My Father and I had never gotten along very well while he was alive.
I had always either wanted to be an artist, an advertiser, or a writer. He declined me in every single one of those dreams. You see, he had dreams for me as well. But it was different from mine. I wanted color in my life, he wanted me to become dull and stable.
Every single cell in my body twitched with defiance whenever he gave me a lecture about the practicality of life. The only thing that bonded us was Photography, and even there, we argued. He disliked my still life pictures. He gave me his old SLR when I was 12. I took pictures immediately. We didn't have digital cameras back then. everythiing was film. It was expensive, and every shot was a gamble.
I remember taking pictures of spiders, whilst they were weaving their intricate little homes. I was one just glistening in dew, and the spider was sleeping right in the enter of it. The morning sun was giving it the most exquisite glimmering effect on each bead of dew on the web, and the spider was a little ball of grey in the center of it. I took my picture.
Of ourse, he was furious, and threatened to take the camera away from me."There have to be people in the pictures," he argued, "They have to be looking, they have to be smiling, they have to be in the center of the pictures. I of course,
never took pictures when they were aware of it. I loved stolen shots; I beleievd nothing else tells a story better than a picture of the story unfolding in front of the lens. He never got my point.
He never listened.
I received a motorcycle from him when I was 16. I rode it too fast, and he took it away from me right away. I had it for 4 months.
I never learned how to drive. He tried to teach me once, but the moment I almost ran into a tree, he jumped. He screamed at me. I have never seen my father jump out of a moving vehicle in my entire life. I was banned from the steering wheel from that day forth. And even till today, I have lost all will to drive any form of vehicle.
I ran away from home a few times. One time I ran away with my enrollment money. It was my birthday (this is the reason I don't celebrate my birthday) I have been forced to take up Pharmacy when I wanted the aforementioned courses above. I never got to transfer, UST won't let me because of my poor grades in Pharmacy. I found it unfair. I wasn't built for Pharmacy. Of course I didn't do well. So I ran away with the money that was o be used for the continuation of my Pharmacy course. I stayed away from college for one semester. After that, I graduated, I passed the board, worked 2 years, and then never renewed my license.
I don't even know where my diploma is at the moment, I never hung it on a frame like everybody else.
I secretly went to theater. Not to watch, but to act, to write, to create. I had the urge to be creative every single moment of my life. I sang at church, I led groups. I was a bum for a few years, and I loved it.
But it wasn't enough. I needed to make a name out for myself for who I was. Nobody is going to take me seriously if I told them I learned to pain from scratch. So I worked for a relative, and planned to put myself back into school.
I never spoke with my Dad. For years, Leopold Mistica was a ghost in our home. I acknowledged he was there, but we never really spoke. It was tension every time we were near each other. I planned to take up advertising and move out.
Then he had to foil my plans one more time. He had a heart attack.The first time he was confined to a hospital, I didn't want to go. I was mad. I was fuming. Besides, if I went there, I did not know what to say. I finally went to see him, and he told me he had ruptured an artery. It didn't really sink in me that time. The next week, he was out of the hospital. learned later that he coerced his doctor to let him go.
Not even a week, one night when the battery on my cellphone was low, and I was out with friends, my sister called. She was trying to reach me for three hours. My father has been having a heart attack the entire time and refused to go to the hospital. When I got there, I was furious. I didn't even know a heart attack can last that long. He was writhing in pain in the same bed I now own. He demanded everyone to leave him alone.
It was the most painful sight I have ever seen in my life, everyone was crying.
I tricked him that time. I called everyone that could force him to go, even my grandmother. Then I secretly called the ambulance and told them to turn off their siren. When my grandmother, intears, and imploring he subside and get confined again, the ambulance came and took him away.
I didn't go to work for a month and a half.
I stayed in the hospital. My father was in a coma, and out, intubated, he could no longer speak. He was resuscitated once...
They were clearing his lungs, and he held to me because the suction tube hurt in his lungs. Then the nurse came to a plug, and he couldn't breathe. I felt his grip tighten on me and his eyes bulged, and his tongue came out. I yelled and before I knew it, they were pulling me off from him, and bringing in the defibrillator.
After they revived him, I caught a glimpse of what he'd looked like after resuscitation; his back was arched a foot off the bed, hardly breathing. His entire body, petrified like wood. I was shocked. I would have broken down in tears, except only air came out of my mouth and I was sobbing without tears.
When he came to; he could not recognize me and claimed he saw 2 men waiting for him.
I almost never left him.
But it was inevitable that he would go; That night, it was not like the last time he "died." He was watching the race from the Sta Ana race track (in 2 years, I would have lived in the next neighborhood and stayed there for 5 years) and after the race, he fell asleep and never woke up.
I cried only when they took his body away. I cried the hardest as an adult in that ICU. I cried like a baby. the tears wouldn't stop. It was only a week ago that I heard, for the only time that he was proud of me. That memory still makes me cry today.
It was at that point that I realized I really loved my father, if we'd only given each other a chance.