Sunday, August 12, 2007

Julia Roberts, Vilma Santos and Me

1991: In the film "Sleeping with the Enemy", Julia Roberts staged her own death, fled to a new town and acquired a new identity in order to escape her abusive husband.

1993: In the film "Ikaw Lang", Vilma Santos tried to escape from her abusive husband but was almost killed by Cesar Montano when he found out about her plan. He already left the house but forgot something so he went back and looked under the bed where he accidentally saw the packed suitcase of his wife. Vilma was severely beaten, hog-tied in a sack and thrown into Pasig River for dead.

2002: In the true story of my life, I planned my escape from my narcissistic husband based from the two films above.

Inspired by Julia Roberts and Vilma Santos, I wanted to go far where my husband couldn't possibly reach. I purchased 4 Super Ferry tickets going to Cebu as early as March 2002. But I had no heart to spoil Tatay and Nanay's 45th Wedding Anniversary in April 4. Then it was Nanay's birthday May 10 and Mother's Day May 12. Unfortunately, May 13 fell on a Monday which is color coding for the Revo with plate # WHR-811. So the nearest date was Tuesday--May 14, 2002.

I didn't want to suffer the same fate with Vilma Santos so I didn't pack our things yet. I only arranged our clothes inside the cabinet and waited for the right time to put them inside the suitcase.

Came May 14, 2002: The father of my children was "reading" the newspaper after having his breakfast at @ 7:00 AM while I was nervously waiting for him to take a bath and leave for work. I waited 2 months for this day and I couldn't afford any change in my plan. It was @8:00 AM when he finally announced that he's leaving. I carried his attache case (he was, at that time, suffering from lumbar dislocation because of his promiscuous activities) and walked with him to the Tamaraw FX. I hugged and kissed him for the last time. He already drove away but I remained standing along the pavement. I waited for 15 minutes, making sure that he won't be back and catch us packing our things.

Unlike Julia and Vilma, I was leaving with 3 persons in tow: Ate Ella, Gio and Eia who were only 4 and 2 years old then. After I was convinced that my husband won't be coming back anymore, I went inside and told Ate Ella to pack her things (she only knew about my plan the night before, around midnight. I recall vividly her reaction after telling her that I was leaving my husband. She broke into tears and had to sit down because her knees were literally shaking).

I started packing our clothes and some toys and books for the kids. I felt like Julia Roberts when she was packing hurriedly inside their house after swimming far from the sea where she fell overboard. She was dripping wet from her swim while my sweat was also dripping out of anxiety and excitement.

It only took me 30 minutes to pack everything that we needed. During this time Gio was bombarding me with a lot of questions like "Why are you packing my clothes? Why are you packing my toys?" I told him we will go to an orphanage and donate his clothes and toys but no need to worry because I will replace them with new ones. He didn't want to go with us but when I mentioned the magic word M-A-L-L, he immediately took a bath and dressed up.

We said goodbye to Tatay who thought that we were only going to Eia's speech therapy at Communicare. We passed by the post office to drop my letter for her mother, a xeroxed copy of my farewell letter to her son. I also left a letter for my father, with instructions that my helper give it to him after his dinner.

Our next stop was El Ciudad del Rey, where Nanay was waiting for us (how I told nanay about my plan will be in a separate post). We transferred our things from the Revo to Nanay's Pajero and after enjoying the delicious merienda offered by no less than Mr. Rodrigo de los Reyes (former President of Philamlife), we headed for the pier. Sir RR was so kind to include the Revo in his garage together with his collection of vintage cars.

At this point, Nanay's driver was boiling mad already because he had no idea what was happening and where we were going. I specifically asked Nanay not to tell him that we're going to Cebu. We told him that we're going to Japan, much to the surprise and delight of Gio, who was dying to go there because of his favorite TV program, "Oh, Tokyo".

Julia Roberts heaved a sigh of relief when she finally boarded the bus going to the town where her mother's Care Home was. As for me, I was still receiving calls and texts from my husband who wanted to borrow the Revo because he couldn't leave Las Pinas in the Tamaraw Fx, which was color coding during Tuesdays (another reason why I chose to leave on a Tuesday). I texted him that we were going to Bulacan for my TMJ follow-up.

When I finally lied down on my bed in our cabin and felt the cushion at my back, that's the time I heaved a sigh of relief. I felt a big weight removed from my shoulder. I just felt sooh light. I wanted to shout "I'm free!" I called my priest-friend and told him we're already in the boat going to Cebu. He told me he will pray for our safe trip and I thanked him for all the prayers and support he has given me since I decided to leave my husband.

I also had to inform my friend Angie because during that time, she calls me in the house once or twice a day. (In Sleeping with the Enemy, Julia's husband suspected that she was alive when a friend called to offer condolences to the husband. He found out that she took swimming lessons when all the while he knew that she was afraid of the water.)

Angie was really shocked upon learning everything because according to her, she didn't suspect that I was carrying a heavy burden based from the way I talked over the phone. We talked everyday and I always sounded vibrantly happy. I suffered for 5 years and nobody knew about it. If my life were a movie, I could have bagged the "Best Actress" trophy.

When my husband arrived home @11:30 PM he was surprised to find his clothes and personal belongings gathered in the garage with my farewell letter on top of his travel bag. I instructed the helpers to call the security guard if he makes an attempt to enter the house. But he didn't dare anymore. According to them, he just cried and cried (perhaps over the shoulders of B-bheng whom he eventually courted and lived with since February 2003. They now have 2 children.)

While Cesar Montano tried to kill Vilma Santos, my husband tried to "kill" himself. The following day, it was published on a tabloid "Nagsaksak sa sarili, dinala rin ang sarili sa ospital". Julia's husband moved from town to town in search for her. So was my husband. (will try to write about this episode in another post)

Since I didn't inform anybody about my plan, it so happened that Tess and the whole family were vacationing in the States when we arrived in Cebu. Although she wanted us to stay in her new mansion, I asked Dorene (her sister-in-law) if we could stay in their home. She and her daughter Issa were more than happy to accommodate us. Thank you, thank you Dors and Issa. We enjoyed every moment in Cebu because of you. I never saw Gio as happy as he was when we were there. We could have stayed with you forever but had no choice but to go back home after 10 days.

Why???

Well, that's another story.