Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Tribute ...

 A Story Of The Past ...

Back in the 90's , when I was single handedly raising 2 young children, I was destitute.  My eldest child happened to be diagnosed with a mega-colon problem upon birth and required a lot of medical check ups and operations for her Colostomy . Trying to make both ends meet, I worked in the city and left the kids under my mother's care and come home during the weekends..

 I met a guy by accident one night while I was at work. With a bunch of ladyfriends around me, we were teasing each other when suddenly , I saw this skinny guy in his fifties. So well dressed in his Navy Blue & white striped crumple free long sleeves shirt &  black casual pants , looking so well armed to the teeth . The  oozing smell of his expensive perfume in all directions as he approaches  the bar for a drink.
Out of nowhere, words just came out of my mouth and I said : "  Here comes grandpa with his stash of cash in  his handpouch looking for his cinderella for a bride. Maybe looking for one of you girls ! "
We all laughed so loud that he looked our way and started smiling to our group. We all then looked at each other and stopped laughing but still giggling inside for the dirty joke. I said : " Oh no, I think he had heard what I said .... " so I was so embarrased ! Seeing him walking towards me , I got so uneasy & a bit scared of what would happen next. I was about to turn my back not until he said to me - " Errr ... Excuse me lady ... "
 I said : " Yes , Sir?  Can I help you ? " with nervousness making both my feet twist uncontrollably  from side to side in horor !
He said : " I'm about to say ... that ... "
I said with trembling sound in my voice and my eyes ready to pop out  :  " Ah, say what sir ? " My eyes were looking helplessly for a friend to come & rescue me ! OMG , I told myself ! I'm surely dead !
He then said :  " I Like your smile ! So pretty ..."

Oh gosh ! ... I was breathless when he told me that . Quite a relief  even after knowing my girlfriends I had around had slowly dissappeared one by one when he came up to me. Although I was left all alone to attend to him , I had no choice but to face him and continue having conversation with him as I continue with my job. I was a waitress / part-time cashier during those times and talking to clients is part of my job to keep people coming back.
After talking to him for few minutes, he told me that I don't match the place where I work. He said that I spoke English well and I look very smart. He asked me why I was working there and not in a bank or other higher end careers. I simply told him : " My daughter is sick and I need money fast , no matter what ! "
He asked me : " Where is she ? Who's watching over her while you are here ? "
 I replied : " I go home to the province to see my 2 children under my mother's care only during weekends . I'm a single mother ! "
"what's wrong with your sick child ?... I would like to see and meet them if you permit. " He said.
I was so totally amazed with how seriously he told me that. I said to myself ... this guy is not giving up on me so easily. As a test, I told him come back on the weekend and we will travel by bus for 2 hours to get to the province. He simply said ok .
Weekdays passed and I didn't see ay trace of him. I told myself he was just joking that I didn't expect he would be coming back ever. Who would bother to travel and see my kids aside from me anyway ? To my total surprise and amazement, he was there during Friday evening after my work ready to travel with me. Oh God !... he was dead serious really ! I got so nervous even more !

 I didn't want to create any stir being with a foreign guy in the bus ( especially being twice my age ) so I brought along another girlfirend to come along and travel with us. It's the only way I would be comfortable with a total stranger with all those staring suspicious eyes of the passengers in the bus. Assured at least that I'm not alone and I have a witness that we're not doing anything wrong.

Anyway, the trip to the province made him realize the truth I was talking about when we met the 1st night. He saw my 4 years old daughter with her bleeding stomach due to colostomy running towards me when we arrived in my rented room. My 3 year old son was crawling under our dining table to hide from us. After meeting my kids, my mom and my family members, he became closer to us. It was like we were destined to be in contact with each other! He would visit whenever he's in town and would always invite me for dinner so he can check if I had cut my very long hair.

How he loves my long hair !
 He would always slighlty tap my hand , even my  forehead whenever I say I need to cut the ends to get rid of split-ends. He told me that I should not touch it . My hair was my greatest asset aside from my good heart he said . He constantly advised me to be careful about guys I meet. They'll all try to jump into my bones he said. He always warned me to be very careful for the sake of my children. He loved & cared for my children a lot too.

Without hesitation , he even voluntarily sponsored my daughter's final major operation , down to the very last cent . It was hefty. Closing her colostomy for good after almost 5 long years of suffering from it had cost a lot of money. He shouldered all the medical expenses and all other hospital bills. I can still picture the moments when him and I were running the streets of Manila , jumping in and out of a taxi , going in several hospitals at midnight looking for a 1000 cc bag of blood needed for my daughters' emergency operation . How concerned he was with the time being consumed and quality of blood we would take back to the hospital where my daughter was waiting in the Intensive Care Unit ( ICU ). She was running a very high fever ( a very bad sign ) and operation has to be done as soon as the blood comes in and got screened. He was a total angel for all his help. If not for all his assistance, my daughetr Barbie wouldn't make it till the morning ... not even until to this day.

He was heaven sent ! I was very thankful for everything !
 For all he had done for me and my children that no one else had ever done so far ...

 I always remember the time when he told me :
 " How I wish you are my real daughter ... I would be the happiest father ! "
After years of being his friend he told me many things about his life. His wife. His girlfriend ( he's only human I know! ) who goes in-out of a psychiatric ward due to depression after he had told her that he's decided to go back to his real wife back in Australia . His 6 adopted children. How unhappy he was with some of his adopted children who didn't grow up the way he expected them to be. Some guys were in & out of jail. some of the women were battered wives. They gave him and his wife so many domestic & financial problems. They had given them not joy but too much trouble. Poor him and his wife I said to myself !

 He told me that I was better than any of his adopted children. Since I work hard for my family and I sacrifce myself a lot. How he admired my persona as a whole, strenght and determination to live and how I endure all the emotional & physical pains just to give my kids and family members a good life. These are the reasons he said that made me so special and dear to him !

 He never missed sending letters and postcards wherever he was during his travels . Full of heartwarming hellos and never ending advices. More than what my real father had ever told me so. Showered me with expensive gifts whenever he visits my country .

Offering me branded cosmetics I myself can't afford to buy during those times ( he always tell me to wear make-up and to accessorize ) . Fashionionable pure leather bags, jewelries & bit of money to help financially from time to time with my kids and small home business I would try to venture in .He was always there ready to support me. All these without expecting anything in return from me !  WOW... Where can you find someone like that ? I guess he's just " One -in -a -Million " and I was so blessed and very lucky I was the " chosen one " to have found him ... by pure accident !

Imagine, Nothing in Return ... he would constantly tell me that he's always happy to help me and that I  need nothing to pay him back. Only words he told me to keep in mind is ~It doesn't cost anything to be nice to people!  Offer as much help as you could give only to people who help & respect other people & themselves . That I should do what he did for me to others in the future whenever I get the chance ( That's fair enough I told myself ). He told me that when it's the time I'm ready to settle down , got a stable job and had found someone to marry, he will vanish in my life slowly. Which he did actually before when my husband & I got married in 1998. I told my hubby everything about him beforehand and my husband had met him by chance in a Dutch owned bar & restaurant in Manila. I was about 4-5 months pregnant with my daughter Tacha at that time while he was there with his long time girlfiend ( I finally had a glimpse of her for the very 1st time ) . He was proud and happy for me and my husband. I only saw him next with pure luck about 9 years later in the airport when I was travelling to Phuket to catch up with my husband. What a coincidence ! That was in April of 2007. That was the last time I saw him . Nine months later, after that meeting in Changi Airport, his wife thru his email address sent me a a short message in my email ( Jan. 1, 2008 ) saying :

" Please don't  reply nor send anymore emails to this address.
Our beloved Don had left us. he's now in the arms of the Lord ..."

I was shocked !
I almost fell out of my chair that morning !
 It was the very 1st email message I have for the year 2008 !
 I found out that he had died of a heart attack in Australia few days ago in December of 2007.
I felt so bad . His death brought me so much sadness on the very 1st day of the year 2008. Not a good way to start the new year huh !
It was on a Sunday and hubby / kids were all at home. I couldn't show them my tears so I just quietly cried inside My-SECRET-Corner ... the beadroom . That was the day I fell on our bathroom floor after slipping on a wet floor. I was rushed to the hospital only 3 hours later after fI felt I couldn't move my right leg due to my swollen back and some contusions on my arms. I thought to myself ... was he trying to take me with him too ?

I miss his advices , his fatherly love, his moral support that had guided me whenever I was down and needed a shoulder to cry on - whether due to problems about my family , my kids or about my marriage going down the drain.
I miss all the ways he cared for me . All his patience ... all his concern ...
 I will miss him in my heart forever. That I'm sure...
 Hope I will see him again somewhere ... somehow ... someday .

To You My Dearest Friend ,
Your words ,
Your deeds ,
shall never be forgotten ;
no matter what was left for me in this world
your kindness and pure love would be spread
as you had wished me to do ...
Wherever You are now,

May Your Loving Soul Do Rest in Peace Forever ... 

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~ This Novel was based on a True Story ~