A Broken Home

He wooed her. Promised her the world. He was going to be different from all the others.  The little money she had left, they were going to invest and spend on things that mattered. She won’t want for food, for shelter, or for protection. The children would be educated. Especially, he was going to listen to her.  “Open lines” that’s what he said.  He was going to catch the bad guys; the ones who ran off with her money. Things were going to change. This house was going to be rid of dishonesty, of cheating, of treachery.

He promised her a new life.

And so she chose him. He was a good man, despite his friends and relatives.  He was clean, despite being a tad traditional.

Four years later there’s no new life. There’s no change.

Mother and Child by Onib Olmedo
Mother and Child by Onib Olmedo

She is poorer by more than 1 percent. Twenty three million of her children could barely eat thrice a day. 12.1 million of them are without work.  And she keeps having more children- 5,000 a day.  She fears she would not have enough money to support her growing brood.

He is consumed by his love for his friends and tradition. And especially, he doesn’t listen. He spends days and nights discussing her life with his friends. And he’s busy keeping up with tradition.

She toils all day earning a measly P500 and gives a portion to him.  And yet. The house is in disrepair, there is no money for education, and she has to beg for medicine.  Storms and earthquakes visited them every year. But she couldn’t count on him.  They had to depend on the kindness of others.  Help was slow or puny. She wasn’t even sure if he had heard her nagging about how the house was unprepared for disaster and that they needed provisions because of a storm. He was busy brainstorming- and making all-important decisions on her behalf- with his friends.

In the meantime, he asks for 35 million a year to maintain the House.  “To promulgate rules” they say. And yet last year, they passed only one rule: postponing the Kabataang Barangay Elections.  Spent 35 million for one rule. She doesn’t see them keeping house.  But she remembers them, as they would give speeches television, or fight amongst themselves.

And while she was earning 5,000 a month, the friends were provided with expensive pork at 70 to 200 million each. “To pave roads and erect school buildings, or pay for scholarships, hospital bills and fertilizers” they replied. She didn’t believe them.  “How was the money spent? Did you check?” she asked.

There were thieves inside the House.  Whistles were blown.  Allegedly, they had been running away with her money for years. They kept the hoard in barrels and NGOs. There was another woman called Janet. This house was never rid of dishonesty, of cheating, of treachery. They were still at it.

She was enraged. 1 million of her children took to the streets. And so he listened. For a few days, perhaps a month.  Put the other woman on detention. Showed a bit of remorse. Gave up a chunk of the friends’ development funds. Except that bigger thieves are out prowling the streets.  Janet is being housed in a cozy cell.  And no one’s explaining line-items and allocations, or why they cannot give up the DAP.

They needed to talk. But he hasn’t listened for years.  What about revenge? Find a lover, sleep with the enemy. Except that she would just be repeating the sins of the past.

He pacifies her with figures.  “They’re richer by 7.2%” he says.  “The 2nd highest growth in Asia, next to China.”  But she doesn’t understand GDP and Moody’s ratings. The figures don’t add up.  Why couldn’t she feed 23 million of her children? Still. Why were 12 million of them looking for work?

They wonder if she might be appeased.  Give her time. A lot of drawn-out, protracted litigation. Entertain her with clowns and spin doctors. Blame it on the enemy. She just might forget. She always forgets. She always forgives.

But one day she will have enough. Enough of tolerating abuse. Enough of moping about the house. She needed to stop believing she was weak and deserving of her lot. Because she wouldn’t survive another beating. And she had very little left.

Decades after she left the man who plundered from her, she was back to where she started.  Why repeat the same fate where she gave away power to the dominant who left her with nothing? When was she going to learn the lesson? This house was not yet rid of dishonesty, of cheating, of treachery.

And she wanted a new life.

Disclaimer:  This article is a satire and should not be mistaken for straight news. I am not imputing any crime, vice or defect on a particular person.  I intend no malice.  

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