The Letter of Evelyn #3


AS Teresa and Evelyn did not react, Carlos repeated what he said.

“I said Nelson Romano would give me the twenty-five million pesos as a dowry.”

Teresa looked at Evelyn, searching in the face of her daughter what would be the reaction to what her father said.

“Papa, I could not get it. What do you mean by dowry?”

“Dowry, a gift from a groom to the family of his bride.” Carlos answered Evelyn.

“Who is the bride?”

“You, Evelyn!”

Imagine, I am the bride! How it could be? I had a boyfriend; we did not talk about marriage yet, and then I remember, I am so busy pitying myself, worrying about the problem of the family that my boyfriend John Mar had not contacted me for few weeks already. I am so confused, things around me were changing rapidly. I protested to my parents about this dowry thing, this Nelson Romano wanting me to be his bride.

“It is impossible! I will not marry that Nelson Romano! I have a boyfriend! You know who my boyfriend is. John Mar, not Nelson Romano.” Evelyn firmly said to her father.

“John Mar could not save us with our problem! Only Nelson Romano had offered his help!” Carlos answered his daughter.

“You’re calling it help? It is not help. Do you know what is it, Papa? That is buying! Nelson Romano wanted to buy you and me, you are selling me to that old man!” Evelyn was angry with her father.

Carlos did not reply to his daughter. His head down, Evelyn saw the hand of her father trembling. Evelyn looks at her mother, but Teresa turns her head away from her, but Evelyn knew that her mother was crying as she sees her shoulder also trembling, as her mother tried to control her emotions, maybe hurt to what she said or pity to his father. Evelyn could not stand the situation; she rushed to her room and slammed the door hard.

Inside my room, how I cried hard. I am so hurt with the thoughts that my father is selling me to Nelson Romano. How could he? I could not marry an old man? I had a boyfriend and I love John Mar. I did not hear from John Mar for few weeks already, so looking for comfort I called him.

“John Mar?”

“Oh, Evelyn. Why are you calling?” John Mar asked Evelyn why she is calling him.

“Why? I am your girlfriend; in case you forget it!” Evelyn answered John Mar.

“Sorry, but if you have nothing to say, I will hang the telephone.” John Mar seems avoiding Evelyn.

“What does it mean, you are my boyfriend, you do not have to talk to me like that? Evelyn was upset.

“Well, Evelyn, how could I say this? But from now on, I am not your boyfriend anymore!” John Mar said.

“Why are you saying that? What do you mean?”

“You do not know it or you just pretending not knowing what your father was doing? He begged around for money! He is bankrupt! Your family has nothing to be proud of! Your family is poor as a rat! And please do not call me again. I am ashamed to be called your boyfriend!” and John Mar slammed the telephone to its cradle.

I did not expect it. Our family nasty situation was already known everywhere, that is why no friends contacted me anymore. I did not expect John Mar just like that will break away from me, because my family was becoming poor. Now I understand what those poor people felt when they were discriminated by people of privilege. I remember what I did one time when a beggar came to me for money. I angrily drove that beggar away withs words “Go away, you stinky, dirty man!”  I saw tears in the eyes of that beggar, that maybe was asking money because he was hungry, but whatever, it did not bother me. How could I have done it? What John Mar did to me, let me realize that I have no heart then. Same as I realize now that John Mar has no heart too. Privileged people sometimes thought they were God.

Little by little as I pity myself, I learned to pity others, to start pitying my parents. For days, the atmosphere in our house was so quiet, nobody talked to each other. As I see my father slumped in his rocking chair, looking far away with no words even saying good morning or good afternoon or goodnight, really it breaks my heart.

My mother was like a zombie. She cooked food and does cleaning the house which I stopped doing because I am just staying in my room sulking and crying because of the situation and of losing John Mar, my first love.

I said to myself I must stop this unbearable scene. So, I came to my father and hugged him.

“Papa, I love you!” Evelyn hugged her father with tears in her eyes. Carlo did not answer. Tears fall from his eyes.

“You heard it, Papa, I love you!” and Evelyn cried. How long she had cried before she felt the hand of her father rubbing her hair.

“Do not cry. Why you cry, I know you love me.” Carlos, at last, said words to his daughter.

“I am sorry if I am rude to you. I will not do it again.”

“Evelyn, I understand you. You have nothing to worry.” Carlos answered her daughter.

“I am thinking about our situation. I understand you did all that you can do to solve our problems. Papa, yes, I will do what you like. I will marry Nelson Romano!” Evelyn said to her father that she agreed to marry the man who could save them from their nasty situation.

“Evelyn, I am sorry I did ask you to marry Nelson Romano. It is a terrible thing; a father can do to her daughter. No, forget about marrying him. You will not be happy if you do. What is money anyway? Marry John Mar. You love John Mar, marry for love, not for money.” Carlos did mean what he said to his daughter. He had indeed regretted he had proposed such degradable proposal to her daughter.

“No, Papa. I will marry Nelson Romano. John Mar pushed me away because we are poor. He said he is ashamed of me.” Evelyn was determined to marry Nelson Romano.

Carlos looked at Evelyn. He realized that his daughter was agonizing, not only because they are becoming poor but because also losing John Mar.

“Oh, my God! I am so sorry!” Carlos said.

“It is okay, Papa. I thought that marrying Nelson Romano is a good thing to us. Besides, even if he is old, I can learn to love him. About John Mar, he is already a close chapter in my life. You can contact Nelson Romano. Make the deal!”

I said to my father to make a deal with Nelson Romano. It sounded like a business deal, but it is also so. Marrying Nelson Romano is a business deal.

I asked myself, did I agree to marry Nelson Romano because of the money or because John Mar forsaken me? To give myself the benefit of doubt I answered myself, both.

My father called Nelson Romano and invited to our house. The appointment was made.

Before that anticipated appointment day, mother again pawned some of her jewelries. Her many jewelries are fast diminishing. When I said to her what a waste of losing her jewelries, she just answered me, ‘I will not lost it, I will take it back later.’

Mother hired Lolita, our former housekeeper to work for just a week in our house to make it shiny, and our former Cook so that there would be a delicious meal to serve, in one word we did everything to, I do not know, maybe to impress Nelson Romano.

I also dressed myself well. I have many of the branded or exclusive decent clothing in my closet. When I look myself on the mirror, I could not deny it even to myself, I look stunning with my green pack. I must do it, making myself beautiful and maybe desirable for the reality was there, I am the merchandise worth twenty-five million pesos. **** to be continued **** Remedios Dorio