Monday, March 26, 2007

Women in Love and in Trouble: Nena's Story (Part 1)

When we have told our stories, we can leave it behind. When we have sounded off our tale of brokenness, the wholeness remains.

Six women entrusted me with their stories of loving, hurting, coping, and healing (for an aborted book project).

Their narratives are saying that the downside to love is heartbreak but that mending is possible.

This is one of them.

NENA'S STORY (AS TOLD TO ANNAMANILA)

The woman ran across busy Ramon Magsaysay Boulevard and midway flung herself face down. Motor lights blinded her even as she shut tight tear-drenched eyes. She braced herself on the hard pavement as tires screeched, horns blared, and drivers cursed. After what seemed like forever, she felt herself being picked up. "I'll take you home now," a voice whispered in her ear.

The anger in the man's voice cut through her fog-filled mind. It made her flinch in spite of her confusion.

Did the woman really want to kill herself?Twenty years later, I am still asking myself that question. Did I want to kill myself then? You see, I am that woman. Or more accurately, I was that woman. If you ask me now, there's very little in that wretched, frightened 35-year-old woman that I -- now 55 going on 70 -- want to identify with.

My world was placid after marrying a man who I used to think was "to good to be true." Those were the incredible days I held up three fingers when asked about problems: getting and keeping household help, keeping away from a fourth pregnancy after 12 years and three children, and getting to sleep whenever my husband had late nights out with his barkada. In that order. I thought myself one heck of a lucky girl.

It was a Friday in June, the eve of a three-day weekend, when my placid world collapsed.A group of friends was seeing a seer-psychic-healer after work. It sounded like fun to me. Luchie was embroiled in searing office politics and needed advice on how to get out of it. Betty lost cash and checks in her desk drawer, called it an inside job, and wanted to confirm her hunch. Ces wished to know if she could travel again after a study visit to Japan. "It wouldn't hurt to ask if a marriage proposal is in the offing," Betty teased the still-single Ces. While I, the coolest of them all, declared I'd tag along "only to observe, to be the cheering squad." At the back of my mind, I told myself that if the psychic was half as good as he was vaunted to be, I'd ask him about relief for my acutely asthmatic baby.

During the visit, the psychic obliged each of us with a palm-reading session. When my turn came, he told me: "Hija, your friends think they have a problem. They don't -- not really. You do."

I laughed nervously and asked him to tell me more.He faltered just so and then went on. "There's a possibility it would pass. A fling, I hope. Except that you and your husband have the same zodiac signs, the same temperament. You are likely to clash head on." The seer didn't meet my eyes as he spoke.

"You're telling me my husband is having an affair?" -- I shot back.

"Well, hija, it might not be serious yet. But if you're not careful, if you don't keep your cool, your marriage might break up."

When I arrived home, I was still laughing and shaking my head. Psychics were carnival stuff to me. Still, I couldn't wait to tell my husband about it and perhaps have a good laugh together over it.

As it turned out, I was in for a long wait. He was out again with the boys. With the boys? -- my mind started to paint lewd boy-girl pictures. As the night progressed, the pictures turned lewder by the minute.

By the time he turned in at 3:00 in the morning, I was fit to be tied.

I blurted out the four sentences I had rehearsed for hours: "Papa, I know you are having an affair. I have air-tight evidence. So don't try to deny it. If you do, I'll leave you anyway."

He didn't try to deny it. He spilled it out. Every sordid and excruciating detail of it.

It wasn't a fling. It was serious. Leny was 18 and a student. They met at work -- she was employed part time in his business as promo girl. They dated, at first as a foursome. Then she told him on the phone that she felt something was happening and wondered if he felt it too. He said he did. Then they made it happen. She wasn't a virgin. (An ex-boyfriend forced himself on her, the beast!) After a few more dates -- no longer in a foursome -- she left home. He found her an apartment.

Yes, she is attractive and young and has great boobs. No, it isn't just lust. But no, it isn't love either. Yes, yes, I love you more. No, I'll never leave you and our children. But no, no, I can't leave her either -- just like that. You have to give me time. I don't want to break her heart. Soon, soon, but not now.

Why -- I asked. Why did it happen. How did I go wrong?

He hemmed and hawed and rambled. As best as I could make it, he blamed his business -- the economy was bad; the market was shrinking. When he was with me, the problems scared him. When he was with her, these problems receded: she was an outsider, thus a haven. So you see, it was not you, he said, it was the circumstances.

More ramblings. He didn't plan it to happen. He was just out to have fun.

Eventually, he turned on me just the same. I had transformed from sweet, giving girlfriend to brusque, grasping wife. I took, demanded, pressured, nagged. It was me after all.

Neither of us got any sleep that day. He was supposed to go to the office that Saturday. But I prevailed on him to stay home. He continued to stay home Sunday -- bah, Sunday was family day. Monday was a holiday -- hallelujah! -- and he didn't have to go out either; not that I would let him. I could see in my mind's eye the other one anxious, fuming, and best of all, beginning to be afraid. Oh God, I wanted her to be afraid -- as afraid as I was.

After that long weekend, I made him wear a bowling shirt with my name plus an apostrophe and an "S" -- NENA's -- emblazoned on the back. It was a shirt I ordered a year before but never got him to wear. That day I took it out of the closet, he put it on without fuss. And that was my first cheap shot at that faceless third party out there who took away something that was mine.

When he came home that night -- no longer as late as in previous nights -- he said that Leny immediately guessed what happened. One look at the possessive label on his shirt told her that the lid was off. She wasn't dumb after all.

Read the conclusion by clicking on the label/category "love and marriage" (left bar, please)

36 comments:

marty said...

I can't wait for the rest. I still think you should publish the book.

Gina said...

Read...and waiting with bated breath for the next installment..

Leah said...

Quite an engaging post Anna, itutuloy pa. Aabangan ko for sure.

btw, i've been on your other blog and read the other story. Marami ka pa lang broken hearted friends.

vernaloo said...

ay bitin lolz :)

cant wait for Part II.

myepinoy said...

A dumb woman or a dumb person becomes clever when situation demmands it.

Mala Kris HOPE James did not do it story yata ito. LOL

Chateau said...

I'm suspended as well...
Just a thought: ang "honest" naman ng husband ni nena, in a way that other men would have denied everything to death, even if evidence is solid. hay, men...
will be back for part 2!

auee said...

I have been waiting for your stories. When you get around to publishing your book, you have to flog it here para I can ask my Nanay to buy it for me!

I told you in your earlier post (https://www2.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=2345138691869844960&postID=6376661345530579041)

that I couldn't relate to the woman's decision to stay & magkibit balikat lang muna. It wasn't because I couldn't relate to the situation, I could but that's another story for you. hehe

annamanila said...

Marty!

Will post the second part tomorrow. Is that okay?

The book -- I need at least six more stories. Maybe some readers would know of women betrayed willing to tell their story.

See you at the scrabble club!

annamanila said...

Gina!

I cut the story for the "bated breath" effect. It worked?

Thanks.

annamanila said...

Leah!

Yes, they all became my friends after the interview. Most of them are friends of friends. One subject introduced me to her mom who also told her own story. :)

annamanila said...

Verna!

Deliberately ibinitin. haha You have not been posting? Medyo matagal na ah.

annamanila said...

Myepinoy!

Reminds me that I wanna interview one celebrity (not necessarily Kris haha) -- if the book project goes through.

Thanks for reading. Hope this is not for-women-only stuff. Men would like to know too how their betrayed partners feel, won't they?

annamanila said...

Chateau!

If I recall right, the husband had thought her sister who was also working for him (as was Leny, the mistress) squealed on him to Nena. Moreover, hindi kasi din sya pro when it comes to making kaliwa. :)

annamanila said...

Auee!

Yes, I know you read Naida's story and I think I promised you another. This is it. And well, Nena took a somewhat different route to wellness. Ay basta, basahin mo na lang ha?

Yes, I am looking for more stories. :) Interviews can be made face to face or online (by Yahoo chat). Ty ty

myepinoy said...

I know you'd say that. LOL

Don't worry, I am not the typical guy with that "pa macho effect". I shed that image long time ago.

Anything that interests me, I read.

Speaking of the feeling of being betrayed, I supposed everyone knows that. It is like love, hate, lust, etc. Di ba halos lahat yata ng mga great novels, movies including history books and the bible merong betrayal.

Your problem now is how to capture those emotions in words (if that poses a problem to you. ha ha ha).

julie said...

I love your stories. They touch the heart and stir the imagination. Bitin nga lang but then again, we wait with anticipation, hehehe. Good job!

houseband00 said...

More, please! =)

annamanila said...

Myepinoy!

Yes, stories of betrayal are all too common. Parang every other wife has experienced it somehow. But evert experience is unique in the perception of the betrayed mate (siempre hindi lang wife ang victim di ba).

Aha, capturing the emotions into words -- thats the challenge. Ok read the sequel(s) and see if pasado si ako. Ty in advance.

annamanila said...

Julie!

Am delighted that you enjoy the story. Tomorrow night, I post the sequel. I-conclude ko na ba? Medyo mahaba pa eh. hahaha

annamanila said...

Ayan. Dalawa na ang male readers ko. Hindi na mahihiyang magbasa yung ibang macho dyan. Haha. Ty, HB. I think I was inspired you serialize the stories (these are languishing na in my baul) when you did yours.

houseband00 said...

Glad to be of help, somehow, Anna. =)

pining said...

quite an engaging story, Anna :-) surely, we'll be waiting for the continuation.. "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned"... ending ba?
can't wait!

annamanila said...

HB

Thanks again. Did I tell you I find your avatar so ... awesome.

annamanila said...

Pining!

I think Nena alternated from romancing the enemy(ies) to wanting to maim and kill them. The whole excruciating gamut of feelings siguro.

Sige .. wait for the sequel. Will post tonight. You okay?

mitsuru said...

hey, i enjoyed reading your blog. i'm a fan now. LOL. ipagpatuloy po.

re: post retirement options--come to think of it, nagawa ko na pala ang mga yun except that i wish i could have explored the phil more.

but wala namana akong maisip na idagdag.LOL

just passing by.

sheilamarie said...

i've read your post on Naida's story, and Nena's is as sad as the other one. looking forward to the rest of the story

annamanila said...

Mitsuru!

Let me guess: you must be another expat Pinay based in Japan. Well, I'll find out soon enough when I hop to your spot.

Thanks for following Nena's story.I have another woman-hurting story at http://womenbetrayed.blogspot.com. That one is not serialized -- hahaha.

So are you about to retire too. Maybe I find out too from your posts. See you.

annamanila said...

Sheilamarie!

I am glad the womenhurting stories have led you and other prospective new buddies to my site. Would like to know more about you and doing that is, wonderfully, just a click away.

Yes, will post the sequel tonight soon as I get home. :)

sheilamarie said...

tita anna, hope u do get to visit my blog. it's at http://smarie29.blogspot.com

looking forward to the continuation of nena's story....

sheilamarie said...

tita anna, hope u do get to visit my blog. it's at http://smarie29.blogspot.com

looking forward to the continuation of nena's story....

sexy mom said...

waaahhh! i am late,,,let me read it first! just to say hello, dear

mari said...

i thought i was reading my past. i was close to tears when i finished reading it.

kate said...

tita, my apologies for leaving a comment this early, blame it on wanting to take advantage of holy week (out and about and sunburnt). but really i'd been wanting to leave this comment for a looooong time, grabe na delay.

anyway... WOW. *deep breath* ibang klase kwentong to. i'm definitely recommending this post to friends who are *coughs* in slightly similar situations. i'm sure na they'll find it inspiring and moving -- which is exactly how i feel right now, having read both parts. ang galing tita! *claps* gah, i can only hope na when i grow up i'd have this way with words :)

annamanila said...

Mari!

I guess you were able to walk away from an unhappy relatinship in time. Congratulations. Did the experience make you more cautious? wiser? stronger? I hope it prepared you, at least, for a better one now or in the future. All best.

annamanila said...

Kate!

Yes, I certainly hope the story helps or at least comforts other hurting women.

Ano ka ba?! You write better than I do! And for you there is plenty of time to get better. And working at the Inquirer as writer-researcher, you will certainly get better fast.

Pero, tickled pa din ako. hahaha

Noel I. Nacianceno said...

Ma'am,

Unbeknownst to you, I am also one of your few male followers although I am more of your daughter Alina's friend than I am yours. I stumbled upon your posts by clicking on a link when, I think, she wrote about you on hers.

Having followed it for quite some time now and checking EVERYDAY, It never occurred to me for your blog or its followers to be predominantly male or female.

As Head Creative writer and Copy Editor for Solar Entertainment (albeit sports), I simply found your entries quite astute and insightful. It never crossed my mind for it to be masculine or feminine.

Anyway, please continue your exceptional contributions as we all look forward and await the next installment. Congratulations!

Stat Counter