On that night Danny promised to help me to run away from home and to settle in Cebu City. But the next morning my hopes evaporated like fog in the sun.
He went away without saying a word to me. I was again miserable feelings desperate and alone at night. Then a few days later he came back.
Over the last days I asked myself how could be possible that my grandfather and Danny had met my mother after she had returned to Australia with my father. I knew they married secretly away from the consent of my father’s family and left for Australia in the same day. From my knowledge, Mother had never returned to the Philippines. It was a mystery that I needed to clarify. I took a mental note of asking Danny.
In the meantime my life with Grandma became more difficult. She used to pick on my mistakes in my daily chores and continuously punished me, and silently I cried for her cruelties. At night I went early to bed, but sleepless, I kept remembering with pleasure the night I made love with Danny and that made me desiring to have him again. One night, I was craving for him and with his vision in front of me I went to the kitchen and set on the doorstep. Closing my eyes I saw Danny coming toward me and smiling asked to spend the long night together. It was only my over excited fantasy, only a dream.
Then the miracle happened. I saw Danny’s shadow taking form from the nearby fields and coming toward me and moved rapidly but without noises and see me he sent a mute order to be silent; than he took my hand and guided me to the nearby garage.
“Why have you ignored me for so long? I don’t mean anything more to you? Have you been with another woman?” I asked in a whisper.
While I talked, I raised his hand to the crevice of my legs to let him know that it was urgency in me. As I expected, feeling my passion aroused him. He couldn’t resist longer and hurriedly stripped me. We finally were lovers again.
We lay on the bare garage floor but my body didn’t felt the hardness or the discomfort of the floor, so intense was the urge to share our bodies.
Unexpectedly Danny told me, “I came to take you away. Dress up quickly we are leaving in no time. You don’t need to take anything with you; going upstairs you may wake somebody.”
“Why such great urgency Danny, I need you more. Don’t you desire me?”
“ My dear Miriam, I really craving for you, but is time to go now, while people are fast asleep, or else you will lose forever the opportunity to run away from this place.”
His car was parked in the paddock, away from the house to avoid noises. It started at the first crank of the motor and Danny took the road to Cebu, a couple of hours drive away.
The long trip was the opportunity I expected to ask Danny about my mother,
“Danny what really do you know about my mother? I have been told she died in Australia in a boat accident, what have you heard about it? ”
Danny didn’t reply immediately. He was measuring the right answer, then:
“Don’t you mind passing me a cigarette?” and he dragged twice deeply from it.
“I’m not sure what really had happen to your mother. I have raised this question to myself since your father died. I believe to have by now most of the answers, but the picture is not completed.”
After a few more minutes of meditation kept on:
“You mother came to Cebu as a teacher’s aide at San Carlos University. It was on those days that I had begun my clerical work at the same university, and we crossed on the floor continually. Your mother… how can I explain properly to you…Well she had an uncommon personality and everyone looked at her. Yes she was different and aroused ravenous looks from the males for the way she walked, talked, and sensual desires floated in the males around her. Whispers moved around the offices and were gossiping, particularly after the weekends, people were commenting your mother’s doing.”
After a pause he kept on, “Do you want me to go on? What I’m going to tell you now, will be something unpleasant. Some revelation that I’m sure is not what a daughter likes to hear. Do you want me to keep on?”
“Ok. Danny thanks for warning me. But I think it’s something that sooner or later I have to front. I need to know who my real mother was.”
Danny kept telling what he knew.
“I told already that your mother was a teacher’s aide and she was good in her work. But her private life after work was a quite different matter and can I say capable to raise the people’s eyes in disapproval of her doing. Bluntly, I have to say…, how to get the right word? Since the very beginning she raised interest in many men … yes, how to say? She had been seeing around at night a lot.”
Danny at this point looked over to Miriam to study the effect of his words before going further on his revelations.
“Go on Danny!”
“People gossiped since the first day she was at San Carlos. They saw your mother dating her boss from the first week she started working at the University. A scandal that hardly was kept under cover, he was married with a family. He had two grown up children of your mother’s age. Her boss’ name was Julio Rodriguez, a third generation Spaniard”
“He had become infatuated of her and gossip was that he was in love with your mother, but to what a risk. He openly flirted with her, jeopardizing his career and his own family.”
Danny kept on,
“I was working in the same department as your mother, so I had occasion to speak to her several times. She was really gorgeous and aware in the way men’s desire raised between the males working with her. She took pleasure of flirting with them and receiving many invitations that kept her busy at the weekends, moving from party to party. In those occasions she ended successfully in bed with several of those lovers, and naturally her prodigality was divulgated on the Mondays increasing the gossiping around the campus, and the beauty of the thing was that the same males that have been your mother’s lovers for the occasion, talked openly of her easiness to move from lover to lover.”
“She was witty and friendly and the influential people in town loved her soon. It became fashionable to invite her to their parties. Your mother’s enthusiasm in life, her spontaneity and friendliness made her welcomed by many.”
“It became a ritual to have her at the university’s Friday meetings, and from there, they moved to the nearest cabaret till the early hours. They were spending time in witty talks, in good company with the bikini hostesses, employed to entertain the patrons of the place.”
“Mr. Rodriguez was always present at these parties. The regular University meeting was a good excuse for him to stay away the night from the family. His wife knew all about his love affair. She was furious to be excluded from the husband’s life but she was incapable to stop him, not wanting to be the one to create the scandal discrediting him, and the possible loss of his high position at the University.”
“Tell me, how did you come in possession of all this information?”
Danny story so far was quite astonishing. It presented quite a different mother than I thought I had. These facts were like icy blades penetrating my heart, a blow to her memory, and to my love for her. Mother was coming back from dead haunting me with such a story.
“It happened accidentally. One Friday night I was doing some urgent work and I stay later in the office. I was ready to go when I heard people coming.
“I immediately recognized it was your mother and Mr. Rodriguez. I thought better to hide in the next room and give them privacy. Mr. Rodriguez took a bottle of Bourbon from his cabinet and filled two glasses.
“Your mother was apparently upset and raised her voice and complained with him about some intimidating phone calls she had received earlier from her lover’s wife. Both, your mother and Rodriguez were high on the booze, therefore the altercation finished in a fight.”
I begged Danny with my eyes to continue.
“Mr. Rodriguez was telling your mother, ’I’m crazy of you Kathy. I can’t stay without having you because you are the only one who know how to return to me those special loving effusions that normally wives are denying to their own husbands. But you are ungrateful on my regards. You are forgetting how much cost me to return your love. I’m risking so much. Keeping on in this way soon I’ll destroy what I’d built in many years of hard work. Don’t you know that soon, in the way I’m doing, my brilliant career will be over as well I’ll lose the comfort of my family? Did you really want to ruin me completely?’ He asked bluntly.”
“The argument between them went on for long time and their repressed bitterness surfaced many times and made them exchange strong words. It was the beginning of the end of their relationship and such final argument clearly split them apart and from that night they moved in different direction.
“Mr. Rodriguez returned to his old habits. He flirted with the many girls he met in the night clubs. Your mother, showed to be a bad loser in that game, incapable to accept that split. She kept going at those cabarets he went, and took pleasure to increase his jealously in rivaling him changing as many possible partners as she could during the night.
“Most likely they met at the wrong time and certainly they were victims of fate.”
After a short pause, Danny added:
“I’m not sure how deep the antagonism between them was, Miriam. The hate was perhaps was caused by the love that was still there for each other.
“But I’m sure of one thing. With what I said I’d destroyed your mother’s myth, the one that your love for her had created over many years. I know that what I told you is reason of grief to you. ”
“Yes, I had created quite a different image of my mother. How could I possible see her now as the nymphomaniac person you put in front of me? True, Danny, in a short time you wiped away my best dreams and memories I had of my mother. How can you expect me to cope with all this?”
Danny looked apologetic, but kept on
“I don’t have any answers to your mother’s tragedy or how it happened. Pity, if I could only have your father’s diary most likely I would find the final answer there. But Mother had destroyed his possessions.”
“Do you really think so, Danny? His diary was the only think I could salvage from Grandma. But I couldn’t read it. It’s written in Tagalog. I’ve hidden it in grandpa’s garden shed, the only secure place around the house I could find.”
“Thanks Miriam, Next time I’m going home I‘ll get it. In Cebu, you can have the use of your father’s flat. From there we’ll plan the next move.”
END PART 2