Saturday, May 7, 2022

A Mother’s Love - by Cynia Mirasol as written by Cymark Ferdinand Mirasol


Things weren’t easy when my husband and I were first starting out as a young married couple. We were in our mid-twenties when we had our 2 year-old daughter, Lovelyn and we lived together with my in-laws. At some point, we decided that it was time to move out and become independent. I was already a teacher back then and my husband had just passed the bar. Therefore, we rented out a cheap subleased apartment near Asilo de Molo for about 250 php monthly. The place was modest in size and had a shared bathroom with the other tenants but it was clean. Also, since we were both working, while my parents could take care of her on the weekends, we needed a steady babysitter for our daughter. We hired a young girl, about 18 years old for this task. We shouldered her college expenses at the University of San Agustin apart from paying her for watching over Lovelyn. All-in-all, I felt like we were doing just fine.

Of course, as the law of the averages go, not everything always goes right. It happened innocently enough. The babysitter, Dahlia started working for us at around May, or the summer before the opening of classes in June.
For some reason, our dear Lovelyn had developed a urinary tract infection. It took some time, but eventually, she recovered. This was when I suspected that something was amiss. Also, at some point, she had become quite clingy. Whenever we had to leave for work, she was always crying and begging us not to go. It broke my heart to see her this way, but it was necessary.
With that said, I dismissed it as just a simple childish temper tantrum. There was also one time when she had a giant lump on her forehead. Dahlia said she tripped over while playing. I asked Lovelyn and she confirmed this story. I began to suspect a lot more at this point because I noticed that my daughter simply did not like her babysitter – but of course, this much was still normal, at least in my opinion.
When semestral break came along, she asked for a leave to come home to her parents and of course, we consented. In any case, my parents could fill in for her during the 5-day leave that she asked for. This was when our landlady and our sublessor came up to me and asked to have a small talk about Dahlia.
This was when I learned the fateful truth: my daughter had been the victim of physical abuse. They had personally witnessed that Dahlia pinched Lovelyn’s cheeks whenever she thought my daughter was being naughty, She slapped her, she slammed her on the bed, she stole the money we left to buy Lovelyn’s snacks, and whenever we were away, she’d try on my clothes and bags and if Lovelyn ever made any protest, she would immediately hit my daughter. Oh she was a shrewd one. She made sure that there were no visible lumps and bumps except for that one time and she threatened Lovelyn that she would kill her if she ever told us about what was happening. I was flabbergasted. Why was I hearing about all of this just now? I was screaming and crying with tears of rage upon hearing all this.
Therefore…
When Dahlia came back from her 5-day leave, I asked her in my sweetest, most saccharine voice to come along with me to have a little chat. Bluntly, I asked her: “Dal, ngaa gina sakit mo si Lovelyn? (Dal, why are you hurting Lovelyn?)” She denied this, and said; “Indi ah, palangga ko na sa. (No, I love her.)”
And of course, this was the tipping point. I slapped her across the cheek and asked: “Amo ni nga pag palangga? (Loving her? Like this?)”
And then the following conversation ensued:
“Ano sala ni Lovelyn sa imo? (What did Lovelyn ever do to you?)”
“Wala day ah. Kay nakapoy lawas ko kay ga obra ko kag ga eskwela pa ko ti palahibi sa. (It’s nothing. It’s because I’m tired from having to work and go to school so I took it out on her because she cries a lot.)
I asked her several more questions, each one followed by a slap. Finally, I asked her to tell the truth about Lovelyn’s giant lump on her forehead. She still chose to deny this – but this time, Lovelyn came up to me and shouted out:
“Si Dahlia Ma, gin haboy yako sang keys nga naigo ko ti sakit sakit. (It was Dahlia, Ma. She threw the keys at me and it hit me right here. It hurt so much.”
There was no turning back from here. I took the same keys with which she hit my daughter and threw it straight at Dahlia. It hit her squarely on the forehead – good. She begged for mercy and asked me to just let her go home – so I punched her on the shoulders about 5-6 times and asked her, “Did you have any mercy for my daughter?”
Then, I took a knife and grabbed her by the cheek. We have a Filipino saying that when you get beat up so bad, only your tongue is left unscathed. I told her: stick your tongue out because nothing on you will be left unmarked. Dahlia was trembling and mumbling like a scared child.
But don’t be deceived. Nothing that I did here actually left any permanent injuries on her. My intent was to scare her not kill her although God forbid that thought did cross my mind at the great injustice that she’d done to my daughter.
Our neighbors eventually came to Dahlia’s rescue and asked me to stop because I’d done enough. So I told Dahlia to go. She was definitely fired. But you know what? She had the audacity to ask me for fare to go back home. Therefore, I took all her belongings and packed them myself and then promptly threw them into the dirty canals that lined the streets outside the apartment building.
In hindsight, I still can’t forgive myself for what I had done – or more accurately, at what I had failed to do. I failed to protect my daughter when she was being abused. Yes, there was retribution and perhaps a little bit more – and some of you social justice warriors out there might even think that this was unjustified and done out of pure ego. I get it. You hate yourselves and you’re not really mothers – because a real mother would know the rage that I felt at that time.
I have no regrets about what I had done to Dahlia. In fact, I think it was barely enough. You might call it vengeful – but I prefer to call it: a mother’s love. That is the extent that I would go to for any of my two children. So tell me, after reading all this and after knowing that your own mother might be capable of doing this FOR you: Do you still love your mother or do you condemn her for being part of a spiteful generation that didn’t know any better?

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Cycling In Iloilo City: An Amusing Anecdote



Here's a rather amusing anecdote -- and if you're unfamiliar with Filipino culture, this might enlighten you on the dark side of the "ordinary hardworking Pinoy."

So, against my mother's precautions, I took my Mamachari bicycle to SM Delgado after lunch this Saturday because it was a cloudy day with little chance of rain and also because I had a few personal errands in that area.

I kinda understood why she didn't want me to take my bike there. It's not the safest area -- in fact, pickpocketers are on the prowl there all the time.

I parked my bike right in front of Watson's near the Fruit Stand in that area by the overpass. If you're familiar with the place I'm describing, you'd know there's a place there where you can chain up your bike. 

Anyway, after securing my bike, a vendor there was selling some pieces of cleaning cloth for 100 php at 6 pieces each. We could always use more of those and personally, if I can help out, I  help out. So I bought a set on the spot and he gave me 1 freebie, one for each day of the week according to him.

Seeing that I was buying stuff from random vendors, a  rather "enterprising" lady fruit vendor came up to me and practically begged me to buy some fruits from her. I looked hesitantly at the stuff she was selling. I knew my mother would probably like the grapes but at the same time, I had stuff to do so I couldn't be lugging around a pack of grapes all the time -- especially since it was getting a bit hot, so the fruits would probably spoil inside my backpack.

So I politely declined her but she kept begging me to at least buy something so she could buy some lunch. I knew that this was a fake sob story (this is why experience counts. I know these types of people because I've seen them in action before. They will rob you blind either by overpricing stuff or actually just robbing you if you're not careful) but I did want to help out somehow, so I offered her a compromise: I'd buy something if she was still here by the time I got back to go home... she wouldn't have it and kept begging me to buy something. At this point, I had to tell her "no" quite firmly.

Anyway, off I went with my personal errands -- delivering a painting, buying some tire caps, getting my PSP repaired, buying a 12x18" frame, buying two pieces of computer mouse from a local store that sold gaming quality computer peripherals at Aliexpress prices, and finally buying something for dinner for my mother and I.

I arrived at the area at about 2:30 PM and it was nearly 5 PM when I was done. So there I was, all ready to go home with my shopping haul in tow when I noticed a creaking sound while I was cycling. Sure enough, when I looked back, my rear tire was completely deflated -- but not only that, it was hanging out of the wheel. Also, the cover of my newly installed shifter had somehow fallen off (fortunately, I found it on the ground nearby.)

Naturally, I brought a pump along so I tried to pump it back up to no avail. Also, I'd noticed this earlier but the tire cap was missing (this is why I bought some extra ones) from the rear tire tube. 

Fortunately, there are always lots of taxis in the area, so I just hailed a big one and had him take me and the bike home. I sent a message to my mother that I was coming home in a taxi. I smirked a bit because it appears she was right all along. People really can't be trusted sometimes.

I dunno if it was that fruit vendor lady acting out of spite or someone else just vandalizing my bike, but I do know that my rear tube was beyond repair at that point and somebody had definitely tried something funny with my shifter. In any case... not really a big loss for me. Aside from having the bike repaired, all it cost me was a 155 php taxi fare back home. (I gave the taxi driver 220 overall for helping me lug the bike in and out of his car.)

The experience though -- priceless. Also, I'll never park my bike in that area ever again.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Kitty Troubles - First Post Of 2022


You can't really judge a book by its cover -- or a kitty by its puffy fur. My younger cat, Michelle Lynne (1 year old 5.8 kg) is roughly twice as big as her mother (roughly 2 years old, 4.2 kg), but she grew up very sheltered indoors. 

Our two cats have a small outdoor enclosure all to themselves where they can sunbathe, jump and play around and do cat things. The enclosure is escape proof, but it also has an open roof area -- which we'll have to fix soon.

Last night, I heard some foreign rustling in the area and saw that a stranger, a black and white outdoor cat had fallen from the roof and into the enclosure -- where Michelle Lynne was happily playing with the insects. The cat frantically scrambled about trying to find a way to escape -- to no avail. I immediately ran to check the situation and saw that my other cat, Misha had her fur all puffed up and was ready to fight. So I had to grab her and put her in my room temporarily. The problem is that with the stray cat running all around, I couldn't find Michelle Lynne.

After a bit of searching, I found her underneath the bed in what has effectively become our guest room -- shivering in fear and curled up into a ball and right next to her a few meters away was the  stray cat, also shivering and curled up into a ball. Fortunately, I managed to call Michelle Lynne towards me and I carried her into my room to be together with her mother. After that, I opened up the front door to let the stray cat out.

When I came back to check on our cats, I saw that Michelle Lynne was still shivering in fear while her mother was licking her all over trying to console her.

It  took her until the next day to get over her fear of even coming near the enclosure for fear of another stray cat falling in from out of nowhere. What's funny is that she's literally the biggest cat in the neighborhood and my mother and I would often talk about how she could easily smother any of the outdoor strays if she ever got into a fight with them.

Turns out she's still just a big baby and isn't really meant to be a fighter... her mother, Misha however, is a different story. She was an outdoor cat before we adopted her and we'd seen her easily dominate much larger males in an all out fight before... now she's also a beeg kitty and would probably be even fiercer in a hypothetical catfight.  Fortunately, she  won't be getting into any. Not on my watch.