If there was a big black book of bad men who screwed up society and its norm or basically did wrong to a goldfish by flushing it down into the city sewers, I would be one of them.
Inside the list is another list. I’m not entirely sure if Adolf Hitler or John Dillinger would make the cut in this list, but I surely would. Something the world warden would write a label above, saying ‘Bad Men who Love their Mothers’.
I don’t know when I stopped being good and started to go bad. And to be honest I’m not entirely sure if I’m still on that morality line. Boys like me have done our fair share to contribute to the ass-ness and the dickfulness of this world; and first on the list, I haven’t been the best son. Or even close to being a good son.
People would like to believe during the early 2000’s that Marc Gabriel Uy Abuan was the golden child of the century – I run into old teachers who vaguely remember me as the little boy who would have early morning lectures in the classroom blackboard about the Solar System, can enumerate the 4 most prominent moons of Jupiter, and can tell between the difference between Phobos and Deimos just by looking at pictures. I would start the day with a lecture on the Mesozoic era and the different species and genii of dinosaurs, how Psittacosaurs would soon pave the way for quadrupeds like Triceratops, or Cera, as popularly known in A Land Before Time.
But somehow, the horns grew and the little kid started to shed its skin after several years of bouncing in and out friendships because I had to switch schools. I wasn’t exactly that blatant kind of bad – but I knew I was hanging out with the brash, noisy, restless kinds of kids during the last years of Elementary.
Probably high school took its toll. I wasn’t exactly the best student and son back then. I cut class, broke glass, messed with my teachers- You all know the story. In the final year of High School, I didn’t make the cut. I had to move out the school and finish the rest of my senior year somewhere else.
All the time I went from good to bad, I wasn’t sure what to do if I got caught or hit bottom. But you know how endless mothers perservere and forgive for their sons.
Every boy has found fistfights back when they were smaller. I did, too – there were times when I had to lie to my mom about a bruise or a cut in the fist. I’d always pass it off as a sport injury or something else. But she knew all along anyway. I’ve had rough fights with the bigger guys. She was bigger than all of them and telling the truth to her made me feel scared, but deep inside I knew that I was safe.
I screwed a lot in high school. Everyone seems to recognize my mom’s face up until now. She was a mainstay show at school during card-getting day. She would be the last one out of the room, and I’d be there outside, feeling like nothing at all, trying to peek through the glass window without guilt about all the things I failed to do, all the quizzes I didn’t give shit about, and the system I never wanted to adhere and believe in.
Every ride home back in high school was only the time mama and I talked. Half of them, we were screaming at each other. I hated when she screamed at me about doing so much unecessary things and not doing what I had to do. I hated when she picked on me for being the lowest in the class, flunking my major subjects, getting under fire from teachers. But deep inside the stony and brash exterior I’ve shown my mom during those days, I wanted to say I’m sorry. I wanted to let her know that I’m not happy with what I’m going through too, and I know the world was so much bigger than the triviality of trying to pass my subjects. I wanted her to trust me and believe in me because I believe what I have been staying up for all night was more important to me than sleep.
There were times when she cried in the night. Times were hard back then. I was a turbulent teenager in a middle-class family with a father half a world away most of the time- she had to deal with that. Weekly financial matters, a stressful patient, the occassional people who need treatment here and there – I feel guilty too for being so hard on her those days. I wish I could just have said it, or I wish I could have done something to at least take the weight off her shoulders. But I was scared and insensitive.
Right after being sent off to another school, that ride home, I asked my mom if she was mad. She said she wasn’t. I said sorry. I said that I didn’t mean to screw up this hard in my last year of scholarship. Driving away from that school that one last time with my mom, I felt a deep and strong regret for all the things I’ve done that have hurt her since I was little. All the calls from the Principal’s office, every text message she got from my teachers – all boiled down at that night. I wish I could have said sorry enough.
But since then things have changed. I’m more open to my mom now, we talk about things, about what I do everyday, school, my friends – and since a big curtain of unsaid truths has been opened to me, I’ve realized how much she’s been through, just for me and my brother. She gave up her life and most of her happiness because she had this little baby boy. She gave up what she wanted to do, all the dreams she had to chase, all the years that she’d spent trying to sculpt out a good life for her and her family, just for me. I can imagine her around my age right now, all the dreams she had, and she was young and she was the eldest daughter.
Growing up wasn’t easy too – she had to balance her time to go to work with two little boys at home growing up without having a parent nearby most of the time. She’s done more than enough, no, exactly more than anything I could thank her for, for putting so much effort into putting little kids like us through her roughest days.
I remember when I was little I told my mom that she’s the most beautiful girl I’ve ever met. That still doesn’t change, and I doubt it won’t ever change.
Ma, I’m sorry for being a lousy-ass, hard-headed and useless firstborn history has ever encountered – I’m sorry for screwing up the first quarter of my life so hard that you had to be so strong, so strong to keep things afloat round us all. I’m sorry for all the things I’ve said and all the things I didn’t say. I’m sorry for all the nights I’ve spent away from home and you couldn’t sleep..
But I know I’ll make it up to you someday. I’m working hard and I know what I believe in and I’ll never let you down. I’m still sorry if I come home late most of the time – I’m trying to cope with some things about youth and escapism but you don’t have to worry. You’ve seen me grow up with a strong set of values that I’ve never tried to break. I believe what I believed in because of you. Seeing you help people in the middle of the night, even without sleep, even without pay, even if it takes so much from you, you’d still do what you could do. And seeing you do that for the past 18 years of my life, and growing up with it, you have built someone who can never say no to anything.
And even though I’ve had my own stories of bad things you don’t want to know, I hope this is enough for you to know that when I’m older, and when you’re older, you won’t have to worry at all. I’ll be there to see you when you need me ma. I could never leave the only woman who’s never left me during the worst.
Even if I might be bad, I am surely, definitely, one of the bad men who love their mothers. Happy mother’s day ma!