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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
Leo is a tenacious boy.

Submitted: November 29, 2016

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Submitted: November 29, 2016





by William D. Magday Jr.


Leo grew up in a not-so-lucky family situation. His father was a drunkard and chain smoker who oftentimes punished him and his siblings with a belt, fire woods, and other things that he might see if he was at the peak of his anger. 

“That’s enough. Have mercy on your kids!”, his mother’s favorite scream.

“Shut up! I am still the head of this family!”, countered by his arrogant father.

Tatay, Tatay…please, s-S  T  O  P…”, wailed by them.

There were times that his father was very kind and adorable: as if he did not know how to yell and scold someone. A very timid man that covers the real picture of his heart. Nothing was found on Leo’s heart but revenge and hatred.

His mother was known to be their superhero because she managed to raise them as good individuals with a strong faith of God. She also bore the agony and suffering of living with her husband.

“Leo, I have to stay in town and leave you here. Please take care of our sister. I have to help Nanay. I will be working as a helper in a junk shop while studying.”, his older brother’s statement in a low but melodious voice.

“B-b-but, you’re only 11 years old Kuyang?”, he uttered melancholy with a little inflection of sound.

His brother did not speak and stood for a while. Then he picked up his back pack and placed it on his right shoulder and began walking. Those days were blue moments for him because they used to work and play together and suddenly…memories of those were no more.

Leo’s father continued his vices. True—he was working and people knew him as a hardworking man. But, they did not know that he had another side. His family knew him well.

His mother did not stop working. She kept on going to market under the heat of the sun selling kakanin (rice cakes) for her kids…for their future…for their education. During weekends, she was going to her friends’ houses to wash their laundry for extra income. She even experienced to work as an all-around maid. She was known to be a strong mother with optimistic views. Her friends also teased her as a martyr wife.

“Come on Carmi, wake up! Leave your husband. You don’t deserve this kind of life.”, they uttered blatantly. They were right in the first place but she did not see her life that way. Instead, she thought of her kids’ future.

At the very early age, Leo had realized their situation. He was aware of their life. Because, he used to accompany his mother in the market. He sometimes noticed his mother’s cry in agony because of pain and over fatigue.

“Why? Nanay?”, None anak, I just poked my eyes (smiling)”, but, he knew the real reasons of those tears falling from her eyes.

He witnessed how his mother worked hard for them. He also cried. He also sobbed.

Anak, buy a bottle of beer for me.”, he wanted to shout at him and land a fist on his face but he couldn’t. The respect was still there and some sort of fear. It was still clear that he was his father.

“I TOLD YOU TO FOLLOW MY RULES!! Come here!!!”, and, same story had just started again. They all ran and hid because they knew something would happen. His youngest sibling started to whimper.

Kuyang, kuyang…(sobbing with fear)”, “Don’t worry. It will be all right tomorrow.” He knew that that same story had similar ending. Tomorrow is another day as if nothing had happened that night.

But, the ending had just another twist. His father was diagnosed by a severe sickness—Hepatitis B—that affected him much. He was advised to quit smoking and drinking liquor but he refused. They wanted to help him but they knew his authoritarian rule. So, his vices went on. These are more valuable for him. More important than his family’s future. 

One Friday morning, his father was shouting. He was trembling. He did not know what to do. His body was shaking.

Carmi! Carmi! H-H-Help…”, shouted by him in anguish.

His last well-spoken words. He fell onto the ground. His eyes became reddish. His cheeks deformed. He could not speak. His right hand could hardly move. They rushed him in the hospital.

“Sorry to tell you that your husband is a stroke victim. His blood pressure is 170/120.”

Upon hearing the doctor’s report, he smiled surreptitiously. He had that notion that their suffering had just ended. His father could no longer harm them. But, he heard his mother’s cry. He could not understand her. She should be happy. He stayed for more than two weeks in the hospital. Leo had one encounter that he could not forget. He was then assigned to take care of his father for a night. At around 10:00 in the evening, his father awoke and shouted in distress. He was shocked when he learned that he could no longer move his right arm and leg. He could not speak the words clearly. He forcefully opened the window beside his bed and attempted to jump over it. Enough for him to end his life because his room was on the third floor.

Leo was very afraid. He, himself, even did not know what to do. His father had that strength to jump over the window and eventually might end his life. He grabbed his feet and pulled him down on the floor. He realized that even how bad he was, he still had that care for him. He cried. Both of them cried. He hugged his father and whispered on his ear.

Tatay, I love you. I still love you. I am so sorry.” 

That night was totally quiet except Leo’s sobbing. He held his father’s hand and solitary tears were continuously trickling down his cheeks. After a week, he was discharged from the hospital and was directed by the doctor to quit his vices and undergo physical therapy.

He followed the doctor’s advice and after three weeks of treatment, he improved a lot. He could speak some words and even move his right hand freely. He could also walk easily. But, he could not wait anymore. He wanted for a fast recovery. Maybe, he was tired of his situation.

Then, one day, he visited his childhood friends in town and told him to soak a ginger in a glass of liquor for a day and put it on his shoulder. He followed that foolish advice—believing that that was the cure he had been waiting for—by a quack doctor. The worst thing was that, he was tempted to taste the liquor and drank it. Then, it went on. Everyday. Every hour.

His situation became severe. He could not speak even simple words. He could not walk straightly. Everything was ruined. The money that was spent in his therapy was all in vain. All the efforts were lost. He even borrowed some money from his friends to suffice his vices: liquor and cigarettes.

Leo’s family was in despair that time. The foundation of their family had ruined their life and future. But, they were still very lucky because their Nanay was very hardworking. She tried almost all kinds of works. She did not give up. She never failed giving pieces of advice to their kids.

Leo in a very young age knew their situation and he decided to stop schooling after finishing his secondary education. He worked as a helper in a junk shop, a place where his older brother worked too. After a year, Leo decided to pursue his college education. He took qualifying examination for a scholarship program and he was given a slot. He studied hard because he had to maintain an average for his scholarship grant.

But, his benefits as a scholar were not enough. He then went back to junk shop and worked every weekend. He even worked as a service crew (waiter) in a restaurant during night time. This was very challenging on his part because he needed to maintain his grade as scholar.

Time had passed by.

Who would have thought that a poor guy would graduate as cum laude? He was also given numerous awards. And right after his graduation, he was immediately hired to teach in a public school. Not only that, he finished his master’s degree with high distinction.

One afternoon, while he was teaching, “Sir, Sir, you need to go home now. Your Tatay…”. He could not speak. He stood for a couple of minutes. Suddenly, tears came out from his eyes. As if he knew what had happened. He went home and saw his relatives. All of them were crying. His mother was in anguish. His siblings were standing in front of the door. They were all sobbing. He had that gloomy feeling. He then went inside of his father’s room.

Tatay…Tatay…, why you never told me? You are so unfair!!” He hugged him and shouted “WHY!!!!”

While he was sitting beside his father, everything was restated in his mind. He could still picture in his head that before he left their house in that morning, his father smiled sweetly to him. It was very strange because he did not do that before. That caused Leo a very miserable feeling. He could not sleep and eat for a week. He realized that even how bad or strict his father was, still his love and affection were passionate.

Time had passed by so swiftly. Leo’s brother is now a preacher in their church and happily married with one kid and his sister is a businesswoman and also blessed with a kid.

And guess what? Leo is now a full-time professor in a famous University and happily married with two kids. Their Nanay is living with Leo’s family and being taken care of by him.

The experiences he had taught him to be strong. This—Never Give Up— drives him to be a successful man.

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