Ritorno ai miei lettori con un racconto inedito, xhe viene prsententato unicamente nella lingua Inglese.
BUONA LETTURA A TUTTI
SECRETS BEHIND THE PAST
This is a fiction story, even if, to write it I used my memories of the time I was in Cebu or traveling around the outback of Australia.
I returned to my father’s country when I was still young. I learned his language and I learn the way those people live. The countryside around is familiar to me, but the same, I know that I don’t belong to this country.
One day, when we still lived in a Sydney suburb, father told me: “We are going back home.”
But still ten years later, my heart tells me that this place is not home for me. Home is where I was born. Home is my mother’s land, the country my heart craves to belong to.
My mother named me Miriam, because of good wish. My father’s name is Juan. He moved to Australia when he married my mother, Katy. That marriage proved to be a disappointment to my mother’s parents. They had big hopes that Katy would marry a local wealthy farmer. She was the only child and they lived in the Australian outback in the great plain between Dabbo and Burke. This area is a vast tableland of fertile land isolated from the faraway country towns, where it’s only sky and flat tableland finishing nowhere. For over two hundred kilometers, exist only a straight road, crossing this land and cutting the grain cultivation at each side of it. Travelling on the highway, are only a few casual cars to disturb the country’s peace. In the harvesting season, the plain is a golden wheat sea, floating gently with the breeze and blond waiving lines are running undisturbed, to the horizon. That is where for generations my mother’s family used to live. My grandparents’ home is now abandoned. They were respected in the district and even if they lived in a modest rural residence they were not as poor, actually they were well off.
With a good harvesting, they could bank good money out of their wheat. My grandparent’s ambition was to marry my mother to their neighbor’s only son and see the two properties joined into a large one. But Mother never liked the country life.
Reluctantly my grandparents were unable to realize their dreams to marry Katy to Jason, who at that time did politely ask Katy three times to marry him. The first time because he wanted to, the second because he was told to, and finally the third because he knew she would refuse. Finally, Jason showed pleasure in such refusal, not so much because he didn’t like her, but simply because after years of courtship he couldn’t understand Katy’s dreams to go and live abroad in a restricted cosmopolitan urban center, when she could be happier with a healthier lifestyle in the country.
Katy’s parents couldn’t impose their will to the daughter and send her to the near college where she graduated as a teacher. At graduation she applied and been accepted for a teaching job in the Philippines. Katy’s decision created a great dismay in her parents, but it was nothing compared to their furor when two years later she phoned, and told them, she was getting married to a Pilipino.
Most likely, because of this unwanted news, grandpa killed himself. One afternoon he got drunk and then went to the fields, where he managed to run himself over with his own tractor. He died of internal bleeding a few hours later. Grandma survived him a few more months. Living alone had become unbearable for her. Finally. she took an overdose of pills, and in that way, once more, she was reunited to her loved husband.
My parents, after this second funeral settled in a Sydney suburb.
Mother worked at the city international airport, and father got a job with a local import-export company. Father never been able to accepted the Australia lifestyle. He was homesick most of the time missing his country and his people.
We lived in Paramatta, which is not the most elegant suburb of the city, but had good manicured gardens. Decent people lived next to us in close families’ groups, most of them of immigrants, or like mine of mixed nationalities.
Mother died when I was seven years old. Father let me believe it was in an accident, without clarify more. Because of his secrecy I never accepted or understood the way the accident happened, but of one think I’m sure that my mother’s death influenced and changed my lifestyle completely.
It was at that time my father got in touch with his family asking for their approval to return to the Philippines. It wasn’t easy. It took long negotiation before his family accepted us back. They never forgave him to have married and gone to live in a foreign country, when he was so much needed in the family’s business. Finally, the day came and we returned home to the Philippines.
We didn’t get the warm reception I expected. Since the first moment, my grandmother ignored me. For some reason, my father never told them he had a daughter. That was why his mother ignored me since the first moment. I was uncomfortable, and in my imagination, I saw Grandma as one of the witches I used to read in my storybooks.
Since we arrived, she humiliated my father, and compelled him to apologize several times to have left his family for an unworthy foreigner. She openly let me know her hate, telling me: “You are not welcome in this house. You are like your mother, a stranger, therefore you don’t belong to this country or family.”
My father’s younger brother, Danny, and old Grandpa were the only others in the family.
Grandpa was more sympathetic about me, when we have been left alone, he said, “I’m sorry about your grandma, Miriam. She expects to be the one in charge of the family. She had forbidden me to speak openly in your favor because your mother took away our son. She maybe looks cruel with you and punish without any reason.”
Later, meeting him again in his vegetable garden, smiled benevolently to me and he said, “I think the two of us can be friends, ask me if you need something. Do you know that you look like your mother?”
His words gratified me and through his kindness I forgot the previous disappointments.
Within days my life moved into a routine surrounded by my unloving Grandma that kept me busy with so many unpleasant chores around the house and she considered me no better than one of the servants. I wasn’t sure for how long I would cope in submitting to her abuses. Life was more difficult considering I was living in a country which still has a primitive and inadequate sanitary service, and where I felt depraved of my privacy.
Grandma compelled me to sleep on the floor, sharing an unventilated, muggy, suffocating room, with one female servant.
Soon after our arrival I saw my father rarely. With his brother Danny, he had opened a supermarket in Cebu City, and lived in a single’s apartment in downtown, returning home rarely. The family residence was on the San Carlos’ Hills, two hours away from the suffocating city, which is often engulfed in the latrine’s stink spreading across the streets.
Father lately had lost interest in life, and started to lose weight. Evidently, he has lost interest in life and when I saw him, he had stopped to wear good and clean clothes, and too look worse, he grew a crispy and untidy beard giving him a ghostly appearance. Father had passed away a few months later. They said cancer had killed him, but I believe he let himself die. He had been cremated soon after and his ashes were dispersed at sea.
I was alone now, without anybody comforting and loving me. I did always hope, until the last days of his life that my father one day would take me back to Australia, the country that I mostly love. But in time, the memory of the land where I was born and where my soul belongs has become evanescent and remote.
The day of my father’s funeral it was my seventeenth birthday and I was living in this country for the past ten years. Over these years my relationship with grandma never improved. Instead since Father had passed away, life at home had become unbearable and Grandma took every excuse to revenge on me her unrepressed hate for my mother, increasing over the years since the day she married.
After my father funeral, Grandma purposely destroyed all his possession. In this way she wanted him forgotten from her memory, but was she doing it just only because he went away with my mother?
From my father’s possessions I was able to salvage his diary from destruction, that even if I couldn’t read it, it was the same of great sentimental value to me. He had written his memories in Tagalog, one of the Philippines languages that I don’t know.
Exasperation grove in me and in those days, I started to plan how I could run away from Grandma’s house and go to live on my own in the city. But I needed money to survive until I would get a job and earn my way through.
Luck had been with me and a few days later without any planning an opportunity arose to give me such possibility.
In the middle of a hot night I went in the kitchen to have a drink. Everyone in the house was asleep. Soon after I heard noises at the front door; scared I hide in a dark corner, but then I realized it was my uncle returning home from one of his usual visits to the bistros in town, where he had spent time with local hostesses and shared some drinks with them.
Danny wasn’t surprise to see me up in the middle of the night and in friendly way approached me with, “Hello Miriam, up at this time? I know the night is hot and it’s difficult to sleep. Would you like some company and share and a beer with me?”
Danny didn’t wait for my answer. He grabbed two bottles from the fridge, offered one to me, and we sit at the doorstep. He started to talk in a friendly way to me about his night out.
“One night you must come with me, Miriam. You’ll like that brilliant life of the cabaret. You will enjoy the dancing of spirited strippers. Do you know that some are younger than you? They dance pealing slowly at the poles to please the audience, and then, at the rhythm of rock music they move around the tables between their many admirers who are pinning Pesos on their tiny bikinis while are whispering sweet words asking for their favors. I’m sure that if you’re there some gallant man will ask you to be his beauty for the night. Hey no allusions to you. That is part of the fun in those places, but of course to accept or not someone is entirely your decision.”
Then suddenly he changed argument and start to talk about my mother “Have I ever told you that I met your mother when she was in Cebu? You look very much like her. You have the same sandy hair and bright blue eyes. In common you also have the same tone of voice and the open bright smile. At that time, I had just start working at San Carlos where your mother was a teacher and she was very popular in the campus. She looked so different from the local teachers. Your mother had a great figure; was much taller than Filipino’s women and much fuller in her bum and bosom. I say you’ll be in full splendor like her within two years, and sure by then you will have dozens of admirers.”
Then with a second though he said, “Why don’t we talk of you?”
He came closer to me, and at the feeling of his body next to mine an electrical shock started in me. I have to admit that I have become aware of Danny over the past two years and that though had always raised a special attraction in me, and now having him closer I started to melt down. He was the most attractive man I had met and smelled good in his mix of after shaver and sweat.
His nearness was an intoxicating discovery and experiencing my first body contact with a man I felt aroused. I let myself to be taken away by this emotion and I desired to find out how things will develop to practicing with him that previously I had learned reading on borrowed library books.
“Yes Danny, I always liked you. I confess to you that many times, at night, I fantasized about you.”
I got closer to him and I closed my eyes expecting his first kiss that didn’t come. That didn’t stop me and I kept caressing his face, neck, and down to his torso. I wanted him to believe I was a young experience woman, but I found my hands clumsy as they moved inexpediently over him trying to unbutton his shirt. Danny let me do it. At first, he seemed to be confused of what I was trying to do but he let me do it and I notice I was creating in him growing desires.
“What are you trying to do, Miriam… Gee is it true or have I the wrong impression…?”
By the time he spoke I had successfully unbelted him and started to play with his zipper. I was doing things that I never done before and coping things I only read before on romantic novels. I was unaware where I was heading, only guided by an inner urge to proof to myself that finally I was on the verge to become a woman. I realized it was tremor in my hands, because of my anxiety to do it well but at the same time I was insecure in the body and soul. It was the accumulated desperation and loneliness over the time and to free my needs that had been for too long repressed in me. Over the past ten years nobody had a sympathetic word of love. I couldn’t even remember mother; at the time she was alive to have remonstrated such effusion of love for me. That’s way now I was so desperately in needed of someone who could understand me and give back love to me. But I was too young and inexperienced and at that time, and unfortunately, I was confusing sex with love. In my ignorance, I thought that sex was the omniscient expression of love. Therefore, I kept asking Danny to have me without delays.
“Danny, I want you, now. Please make love to me, for God sake. I need you. I dreamed this moment for so long in my lonely nights.”
“Miriam I can’t do this. It’s sinful!”
Nevertheless, the desire was burning in his eyes. His looks contradicted his thoughts and I couldn’t believe his words. I could openly see he was aroused and the lust was building rapidly inside him. Seeing his weakness made me bolder. I felt stronger seeing he was capitulating to my maneuvers to make love with him and his growing desires was evident even to someone inexperienced like me. My hand had become steadier and more secure while I kept unzipping his trousers. In him was now a mute relieved approval of what I was doing, which made me more eager. I was driving him to the end, and I was sure soon I would experience the pleasures to become a woman and to be possessed by Danny.
“Do you really want this with me? Have you ever done this before?” He asked.
But I knew those were only weak excuse from his side to justify himself.
“Wait, not here. Someone can see us.”
Then he grabbed my hand and forcefully took me outside, behind a bush. He laid me on the grass, where in no time, taken by his imposing needs, and without many preambles, educates me into the facts of life, and into many more things, that only a fraction of time before, I only imagined could be possible.