Secrets Behind The Past – English Edition only – Part 1

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, it’s only straight road crossing this land and cutting the grain cultivation at each side. Only a few casual cars, travelling on the highway, are disturbing 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’s 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 centre, 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. 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, “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 open 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 I saw 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.

End Part 1

Published by carlogabbiwriter

Italian born, and living in Australia. I'm writing for the past 15 years in both Italian and English language. I pubblished my first book in USA and it's available with Amazon. I also wrote several long stories which are grouped under the name "A song of Love" and several other works available in my blog in Rosso Venexiano.

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