Having a step-mom and step-dad in my teen-ager years was very frustrating, knowing their relationship with my parents were all illegal, my parents were not yet divorce or annulled that time but since divorce is not yet accepted in the Philippines society as a law, they can do whatever they want and they can both live with their partners without a law protecting their relationship, well that’s fine, they cannot afford to file an annulment, the price is too expensive and unaffordable for a low income earner which is more or less P150,000 or $3,750/case and that’s a lot of money.
Way back 18 years ago, my father fetched a woman in our house, she’s not familiar and I thought she was just my father’s friend dropping by. Lately, I realized that she’s not going anywhere, my father not even concerned to tell his children that woman standing in front of his kids will be the replacement for their mother; who abandoned them for the sake of her safety. It was really uneasy for me to know that she’s living with us, knowing most of my neighbors are bunch of gossipers and pretending to be a “concerned neighbor” who wants to get some details or gossips from me and from my siblings.
I pretended to be “okay” that time, even If I disagree with my father, his word and decision were like a king’s decision; it’s either you take it or leave the house. At first, my step-mom was very good to me as well as to my other siblings; she even washes my clothes and cook food. That time I was in 4th year high school and at the age of 15, having a step mom was not a big deal as long as she will not hit me and she’s willing to help my father to cope up emotionally.
My father is a public jeepney (Public Vehicle Transportation in the Philippines) driver and earning at least $30 a day, my step mom was always with him to accompany and help him to collect passengers’ fares every day except for Wednesday, that’s their day-off due of number coding in the Philippines.
She’s really good in handling my father emotionally imbalance, very good convincing my father to stay calm even in the rough situation, know what’s his weaknesses, and even know how to fight back when my father have this tendencies to hit her just like what he’s doing to my mother, she’s kind of woman who knows how to position herself. I used to like her a little bit at least that time I had a good night sleep, before my step-mother came to my life, my father used to go home very drunk and even my brothers and my sisters were sleeping, he will pull my foot or mike’s foot (my brother) just to yell and to listen on his story about how “dirty” my mother was on his eyes.
I cannot blame my father that time, he’s been hearing a lot of stories about the extra marital affair of my mother and some of them even saw my mother with the guy they talking about nor I cannot also blame my mother in her wrong doing, she’s been a battered-wife victim for a decade and doing nothing but to cry in corners. I tried to be emotionless and deaf at that time, all I want is to take good care of my brothers and sisters, they were so young that time, I was 15 year-old, my brother next to me was 12, 10, 7 and 5. I don’t care what my neighbors’ impression about my family, on my mind I know someday my life will change; all I need is to decide what I want.
After my high school graduation, my parents and I went to different universities in the Manila to inquire how to enroll in college, unfortunately, no state universities accepted my application because I’m too late for the enrollment. According to them, I have to take the exam first and passed it before they will accept me as their freshman and since I’m not familiar with the processing neither my parents, we was advice to come back next year, in short I’m too late. My parents cannot do anything; they don’t have money or saving to enroll me in private colleges/universities. I have no choice but to wait and try my luck next year but I’m happy that time, you know why? Although my parents were not in good terms that time, they both helped me scouting for public schools hoping that their first born son will be in college that year. Sadly things didn’t end well as we expected maybe that’s not the right time for me.
Things went wrong when my step-mom already knew where and how to position herself in our house, in just years of being with my family; she managed how to control her movement in the house even the emotional imbalance of my father. I noticed that she’s not preparing for a breakfast even lunch every time my father’s was not at home, she’s so busy gambling outside with our neighbors and don’t care whether my sibling are starving to death, for I know before my father leave the house to work, he always giving her a money to buy foods to eat. I know she’s cooking for something but I’m not interested at that time, all I know I cannot trust her. My relationship with my step-mom was okay for as long as she’s good in the needs of my father; she knew how to divert my father’s attention and she knows how to influence him on stop hitting his children. For a sometimes, my life during my high school days was at peace and I owed it to my step-mom. There was also a time when I saw her crying, I knew that time she miss her own kids, her biological kids. That time we went to Star City to celebrate the New Year, I paused for a while and stared at her, she stared back at me and we understand each other, we both miss our family which we had it before.
to be continued.