A true to life story by Roderic Rodriguez
When I was a kid, Mom and my siblings used to go mountain climbing and hiking most of the time. We have camp site at the top of the hills with huge flat rocks and from a far you’ll witness the magnificent sea of clouds. We even take some secret path ways into the cave, through a narrow passage, water falls and under ground rivers.
We really enjoy our adventures with my Mom, but sometimes it’s scary to enter a cave in pitch black, even if we already held a candle to guide our way down to the middle of the cave. The passage is too narrow that only one person can fit in, you need to crawl down to a long tunnel. You’ll feel cold, the air is so thin and the silence is all around you.
Suddenly, I feel goosebump on my head and the air flows underneath the stream. The edge corner not far from the stream, there’s a small statue of Mother Mary with lots of candles and flowers from those people who came ahead of us to pray and ask for their guidance and forgiveness.
My Mom told us to light up our candles and do the same to pray as sign of respect. After that we step down and slowly walk through the freezing water.
The water level is beyond my belly bottom. I enjoy playing with the streams, though a bit ticklish feeling while I step on the top of random size pebbles and live stones. Few yards away, I saw a reflecting light coming out below the water. The light is getting brighter and brighter whenever we get closer to the passageway.
I saw my Mom swims underneath the stream and we followed her. A minute later, we came out to the other side of the cave. As I head up from the stream to wipe out the flash of waters from my eyes. I was surprised from the striking beauty and natural wonder of the forest, it’s so beautiful. It gives you courage, peace of mind and excitement. You’ll feel that you want to try again and again for more adventure to experience your wildest journey to the wild. We actually doing it every year until my parents got separated because my Dad had another woman.
I was eight years old when that happened and it’s hard to accept but my Mom is a fighter she does everything to keep her children and to survive no matter what the consequences are.
My father’s side doesn’t give up either they want us to stay with my Dad. We’re too young and afraid. We can’t do anything but to follow whatever the elders say. We stayed at my grandparent’s house and from time to time Mom still trying to take us away but my Uncle and Grandma aren’t allowing us to go. The worse scenario is when they’re fighting in front of us, we cried a lot witnessing them shouting and hurting each other. My uncle punched Mom and lost her front tooth, Mom pushed my uncle while GrandMa tried to stop them. We’ve seen Mom’s mouth full of blood and my uncle’s shirt was ripped out with bruises and scratches from Mom’s hands. They stop fighting when Grandma fainted and Mom was forced to leave the house with a broken heart.
After few weeks, everyone is at peace and my Uncle was away that time when my Mom visited Grandma’s house. She took my two younger sisters telling to Grandma that they’ll visit a friend, promising to return my sisters later afternoon, but Mom didn’t come back.
Days passed by my siblings still with my Mom and Dad finally returned home after that incident. The first thing he does is to move out far away from Mom. We packed our clothes and on the following day before sunrise we head to a bus station traveling north. It took us almost three hours travel to our destination. Dad introduced his other woman, she’s beautiful and he said she’ll be our stepmom.
It all goes well, we visit some amusement parks, malls, and new places that we’ve never seen before.. We ate delicious food and Dad was so happy with my stepmom we saw them dancing, singing karaoke and drinking with friends.
Dad stayed for a month until he left to continue his job abroad as a heavy equipment mechanic with a 10 years contract. We have no clues when he’ll be coming home again.
In a child’s innocent mind, we thought everything will be fine but we’re wrong our journey with Dad’s other woman is a living hell. We feel pain, suffering, misery, hate, and anger every day. I once tried to escape when I’m was nine years old after getting a punch from my stepMom to my jaw, with that impact a spilled of blood comes out from my left ear. She’s blaming me for the lost part of her sewing machine, dragging me down accusing that I played with it that I didn’t do.
I’m so freaked out and afraid totally in shocked I can’t hear anyone and my sight got blurry. I can’t focus, my thoughts telling me to run away. So I run and cried so much leaving all behind me to escape from the anger of my StepMom. I keep on running nonstop for hours passing through the busy streets surrounded by cars, lights and loud noises from bars and pub houses. From Valenzuela to Luneta a 13.3 kilometers walk and almost 3 hours away from home. On that moment I planned to never return home.
Suddenly, I realized my tears were dried up and feeling exhausted from running all night long. While walking along the sidewalk I noticed a group of street kids like me they’re skinny and greasy with dirty ripped clothes, picking up foods from the garbage. I prompted with that scene asking myself if that’s the kind of life I wanted? Then I look up staring the stars thinking deeply and mesmerizing for my answer. The answer is “No.” I have dreams in life to achieve, a goal and I am a fighter too. I believe that I can do it.