badly. “diba diyan ka nagaaral ngayon, anak? kaya yan ang binili ko. binilan din kita ng angel (na pin din) para may magbabantay sayo parati.”
he brought my brother an ateneo pin. “wala kasi akong makitang mapua, pero man for others ka diba? atenista ka parin.”
our conversation always started like that – with, “diba gusto mo yung…. diba favorite mo yung…” as if trying to affirm that he still knew us. that i still wanted that sotanghon from aristocrat or chocolate mousse from kfc. and it is still correct. somehow, a part of me kept these things because it reminds me of him and what we had when i was a kid, but also, it reminded me on how much he doesn’t know me anymore, that sadly, i am not that little girl that wanted that hello kitty pencil case from greenhills so badly.
i want our relationship to grow. he told me he was also a supporter of gibo. it was the first time i ever high-fived my dad. i wanted to tell him that i also smoked winston lights (and can i have one please!) but he is old, and the wounds of his past are already too deep for me or anyone else to pull him out of it. and here’s the truth – he’s never there during my birthdays. he wasn’t there during my graduations, and i can only dream and hope he would be there for my wedding. i will never have that father and daughter relationship i’ve always dreamed of, but i love him because he is my dad. how simple and complicated is that?
and tonight, as we ate our dinner with me telling him that law school was hard, my papa looked at me from across the table and said, “ganon ba? anak, kaya mo yan. ako di ako nakapagtapos ng pagaaral, kasi akala ko ok na yung mayaman ako, pero ikaw, matalino ka, mana ka sa mama mo, kaya mo yan.”
there was nothing else i could ask for.
happy father’s day papa. i love you.
“And I love you so
The people ask me how
How I’ve lived ’til now
I tell them I don’t know”