I went to sleep last night on a full tummy. I had a great dinner with a great companion. We had a wonderful conversation. Life seems to be going to the right direction, for now. What could go wrong? Not one person, less of all me, could have answered that question.
I thought it was going to be a dreamless night, as usual. But, there was a light at the end of my dark dreamless night. There were screams and tugging, followed by immense pain; if there is such thing as a dream that can cause you physical pain. I was tug left and right. I can’t seem to understand what the screams were about. It seems like it was a language I’ve never heard before. But, the faces, oh I so know those faces. The faces, or the former faces, of my parents.
I’ve heard the stories so many times before that it didn’t sound like a proper event anymore. The story goes that my parents had a fight on my first birthday. Being not much older than 28, the anger got the best of them. The candle on my cake had not yet been blown, and they already fought about who should have the custody of me. But as the night unfurls, and so the argument fades away. For years to come, there would not be anymore talks about divorce and who should have me on the weekends and the whatnots; there were no more talks about being a family too.
I woke up in sweat. I don’t believe in dreams being a premonition or anything, but there has to be a reason as to why I dreamed about an event that has long gone and that it only became a relic and might as well be a figment of my imagination. I thought of calling Mama, but I thought better not to. The last time we talked, we weren’t on the same page about my decision to divorce my then husband. It was not a bad and horrible one, it was more like a mutual understanding to part ways; much like a business partner coming into decision that their business was no longer beneficial for both parties.
Maybe I should call Papa? But we haven’t talked in so many moons, at least properly talking like a decent human beings rather than just a cordial hello and goodbye. I could at least try Papa, besides we haven’t even been in any arguments in years, surely I would have a decent conversation with him rather than with Mama.
“Page? Is everything alright?”
“Yeah, sure. Just thought to give you a call. Couldn’t sleep. Can’t call Mama, she’s asleep at this hour.”
“How’s your Mama?”
“She’s alright. She’s still not happy about me getting a divorce. It’s not even an ugly divorce, and she went ballistic when I told her about it. What’s up with that?”
“It’s not about whether it’s an ugly divorce or not, Page. You know that. It’s about the divorce that she doesn’t agree with.”
“But I can’t be with Daniel anymore. We want two different things now. Had I keep our marriage going, it’s just going to go downhill. Daniel and I would have been in horrible places. This is ideal. We don’t have to hate each other.”
“Marriage is not something you toss out when you think it’s not to your liking anymore, or when it’s not what you thought it would be like. Marriage is something you fix when it’s broken, it’s something you fought for, not something you let go when things got too hard.”
“Did you ever think like that when you decided to cheat on Mama with her own friend? Or when you left the house only to come and see us every other week you’re free? Or maybe when you thought we don’t exist anymore when you decides to permanently live with Jenna? Speaking of which, how’s her and her daughter? What’s her name? Tess, was it? Did Tess knew that she had a half sister? She should have known by now, right? Is she in university now? Should I come and see her sometime? Take her to lunch or something?”
“Page, stop this! What are you talking about?”
“Wait! Are you serious? You’re giving me this speech about marriage. Have you forgotten where were you these past few years? Were you a husband to Mama? Were you a father to me? Were you even there when Mama had her mastectomy?”
“You knew I was always your Mama’s husband. I have always been a father to you. I have never, not even once, missed your big day! I was always on all of your big games, your graduation, hell I was there with you on your wedding day.”
“Please tell me that what you’ve just said is as ridiculous as it was to me! You’re only a husband to Mama on paper. You’re a father to me only on my big days where everyone can see that you’re present in my life. But, let’s be honest, which daughter that you drive to school? Which daughter that you’ve waited for hours when she came a tad bit late on prom night? Which one, Papa? Was it me or Tess?”
“You don’t understand what I had to go through, so don’t talk to me like that.”
“You bet I don’t understand. How could I? You left your wife to be with some other woman. You left your daughter for another daughter. How do you expect me to understand that?”
“You think I don’t want to leave your Mama properly? To give her the closure she so desperately need but she won’t admit it? You think I’m the one who doesn’t want a divorce? Your Mama’s the one who wants to keep the marriage going. The only reason I could never marry Jenna is because your Mama is so damn selfish.”
“You lay off of my Mama! For years I resented her for what she did to our family. But I was wrong. It was you who had ruined our family, Papa. Mama gave me one heck of a dysfunctional family where I only have a father when he has to show up in public. I hated her for that. But, let’s be honest, had she filed for a divorce, would I have seen you at all? Would you have showed up in any of my special days? Be honest, Papa. All you ever want was Jenna and Tess. Mama and I would have been obliterated to nothingness had Mama filed for a divorce.”
“So? What? You’re on her side now?”
“I’m glad Mama still has the last laugh, even after all these years. You’re really selfish, you know that? You think I was on her side? I was never on anyone’s side but my own. But, thanks to this conversation, I can now proudly said that I am on Mama’s side. That I will stand by her and fought with her the next time you showed up at her front step begging for a divorce. I will be there with her as she told you to leave her house and ripped the divorce papers to shreds. And I will smile with her, and I will hold her hand, and I will understand all her fights when you walked out of our door the week after my first birthday.”
Okay, maybe calling Papa was not my best decision in years. He hung up. And who could blame him? But who could blame me, either?
“Page, honey? Is everything alright? Are you in pain? Page?”
“Page, honey. Are you crying? Did something happened? Do you need me to come over? Let me get a taxi, first, okay? Don’t hang up.”
“Mama, it’s alright. I just want to say I’m sorry. And I miss you so much. I’ll come over for lunch soon.”
“Are you sure, honey? I’m sure I heard you cry. You know that you don’t have to hide anything from me.”
“Mama, I see you. I see the real you. I’ve seen a glimpse of how the world works through your eyes. And although I still don’t agree with how we see things about marriage, but I see you, Mama. I see how you see things and I understand you.”
“Oh, honey. Page, darling, it doesn’t matter. I’m just so selfish. I just couldn’t leave your Papa. I just want him for myself. I didn’t think how hard it must have been for you.”
“Mama, it was hard and it was strange. But it would have been harder had Papa never showed up at all. But I don’t need him anymore. I don’t need anymore of his pretend. I have you, Mama. So, the next time he shows up, you can let him go. But if you think he deserves another round of begging, let him beg, Mama. I want to be around when that happens.”
“Oh sweetheart, don’t call me this late just to make me laugh. I’ll make sure I’ll call you when he comes the next time.”
“Mama, I see you. I’m sorry I didn’t see you soon enough.”
“Well, why don’t I come over there so you can see me soon?”
“Nah, I’ll come over to you. Make sure you have my choco ready when I’m there.”
“You know I would. I’ll see you soon, Page.”
“See you soon, Mama.”
A work of fiction in response to The Daily Post writing prompt, Vision.