Sunday, January 28, 2007

Gotcha! (A repost from the STAR)

Something I read in the Philippine Star (hindi pa rin ba obvious kung ano newspaper namin?Ü) and worth sharing. Hope all endings are like this...though I seriously doubt that all stories similar to this end this way. Read on...


NEW BEGINNINGS By Büm D. Tenorio, Jr.
The Philippine STAR 01/28/2007

I caught my friend’s husband with another woman. And I bet you I almost fainted at the scene.

It seemed to be an ordinary Tuesday morning in a shopping complex in Greenhills that day. Except for my excitement to see my balikbayan friend, on vacation for the summer, I had no other business hanging around in that mall. I arrived 30 minutes earlier than the appointed time so I decided to check the place. My feet brought me to the clothes section, an aberration on my part considering that I hardly shop, let alone on a summer day.

So there I was, going from one alley to another, looking at the clothes, sometimes silently laughing at the sight of a Burberry coat or a Prada jacket for only P400, the tag price of which was announced on both sides of a cardboard paper that swayed like an Argentine tango dancer in mid-air. The air-conditioning unit in the mall betrayed the desiccating heat outside. I was feeling cold until kernels of sweat started to sprout on my forehead because from a distance – about 15 meters away from the stall where I was looking at the authentic fake merchandise – I saw a familiar face doing an unfamiliar activity. Christian, 34, husband of my very good friend Liza, 38, from Laguna, was in Greenhills with another woman. The girl’s arm was wrapped around Christian’s waist. His arm, on the other hand, caressed her shoulder. They kissed from time to time, nonchalant in their display of public affection, like lovers shopping at Gallerie Lafayette in gay Paris.

That moment, I wanted to evaporate. I was both feeling uneasy and ashamed of the situation. It was not I who was having extra dalliances but how come I was the one feeling the shame? I was so embarrassed for him. More like, I was more embarrassed for Liza who, every now and then, would relate to me that their marriage was a walk in the park.

I stayed in the stall with fake Prada and Burberry items, waiting for the real thing to happen, unmindful of the SMS of my balikbayan friend that she was already in our meeting place. As Christian and his inamorata walked towards me, I could feel my legs shaking. I was almost throwing up in tension. I was afraid. I had the choice to leave the scene and leave everything behind but I chose to stay because I knew that this was one event I would allow my friend Liza to know. I was certain about it. The heck if Christian brands me chismoso. Then, from being frozen, I felt anger at my friend’s husband. It was a whirlwind of emotion. I was angry that he had the temerity to cheat on my friend.

As Christian and his girl inched their way towards the stall where I was, I decided to approach them. Believe me, there was no expression on my face when I said: "Oyy, Christian. Kumusta ka na?" Such hypocrisy on my part because what I wanted to say that day was "Isusumbong kita."

Christian did not say a word, trying to remain unaffected. He just nodded at me, the type that tells me to keep to myself what I saw. Our meeting was so fleeting it only lasted less than a minute. But its impact was so disarming I lost all my appetite when I finally decided to meet up with my balikbayan friend in the restaurant.

For four days I managed to keep "our" secret from Liza. It was already OUR secret because I already knew about it, therefore I was already part of the "crime." Since I felt like an accessory to Christian’s womanizing, I had sleepless nights. My conscience bothered me. Part of me was saying: "It’s their business. Don’t meddle." Another part countered: "But Liza is your very good friend. She’s like a sister to you. What kind of friend are you if you keep mum about it?"

Come Saturday, I phoned Liza to invite her to play bowling in Biñan, Laguna. On that day, I had the intention of turning myself into the star witness.

"Would you love to have late dinner with Christian and me after our game?" she asked.

"Sure," I said.

Bowling night came. I was not myself. I was waiting for the perfect moment to tell Liza everything. Then in the middle of the game, I cried. I just cried. My friend was worried, handed me a bottle of water then brought me to her car outside.

"Who broke your heart?" Liza asked me as I was in between sobs. I did not reply. She was probably thinking a lover broke my heart again.

"Hoy, bakit ka nga umiiyak. Ituro mo sa akin kung sinong nagpaiyak sa iyo at gugulpihin natin (Hey, why are you crying. Tell me who caused your despair and we’ll get back on that person)," she was adamant to know.

I remained inconsolable. That moment I was both afraid to tell her the truth and at the same time anxious about her reaction. Would she believe me? Would she be mad at me?

"Tell me, who broke your heart?" there was urgency in her voice.

"Si Christian," I said.

"Sinong Christian," she asked, still clueless about her husband’s misdeed on her, "bago mong lover?"

"Hindi. Si Christian mo, may lover."

Then she cried. I told her what I saw in Greenhills. She was inconsolable despite the warmth I provided her.

We sped back to her house where a sumptuous dinner was waiting. Christian was there. A low-voiced confrontation ensued. Christian admitted his mistakes. He cried. He embraced Liza, saying "Sorry" profusely, his apologies said like a mantra. Liza did not embrace him back. I, too, was crying.

"What did I do wrong to deserve this?" Liza asked her husband.

"I’m sorry. I was the one who did you wrong," Christian said.

Christian admitted he had been going out with the girl from Sampaloc, Manila for about a year now. He met her when he was delivering garments in Manila. (Christian and Liza have their medium-scale textile business.) It was the illicit affair that kept Christian to frequent Manila twice a week, even if their delivery was only twice a month.

Liza said the pain she felt was indescribable. A great dent was created in their relationship. Christian stopped seeing the girl but not without her hearing a word or two from Liza, up close and personal.

In the end, there’s nothing that the heart will not understand for the one you love. Liza and Christian are enjoying a blessed relationship now. But Christian had to labor hard enough to win Liza back.

Last Christmas, I got a bottle of wine from Christian with a note: "Pare, thank you. Kung di dahil sa ‘yo, siguro sira na pamilya ko."

Oh well. Truth hurts. But truth also heals.

(I have secured permission from Christian and Liza, not their real names, by the way, that I would write about their story. For your new beginnings, please e-mail me at or Have a blessed Sunday!)

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