Don’t remember anything
FROM MY HEART - Barbara Gonzalez-Ventura (The Philippine Star) - January 20, 2019 - 12:00am

It is 9:25 p.m. and I am just starting to write. I forgot that it was Thursday, my deadline. I have been forgetting many things, I am told by my husband, who likes to think he does not forget anything at all. Tonight he decided to visit one of his children. He went by himself and returned somber. He got off on the wrong floor. He forgot her room number. I don’t say anything. If I had gone with him I would have known exactly where to go and all he would have done was follow me.

These past days have not been wonderful for me. I have made an affidavit to straighten some confusion in my life that happened in 1971, or 48 years ago, that never gave me any problems before but is creating problems now. In the process I was given copies of court cases I had filed then and the response of the person I sued.

It was a case I filed to formalize the custody of my son, who was then 10 years old. I surrendered him to his father when he was eight because he was being seduced by expensive robots and trips to Disneyland. I knew my son wanted to live with his father so I let him go. My heart was so torn then there was no mending it. So I told him to come visit me whenever he wanted. He never came to visit.

 I had four children and I had to support them myself. I had to go to work and worked hard to earn enough money. Nevertheless we generally had good times together. Of course, there were some bad times. All families have some bad times. But there was no bullying or constant picking on each other. In fact I remember my children and I generally laughing together.

We lived in a rented big house but when my son moved to his father’s house we moved to a two-bedroom condo — enough room for me and my two daughters, who were then in high school. I was handling Coca-Cola and had to travel a lot so I thought my children would be safer in a condominium. Then one night my doorbell rang and there was my son saying his father had sent him back to live with me. 

At first I thought it must have been in a fit of bad temper. But then more than a month went by. I sent him to school, bought new clothes, but I wanted to formalize that custody. My son’s father was in the Marcos regime, very powerful, but I didn’t want that to make me afraid of him. So I went to a lawyer and sued for custody and support of my son. When he got the case, he sent his girlfriend to school masquerading as me and picked up our son.

I lost. I left for the United States. My son’s father is dead now and all’s well that ends well. But he came alive for me yesterday when I saw his response to my petition for custody. In essence he said he was taking his son because he didn’t want him to live with a woman with my temperament and my daughters who picked on him. We did not pick on each other. We loved and took as much care of each other as we could. My son felt more companionship living with me than he did living with his dad; but there, he lived in a big house in Forbes Park, went to all the shows, met Burt Bacharach and stuff like that.

Yesterday, while working on an affidavit, I had tears of anger in my eyes. I had thought I had forgotten about my past. But the documents reminded me and anger overpowered me once more. Suddenly I realized that maybe I had not worked out my anger and my pain at our separation. Maybe I had simply stuck them in one of the dark back closets of my mind, never intending to open it again. But God does not allow us to do these things. Sometime when we least expect it, when we are at our happiest, suddenly the door of that closet falls off its hinges from age and neglect and the lies slap us squarely in the face.

What do we do then? I try to handle it but it’s hard. My temper is short. I go shopping but I don’t know what to buy. If he were alive I would probably kill him. But he is dead so I won’t have the privilege. I will just have to learn to calm down, to forgive, to be grateful he is gone, and just to fix this remaining problem and then try to forget the whole thing. Then I will not feel like my husband feels. I will be happy I don’t remember anything.

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