Monday, May 3, 2010

A Second Look at an Imperfect Marriage

Months back I had written a feature article about relationships in the school magazine, and I mentioned how the words "true love" and "happily ever after" belong in fairy tales and not real life. My point was that the stark reality was the opposite of these tales of perfect romance and that even time itself gave no guarantee- calling to mind my parent's 27 years of togetherness, which one day crumbled and ended up in separation.

Their old wedding album had been in storage for decades, and the dampness had caused the edges of some photos to fade and blot, others were completely ruined. I bought a large new album where I can transfer these rare mementos which included a virtual diorama of our childhood and the evolution of our family.

I tried to imagine what their life must have been like as a young couple. Their wedding was simple- a small ceremony at the local church in Abuyog, with just family and friends. My mom wore her hair upswept in braids, with flowers that decorated her veil. She looked radiant in her 70's style wedding dress,and layers upon layers of chiffon concealed her pregnancy (I was a six month old fetus she carried in her belly when she walked down the aisle). My father wore long sleeved Barong Tagalog with what suspiciously looks like bell-bottom pants to me, this was September 1980 so I guess that explains it. If I were to describe how they looked together in scenes during the ceremony,in the bridal car side by side, and at the reception- they were happy. Wait, I don't think that would give justice to the look I saw on their faces. Giddy, ecstatic, madly in love- yes, that's much closer.

Through the years they went swiftly from merely husband and wife to Papa and Mama, with me and my chubby baby brothers ever beside them in photos. Like typical Pinoy families, my father one day left to work abroad to support us. And now there were two sets of photos- the ones at our humble rented house with a very thin-looking Mama, and Papa's photos against the backdrop of the Arabian deserts.

I was of course aware of those relationship ups and downs they had, after all that's typical of every married couple. It's just that as me and my brothers grew up to become young adults and gain independence, their parenting roles which help bound them together seemed slowly dissipating along with their affection for each other. Looking back, even though our parents began to have problems and live in separate houses in the States, I am glad they never actually made the move to get an annulment or a divorce. They made a promise before God, after all, for better or for worse. And even though it still saddens me how the ending of my favorite love story turned out, my father was there during my mom's last hours.

As I put the last photograph in place, I had this lump on my throat that I could not swallow. I guess I take it back then, looking at my parent's wedding photo, it was a shining example of nothing less than TRUE LOVE.


Trese said...

I just started reading your blog and so far, I like the way you write your posts. :) Hope we can exchange links...

Lucky here.

Thad said...

Thanks Lucky. I've linked your blog :-)

Trese said...

Done! :)


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