Next evening Danny took me to a cabaret, where he hoped to get some information about my mother‘s last days in town before her return to Australia.
Mama Maria was the owner of the joint, which was popular in the business circles, patronize by the wealthiest in town.
Mama Maria had a matronly look with and an open cordial smile for her customer. She used a friendly approach with them, calling them by their Christian names.
Her eyes, small and dark, nearly disappeared behind fatty cushions. Her hair was straight, shoulder length, with some silver. She dressed a pale pink gown and a very decollate’ blouse showing the abundance of her large bosom. She was adorned with heavy golden chains and bracelets.
Mama Maria welcomed Danny. She looked at me with interest, believing I was Danny latest fling. Danny introduced me to her, and when Mama Maria heard I was Katy’s daughter a big smile illuminated her face.
“I knew your mother well and we were friends. When she lived in Cebu she regularly come to my cabaret. She was the most popular around and the wealthiest patrons were always delighted to share her company.
“She used her charm in dealing with the richest people in Cebu, and she was quite welcomed back by them. It was two weeks before she returned to Australia that I asked her to be one of my hostesses. She was considering my offer, but then something dreadful happens.”
Mama Maria looked surprised at my expression and turned to Danny: “She doesn’t know?”
“Only that Katy was Mr. Rodriguez’s lover, but I suppose it’s time to tell her about that terrible night.”
Mama Maria led them to a table in a darkened corner and started her story.
“That night only a few people were around. Katy sat at a table with two of the most influential men in town. In the opposite corner of the room was Mr. Rodriguez. The tables were facing and Katy established eye contact with Mr. Rodriguez. When she was sure to have attracted his attention, she acted sexually flirting with her companions to arouse Mr. Rodriguez’s jealousy.
He was soon irritable with the party at his table. Without apparent reasons he dismissed my most attractive hostess that sit with him, and started to argue with the other man in the party. The atmosphere in the room grew tenser. The other patrons in the room alerted seeing that it was something unusual ready to happen, and lowered the tone of their voices to capture the event.”
“It was a few minutes later your mother went to the stage. She consulted first the musicians, and then boldly took the microphone to announce, ‘I will sing a song for a special person, on the occasion of his birthday.’
“It was evident she was referring to Mr. Rodriguez. The customer applauded her while the atmosphere in the room became incandescent.”
“Katy started to sing. Her voice was melodious, even if not the best, copying for the occasions, copying what Marilyn Monroe did in similar occasions to her lover, the President, with sinuous body movements and singing sexily ‘Happy birthday’.
“But Katy wasn’t so lucky. She couldn’t go further the first few lines. She was stopped by the peremptory Mr. Rodriguez’s voice that thundering above her, “Mama Maria, would you stop the cracking of such lousy singer? She disturbs the peace of your valuable customers.”
“It was from his side a well orchestrated revenge that your mother couldn’t accept an open insult from her ex-lover in front of many people they knew of their affair. She became speechless and aware that people in the club was waiting for her reaction. The atmosphere had become tense and all had muted to catch Katy replay.
She realized that her intention to gain back her lover had failed miserably. She had gone a step too far, taking over to the attentions of the public the scandal of their affairs, something that could be written on the morning newspaper and in this way damaging Mr. Rodriguez’s reputation. She recognized her mistake and accepted the scorn publicly. Humiliated and in despair, she let her burning tears run copiously down her checks. She dropped the microphone, and walked away from the stage, without turning around. She left the cabaret a few moments later and that was the last I saw of her. Only a few weeks later I heard that your mother had married and returned to Australia.”
This still didn’t explained to me where and how my mother died, or if her death was accidental. The mystery was getting more and more intricate and difficult to explain. By now we should have found a logical explanation, but no at this point that’s all we had. One can’t vanish as a soap bubble does.
Danny told Mama Maria we wanted to meet Mr. Rodriguez and to ask him the real reason why my mother had returned to Cebu soon before she had vanished.
Mama Maria offered her help in arranging a meeting with Mr. Rodriguez.
Mama Maria was the one that had confirmed that my mother had returned to the Philippines shortly before her disappearance.
At that time mother had took as pretest to return to Cebu her urgent need to have some document from San Carlos University for an application as a teacher at the University of New South Wales. But my father never accepted such explanation. He suspected that behind was quite a different story. Over the last months they had been together things had deteriorated. She had returned to the former lifestyle, and spent her time with charming friends at parties. On those occasions she felt free to stay away from the conjugal roof for days forgetting her marital obligations, and until her moods and sex drive was completely satisfied.
At her return home, still under the influence of liquors, she never explained to my father of her where-around. Such selfishness created a deeper hole in their relationship, even if, over the years of marriage, my father had been a patient and supportive husband.
At that time he told her, “This trip to the Philippines isn’t necessary. I have enough contacts in Cebu to have what you need in no time. My contacts will be able to help you out.”
But that was the tragedy. Mother had never listened to him. Over the past seven years together, Katy had never accepted her husband authority; she had only married him as a matter of convenience. She couldn’t have returned home pregnant. She had to justify this with an husband on her side. In the years together she had only used him for her ambitious necessities. She had never found a word of love for the man with whom she was sharing life.
At San Carlos University in Cebu, Katy received a warm welcome from Mr. Acchino, the dean of the university. It was like the old days when she was his protegee. He patronized Katy, considering her a warm and witty girl, and felt a fatherly love, considering Katy as the daughter he never had.
Mr. Acchino listened to Katy, and urged the various departments to release the documents she needed.
He told her, “Seeing you I was hoping you wanted your position back at San Carlos’. Many, at the university, will be please to see you back. Let me know if you change your mind.”
“Thank you Mr. Acchino, I will consider your offer if I decide to stay in Cebu.”
“What are you doing at the weekend, Katy? We have a boat party for the staff of the university. It would be great if you like to come, will be like in the old days. I’ll wait for you, a bus is arranged from to the university’s campus at three on Friday afternoon. I can promise a fabulous time. ”
It was a trip around the Cebu Island Group, with a chartered boat sailing lazily around a group of islands and retuning on the Sunday midmorning.
. Food and liquor was plentiful and the band played through the night, popular tunes in vogue, with many enjoying dancing.
Katy had accepted the invitation that presented the opportunity she looked and to meet again Mr. Rodriguez. She wanted to settles an old score left open at the time she hurriedly departed seven year earlier. Even if her time with him had been turbulent he had been for her the only man who she couldn’t forget, the only one for who she had felt love throughout her life. She was hoping that this time Mr. Rodriguez will accept her back and forgive her past behaviors. She hoped in a reconciliation making her dreams come true.
It was much more that Katy wanted to tell Mr. Rodriguez. It was something very important which she had kept secret to anybody, even her own husband. It was the true reason why that night she ran away, married in a rush, and never came back. She hoped than, him listening to such a new will be happy and thought, that was the only way she could have him back.
That night, knocking at his cabin door, surprised him. He was unaware of her return and her reasons. Katy was full of trepidation hoping to break into him again and return back love as it was in the old days. He accepted her in a gentleman way. He made her comfortable in an easy chair and offered a glass of Bourbon to drink together at the old days. He listen her patiently. He struck dumb into concentration and thought of the old days together. Possibly he considered what a future together would offer and if possible. But things weren’t anymore the same, the magic of the past had been broken, and couldn’t be mended properly. He felt into a lethargic mental process and in this way his smile disappearing from his lips.
Katy saw it happening looking at him. She thought that her dream was only…Yes; it was only a dream and like most of the dreams will never come true.
She had only a laconic answer to her questions.
“I cannot commit myself.”
That marked the end in her, and that was the last moment that Katy had been seeing on the boat. Katy vanished from the others the same moment she left Mr. Rodriguez’s cabin.
The morning after, they couldn’t find her anywhere and the alarm was raised, much too late to find her whereabouts. They said it was a possibility that an accident had happen to her and she fell overboard. The police was notified and an investigation was opened. In the police report was stated, that it wasn’t any circumstantial evidence. Over the course of the inquest a taxi driver signed a statement saying that he took Katy to the airport, on that particular Sunday, and she had returned to Australia. Therefore the case was closed. But since that day nobody has seen her anymore.
End part 3