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How can I forget the day when I first met the woman I married? That time, I had a lot of dreams. I want to be a rich businessman, get married at 30, and have four kids, two boys and two girls. And of course, I have an ideal girl in mind. I promised myself that I will be loyal to my future wife and will treat her like a queen.
Saturday, March 23, 1985. I was rushing to attend to my younger brother’s graduation day in Quezon City. Finally, Marlon will graduate from high school. Both of our parents are already gone, and I have been working at a machine operator for three years just to make ends meet. I’ll do everything to support his college.
When I arrived at his school, I immediately notice this ponytailed lady whose face is unevenly covered with make-up, and obviously want to look taller with her oversized boots. When we got home, Marlon told me that she’s the elder sister of their valedictorian and has been working as an entertainer in Japan for 2 years.
But of course, I’m not interested. Marlon told me her name, but I was not listening. I didn’t care at all. My focus is to how I can be able to put up a small business. And because I am in a metal manufacturing company, I want to be a scrap metal buyer. I heard this business is great and doesn’t need a huge capital.
For more than a year, things are going smoothly. Production increased and I was able to save some money because of the overtime pay. My brother started to work as fast food chain crew while taking up Engineering. I started to apply for a job abroad, and I’m confident that I can reach my dream earlier than I expected.
I must admit, working in an environment with mostly males is tough. Once in a while, you have to go with them and paint the town red. Except for some money, I have nothing to lose, so it’s fine with me. But then, little did I know that one single night will start to change my life. And yes, you’ll never guess who I saw.
I met Suzette, but I’m sure it’s not her real name. I know because her face is familiar to me. She’s the lady in oversized boots during the graduation day, three years ago. I know she didn’t recognize me, and I didn’t tell her about it. This time, her makeup is even but thicker. Her hair is short, but she looks taller than before.
I’m not sure why, but I didn’t invite her to go out although I have enough money. Instead, I was contented to looking at her face and listen to her stories. I know she’s telling the truth because she mentioned about her younger brother. Their parents are both in Bicol, and they are all in all 7 siblings. She said she’s the oldest.
This is not the first time I went to a bar so more or less, I know when girls like her are telling the truth or not. Nevertheless, I enjoyed our conversation. I didn’t ask her age but I can assume that I am older than her at least 3 years. It’s funny though that she talks like she’s the older one. Well, probably because of her work.
Then, the magic strikes. Although my plans are still intact, I started going to her work every weekend. I don’t know, but I immediately go home if she’s not available. I had a girlfriend once, but it was not really that serious. Being in a relationship with someone like Suzette is against my rule, but I eventually broke it.
There’s just something about her that really strike me. Her being a born comedienne, her sacrifice for her siblings, and yes, she’s good in Math. I hate smoke especially in women, so she doesn’t light her cigarette when we’re together. And one more thing, she knows how to dress properly when she’s not at work.
She always tells me that she has no plans of growing old in her work. Unlike her co-workers who spend the whole day sleeping or chatting, she reads books and articles about running a small business. I later learned that her employer in Japan sent her home because she doesn’t want to be involved with him.
One day, I made a huge decision. I asked to leave her work and live with me. I told her we can help each other start a decent business. At first she hesitated, but I finally convinced her after 2 months. His younger brother lives with their parents, and my brother is renting a small room near his school, which is good for us.
Having a child was not yet part of the plan, but marriage is a priority. We got married in front of a judge, when I was 27, three years earlier than I planned. I give her money for her family, but she rarely accept it. She doesn’t want to be treated like a queen. Instead, she sells anything she can except for the one she used to sell.
Time flies so fast, and I didn’t even notice that I’ve been busy with my scrap metal business. My wife has a small eatery, but it doesn’t mean we don’t have time for each other. In fact, we don’t feel getting older because she’s always sweet and loving. But not until a breast cancer strike her at the age of 34.
I keep searching for answers why such a young age could have this disease. But no, I never found the answers and the cure as well. I don’t mind losing our businesses for her medication. I sold almost everything including our house, and they helped but only for a while. She left me four years later. Now, I’m all alone.
We didn’t have a child because she can’t give me one. I didn’t become a rich businessman. In fact, I’m now buried with debts. Yes, Suzette ruined all my dreams, but I don’t give a damn. Well, there’s one dream that became true, and still is. I stayed loyal to her. I’m now in my 50s and I didn’t marry again.
No magic has strike me again…and never will.
Note: The above post was submitted by Arsenio Pagatpatan, a former businessman who now stays with his brother in Trece Martires, Cavite.
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