Sometimes we forget that people are more than the labels they wear in our lives. That mothers are more than mothers and aunts are more than their sisters. That they lived in interesting times with far more remarkable stories to tell. And that sometimes, the best way to spend a hot Sunday afternoon is to listen to them.
How did Abuela know that lolo was cheating on her?
It was a small town naman. Everybody knew already that papa was having an affair with his secretary. I think that when he wanted to leave her, he couldn’t because she was menor de edad and her father was the chief of police who threatened him. So he just stuck it out with her.
I think I know na why tita milagring doesn’t like lolo very much. Didn’t Naty beat her up once tita?
Ah yes. That Natividad with her mother and her brother chased after milagring on her way home from school and beat her up. She was only in grade 4 can you imagine. And she went home all dirty and bruised with bald patches of hair because they pulled it out. Buti nalang tunying and quiting saw what happened and stopped it.
What did lolo do when he found out?
He was in Manila at that time trying to win mama back. But when he came home and heard the stories, he believed the version of Natividad.
Ets / Ana (in unison):
Ha?!? How can he do that?
Because this natividad claimed that Milagring was calling her the four-letter word (PUTA!) But actually it was your tita marilou who was really very angry at her and who shouted the four-letter word everytime she would see them. But marilou was the strong one so they couldn’t touch her, so they ganged up on milagring.
And when papa went home and found out, naku, he really beat up marilou and blamed her for what happened to milagring.
Ets / Ana (again in unison):
You know, after that, marilou locked herself up in the room for 4 days and did not come out. She was just in the corner, crying. Lola tried to calm her down but she really wouldn’t stop. She just kept saying over and over that nobody loved her and that no one was gonna take care of her.
So mama called me up in tears cos I was also in Manila at that time and she told me to please come home and look after my sister. So I left school and went home and stayed with Marilou until she was better. Kawawa naman.
Ang kapal. Why were they so angry ba?
Because my lola refused to let them in the big house. And for Naty that would have been the greatest recognition. But my lola was firm and she really told her one day that the only in-law I will ever receive in this house is Victoria. So Naty was very frustrated.
Papa kept on trying to sneak them in but my Lola never accepted them. One time, this Naty was really crazy ha, one time she even pretended that she was possessed by my Lolo.
She went there to the ancestral house and with a deep voice said “I am Paco. Come here and give me a kiss. And please let Natividad live here so I can live here again.”
My lola just looked at her and said “My god you’re crazy. You’re not Paco. You’re Naty and you’re not welcome here.”
Ets / Ana (laughing so hard):
No way! Really? She pretended to be possessed?
Yes. And my God how she got the whole town believing ha. Even your tita marissa went there to the farm to have a conversation with “paco.”
And you know one afternoon, I saw naty in town and I really went to talk to her because I’ve been hearing that Papa wasn’t sleeping anymore because of her craziness. So I told her “hoy, What are you trying to do? Are you trying to kill my father with these ridiculous stories of yours?”
You know what she did, she looked at me and said “Why are you afraid of me? I am paco.”
So I told her “You are not Paco. You are crazy. And you are the kabit of my father do you hear me? You are not Paco, You are the kabit!”
Ets / Ana:
hahahahahhahahahahahahaha. My God she was really crazy noh.
Tapos one time, papa tried to bring that natividad and Maryanne to the big house (Maryanne is their first-born child) because Maryanne was sick raw. You know I couldn’t stop myself. I was already married but I went to the big house to throw them out. That was the ultimate insult already. And I knew that the best way to hurt Naty was to hurt her daughter so I drove her out of the house.
And papa was there and he stopped me ha. He had the nerve to tell me that I had no heart. I told him “Why? Where was her heart when she beat up Milagring? Where was yours?”
Do you think Abuelo regretted it in the end?
Yes. He did. You know, a few months before he died when he was already losing his sight, he started calling out for us and and mama. And naty told him that we had all already died, can you imagine? Naku, how he cried when he was told that. And Zeny (my aunt who lived right beside them) literally heard him howling through the night in agony. So finally the next morning, she went there to ask how papa was doing and when papa asked her if it was true that his children and Victoria had died, she told him that we were all still alive and in Manila. You know, he got down on his knees raw talaga and started thanking the Lord that we were okay and he just kept on crying.
Yeah. He died a lonely man. How sad.
My mother is the 3rd of 8 children. That’s 8 not counting that 2 my Abuelo had with Natividad.
Its funny how the first 4 have such wonderful memories of my lolo while the younger ones had no amor for him at all. They were the ones who were greatly affected by his adultery. They were the ones who walked the streets in old tattered shoes while his daughters with Naty paraded around town with new shoes and matching bags.