If I will be asked about my favorite story, it will be my Mom’s telling about the kind of love she and my dad have. She always says that she never imagined ending up with him. Aside from the fact that she’s from Manila, the gap between their life statuses had big difference. My dad served to my Mom’s non-biological parents as fisherman. My mom really wanted to became a nun but when she got to know more about my father, she fell for him big time! “Why would I not love him?”, she’ll say proudly. She always boasts my father being responsible, kind, hard-working and too handsome. I just smile for that thought. Until they decided to settle down and raised seven children. I, being the fourth, was Mario Velasco’s junior that’s why I got “Jun-Jun” as nickname. Although we have a very simple life, I’m so blessed by the kind of parents I have. They always want the best for us that’s why at early age, they taught us on how to make a living only to the extent of our capabilities. I feel so lucky!
Just so I thought I have a perfect family, I was actually wrong. Very, very wrong. As the years pass by, there was a sudden change on my dad’s attitude. Before, he never forgets to bond with us. Either he tells a joke or play with us. But he’s not like them anymore. He always come home late during the night. Terribly drunk and with so much furry. He and my mom always fight but for me it’s only a nature for married couples. Until one time, he shouted at my mom. It totally shocked the hell out of me because he never did that before. We, the children, just cry silently inside our room whenever this happens. He’s getting into his hobby more and his anger increased without any basis. He reached the point of maltreating us. He would beat us to death even though we did nothing wrong. Not only his children but also his wife. The sight of her crying so hard and hurting badly really makes my heart break into million pieces. Every tears that fall from her eyes, every swell and bruises she get, the more hatred I feel for my father.
I was in 3rd grade back then when we discovered that she’s having an affair with other woman. Well, that explains why he came home seldom. So my mom decided to leave him without telling. From San Jose, we live in my grandparent’s house at Brgy. Apgahan, Patnongon. There we continued our studies but my eldest brother Jan-Jan chose to stay in San Jose to work for us. I know it’s not a good thought, but I cannot deny the peace and joy I felt when there was no more existing presence of my dad on our new house. This is really my home for it was really…safe.
Only a year had passed when my father approached us and asked forgiveness. Being so madly in love, my mom became considerate and let him enter in our life once again. She gave him another chance to make things right. And so he did. But it took only a few months and he became the “monster” again. Always drunk with metal hands. That’s why I came up with an idea. I did really well during my elementary days thinking that this might change him. Maybe if he sees me studying hard, he’ll be proud of me and will be ashamed when he finally realized his faults. Happily, I graduated as 3rd Honorable Mention. But then again, I was wrong. He never changes. He’s still like a demon who wants nothing but watch us suffer. My anger turned to rage. I loathed him. That it reached the point of earning so much courage to answer him back. “It’s better if you did not comeback. I wish you’re not my father! I never wanted a father who does not know how to act as one!” I yelled out all of my thoughts that been hiding in my chest for a very long time. I thought my sudden outburst will awaken him but it turned out to be another failure. He slaps me hard whenever I do that but I don’t care. I’ll take all the pain until it hurts no more. I’m so used to this so might as well just go along with it.
But I’m tired too tired of fighting. So I decided to stop from schooling just like what my brother Jan-Jan did. What for? All of my efforts to make him change was useless. I’m so useless. So it’s better to show him how affected I am because of him. But my mom stopped me. I’ll never forget all of what she has said. She’s right. I should not let him break all my promises in reaching my dreams. If I ruin my life, it will be me who’ll be regretting in the end. If I ruin my life, she’ll endure heartache again. We have to be strong for these were only life challenges that we need to overcome. These will serve as our inspiration and motivation to succeed. I feel so stupid for not considering my mom’s feelings. And so I promised that I will strive more for her.
I continue doing really great on my secondary education. Luckily, all paid off when I was adjudged as 4th Honorable Mention during our Graduation Day. All of these achievements was only for her. I want her to be at least happy and forget the heartaches even only for the mean time.
It was July that time when a tragedy tested my father. He hardly breathes and spitted blood that’s why my mom took him to the hospital in San Jose. The medical result indicates that he have a disease on the liver. To monitor his condition, the doctor advised them to stay for a month. When they came home, I noticed how my father changed. He treated us well and drinks lesser liquor now. Maybe it was because he needs to be more careful enable to ensure good health condition.
The next month, a strange lump appeared on his left eye that caused him to be half-blinded. I witnessed how the pain made him struggle that even sleeping really hurts for him. Mom took him to the well-facilitated hospital in Manila for the operation. To prevent from leading to cancer, the doctor must remove his left eye. I know how the pain weakened my father that time and it made me so worried. But being the elder brother left that time, I strengthen my heart. I focused on sewing shoes which is our little business in the town market so that I can help giving support to my dad needs and to sustain also the needs in our house and at school.
The operation was successful and they came home last November. Because their birthdays had passed without any prior celebration, my siblings and I surprised them with a cake. As I saw them smile, I thought it’s about time to leave all of what happened in the past and start a new beginning. Anger will cause no good. Truly, forgiveness will set a heart free. So I approached him. I realized that no matter how hard I push him away, I can’t erase the fact that he’s still my father —my one and only senior. After we reconcile, I felt the overflowing joy in my heart! It like I was freed from a cage. From that very moment, love envelopes my heart.
Christmas and New Year went by and I’m so thankful that the Lord granted my wish —the safety of my family. I’m so grateful that He never leaves my side when I’m in the midst of the dark or shining in the colorful stage of my life. I promised to treasure what I have right now and no matter how hard may life seem, my family will serve as my greatest weapon to overcome obstacles. I’m only a 2nd year college student, there’s a lot more to take. But I will make sure that I’ll become a successful engineer someday. And if they ask me how I did it, I will be proud to answer: “It’s because I am Super Mario!”
Written by El Pranzia for The Seaambassadors’ Republic Blog