Monday, October 14, 2002

My Big Chair

A journey towards anger, pain and eventually of healing.

I have known betrayal, hurt, of tending grudges and eventually indifference for the past years. I recall not so long ago, I wrote a poem for my father. Only when I read the whole text again was I able to come up with the perfect title - Betrayal. What choice do I have left? My anger? My hatred towards those who are part of my pain? Or my father having another family outside ours? What can I write about such? Perhaps a part of my happy childhood I can share.

I remember my earliest and fondest memory, as a child was every morning when I woke up. I would rush to him and he would carry me in his arms, and I would cling to him tightly by the neck until he leaves for work. Only now do I get to think how we would have looked back then, the father and his little girl with arms tightly wrapped around him. He never really minded if his well-ironed suit would have its usual morning creases courtesy of me, or that he would be late for work. I would always hold onto him hoping that he would give in and take me along with him to work and spend my day there. I loved staying in his office. He had his own room. Air-conditioned, carpeted floor, a wide space to play around and a big table where all sorts of office supplies would always be handy for me to play with. But the best part of his office was his Big Chair. It sits in the middle behind his brown wooden table. It was made of fine black leather with four matching buttons. It was a formidable chair. It looked uncomfortable to sit on yet it was exactly the opposite.

I would go up the big chair careful not to lose my balance in doing so. I would sit there and my world of play would start. Sitting on my father’s big chair made me feel different. It was like sitting on my father’s lap at home while he sings duet with me. The big chair was so much like him - big, strong, dependable, and it gives me a sense of security. Sitting on it was like having power and being in the center of the universe. My universe.

Ha! But that was my childhood memory of years past. Eight years ago, I discovered that my great daddy had other children besides us. Siblings other than my full-blooded younger sister. Children outside our own little world. I was devastated. How can he want more children? Worst of all, a family other than ours?

From there, I learned of anger. The blossoming of a feeling so intense, it was destructive. I nurtured pain, hatred, and bitterness inside me. I was suffering and I wanted those around me to suffer as much as I did. I turned out to be a 14-year-old adolescent kid from hell. A vengeful teenager replaced my ever-sweet disposition. I smoked, picked fights, went out night after night with friends, got drunk and hardly went to school. And if I ever did, I was suspended the same day for causing fights and for brawling.

I showed him what I had become. It was his own doing that I turned out to be a fire-spitting dragon that was in charge. Destroying everything good with no one to control me. I was miserable and angry that I made sure that he would be too.
But I never got my victory. He never left.

My father started from scratch as he tried to bring his family together. But rejection was all he got from me. Resentment and rejection were the only ones I was willing to offer him. A cliché to say that action speaks louder than words, but that was what he did. I saw that he was sorry and was trying to make it up to us. But I made sure that all his effort and actions went down the drain.

But he never stopped trying. And the harder he tried, the more difficult it became for me.
Finally, I decided to let him be. That eventually he would tire of his charade of being good and stop.

But he never stopped. Day after day. Month after month. Year after year.

My painfully erected wall of anger crumbled as time passed by. It was time to let go and no longer fight the truth. I am not ashamed of my defeat against my self-made war with him. In truth, that was what I wanted at the back of my mind.
It took me eight years to heal.

My daddy is not getting any younger. It hit me big time when I saw him one early morning. I just got home from a night of partying and drinking, as I opened our front door I saw my father asleep on the couch, a cup of cold coffee on the table beside him. I watched him sleep for a while and I noticed that he indeed looked old. His face was wrinkled, gone was the smooth skin I always thought he’d have, and his hair, with streaks of white contrasted the blue pillowcase he used to cushion his head with, all traces of the years that passed us by were shown on his face. I went up to my room feeling remorseful.

“How long has he been there?” I asked my sister.

“I do not know,” she replied.

Then I knew that my father has been there for too long now. Eight long years of waiting for me.

And like old chairs, I know I have contributed much to his being worn out. Most old chairs are discarded and not given much value. But I know that now, I would never exchange my Big Chair for anything.

Why should I?

My Big Chair is a classic masterpiece that I am proud of for its worth in my life.

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