I’m practicing my writing skills and this is my first time translating Tagalog to English of my life story. I hope you can understand it. It’s my first time so please be gentle.
A true to life story by Roderic Rodriguez
When I was a kid, we always go for mountain hiking with my brother and sisters. My Mom loves to bring us for a family hiking with friends. We climbed mountains and steep Hills, we follow the path to some secret caves, waterfalls and underground rivers.
It’s really fun but sometimes 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 worse thing is only one person can fit into a small passage, sometimes you need to crawl down to a long tunnel. I feel cold, the air is so thin and silence all around you. Suddenly, I feel goosebump on my head and the airflow coming from the stream below us. At the edge corner before the stream, there’s a small statue of Mother Mary with lots of candles and flowers from those people who came to pray and ask for guidance and forgiveness for their sins.
We step down, walking through the stream. The water level is beyond my leg up to my belly bottom. I enjoy playing with the streams, a bit ticklish feeling while stepping on pebbles and stones. A few yards away there’s a reflecting light coming under the water. The light is getting stronger when you get closer to a passageway outside the cave. I saw my Mom swim underneath the stream and we follow. 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 for what I am seeing the nature is so beautiful. It gives courage, peace of mind and excitement. You’ll feel that you want to try it again for more adventure and wild experience. We’re doing it every year until my parents got separated because my Dad had another woman.
I was eight years old when it 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, I 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 seeing 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 torn 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 a few weeks past, everyone is at peace and my Uncle is away when my Mom visited and took my two younger sisters telling my Grandma that they’ll pay a visit to a friend promising to return my sisters later.
Nightfall, Mom didn’t come back and many days pass by my sisters still with my Mom.
Dad returned home after that incident, the first thing he does is to move out far away from Mom. We packed our clothes in a bag and on the following day as early in the morning before the sun goes up we head to a bus station traveling north. It took almost three hours to travel to our destination. Dad introduced us to a beautiful woman and he said she’ll be our stepmom.
It all goes well, we visit some amusement parks, malls, and new places. We eat delicious food and Dad was so happy with my stepmom we see them dancing, singing and drinking with friends. Dad stayed for a month until he left for his job abroad as a heavy equipment mechanic for a 10 years contract. We have no clues when he’ll be coming home.
In a child’s 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 out from my left ear. The reason for the lost part of her sewing machine, blaming me for playing with it that I didn’t do. I’m so freaked out and afraid totally in shock I can’t hear anyone and my sight got blurry. I can’t focus my mind 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 running nonstop for hours passing through busy streets surrounded by cars, lights and loud noises from bars and pub houses. From Valenzuela to Luneta 13.3 kilometers almost 3 hours walk away from home and at that moment I planned to never return.
Suddenly, I realized my tears were dried up and feeling exhausted from running all night long. While walking through the sidewalk I noticed a group of street kids like me they’re skinny and greasy with dirty rip clothes picking up foods from the garbage. I am prompted with that scene asking myself if that’s the life I wanted then I look up staring the stars thinking deeply and my answer is “No.” I have dreams in life to achieve, a goal and I believe that I can do it.
I’ll go back home and bare the pain to become stronger just like my Mom said everyone has a trial in life all you need is to stay tough and pray for the best is yet to come.
On my way home, I found an empty passenger’s jeep parking along the sidewalk. I go inside to take a nap for a few hours. Later, the driver woke me up informing that he’ll be going. It was sunrise feeling dazed and hungry. After hours of walk not too far from the apartment, I saw my brother and sister going out heading to a bakery store to buy bread. That’s my everyday routine before I run away.
I don’t want them to see me, there’s no place to hide the closest one is the tree beside the closed store, I climbed up but my sister saw me. She cried asking “Big brother Why did you leave? It’s all ok! You can go home now stepmom is not angry anymore she’s sleeping.” with her words I felt so ashamed and stupid for my action. I enter the door slowly then I lie down on the sofa with no strength left on me and then passed out.
I was awakened by the voice of my stepmom outside the apartment. The life goes back it’s kind of nothing happened yesterday. I started my everyday routine to fill up two huge blue drums and buckets of water. At my young age, it’s really hard to carry two containers full of water from a subdivision water tank three blocks away from the apartment. Sometimes I drag it up until I managed to lift both containers die trying just to finish my routine. We clean the house inside out, no dust or dirt from tables, preparing and cooking food, washing clothes and babysitting.
My stepmom’s teaching is harsh but it helps us to become stronger, how to survive in life and to stand on our own. I know it is important for us to learn it but hurting us if we do a single mistake is not a good way of teaching. If we do a mistake she slaps our face, pinches our ears and belly, she even wagging the head of my sister onto dishwashing area, spanking us like hell with a piece of wood or whatever she can grab. Since I’m the eldest sometimes I carry all the mistakes of my brother and sisters. The worse part I got beaten with two by two piece of wood until my legs turned purple to black I feel tremendous pain in every slam of her hand my voice turned raspy begging for forgiveness promising that I’ll not do mistakes again. I can hear my neighbor and her friend nearby asking my stepmom to stop but she never stops hitting me until the wood breaks apart. My purple-black legs started to feel numb when I touched it the pain is horrible. I hated my world too many questions “Why this is happening to me? Where’s Mom? Dad where are you?” My real mom never hurts me this way. Every day I suffer a lot only the school is our greatest escape that’s why I love to go to school.
When we grow older I am hoping for a change and yes it did change kind of upgrades. No more piece of wood but punches, kick and a bit of ear pinching do. It all happened when I failed the second grading period of my second year in high school due to cutting classes with the influence of my close friend just to play a family computer. We skipped class every day and back to school after lunch. The school informed my StepMom and was summoned to the guidance office. She learned the causes of my failing grade she pinched my ear dragging me out of the office. When we got home I received a quick punch directly to my stomach, I blocked one punch to my face since I know more punches will come I sat down at the corner of the dining area covering my head then she kicked me with a combo. She said If I do cutting classes again that’s not all I’ll get. I was traumatized whenever she hits me, all the memories are flashing back to how she treated me and my siblings. I know her well so I don’t want that foolishness again.
Sometimes alone in the dark sitting on the balcony, I feel empty wondering for the day to come? how’s mom doing? The mother always gives the best for her children and we missed that for a long long time. We don’t have any choice but to follow my Dad. I missed Mom and those adventures we have. I love my Mom, I wish to be with her whenever I feel down. The love, joy, and caring of my mother. That’s my Mom.