He was reading a paper when I told him that I already had a boyfriend. Without looking at me while flipping the pages, he asked, “Is he tough? Not a coward?” I was taken aback by his question since most dads will ask if he is kind, smart or responsible. But before I could utter a reply, he continued, “I just want to make sure that he won’t be the first to run away from any trouble, leaving you being beaten instead.” Hahaha!
Yes, my father was once a street thug. He was even considered the black sheep of the family. Not that he was vicious. It’s just that he didn’t back down from any fight. The stories he told us about his younger years were one thing but the way he told them was another thing. You would really enjoy listening to his tales.
Once while he was dating my mother, they came across two guys who suddenly hit him with a thick slab of wood. He was able to duck, getting slumped on the pavement. As he looked up, he saw the guy’s face full of hate trying to hit him again with the wood but he luckily dodged that blow. My mother was shouting her heart out on the sidewalk but all my father could do was avoid being killed by his enemies. Obviously outnumbered, he ran away from his foes and went to find some friends for reinforcement. He was so mad that he would shout at the people he met along the way staring at him, “What are you looking at?!!” Finally, he found some friends and brought them with him to find those goons. When they saw him with his backup, they ran away, with my dad chasing them and shouting, “Who’s brave now?!!” Hahaha!
This is just one of those stories when he was younger. If I write down all his tales here, this blog is going to stretch longer.
Anyway, my father was not a prominent figure in our household. He was away all the time because of work. He used to come home every after 4 months. Then it became every month. Being away from us all the time didn’t make him a stranger. We loved him even more. We missed him when he’s not around and we were all excited when he was home. He would be filled with hugs and kisses from all of us when he reached our doorstep. He loved spending time with his kids. Who would have thought that a street thug once would become the best father in the whole world for us?
So, there’s this story again when he was younger and living with his eldest sister, my aunt. He was about to go out of the house when my aunt saw him carrying a knife. She asked him, “What are you going to do with that knife?” My father replied, “I’m going to have a drinking spree with my friends in the market and Nichol is there.” My aunt just let it go and forgot about their conversation then.
One day, my aunt was talking to a friend when she told her friend about Nichol and my dad. My aunt then knew that they were enemies. As my aunt’s friend asked her, “Don’t you know who Nichol is?”, a burly guy on a big motorbike passed by the house. She told my aunt, “That’s Nichol.”
And I guess why at 24 years old with a very slim physique compared to his opponent’s robust build, he was sent back to live with my grandparents in Davao City. At least he studied college when he got there and finished it while working part time.
I once asked my mother why he married my father. She told me that when she was dating him, she would always be in other girls’ wrath. She was the official girlfriend but he had other flings. When she had enough, she went back to her hometown trying to forget my dad. But my dad went to pursue her and asked her to marry him. That’s when she realized he really loved her and agreed to marry him. Though people did warn her. “Marry him and he’ll make your life a living hell.” Thank God it didn’t happen.
My father was not a perfect person but once he had my mother and us, he did his best to be a good one. What my aunt said is true. “Reformed criminals make the best husbands.”
I will never forget my father. He did everything for us. He was always there even though we disappointed and failed him. I wish I could have done better for him. I once promised him a trip to Singapore after the twins’ college graduation. But a year before that, he passed away. I wish he was here when the twins passed the bar exams. But I’m sure he and my mom are happy where they are now, looking at us with pride and joy.
He may not be with us anymore but he will always be in our hearts forever.
Once there was a street thug whom I’ll always love. I always did. I always do.
♫I'll find you in the morning sun
And when the night is new
I'll be looking at the moon
But I'll be seeing you♫