I met your grandfather when I was in going to school in Manila for college. I was renting a bed space near the university and your grandfather was also renting a room in that same building so we met there. He didn’t court me properly or at least didn’t make a huge effort. His efforts were simple and mildly romantic. If I told you I would just bore you with the details. Just a few months after we met I went back home to Solano and your grandfather came with me because he had relatives there. My parents met him and my mother thought that we were already in a relationship but that was not yet the case. My mother was afraid that I’d get pregnant if I went back to Manila so she wouldn’t let me go back unless I got married. Your grandfather went along with it and all of a sudden we were husband and wife.
We rented a room together when we moved back to Manila. I continued my schooling and so did you grandfather. During this time period I learned that he was having affairs with other women. It didn’t bother me too much because I was focusing on my studies and he always came back to me anyway. After I graduated I moved back to Solano to teach. At this time your mother was already born. Your grandfather stayed in Manila and worked as a police officer but he would come to visit from time to time. He was still having affairs, the distance allowed him to do so. As time went on we had more and more children, five in total as you know. You would think I had a hard time raising all of them because he was never around but I had my parents to help me so it wasn’t as difficult as you would imagine.
People ask me if I ever suffered at all during the time period before we separated, if I ever wished your grandfather was by my side instead of out and about being unfaithful. They ask if I ever got hurt. The thing is I can’t remember if I was hurt. I don’t even think I was angry at the women he had affairs with. And I’m not sure if I ever really loved your grandfather because we got married so fast and spent so much time apart that we weren’t able to develop a relationship centered on love. I guess it would make for a better story if I did say that I suffered, that it was hard raising five children without a husband but I persevered in the end. That would be a lie. What I can say for sure is that the love I have for my children is what kept me going, it’s what motivated me to work hard and provide for them. They were my strength not my husband. I never wished you grandfather ill though and I don’t regret anything.
Montclair State | New Jersey