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  1. #1

    Tonette's attempts

    Short stories and poems i have written over the years.

  2. #2

    Re: Tonette's attempts

    I wrote this about 5 or 6 years ago. I already posted this in the old site. Just re-posting.

    CHANCE ENCOUNTER


    It was the worst day of my life. Well, almost. But the worst happened too many years ago so it really doesn't count.

    I have always imagined meeting the greatest love of my life looking my best. That I would be all made up and dressed, looking corporate and chic, and probably in the sanctity of my own little office nook. Never did I imagine meeting him again with my seven-year-old in tow, looking hassled and fazed, with a dribble of chocolate ice cream on my once-white shirt, a dripping ice cream cone in one hand. Never did I imagine that I would be wearing my oldest, faded jeans, and that my hair would be pulled loosely in a pony tail, with no make up on, with sweat glistening on my forehead, and yes, on the tip of my nose.

    But it did happen, and I wished the earth would swallow me up when I looked into those familiar hazel eyes, with the old twinkle and amusement - until they were drawn by the insistent tugging on my other hand. Then something, I don't know what, flickered in those eyes. For a while, I was drawn back to that time when we loved each other so much.

    I just stood there as he arched his brow and smiled at the boy now looking up at him inquisitively. The ice cream was slowly dripping on my hand, but I just stood there drinking in the sight of him, slowly being transported to a time I never dare allow myself to remember.

    He was my greatest love. And seeing him again made me realize that he is still my greatest love. I have never loved anybody like I did love him, like I still do love him. And I could feel all the longing, all the hope, and all the love pouring out of my heart.

    My thoughts were interrupted by the persistent tugging on my hand. And when I looked down at my son, his face so close to the man I once knew and loved, bent on his knees and peering so closely into his face, my heart skipped and all thoughts were driven from my mind. Replaced by a familiar fear and dread. But at the back of my mind were hope and the excitement of discovery. And perhaps, relief.

    "Your son? I see you in him." He was facing me now, ruffling the short hair of my son, looking intently at me. Probably trying to read my thoughts. "Must be five years old."

    I can guess he was mentally calculating possibilities. Probably counting the years since we were last together. And ruling out the possibility of instant fatherhood.

    I did not correct him in his assumption. Kyle is small for his age. And although he had his seventh birthday a couple of months ago, he still is usually mistaken for a five-year-old. I just smiled at Andrew and let him draw his own conclusions. When finally faced with the opportunity to tell him the truth, I simply lost the nerve.

    "Mom, who is he?" Kyle was demanding attention now, and I knew we had to walk away or my too-wise-for-his-age-son will figure out the truth. Andrew might have changed his hairstyle, and might be wearing a tie, but he still looks like the man in the picture in my room. And Kyle obviously saw the resemblance.

    "I'm Andrew, an old friend of your mom. And you?"

    "K. A." my son replied, still looking at Andrew very intently.

    "K. A? And may I know what K.A. stands for?"

    “K. is for Kyle.” I could sense the hesitation in my son’s voice as slow realization dawned on him.

    Before Kyle could further say something, a woman I did not notice waiting behind Andrew spoke up. "Andrew, we'll be late for the doctor's appointment." Then she stepped forward and smiled at me. A sweet, innocent smile reached her eyes, as she reached for my hand and introduced herself. "Hi, I'm Susan. Forgive my husband for forgetting his manners. He is always excited when he is around children. Especially now."

    The hand on the bulging tummy, barely noticeable in her loose caftan, was joined by the very male hand of Andrew, gently caressing the soft mound. "We're having our first baby." Susan's voice cannot hide the excitement and the love she already feels for the life growing inside her body.

    Andrew's hand dropped from the intimate caress, his eyes slowly searching mine, for what, I did not dare guess anymore. My heart was thudding loudly, and I was afraid my face would show how upset and surprised I was - to learn that Andrew is already married - and having his first baby. No, his second baby - he just does not know.

    Feelings of regret swamped me. Regret at not having felt the soft caress at my tummy while I was carrying Kyle. Regret at not sharing the first years of Kyle, the growing years when he should have known about the baby I thought he never wanted. Regret at not knowing him enough to realize that he would want to share Kyle with me.

    I felt Kyle's piercing eyes, somehow knowing instinctively what bothered me. Kyle has always been sensitive about my moods and emotions. He instinctively knows when there is something wrong - like now. I gently tugged at his hand and softly told him, "Honey, we have to go now. Say goodbye to Uncle Andrew and Aunt Susan now."

    Typical of Kyle, instead of simply saying goodbye, he opened his arms and looked up at Andrew, silently waiting for a hug. To my surprise, Andrew laughed and indulged Kyle, quickly hugging him and planting a quick kiss on Kyle's still-plump cheeks. Then he looked into Kyle's wide eyes, so like his own I was afraid he would see the resemblance.

    I could tell the exact moment Kyle accepted him as the man in the picture. The man he was always asking me about. The man he suspected was his father but did not have the courage to ask. He kept on looking at Andrew intently, touching Andrew's face, smiling at his realization, at the discovery that here is the man in the photograph in mommy's room.

    Then he looked up at me and saw the silent tears in my eyes. He recognized the silent plea not to tell Andrew anything, nor ask anything. I have always known that my son is too old for his age. At seven years old, he is much too wise for his age. Imperceptively, he nodded and looked again at Andrew. This time, there was regret in his eyes. And sadness.

    Then he smiled, bitterly, and spoke in a very small voice.

    "Do you want to know what the A in my name is for?"

    "Ok, what is the A in your name for?" Andrew's smile was indulgent.

    "The A is for my father. I was named after him." Andrew's eyes sought mine, seeking confirmation.

    I couldn't hold on to his gaze, the tears threatening to flow. I tugged my hand from Kyle's hold, not hiding the tears anymore but wanting to get away. I couldn't speak from the lump in my throat.

    And as I turned away, I heard Kyle's soft voice. "K.A. is for Kyle Andrew."

    Then he held on to me, turning his back on the father he just met, holding on tight to me. As if by holding on to me, he was affirming his loyalty and his acceptance of the truth I have not shared with him before.

    My eyes were bleary, and I could not see where I was walking. The long-forgotten ice cream cone has melted, and I looked at it with surprise. I opened my hand and let the cone drop to the ground. Like the tears that were already streaming down my face. Tears for a love I had lost long ago -- but has only now accepted as gone for always.

    My feet were heavy. But slowly and firmly moving away from the man we accidentally met. The man my son should have known all his life, and the man my son is walking away from. I can feel the heaviness in his steps, and the slight droop to his shoulders. And most of all, I could see and feel the tears now flowing on his cheeks, and the deep pain in his very young heart. My son is only seven years old, but he has grown so much in the few minutes we met Andrew and his wife.

    We never looked back. But I could feel Andrew's gaze as we walked away. I knew he was willing us to look back, but we both did not. I could feel his confusion and the question he dared not ask. It was the hardest thing I have done in my life. And for a long time afterwards, I would remember it as the saddest but sweetest thing my son Kyle has ever done for me.

    Andrew's photograph no longer stands on top of my bedside table. But I did not throw it away. I gave it to Kyle, a legacy from a father he never knew, a father he only once met, and a father he gave up without a thought, to protect me and maybe, to protect the unborn sister or brother he would have had.

    We never knew if Kyle had a brother or a sister. And he never asked nor tried to find out. But we both know he has a father out there, somewhere. My son was man enough to walk away from him one day, so there will be less pain and hurt. I hope someday, his father will be man enough to get to know his other son. For my son's sake, I hope he will.

    - finis -



  3. #3
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    Re: Tonette's attempts

    this made my eyes water.

  4. #4
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    Re: Tonette's attempts

    i agree. made me teary-eyed. gosh, tonette it was beautiful.
    Professional People Watcher

  5. #5
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    Re: Tonette's attempts

    One day, a poor boy who was selling goods from door to door to pay his way through school, found he had only one thin dime left, and he was hungry.

    He decided he would ask for a meal at the next house. However, he lost his nerve when a lovely young woman opened the door.

    Instead of a meal he asked for a drink of water! She thought he looked hungry so brought him a large glass of milk. He drank it so slowly, and then asked, How much do I owe you?"

    You don't owe me anything," she replied. "Mother has taught us never to accept pay for a kindness."

    He said ... "Then I thank you from my heart."

    As Howard Kelly left that house, he not only felt stronger physically, but his faith in God and man was strong also. He had been ready to give up and quit.

    Many year's later that same young woman became critically ill. The local doctors were baffled. They finally sent her to the big city, where they called in specialists to study her rare disease.

    Dr. Howard Kelly was called in for the Consultation.
    When he heard the name of the town she came from, a strange light filled his eyes.

    Immediately he rose and went down the hall of the hospital to her room.

    Dressed in his doctor's gown he went in to see her. He recognized her at once.

    He went back to the consultation room determined to do his best to save her life. From that day he gave special attention to her case.

    After a long struggle, the battle was won.

    Dr. Kelly requested the business office to pass the final bill to him for approval. He looked at it, and then wrote something on the edge and the bill was sent to her room. She feared to open it, for she was sure it would take the rest of her life to pay for it all. Finally she looked, and something caught her attention

    on the side of the bill. She read these words...

    "Paid in full with one glass of milk"
    (Signed) Dr. Howard Kelly.

    Tears of joy flooded her eyes as her happy heart prayed: "Thank You, God, that your love has spread broad through human hearts and hands."

    There's a saying, which goes something like this:
    Bread cast on the waters comes back to you. The good deed you do today may benefit you or someone you love at the least expected time. If you never see the deed again at least you will have made the world a better
    place - And, after all, isn't that what life is all
    about?

  6. #6

    Re: Tonette's attempts

    Quote Originally Posted by fickle-me
    i agree. made me teary-eyed. gosh, tonette it was beautiful.
    thanks a lot. i haven't had the chance to come back to the site as, i am so embarassed to admit - i lost the link! i have been searching for the link since i got a new pc, but could not really remember. luckily, i found an old "favorites" folder in my pc at the office and finally was able to log in after so many months.

  7. #7

    Re: Tonette's attempts

    NOTHING LIKE THE FIRST TIME

    It’s never good as it was the first time…
    And that is never easy to accept.
    Often, it hurts more than you think it would.

    He loved me, once.
    But that was before he met her.
    He just never truly got me out of his heart...
    He lived in an illusion
    where he was still in love with me…

    And when we did meet again –
    He was disheartened to find
    that I wasn’t me anymore – I was no longer.

    Who could blame us –
    for trying to take hold of a past
    which has long slipped away
    from our grasp…




    /jan2784

  8. #8

    Re: Tonette's attempts

    LAST WORDS FOR MY MBM


    I knew the end was inevitable.
    Perhaps, I was a fool to believe
    that we could hold on to our past…
    But so were you.

    We both had our faults,
    our pains, and our joys…
    Let us just let them be – untouched,
    cherished and treasured.

    Neither of us should be blamed
    for the heartaches we suffered.
    We just didn’t know when to let go…

    Someday, there’ll be no more time for us.
    And our paths may never cross again.
    I have to tell you this now –
    and hope this time it really is the last –

    Goodbye, old love…



    /jan2784

  9. #9

    Re: Tonette's attempts

    IN MEMORIAM…


    Let not the memories speak
    for pain the word would be

    You, I. no more us.
    just love that was lost

    Time was too short
    and goodbyes were so easily said

    Yet hurt I should not have been
    were it not for shame

    Lost dignity –
    what more could have been so hurting?





    /feb0384

  10. #10

    Re: Tonette's attempts

    Quote Originally Posted by tonettesky
    I wrote this about 5 or 6 years ago. I already posted this in the old site. Just re-posting.

    CHANCE ENCOUNTER


    It was the worst day of my life. Well, almost. But the worst happened too many years ago so it really doesn't count.

    I have always imagined meeting the greatest love of my life looking my best. That I would be all made up and dressed, looking corporate and chic, and probably in the sanctity of my own little office nook. Never did I imagine meeting him again with my seven-year-old in tow, looking hassled and fazed, with a dribble of chocolate ice cream on my once-white shirt, a dripping ice cream cone in one hand. Never did I imagine that I would be wearing my oldest, faded jeans, and that my hair would be pulled loosely in a pony tail, with no make up on, with sweat glistening on my forehead, and yes, on the tip of my nose.

    But it did happen, and I wished the earth would swallow me up when I looked into those familiar hazel eyes, with the old twinkle and amusement - until they were drawn by the insistent tugging on my other hand. Then something, I don't know what, flickered in those eyes. For a while, I was drawn back to that time when we loved each other so much.

    I just stood there as he arched his brow and smiled at the boy now looking up at him inquisitively. The ice cream was slowly dripping on my hand, but I just stood there drinking in the sight of him, slowly being transported to a time I never dare allow myself to remember.

    He was my greatest love. And seeing him again made me realize that he is still my greatest love. I have never loved anybody like I did love him, like I still do love him. And I could feel all the longing, all the hope, and all the love pouring out of my heart.

    My thoughts were interrupted by the persistent tugging on my hand. And when I looked down at my son, his face so close to the man I once knew and loved, bent on his knees and peering so closely into his face, my heart skipped and all thoughts were driven from my mind. Replaced by a familiar fear and dread. But at the back of my mind were hope and the excitement of discovery. And perhaps, relief.

    "Your son? I see you in him." He was facing me now, ruffling the short hair of my son, looking intently at me. Probably trying to read my thoughts. "Must be five years old."

    I can guess he was mentally calculating possibilities. Probably counting the years since we were last together. And ruling out the possibility of instant fatherhood.

    I did not correct him in his assumption. Kyle is small for his age. And although he had his seventh birthday a couple of months ago, he still is usually mistaken for a five-year-old. I just smiled at Andrew and let him draw his own conclusions. When finally faced with the opportunity to tell him the truth, I simply lost the nerve.

    "Mom, who is he?" Kyle was demanding attention now, and I knew we had to walk away or my too-wise-for-his-age-son will figure out the truth. Andrew might have changed his hairstyle, and might be wearing a tie, but he still looks like the man in the picture in my room. And Kyle obviously saw the resemblance.

    "I'm Andrew, an old friend of your mom. And you?"

    "K. A." my son replied, still looking at Andrew very intently.

    "K. A? And may I know what K.A. stands for?"

    “K. is for Kyle.” I could sense the hesitation in my son’s voice as slow realization dawned on him.

    Before Kyle could further say something, a woman I did not notice waiting behind Andrew spoke up. "Andrew, we'll be late for the doctor's appointment." Then she stepped forward and smiled at me. A sweet, innocent smile reached her eyes, as she reached for my hand and introduced herself. "Hi, I'm Susan. Forgive my husband for forgetting his manners. He is always excited when he is around children. Especially now."

    The hand on the bulging tummy, barely noticeable in her loose caftan, was joined by the very male hand of Andrew, gently caressing the soft mound. "We're having our first baby." Susan's voice cannot hide the excitement and the love she already feels for the life growing inside her body.

    Andrew's hand dropped from the intimate caress, his eyes slowly searching mine, for what, I did not dare guess anymore. My heart was thudding loudly, and I was afraid my face would show how upset and surprised I was - to learn that Andrew is already married - and having his first baby. No, his second baby - he just does not know.

    Feelings of regret swamped me. Regret at not having felt the soft caress at my tummy while I was carrying Kyle. Regret at not sharing the first years of Kyle, the growing years when he should have known about the baby I thought he never wanted. Regret at not knowing him enough to realize that he would want to share Kyle with me.

    I felt Kyle's piercing eyes, somehow knowing instinctively what bothered me. Kyle has always been sensitive about my moods and emotions. He instinctively knows when there is something wrong - like now. I gently tugged at his hand and softly told him, "Honey, we have to go now. Say goodbye to Uncle Andrew and Aunt Susan now."

    Typical of Kyle, instead of simply saying goodbye, he opened his arms and looked up at Andrew, silently waiting for a hug. To my surprise, Andrew laughed and indulged Kyle, quickly hugging him and planting a quick kiss on Kyle's still-plump cheeks. Then he looked into Kyle's wide eyes, so like his own I was afraid he would see the resemblance.

    I could tell the exact moment Kyle accepted him as the man in the picture. The man he was always asking me about. The man he suspected was his father but did not have the courage to ask. He kept on looking at Andrew intently, touching Andrew's face, smiling at his realization, at the discovery that here is the man in the photograph in mommy's room.

    Then he looked up at me and saw the silent tears in my eyes. He recognized the silent plea not to tell Andrew anything, nor ask anything. I have always known that my son is too old for his age. At seven years old, he is much too wise for his age. Imperceptively, he nodded and looked again at Andrew. This time, there was regret in his eyes. And sadness.

    Then he smiled, bitterly, and spoke in a very small voice.

    "Do you want to know what the A in my name is for?"

    "Ok, what is the A in your name for?" Andrew's smile was indulgent.

    "The A is for my father. I was named after him." Andrew's eyes sought mine, seeking confirmation.

    I couldn't hold on to his gaze, the tears threatening to flow. I tugged my hand from Kyle's hold, not hiding the tears anymore but wanting to get away. I couldn't speak from the lump in my throat.

    And as I turned away, I heard Kyle's soft voice. "K.A. is for Kyle Andrew."

    Then he held on to me, turning his back on the father he just met, holding on tight to me. As if by holding on to me, he was affirming his loyalty and his acceptance of the truth I have not shared with him before.

    My eyes were bleary, and I could not see where I was walking. The long-forgotten ice cream cone has melted, and I looked at it with surprise. I opened my hand and let the cone drop to the ground. Like the tears that were already streaming down my face. Tears for a love I had lost long ago -- but has only now accepted as gone for always.

    My feet were heavy. But slowly and firmly moving away from the man we accidentally met. The man my son should have known all his life, and the man my son is walking away from. I can feel the heaviness in his steps, and the slight droop to his shoulders. And most of all, I could see and feel the tears now flowing on his cheeks, and the deep pain in his very young heart. My son is only seven years old, but he has grown so much in the few minutes we met Andrew and his wife.

    We never looked back. But I could feel Andrew's gaze as we walked away. I knew he was willing us to look back, but we both did not. I could feel his confusion and the question he dared not ask. It was the hardest thing I have done in my life. And for a long time afterwards, I would remember it as the saddest but sweetest thing my son Kyle has ever done for me.

    Andrew's photograph no longer stands on top of my bedside table. But I did not throw it away. I gave it to Kyle, a legacy from a father he never knew, a father he only once met, and a father he gave up without a thought, to protect me and maybe, to protect the unborn sister or brother he would have had.

    We never knew if Kyle had a brother or a sister. And he never asked nor tried to find out. But we both know he has a father out there, somewhere. My son was man enough to walk away from him one day, so there will be less pain and hurt. I hope someday, his father will be man enough to get to know his other son. For my son's sake, I hope he will.

    - finis -



    Beautiful. So beautiful. This story made me teary-eyed. sob.
    <br /><br />Stop animal abuse.

  11. #11

    Borrowed time - another attempt

    Another attempt of mine. I will be posting this in chapters.

    BORROWED TIME

    CHAPTER 1

    I have always wanted it. In fact, I have dreamt and wished and prayed to all the Gods to make it happen. But when it did, I totally lost it.

    It was the night of our high school reunion. I never wanted to go. I had all the excuses in the world not to go. But in the end, curiosity won out and I did go. Which was the first mistake I did – or maybe, it was the mistake that was the precursor of the grandest mistake I could have made that night.

    I came in the best dress I had. The small black number, with the barely there make up, and the highest heels I could comfortably walk with. I knew I looked good, considering. And I knew I looked cool (that was my daughter speaking). But inside, I was all jittery. As nervous as I could get. And it took a Herculean effort not to turn my back and forget about walking past the gates, much less seek my former friends and mates from way back when.

    But the chorus of voices which greeted me made me take that one vital step – back to a place I thought I would never ever see again.

    “Lori!!!” All familiar voices from my past. And sure enough, I saw them just beyond the gates – Mildred, Evelyn, and Suzanne – my friends in high school. More than just friends, maybe. They were like the sisters I never had.

    They crowded on me and we all hugged and tried bravely not to cry. It felt like coming home. It was like finding a piece of yourself that you forgot you lost – and suddenly it was there again and you wonder how come you did not miss it all along.

    “Hey, Lori, you look great!” Suzanne turned me around so everybody could take a look at what I was wearing. Modesty aside, I probably looked not a year older than the last time I saw Evelyn and Mildred – which was at Evelyn’s wedding, five years after our high school graduation.

    “Thanks, Sue,” I hugged her again and felt the familiar welcoming hug from my dearest friend in high school. I turned to look at Mildred and Evelyn, both as misty-eyed as I was, and wondered why I have stayed away from them for so long.

    “How are you Lori?” Mildred seemed hesitant, and seemed somewhat at a loss. For a moment there, my heart skipped one tiny bit, but I tried to ignore it. Which was probably the second mistake I did that night.

    “Hi, Mil. I’m fine. This feels good, getting back together. We should probably do it more often.” I held her hand and squeezed, wanting to let her know I meant every word I said.

    Evelyn sighed, almost imperceptibly, and took my other hand. “We thought for a while that you were not coming – after...” She visibly bit on her lower lip and looked at Mildred for a second. I knew what Evelyn was getting at. And despite the skip in my heart, I was able to give her a genuinely warm smile.

    “Silly you. How can I not come? You were my friends, still are my friends – and I will not miss this chance of getting back together with you again.”

    “So, you are really okay?” again from Mildred, seeking with her eyes the truth in whatever answer I would give.

    “Of course, I’m fine. It has been a long time Mil. We should forget about it. We’re friends – before and now. And that is all that matters. I’ve gotten over everything. I swear.” I gave Mildred what I hoped looked like a sincere smile. And hoped she would believe me. Because I did not want to ruin the night for us.

    Evelyn squeezed my hand and asked, “But, are you okay with Andy here?”

    Just like that, my heart tripped and hammered and I hoped they would not hear. But I tried to keep the smile on my face, hoping against hope that they will never know what hearing that name just did to me.

    “Of course, I’m okay. He is Mildred’s husband anyway, so why will he not be here?”

    I spouted the words, but I knew – just as I have known all along – that I am still not over Andy. I will probably not be over Andy for a long, long time. Probably never. But he is now Mildred’s husband. They are now a family. And Mildred was – is – my friend. So it probably is the time to start learning how to deal with it.

    Mildred hugged me, her tears starting to flow, and whispered for me alone, “Thank you. And for whatever it’s worth, I really am very sorry. I did not mean to hurt you.”

    I hugged her back and prayed that she will not know how much it was hurting me – to pretend that it did not matter. To pretend that I am okay. To pretend that I have forgotten. Deep inside, I was asking myself if it was the right thing to do. And silently asking them how could they not know the truth – that I was still hurting inside...
    Last edited by tonettesky3; 06-02-2011 at 02:35 AM. Reason: some error in details

  12. #12

    Chapter 2

    CHAPTER 2

    FOURTEEN YEARS AGO...

    It should have been a wonderful day. I was bursting so much with the excitement of the news I wanted to give Andy. I could barely control myself and kept on thinking how Andy would be so happy to hear what I had to say. Which was probably the reason why I did not notice the signs...

    Andy was so quiet. And he was avoiding looking at me. Alarm bells should probably have warned me when he started to speak so softly. But on that day of all days, nothing could have burst my bubble – except probably what Andy had to say to me.

    “What did you say?” I was confused and did not know if I heard him correctly.

    “I’m sorry, Lori,” he was not looking at me. “But I have to break it off with you. I don’t want to. But I have to.”

    “W-why?” The back of my legs hit the stone bench, and I slowly slumped on the seat. There was a loud buzzing in my ears and I kept on thinking I was having a bad dream.

    “I...” Andy sat down beside me and tried to hold my cold hands. I was starting to tremble, thinking it was taking too long for me to wake up from the bad dream.

    “I’m sorry, Lori,” Andy was speaking so softly I started to wonder if he was really saying all those things. “But... something happened. Something I did not plan, but just happened. I don’t even know why I did it. Not when I love you so much.”

    “I... I don’t understand,” I could barely get out the words. I was so confused, and afraid – of what Andy was trying to tell me.

    “Lori, just believe when I tell you that I love you so much... and I never wanted to hurt you.” Andy was squeezing my hands so tight, but I did not notice. It was nothing compared to the squeezing pain in my heart. I could not breathe.

    “But... but you are breaking up with me? How can you love me and break up with me?” The reality of what Andy was telling me hit me so hard. My voice was quivering, but I was starting to shout at him. “I don’t understand, Andy! What is it? Did I do something wrong? What is it?!!!”

    I pulled my hands and stood up. I was trembling with rage, unheeded tears falling down my cheeks. I was breathing so hard it hurt. Or maybe, my heart was breaking and that was what was causing the pain.

    “I’m sorry, Lori...” Andy’s voice was breaking, but I could not see him with all of my tears. I did not know if he was crying, if he was pleading, or even if he was looking at me. The pain was too much – and I was afraid I will break if I did not run away from him.

    So I ran – not heeding his shouts. Never once looking back. I focused on keeping one foot in front of the other, not realizing that I was already running – blindly.

    I never knew how long I ran. I never knew where I ran to. But hours later, I found myself at my house. I never knew how long I was standing there in front of our gate. Until my mother looked outside the window and saw me. I can remember her voice. I cannot remember what she said, but I remembered only one thing. I remembered she hugged me and took me inside. I remembered she put me to bed and held my hand until I could cry no more.

    And the last thing I remembered was whispering to her that I never even got the chance to tell Andy that he was going to be a father...

  13. #13
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    Chapter 3

    CHAPTER 3

    My mother was incredible. She was the pillar I clung to during that darkest time of my life. It was a very trying time for both of us. I was so out of it I did not know what was happening around me most of the time. I don’t know how my mother coped. I never asked.

    All I know is that one day, I snapped out of my depression and I realized I was already heavy with child.

    But I was also a long way from home. My mother, knowing not what else to do, took me away. She left a job she loved, leased out my grandmother’s house, cut all ties to our hometown – and relocated us to as far away as she could get. And she hoped and prayed that one day, I will snap out of the depression I was wallowing in.

    I do not know what made me snap out of it. Just as suddenly, I started crying. I could not stop the tears. It was as if by letting the tears flow, I was trying to ease the pain in my heart – it was like I was trying to wash away all the hurt, and hoping that it would work. My mother hugged me tight, just like that night that I remembered.

    Then we talked.

    She knew I got pregnant by Andy. From the bits and pieces that I was mumbling about on that night, she also gathered that Andy broke up with me. It was what made her decide to leave – that, and the fact that I had not spoken a single word since I woke up the following day. She told me how I would stare into space and then will suddenly cry. She told me how I would not eat anything, how I would not react to anything. She told me how she used to talk to me to try and draw me out of the shell I have hidden under. She told me how she realized that when I start to show, she could not hide my condition from the prying eyes of our neighbors – who were already starting to wonder why I was not going out of the house at all.

    I cried when I realized how hard the past months were for my mother. And I realized how much she sacrificed for me and my unborn child. I wanted to thank her for everything she had done alone – but she hugged me and told me that is what a mother is for. We cried some more, hugged some more, and without saying anything, we decided it was the last we would talk about it.

    My mother never asked me why Andy broke up with me. But if she did, I could not give her an answer - I myself did not know. So just like that, we both tried to forget and heal.

  14. #14
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    Chapter 4

    CHAPTER 4

    It was not an easy life for us in the beginning. But Shereen made it all worthwhile.

    My mother was able to get a transfer to another office in the town that we moved into, so her income helped. And so did the income from the lease of my grandmother’s house. But after I gave birth, I decided it was time for me to start taking care of my mother and Shereen.

    I found work, but the pay was not so good in the first few months. My mother kept her job and found a day sitter for Shereen, and on those days when the sitter could not come, we took her to a day care center just around the block. It was touch and go for us financially in the beginning. But luckily, Shereen was never a fussy child, and as healthy as you can get.

    Things started to pick up for us when Shereen was 3 years old. I moved to another job, and with the move was a hefty salary increase. My mother was able to retire then.

    We never talked about what we were going to tell Shereen and anybody who will ask about Shereen’s father. By tacit agreement, we deemed it best to stick as close to the truth as possible – that it did not work out and we decided not to marry. Hence, I am raising Shereen by myself.

    Luckily, Shereen grew up to be a smart child. When she was 9 years old, she asked me about her father.

    “Mama, can I ask you something?”

    “Sure, what is it?” We were watching her favorite show so I was not prepared for the seriousness of her question.

    “Can you tell me more about my father?” Her voice was so small and she was so still. I felt rather than heard the hesitancy in her question. She was afraid I would be upset, or maybe that I would not give an answer.

    I hesitated a little, thinking of how best to answer her question.

    “What would you like to know?” I knew I was just probably delaying having to answer her question, but I did not know how to tell her the barest minimum about her father without her thinking that I did not want her to know about her father.

    “Well, I know what his name is – or I could guess what his name is...”

    “How did you know his name?” It was a bit of a surprise for me. My mother and I have never spoken Andy’s name since before Shereen was born. As I did not tell Shereen what her father’s name is, I was guessing my mother did.

    “Well, I really do not know, but I can guess – it’s Andy, isn’t it?” She was looking at me then, waiting for my answer. “I am just guessing from a remark Nana made the other day. She said, “Andy would probably be so proud of you.” It’s my father, right?”

    “Yes, Andy is your father.” I knew Shereen would one day ask. So I resigned myself to the fact that it was already that day when she would finally want to know. Mentally, I was composing to myself how best to let her know about her father – without hurting her. And I knew at that moment that I would never be able to tell her the truth of that day. So I told her instead how we found each other.

    “I met him when I was a freshman in college. He is my friend’s cousin. I knew I liked him from that first meeting. And I guess he liked me too because he asked me out on a date.”

    “Did you love him?” From the sparkle in Shereen’s eyes, I knew she was thinking it was so romantic. She was at that stage when girls start to talk about boys. It will not take a genius to guess how her mind was working.

    “Yes, I did.” I still do – but I did not tell her that little bit of information. I kept it to myself, not wanting her to romanticize my relationship with her father – or whatever there was left of it.

    “Did he... I mean, do you know if... you know...” It was actually very uncharacteristic of Shereen to be at a loss for words. She has always been the talkative one, the one who never shuts up, the one who will always find something to say. I guess it was just further proof that it was very important for her to know.

    “You mean – did he love me?” I willed her to say no, to tell me that she was going to ask something else.

    “Yes – did he love you?” Her eyes were so round and expectant.

    “He liked me a lot. And he used to tell me he loved me. But if he really did, I really do not know. I’m guessing it was not enough. Probably not as much as I loved him. After all, he is not with us, is he?” I spoke slowly and watched the light go out of her eyes. I felt something akin to pain squeezing my heart for being the one to put out that light. But I could not lie to her – even if it meant hurting her.

    “It’s not that he never loved me at all. After all, we had you. And it’s not that he did not love you either. The truth is, things did not work out for both of us. And before he even knew that I was already pregnant with you, we broke up.” I could not bring myself to tell her that it was Andy who broke it up. I thought it was better to omit that fact – less pain for both of us.

    “So, he never knew about me? He never knew that you had me?” Her voice became even smaller. I knew she was afraid to hear of my answer. Afraid that I will tell her that her father did not want to have anything to do with her.

    “No, he never knew.”

    “But why? Did you not tell him after – after I was born? I know you guys split up already – but you should have told him about me.” She was bewildered, confused. I know she could not understand, and could not grasp the thought of me not letting her father know about her.

    “I tried, Shereen. But by the time your Nana tried to get in touch with him, he already left town. Nobody knew where he went. His family refused to talk about him. And...” I did not want to go on anymore, knowing the pain that it will bring Shereen to hear the truth.

    “And – what?” But I think she could already guess what I was going to tell her. Just not everything. I vowed to myself that she would never know the whole truth even if it kills me. It would be too painful for her.

    “And Nana heard that he ran away with somebody. He eloped, and probably got married already. That was the last we heard about him. After that, Nana did not ask anymore. So we don’t know what happened to your father. And if he ever went back home.” I felt drained after telling Shereen half of the story.

    I could not bring myself to tell her that Andy eloped alright – with one of my best friends, Mildred. I could not bring myself to tell her how devastated I was when her Nana told me the news. And how I held on to her little form and tried to get comfort from her baby warmth. I could not tell her that I cried my last cry for Andy on that day, finally accepting the reality that he was gone to both of us. And accepting the pain of betrayal from somebody I thought was my friend.

    I learned to accept everything because of Shereen. But I still have not understood why Andy had to hurt me so much.

  15. #15
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    Chapter 5

    CHAPTER 5

    Something changed after that night. It was like Shereen grew up that night.

    There were days when I will catch her staring at me when she thought I was not looking. And there were days when I will catch her staring at nothing, her mind probably wandering, full of questions she did not want to ask anymore.

    But I felt that she has accepted what I had told her. She stopped asking me, but I knew she was asking her Nana instead. Not that I heard them talking about Andy. It was just the small things that gave them away.

    Like how an old picture of Andy and me suddenly had the prized location at Shereen’s bedside table. I did not ask her about it. I knew her Nana gave it to her – so she will have a memory of her father. And one more puzzle piece clicked into place – I often wondered what came of the pictures I had of Andy and myself. I thought my mother threw them away when we left town. I did not realize that she had them all along. Probably to show to her grandchild when the time came.

    Other things started to appear in Shereen’s bedroom. Like the bedside lamp that was a Christmas gift from Andy. And the panda bear that he gave me on my 18th birthday. And other trinkets and things that I have kept all those years that I was with Andy. It got so that whenever I was in Shereen’s bedroom, I would remember things and the days when we were still together. It was like her bedroom was reminding me all the time of Andy. So I stopped going into Shereen’s bedroom. I don’t know if Shereen noticed, or if she knew that I started remembering, and hurting.

    I did not want to tell Shereen how I was hurting. Because I knew she was discovering her father by having all those things with her. Although I think it was more because she wanted to believe that her father somehow loves her too. And having those things with her makes her believe.

    No matter how painful it was to me, I could not take that away from her. So I let her be.

 

 

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