By Jing Villamil

THEY moved on fast, these young ones. From sweet dates to wedded bliss, from pregnant bellies to squealing babies,   who in turn, by their little selves, moved on even faster, from crawlers to toddlers to brawlers.

And having moved  so early on and so furiously fast, a fading away especially by the fringes was sometimes left unattended. Thus, the fading and the ripping-off   remained unresolved,  unpatched.

When he was fired from his engineering job, he stayed home for days cursing, blaming his bosses and co-workers, moaning and crying over his shame, his loss.  Depression is not just a word. It is a churning of one’s world.

She was a nurse, in a regular hospital and for two homecares. Every night, she went straight to bed after paying-off the babysitter and serving dinner to the two kids. She was just too tired to babysit a husband and his ills.

That night though, she lost her patience. She paused where he was lounging lazily on her way to bed. She sighed. She collected the bottles, glasses, plates, empty packs of peanuts, snacks. As she cleaned up, she talked in a low weary voice to him who was bleary-eyed and blurry-mouthed. The countless sleepless nights had taken their toll:

SHE: You could have fed the kids. HE: Not my job. SHE: You have no job. You could have kept yourself useful around here. HE: Ah, so we are checking the list; next, you would ask me to leave!

And so the conversation went. She stomped off to bed. She turned her back to him. She clasped a pillow to cover her face, her ears. To not see his crazed face. To not hear his drunken rage.

He did it in three strokes. The first fall of the axe shocked her awake. The second, sent her over the edge to the other life. The last hacked off her pretty head.

The kids ran screaming to a neighbor’s house. In the years to come, the head doctors will never be sure whether all the screws in the kids’ heads were still there screwed tight. The kids heard, they saw. The smell of copper in their Mom’s blood shall remain in their noses forever. No image is as haunting, as hounding.

Lessons here. First, you do not share a bed, a room, a house with a mate you just have had a most serious fight, if the fight did not end in a hug and in love truly forgiving. Second, you do not turn your helpless back on an adversary, no matter how tempting this act of snub. You might end up with bullets, a knife, an arrow, an axe embedded in you. Third, look out for signs of depression. In your loved ones. Even in yourself.

Then, and maybe only then, you may keep your head a little bit longer.

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