It’s the end of the month. Mom’s mad again.
I can hear her throwing the plates around in the kitchen, slamming drawers and cupboards, not saying a word, but I can feel the heat of her anger from the dining room. I’m scared.
I thought that when we got to the US, all the fighting would stop. I thought that was the whole point of coming here. A better life, more money, a job, family, Disneyland, something that would solve all our problems. Something that would ease the tension between my mom and my dad that had become so unbearable at 35 Payna St. But it didn’t. It’s like this monster clung to our backs and followed us here, and mutated into a creature worse than before.
We sit in silence.
I don’t want to move. My dad’s lips are quivering, his hand balled into a fist on the table. He’s staring at me.
No, he’s not.
His eyes are on me, but I can tell he’s somewhere else in his head. I can see the rage building up inside him and I can barely recognize his face.
I don’t even know how it all started, the fight. It was like a switch was turned on and it just started. All the anger, the flames just unleashed without warning.
It was like everything was on mute. Maybe the yelling was so loud, it made me deaf, but I felt the slap of their words on my face. Almost immediately, I start crying. I take my sister’s hand and pull her to my lap, shielding her head. She hugs me so tight I can barely breathe. She buries her face into my chest and she shouts her fears into my body.
Flashes of sounds, but they don’t make sense. “PUTANG INA!! PERA!!….BASTOS!! ..WALANG CUENTA!! AMERICA!! TRABAJO!! ….KAYOD AKO NG KAYOD!! GAGO!!… HINDI KO NA KAYA!!”
I think I’m yelling, maybe begging. Begging for them to stop. Begging for them to hear my cries, but I can’t even hear myself. Saying please over and over and over, but nobody hears me.
He shakes the table. She slams a dish. He looks up to the heavens. She starts to cry.
There’s no logic or reason anymore. Just anger, and pain, and pride, and desperation.
Something happens, but it was so fast I didn’t catch it. He grabs me up from the dining chair and pulls me to the kitchen. He’s crying. He kneels and yells at me. “SIGE!! TAPOSIN MO NA!! HINDI NYO NA BA MAHAL AKO?! WALA BA AKONG CUENTA SA INYO?! MAGHANAP NALANG KAYO NG BAGONG AMA NA MAKAKABIGAY NG KAILANGAN NYO!!”
He opens a drawer and pulls out a knife. I start crying harder, but I try my hardest not to move. He shoves the knife in my hand and puts my hand up to his throat. He tells me to push it. He tells me to push it if I really think he’s not enough of a father. He yells at me to push the knife if our life is really that unbearable.
I want to hold his hand. I want to touch his cheek and wipe away the tears and tell him that it’s not true. I want to cling to his neck and reassure him that it will be ok. That I don’t care where we live, I don’t care what his job is, I don’t care about any of it. I want to tell him all of this, but I don’t. I’m paralyzed and all I can do is cry. I look at his eyes and the only thing I say is “Please papa. Tama na.”
And it all stops. Just as quickly as it all started, it stopped.
this post was written as a creative writing piece for babae’s pinay stories project.