Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Do not weep for me, my son,
When you think of my struggles,
My sadness, my faith;
Do not remember,
When I toiled in resignation,
Trying not to dream,
The dream of fools.

- Carmen Subryan-
He told me he was bringing me to their house in Pag-asa QC that night; together we were breaking the news to his Mom. The flash back of the first time I stepped in his house occurred to me again.

One ordinary day, I was in the tambayan after class finishing my lunch while waiting for Reiner. He came with a worried face. He told me that his Mom stole his car. She had a spare key. He had totally cancelled out the possibility for real carnappers to get his car. That incident made my succeeding days extraordinary.

All these time, he hadn’t introduced me to his parents yet. I met his two brothers already, Rolf and Randall, when he would bring them along when he picked me up from my NMAT (National Medical Admission Test) Review. His relationship with his Mom was going in turmoil for quite sometime already for a reason unknown to me. I saw her once with Randall (who was then a HS student in Don Bosco) at the Tambayan looking for Reiner. Because I was the only soul she found there she asked me where she could find him. But she had no idea that I was her son’s girlfriend that she had been dying to meet. She had wanted for so long to talk to me, Reiner wouldn’t tell me why.

Now his Mom did a good move. I always left my handbag, books and lecture notes in Reiner’s car while in UP, because I had no locker then. She took everything along with the car. She wouldn’t give all my things to Reiner. She told him she would give me everything personally in her house. With all hesitations, Reiner invited me to meet his Mom for dinner in her house. I wondered why it was very important for her to talk to me.

In the jeepney on the way to her house, Reiner constantly reminded me to relax, not to worry and to keep it cool. He would tell me a joke from time to time telling me it would loosen my tension. I wanted to tell him that he was projecting. I was totally composed and settled down, while he was obviously nervous.

While we were walking towards the house, a lady walked passed through us on the other side of the street and banged the gate of the house right in front of us as she was going inside.
Reiner said, “Err…Well, that’s my house there, and that was my Mom”.
I said to myself, “Whew! This is not going to be easy as I thought it would be”.
The house was quiet, dark, dusty, and eerie. The motif of the house was old wood, which gave a gloomy feeling. Then heavy footsteps came running down the stairs,
“Reiner, bring the betamax and the TV at the shop right now. They need to be fixed. Bring Randall with you.”

His Mom was exactly the same lady who inquired about Reiner at the Tambayan in UP. There was no need for formal introductions anymore. And I guess the awkward situation didn’t allow it. Reiner went upstairs to get the things for repair and left with his brother.

“Oh well, one thing I’m sure, she’s not going to bite!” I was consoling myself.
She sat across, laying down Reiner’s class cards one-by-one on the round glass table. She started,
“Do you know what kind of person your boyfriend is? Do you know how he was cheating me with his report cards? He was very good in falsifying records. He got a zero passing last semester. He’s a professional liar.”

I was just nodding my head pretending to be really interested with the class cards similar to the ones I had except that I was getting good grades and never a zero passing.
And she went on telling me how lazy Reiner was in helping in the house, how dependent he was, and irresponsible in his studies. Her complaints about Reiner went on and on.

And finally, she begged me,
“You have to break it off with him, he is not ready for a relationship yet”.
So this was what it was all about. She was dying to hold a conference with me just to tell me that Reiner and I do not belong to each other.
“His life is already ruined, and he will destroy your life too.”
I was asking myself, how could a mother say those words about her son? But there was no mistake that she’s his biological mother, she’s the exact replica of Reiner’s features.

As polite as I could be, as composed as I could appear, I told her that what Reiner needed was someone to motivate him to continue with his life. Reiner’s life would be well again if someone would help him and push him to recover. And I was willing to be that person.

I remember doing an unrehearsed speech for the first time in my life. The words that came from my heart just flowed automatically. I don’t remember everything I told her anymore…but it must have been good because after my speech she smilingly invited me for dinner. She gave me all my things back. The topic of conversation was changed.

Everything was perfect from then on. I was like absolutely accepted by his family. His Mom found out that along their family tree we were related through the De Venecia clan. Former Speaker of the House of Representatives Jose de Venecia, was my grandfather’s 1st cousin, who was also Reiner’s Mom’s 2nd cousin.

Right there, as Reiner and I stood before her again, I was reliving that first time experience in her house.

She was already mad as soon as we entered the door of her house. Reiner already broke the news with her earlier. Now she was walking to and fro, going back and forth from the kitchen to the living room, continuously scolding out her sentiments and disappointments. I envied Reiner, he had this skill called selective attention, he was able to block off all the aversive stimuli. I needed something like that too at that instant. But probably Reiner couldn’t stand the embarrassment and the bickering. After 30 minutes of non-stop reprimand from his Mom he went upstairs to avoid all these and left me alone again.

If I only had the same choice of fleeing from that moment, I could’ve done it. I had no option but to listen to everything that Reiner’s Mom was saying. I couldn’t remember everything anymore, only these words…

“…you are so stupid!…you were just pretending to be a virgin!…you destroyed his life!…you said you’re going to help him!…you will never succeed!…you are now a failure!…” .
The litany went on for two hours. I didn’t drop a single tear in front of her, though the words that she said were difficult to swallow. I tried to take everything head-on. It was exhausting to hear everything.

Reiner finally came down, and he was asked to bring me home at once. But we drove to his brod, Raffy, who was like on older brother to him, and had our dinner there since we were not offered anything to eat again in his Mom’s “Diet House” (what Reiner used to call her house).

The next day, I got a long letter from his Mom telling me to either hide from Reiner in the province or go to the convent where nuns cater teenage pregnancy. I was not a teenager anymore; I was 23. I was capable of being self-sufficient. I showed the letter to Reiner and asked him about his plans.

We eloped.

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