Friday, July 20, 2007

Women in Love and in Trouble 2: THE APPLE OF MY EYE

by Lilian (as told to Annamanila)

When we meet the person for whom we are intended, recognition comes through the fact that we fall in love ... we think we will then be able to satisfy all of each other's needs forever and ever .. and therefore live happily forever after. Should it come to pass, however, that we misread the stars .. nothing can be done about the situation except to live unhappily ever after or get divorced (or separated).
- Scott Peck
“When will you set me free?”

Twelve years after my family pushed me into marrying Ding, he was begging me to release him. “I married you against my will,” he said, avoiding my eyes. He was telling me he wanted out of our marriage. Out of my life.

Out of my life, he said.

I called him the “apple of my eye.” But it was an understatement. He was my whole life for many years. So, how could my life get out of my life? Wouldn’t that leave me with nothing?

“I’d rather die,” I thought. Aloud, I said: “You can never leave me. Wherever you go, I will find you.”

How did he stray – the sweet apple of my eye?

My best friend

He was my best friend – the only one in the whole world who understood me … my quirks, my moods, my silences. When I was 18, I had a nervous breakdown. I lived in a fog for weeks. The only person who could break through me was Ding. He defied my parents in order to reach out to me. That was the time I started calling him the “apple of my eye.”

Not so dark, not so tall, not so handsome. He was quiet, gentle, not given to drinking nor smoking. But it seemed to me he was always around – like an angel.

He was so quiet that he only said “I love you” once – one Valentine’s Day, when we were courting. He never repeated it. It did not bother me that he did not. I married, after all, a man of few words.

My parents thought we eloped. But that was not quite true. When I ran away after a bitter scolding from my father, also on account of Ding, it was not he whom I sought out. I went to a friend’s boarding house to let off steam. Ding followed me there. In fact, he implored me to go home. But when I would not, he kept me company. He stayed on, although I urged him to leave when night fell. “I will not leave you,” Ding insisted. He stayed with me, until I went home two days after.

My father could not believe that “nothing happened” during the two days I was away. A medical examination would have confirmed our blamelessness. But my parents would not hear of consulting a doctor. Certain were they that “my honor” and that of the family had been blemished. We were married at civil ceremonies a few months later, when his mother came home from her contract work in Singapore. We were both 19.

This is what Ding meant when he said “… napilitan lang siya.”

No expectations

I did not have any illusions about marriage. No big expectations from my husband. All the years we were together, we lived either in my parents’ or my in-laws’ house. We occupied a room in either house. Both small, cramped, lacking in privacy. At the beginning, we – as well as our children – were fed, clothed, sheltered by our elders. Our basic needs were taken care of. So, it did not occur to me to ask anything from Ding, even if he had a job every so often. I would take whatever little he gave but never asked for more. I never knew how much his monthly pay was. I never asked.

Come to think of it, I was never really a housewife. I never learned how to cook, go to market, beautify my home, make housewifely decisions.

And come to think of it, in 13 years, Ding and I never went out together – except in rare outings with the children. We never celebrated a birthday, a Valentine’s Day, or an anniversary. He never gave me a gift though I’d save for a new pair of Nike shoes for him every Christmas. He was also a distant father. And yet, in my heart of hearts, he remained to be the apple of my eye.
Love may be all you can give, but honey, I can't live without it.
- Barbra Streissand in "More Than You Know"

I’m not what you might call sweet and gentle. At work people called me the “taray princess.” At home, even my accomplished Ate who was used to bossing us around, could not make me toe the line. I was careful to let people know that in spite of my petite exterior, I was no pushover. But I was putty in Ding’s hands. He was, after all, the apple of my eye.

I finished my secretarial course in-between pregnancies. In time, I too began to earn. My mother-in-law set me up for a sari-sari store business. I liked being busy. Later, I found an office job.

Perhaps Ding never loved me. For he began looking for other women to love soon after we got wed.

He had a string of girlfriends in his office. I would find pictures of office parties with some giddy-looking girl seated beside him. He would take home video tapes of office socials to watch over and over. She and the giddy-looking girl were inseparable even in film.

I took refuge in my job, raising my children, and studying. With such busy routine, there was little we saw of each other. In the early morning, we’d have a few minutes of breakfast together. At night, when I came home from school, he’d either be asleep or out. Either way, I’d also be too beat to talk with or wait up for him.

When I was just beginning my job, Ding took seriously ill. He had coronary thrombosis that confined him to the Heart Center for almost a month. He almost died then. His heart stopped; it took a respirator to revive him. Although I was afraid of the prognosis, part of me was happy to have him all to myself to take care of.

During his confinement, the hospital was my home. I slept there, ate there, had a change of clothes there. Luckily, my office at Balara was just minutes away from the hospital.

When Ding was released, a blood clot still remained in his right eye. It took years for the blood to disperse. And even when the clot was gone, Ding was still prone to severe headaches. When the attacks came, they were so bad he wanted to hit his head on the wall. I’d apply cold compress, massage his pain away, pray over him.

I felt most like Ding’s wife when he was afflicted.


Didn’t I tell you about Ding’s string of girl friends? There were so many I couldn’t any more distinguish one from the other. But there were two whom I’ll never forget.

Eva was a girl from his office. She’s small, cute, brown, sexy. Well, to make a long story short, I was able to track down Eva and she turned out to be real nice as well. She promised to forget Ding. And she also asked me to bring her home “… so I can see Ding’s children. So I can prop up my decision to break up with him.”

Taking a crowded bus, we were hanging by the estribo all the way. When we alighted, Eva remarked: “You could have pushed me from the bus, you know.”

- to be concluded


houseband00 said...

I like this story, Anna. =)

Nambitin pa e. =)

cacofonix said...

Interesting story indeed Anna. The interweaving parts make for a good suspense story...:). I can't wait to read the conclusion.

carlotta said...

nabitin din ako.. =) looking forward to the next part. =)

ScroochChronicles said...

Naman yan...sana when I log on tonight andyan na yun conclusion. Anna, write it na para I can sleep soundly :)

Leah said...

It seems like Lilian had a lot of heart breaks!

Oo nga, I look forward as well to the conclusion.

sasha said...

Wow tita! Anong kasunod? Sana ok naman ang ending ng story.

Happy Friday po :)

Major Tom said...

Like a fine movie--well-scripted and directed---viewers would be so anticipating for next episodes...

zherwin said...

why does ding wants lilian out of his life? maybe he realized something, or is he just using the excuse napilitan lang sya?

we'll for the continuation... :)

Heart of Rachel said...

Oh, a cliffhanger.

This is such a moving story. I feel so strongly for the Lilian. I can't wait to read the rest of it.

Happy weekend!

SASSY MOM said...


Can't wait to read the rest of the story. Hope the story will end well!

snglguy said...

String of girlfriends? Damg! Some guys DO have all the luck... :-(

auee said...

unfair -- bitin...

Nakaka-depress stories mo Anna but they're always a compelling read.

Jane said...

How soon will Part 2 be? I can't wait! Cliffhanger talaga!

I feel for Lilian. Martir na asawa. Hope all ends well....

Annamanila said...


Thanks. This is a true story -- one of several told to me for an aborted book project.

Annamanila said...


Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. And I really cut it for the 'suspense' effect. I am glad it worked. :)

Annamanila said...


I deliberately made 'bitin.' Strategy. haha. The conclusion will soon be posted. ty ty

Annamanila said...


Promise ... this weekend .. Sunday soon enough for you? Thanks very mucho.

Annamanila said...


Yup. Luvs nya talaga si Ding, the taray that she is.

Play you in 12 hours! :)

Annamanila said...


Happy ending ba? What's your definition of happy ending ... basta hindi 'they lived happily forever after." :)

Happy weekend Sasha.

Annamanila said...

Major Tom!

Sarap pakinggan your comment. :) I have more of those stories previously published. See the 'love and marriage' category.

Ty and happy weekend Major!

Annamanila said...


Seems like Ding was a little boy who was slow to grow up. L(

Annamanila said...


You have a soft heart that is easily touched, I know. :)

Log bag Sunday. I will post the conclusion.


Annamanila said...


LOL .. I meant log BACK Sunday.

Annamanila said...

Sassy Mom!

Well, as it turned out, it could have been worse .. but then it could have been better. :) Thanks for wanting to read its conclusion. All best.

Annamanila said...


Awww, LOL. Hindi kasi torpe si Ding sa babae. Hindi naman sya TDH, according to Lilian. haha Lakasan lang ng loob yan.

Annamanila said...


Well these are stories of women betrayed ... so sad talaga. But these women coped somehow and discovered strength they didn't know they had.

Belle said...

Ding! Ding! Ding! may i say that he is such an irresponsible guy? he's got children, his own flesh and blood. if he doesn't love his wife anymore, what about his children, they, too, deserve to be loved.

Annamanila said...


Will post the conclusion on Sunday. Hintay mo ha? Ty ty

Annamanila said...


Oo nga, dapat nga may nag-ding-dong sa konsensya nya ano? Well, there's justice naman. That's all I am willing to say for now. :)

Read the conclusion, ha? Ty, Belle.

Gypsy said...

Ayayay...paano ba yan? Di na talaga ako ma-cure sa pagiging cynical ko nito!! Waiting for the ending...

intsik said...

to begin with, she was unable to assert her role as the rightful wife. the times when she could have talked to her husband and voice out her many concerns, whatever have stopped her from doing so, did not help at all.

this is well-written. much like reading an anne tyler book or "JOY IN THE MORNING".

Im going to link you up. :)

Annamanila said...


You shouldn't be reading these women betrayed stories .. hahaha. Eh, siguro, just remember, these are not the norm naman. There are many marriages that work. About three. haha joke!

Annamanila said...


Aha .. Lilian seems so passive and unassertive, no? Masarap din kurutin sa singit. hahaha

I haven't read Ann Tyler but I think I know high compliment when I see one. Thank you very mucho.

Link you back soon. Btws, my children are also intsik. :)

myepinoy said...

Isa na namang magandang istorya.
I can't wait any longer doon sa conclusion.

Kailan ba? ang tagal eh. lol

annamanila said...


Thanks. I know you like my women hurting stories.

Bukas ... you log in ha .. for the conclusion of lilian's story .. althouh sa tutuo lang all the stories are still evolving.

myepinoy said...

No... not that I like your women hurting stories but it is more of i like the style or the way you write to tell the story.

Why? Women hurting stories are all over. Parang adobo o sinigang but merong masarap na adobo at meron ding adbobo lang. you know what i mean.

to put the record straight, i do like your style of telling a very normal or typical story. ha ha ha ha.

Naghihintay ako.

So where is the "kung close yon" para mahimaymay ko at para meron ako matutunang style sa paglalahad ng istorya?

rowena said...

hi anna, bitin talaga. i've been waiting for your stories of women betrayed,at last meron uli. naku parang soap opera to. bakit aborted pala your book project? am sure maraming magbasa nyan kasi lots of our fellow pinays are betrayed by their partners. btw, thanks a lot for your comment, my site's look is refreshing na according to rachel and chats.thanks a lot.

Annamanila said...


Ganun ba? hehehe akala ko pa naman you feel empathy with the hurt women. But what you're saying is true .. this happens to almost every other marriage. We wanted to publish these stories to put across the message that women suffering from this plight are "hindi nag-iisa."

Hamo, lapit na yung concussion .. ay, joke.

Annamanila said...


I was about to go to your blog site just to tell you that a woman-hurting story has been posted, as per popular -- hahaha -- demand (I think there was one more waiting for this aside from you).

Naunahan mo lang ako.

Maliwanag na ba sa bahay mo? Sige dalaw ako. May coffee ba? :)

diogenes said...

Some one shoulder surfing this post saw rg title and said, "lovers are always losers." I tend to believe that.

pepe said...

there's is always two sides of the coin. usually the story is slanted to the one telling it.

nice story...:)

Annamanila said...


When one loves, one is vulnerable to hurt. And yes, one loses the person one loves in one way or another. So I guess what you're saying is true. :) I mean :(

Annamanila said...


Quite true. The story is told from the woman's viewpoint only. But isn't that the way most stories are told -- except a newspaper story which of course tries to get a balanced view. :) Ty, Pepe. Btw, i like your name; so very few are still known by that beloved nickname.

lady cess said...

hindi ko yata kaya to kung ako ang nalagay sa kalagayang ganyan, yung makikipag usap sa mga eva ng mundong ito in a civilized manner, parang sa pelikula ng 80's, o yung mga teleserye ngayon. siguro kasi hindi ko maaatim na makipag usap at all.

Chateau said...

Yehey, the series is back! :)

Why, oh why, would Lillian allow Eva to step into her home? Is the answer in the conclusion? I shall wait for it then.

mitchteryosa said...

Kung ako yung babae, baka di ko lang itulak sa bus yung Eva hahaha! Makakatikim sila sa akin talaga!

intsik said...

talaga! intsik din! cool! heheheh anne tyler's most famous work was "BREATHING LESSON" which won a PULITZER in the 80s.

excited na ako sa continuation!

freeze said...

wow, i was almost convinced that you were writing your story... pasensya na, newbie here. :D

Annamanila said...

Lady Cess!

There are funny or strange things people can do when they are under pressure.

Daming Eva sa mundo.

Annamanila said...


Same answer to Rachel's comment.

Thanks for waiting, Chats.

Annamanila said...


A tapang na tao ah! :) Hmmm an Eva better watch out before she thinks of grabbing what's Mitch's. haha

Annamanila said...


You're comparing this blogger with a Pulitzer awardee?! But that's blasphemous.

I will look up Ann Tyler. Ty ty. Conclusion posted.

Annamanila said...


If you liked Lilian's story, I have others like hers ... click on my "love and marriage" category.

Welcome to our blogging community, Freeze! It's a cool place to be. :)

SexyMom said...

i am glad i can now immediately go to part 2...sometimes, it pays to be late.

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