Angela and her sons were on their way home from the mall when Poi, her youngest, asked a question.
“Ma, why don’t you and father live together anymore?”
From her left, Angela could see that Banjo, her eldest, was also anticipating her response. She had a feeling he had always wanted to know, but never had the courage to ask. Unlike Banjo who was ten, Poi was only seven and had the benefit of not knowing what tact meant.
“We just weren’t happy with each other anymore, and we didn’t want to keep fighting. So we chose to live separately.”
“But why weren’t you happy with Papa? Don’t you love him?”
Of course she did. But after Eric, her husband, lost his job, she found it more and more difficult to do. He suddenly started hanging out with his friends more, drinking more and learning how to smoke. She tried to pass it off as stress, but when he came home drunk one night and hit her, she decided it was enough. She couldn’t be with a man who had the will to hit her, because if he’d already done so, what was to say he wouldn’t do it again?
Her children deserved a better image of their father, though. That part of his character she would never tell them.
“Sometimes, things happen to people,” Angela said, “and sometimes, Poi, people change because of it. When your father changed, it became difficult for both of us to be happy.”
She wasn’t sure if her sons understood, but they left it at that. For the rest of the ride home, Poi annoyed his brother who was playing with his PSP.
When they reached home, the boys raced into the house while Angela was left to pay the cab driver. She handed over the money and was about to get out when the cab driver suddenly spoke.
“Have you talked to your husband ever since you separated, ma’am?”
The question struck her since she couldn’t remember when she last talked to Eric. She opted not to answer the cab driver and with a polite smile, exited the cab.
That night Angela couldn’t sleep, thinking of the cab driver’s question. When had she last talked to Eric again? Was it after their last session of the annulment trial? How long ago had that been? How had he been doing since? Was he able to turn his life around?
Eventually the guilt of not having talked to her former husband consumed her and she decided to try and talk to him. She called him the next morning despite all her apprehensions. When after the first time he didn’t pick up, she didn’t try to call him again. Angela didn’t want to force the issue.
Maybe two years was too short a time for the wounds to have healed.
Emiko Escovilla was born in Davao City and is currently enrolled in the AB English program of Ateneo de Davao University.