Dear Alfredo

Dear Alfredo,

I traveled back in time today. I had to. I couldn’t help it. And I have papa to thank for that. This is exactly why I never go back there. That place. The home that haunts me and the people heaven created to love me unconditionally, yet they never did. Papa especially. How can mama love a man so vile he takes pleasure in his own daughter’s pain?

Edmund, that’s the name of your greatest tormentor my love. It’s what I call him whenever I want to get even. He wonders at my audacity and if he could have his way he would hit me senseless just like he does mama. I see it in his eyes. I also see the way his hands shake and his fists knot in bridled fury. The last time he tried it I sent him flying flat on his stomach. My fifteen years of teaching self defense had finally paid off. If mama couldn’t put him in his place, I would. And I did. Now I am paying for it.

You should have seen the twinkle in his eyes today. You remember how his eyes start dancing whenever he stirs up something and waits for it to brew? I watched him today, with the intensity of a boxer facing her opponent in the ring, daring him to cross the line yet again. You should have seen how his Adam’s apple kept twitching from both restraint and excitement. He was on home ground, so that gave him the upper hand…although that never stopped me from acquainting his face with his floor in a much more intimate manner than his feet ever will. Only this time, it was my tears he was feasting on when he croaked, “still no man in ya life huh? Shouldn’t be surprising. No man would want ya knowing you were fucked by that-” I had inched closer to him so he could say that derogatory name straight to my face. Lucky for him, mama stepped in, like she always does and pulled me away.

So yeah, I thought about you today Alfredo.

Oooh, dear Alfredo. You should see me now. I look nothing like the girl who used to make your stomach get all tied up in knots, and send shivers down your spine and all the way to your feet until you couldn’t help but break out in dance. On certain days you said I left you speechless. You should see me now, perhaps you would understand why papa’s eyes dance so happily at the sound of my breaking heart. My head is all hair and my eyes keep sinking into the back. Although mama will tell that it’s my face that’s all eyes, because now that I’ve lost so much weight, they look like two huge holes leading to an endless abyss. I don’t feel pretty anymore, but that’s okay.

Time has not been kind to me Alfredo. But neither were you. If your love has kept me alive all this while, I wonder how mine couldn’t give you the will to keep fighting, to want to live more than anything, to be with me. Just as I do now, fighting to stay alive for the part of you you left me with, without even knowing. He is both my torture and my joy. He is you, but he also isn’t…will never be. How could you say you love me but still leave me? I could have shared your pain, I wanted to, desperately. In fact, I did, and still do. Now I have both your pain and mine to carry alone. And soon I’ll have to carry our son’s too when he learns about how his papa left.

I used to think that our love is the only constant thing in my life that the years have not tempered with, but I was wrong. Because on days like today, I hate you. I hate what you did to us.

How could I not see it coming?

I never had to ask you. I always knew. It was always there, your unfaltering love in the face of danger. You had many a secret up your sleeve but your love could never be that. It was neither subtle nor lukewarm. Neither was it overpowering or burdensome. It was just…enthralling. Captivating. Hypnotizing. I knew the day I looked into your eyes that I would forever be your willing prisoner. Every now and then my mind wonders to that mid-summer morning when it first happened. I had not woken up that morning hoping to find love. But I found you.

It had been a while since I had given up on ever encountering something…or someone as extraordinary as you. You feared nothing. You always looked danger in the eye and forced it to smile back at you. You lived every moment as if it were your last. Perhaps if I wasn’t so consumed in your love, I could have seen, maybe even sensed or heard the monsters you were trying to keep at bay. I had once entertained a fairytale ending for myself, but I was only five then. Since then, I had seen too much of life to even entertain the possibility of a love that could rival one straight out of a Regency novel. And with a father like mine, the tide was tuned away from my favor even before I came into this damned world. But there you were, in a wrong place and at the wrong time. The stars never saw you coming my Alfredo. You smiled my way and changed the face of my fate immediately.

How was I to know you had traded yours for mine?

At the top of these stairs, on a door to my right lies a five year old with a smile exactly like yours Alfredo. When I open that door, he ‘ll awake from his light sleep because he’s been anxiously waiting for my return, just like you used to…and like I’ve been doing these past five years. I’m gonna hold that boy so tight in my arms all the hate I feel for you right now will leave through the pores of my arms. And then I’ll forgive you, again.

And again.

My dearest Alfredo.

Whatever Troubles you might Face: Always Choose to Live!

depressed imageI recently put up a post on Facebook that read;

I will give 20 pin talk time to whoever is first to get this question right; you are at the mercy of a killer. He tells you that you have no way out except for one: he folds two papers in half, each with the words ‘you will die’ written on them. He labels them A and B. He asks you to pick the paper with the words saying ‘you will live.’ It’s a trick. He knows this but you don’t. You actually think that one of the papers will save you. You have no choice but to pick one. And you must choose to live. And the truth is that you lived. How did this happen?

I promised to post the answer on my blog so here we go!

I must say I had a lot of fun reading all the responses. The truth is that I came across this trick question when I was watching one of my all-time favourite Korean dramas. When the heroine asked the hero (or should I just say the two leads in the drama?) this question, at first, just like the hero – I had no idea what the correct response should have been.

It was only later in another scene that the hero got an epiphany whilst he was eating something from a plate …when the answer occurred to him. At that moment I thought to myself, “Oh wow…didn’t even cross my mind!”

However, out of everything that was said, I found that I loved the lesson of the trick question more than the trick itself. It was one of those moments that led me straight into reflection. So I thought it would be great to share this with my friends and let’s see how they work around it!

Suffice to say, many tried to tackle the question and some did give very good possible answers, except, I was looking for the best answer that would explain how it came about that the person in question was still able to live despite having picked one of the papers that said he would die. Despite increasing the reward prize, it seemed they all just wanted me to keep my money. I like that. 🙂

As I keep writing, I am sure that the answer will slowly be forming itself in your heads…of course I am assuming that not everyone who is reading this has watched the drama I am referring to where this question came from. If anything, I would give the little prize money to the person who could tell me the title of that drama! Now that would be fun, wouldn’t it?

Now picture this;

In the drama, the answer came to the hero/protagonist/lead while he was eating something from a plate. As he kept picking a piece off his plate, he looked at what was remaining on the plate and suddenly stopped! The answer had occurred to him.

And this is the answer:

If the victim (I will call him/her that for lack of a better term) was expected to pick the note that said, ‘you will live’ when in fact we know that both notes said he would die, how is it possible he was able to live? It is because the note that was meant to decide his fate …and in this case it is the note that had remained, the one that was not picked read – you will die. Therefore, if the note that was not picked said he would die, doesn’t it automatically mean that the note he had picked said ‘he will live’? Remember, he was asked to choose the choice to live. Irrespective of what was written on the note he picked, the note that was meant to decide his fate – the note that had remained to be read out by the killer said he would die which meant by default that the victim had picked one that said he would live. And this is how he survived!

I hope it’s all clear. I know it might be a little confusing for some but keep going over it and it will soon make sense. And to borrow the words of the actor, “to every trick question, there is a trick response.”

Like I said before, I found the lesson behind the trick question even more interesting. Here’s why:

Whenever life is difficult, we always think that there is no way out….just like everyone who didn’t know the answer to the question. But I am here to tell you that that’s not the answer. There is hope no matter how difficult the situation you are in might seem, whether you have a small trouble or a variety of troubles…always choose the best choice to live.

Those were the ‘not so exact’ words of the actress in the drama. Of course it helped that she was a psychiatrist. But I believed every word of it.

There was a time when my family had it all and then there was also a time we had absolutely nothing except each other. I remember thinking at that time…. “Is this all there is to life?”

But that is all in the past now; a past I feel was very important because it has shaped me into who I am today. I am now grateful for everything I have in my life because I know exactly what if feels like to not have anything in your life. Back then we did everything humanly possible to survive…to make sure we were still alive the next day. Instead of wallowing in misery, we chose to live.

And I will continue choosing to live because…even as clique as it sounds, it is the truth; what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger!