Just when I thought I’d found someone who I could give my full trust to, someone who understood the ordeal I’d been through and wanted to genuinely help, I found out the truth. I was made into a human guinea pig without even knowing it. The binder contained everything we’d ever talked about and done, even in bed. It even had a full transcript of conversations we had in the past, he probably had it recorded in his phone or something. It was written in ther my sexual fantasies, my thoughts, how I reacted with what was being done to me, and his hypothesis. It was detailed, concise, and so clinical. Like he was observing a lab rat or something. I was used as a subject in his study on traumatic reenactment and revictimization.
I was used again. Ang masakit pa ay yung taong pinagkakatiwalaan ko ang gumamit sa akin. For years, I struggled with trusting people and the Callum came and in a short span of time, he was able to get me to trust him. And then I find out he was just like them. He used and violated me to his advantage. He’d shattered that last hope I had.
Tears began to sting my eyes when I thought of it again but I quickly blinked it away. I wasn’t going to cry over it now. Tapos na akong umiyak kagabi. I turned my attention back to the books I was putting away.
“Audrey…” I almost dropped a book when I heard Callum’s voice from behind me.
“What are you doing here?” I asked in a stern voice.
“You haven’t answered any of my calls or text messages. Kausapin mo naman ako. Hayaan mo akong magpaliwanag.”
“Stay away from me.” The words came out hard and flat. “I don’t need your explanation. What I saw was enough.”
“Audrey, I only want to help.”
“You don’t want to help. You used me to your convenience. Wala kang pinagkaiba sa mga taong nanamantala sa akin.” I felt my throat constricting.
“No, don’t say that. Please don’t say that, Audrey.” He said in a small voice. “I genuinely want to help. I want to understand you more and help people like you.”
“You did it without my consent!”. I tried to keep my voice under control. “You have a transcript of our conversations, everything we did in bed, how I reacted and even my thoughts were written there! You make me feel like I’m a sex freak! Like I’m some lab animal you’re experimenting on. I’m a human being, Callum! I may be damaged but I’m still a human being.”
“I’m sorry. I’m really sorry”. His voice shook. “I didn’t mean to make you feel like that. I admit, your case piques my interest. I wanted a deeper understanding to what’s going through your mind. Hindi ko sinabi sa’yo kasi alam kong iyan ang iisipin mo. You’re not a sex freak. Normal iyon. People respond to trauma in different ways.”
“For years, I didn’t trust anyone outside of my family but I trusted you, Callum.” The corners of my lips sagged downwards. “And you broke that trust. Ayaw ko nang Makita ka. Umalis ka na.”
“Audrey, please….” He took a step towards me.
“Don’t go any nearer.” I glared at him.
“Audrey, I’m so sorry.” His eyes, that were as black as a darkest night, were coated with sheer sadness. “What we had, what I showed to you were all genuine.”
“Get away from me! Umalis ka na sabi!” I shouted at him as tears began to spill from my eyes.
“Audrey, is everything okay?” Mrs. Keri was suddenly striding towards us. I quickly wiped the tears in the corners of my eyes. She stopped in front of me and then averted her gaze to Callum. “Is he harassing you again, Audrey?”
I didn’t answer.
“I’m going to call the cops to assist you out if you don’t leave within ten seconds.” Mrs. Keri warned.
“Audrey….” He silently said.
“Just leave!” I angrily screamed at him.
His shoulders and face sagged. With heavy feet, he turned to the door and started walking away. I could feel the pressure in my throat as I tried hard not to cry. I forced my attention back to the books I was putting away.
“Are you okay?” Mrs. Keri asked in a concerned tone.
I never knew it hurt so much to smile when I had to force one out as I nodded my head.
“Aw, you poor, sweet thing.” She asked, her eyes looked worried. “The next time I see him anywhere near him, I will call the cops and have him arrested. What a creep.”
“Thanks, Mrs. Keri.” I said.
“Anything for you, darling. I’m going to get back to work now.” Sabi niya bago naglakad pabalik sa table niya.
Callum had filled a void I’d longed for in my life. He was the only man I trusted to pit my mind, body, soul, and pleasure into his hand. After so many years, I finally let my walls down for someone only to find out I was just some experiment to him. I thought I’d already found an emotional shelter.
“Ma….” I decided to call my family. I needed them right now. Just the mere sight of my Mom makes everything feel a little lighter. Mama was in the playroom, it used to be our playroom when we were little. Now it was Cookie’s and the other kid’s. “I miss you.”
“Drey.” Suddenly Mama’s smile faded as if she’d sensed that something wasn’t right. Sometimes I feel like Mama had an ESP. Even when we don’t say anything, she instantly knows when things aren’t right. Like that time when I accidentally dropped Ronnie when she was a baby. Mama and Dad were at a party that night and we called Tito Rome to bring Ronnie to the hospital because she wouldn’t stop crying. The morning after that, Mama kept asking Kuya Miggy, Coco, and I if there was something we weren’t telling them. “May problema ba?”
I shook my head. “Wala, I just miss you and Dad. Kumusta na kayo?”
“Your Dad’s at work right now. Nandito si Cookie at si …..” Mama paused. “Kumain ka na ba?”
“I had my dinner hours ago. It’s pretty late. I was just about to go to sleep.”
“How’s the guy you’re seeing? What’s his name again?”
“Callum.” I lowered my gaze. “I….I stopped seeing him”.
“Bakit? Ano’ng nangyari?” I could sense the concern in her voice.
“It just didn’t work out.” I shrugged. Iyon na lang ang sinabi ko dahil ayaw kong mag-alala pa siya sa akin.
“Baby, sometimes things doesn’t work out the way we want to. Pero hindi ibig sabihin nun isara mo na ulit ang puso mo. You’ve built a wall around you and wouldn’t letting anyone in. When callum came into your life, ang laki ng pinagbago mo. I saw life in your eyes I’ve never seen in years.” She let out a sad sigh. “Please, Drey, don’t ever stop loving. Kahit hindi muna ang ibang tao. Kahit sa sarili mo lang muna.”
“Ma….” I bit my bottom lip.
“Tita Drey!” Cookie suddenly jumped into the screen and waved at me.
“O, tapos na kayo ni Arthur magplay?” Mama asked.
“Mmhm!” The cute blonde head nodded. He looked exactly like my brother when we were little at kasing kulit din ni Coco.
“How’s our little monster?” He never fails to lift my mood up.
“Tita Drey, I’m going to be in first grade really really soon. School’s about to start and Mymy and Dada already bought me a new bag and a boring pair of shoes. I said boring because it’s just regular shoes. I want the one with wheels and you can press a button to turn it into regular shoes but Dada said it’s not safe for school.”
“Gusto mo ba bilhan kita” I asked him.
“YES!” He frantically nodded his head.
“What color do you want?”
“Hi Ate Drey, I’m going to school too! What am I going to be again, Mama?” Said a voice of a younger child. Hindi ko siya nakita sa video pero narining ko ang boses niya. I completely froze. Just the mere sound of his voice was enough to make my chest ache.
“You’re going to be in preschool, baby.” Mama turned her to the child and let out a sad smile. Thank God, he wasn’t on the video. I’d seen a glimpse of him in the past but I can’t stand looking at him. “Cookie, maglaro na lang muna kayo ni Arthur dyan. Lalabas lang si Mama, okay?”
“Okay!” Cookie said.
“Can I say goodbye to Ate Drey?” Asked the other child.
“Maybe some other time.” Mama let out a sigh. She took the pad with her and went out of the playroom. “Drey, can you at least show him a little kindness? Lumalaki na siya. Natututo na siyang magtanong. I’m sure nararamdaman niyang malamig ka sa kanya.”
“Ma…” I swallowed.
“At least acknowledge him as a human being. Kahit simpleng hello lang pag nandyan siya, matutuwa na yung bata. Huwag mo naman iparamdam na ayaw mo sa kanya.”
“Please, Ma, this is not the kind of conversation I want now.” I exhaled heavily.
“I’m sorry.” She quietly said. “Naaawa lang ako kay Arthur. Alam mo bang ikaw ang dahilan kung bakit niya gustong pumasok ng school? He wants the same attention you’re giving to Cookie.”
“You know I never wanted him in the first place!” I exploded like a dynamite and tears began to roll on the corners of my eyes. “Kayo ang pumilit sa akin na ituloy siya! I already scheduled an abortion and you stopped me! Sabi mo ituloy ko yun, sabi mo pag nandyan na siya hindi ko na siya makikita, you said you were going to put the child up for adoption!”
“Hindi ko kaya, Drey….” Her voice cracked.
“Hindi ko din kayang makita siya! Hindi ko kayang marinig ang boses niya! Ni hindi ko nga alam kung sino ang ama niyan!”
“Drey, please calm down. I’m sorry, I’m so sorry…..” Mama looked at me with pity and guilt. “I shouldn’t have opened it up. I’m sorry.”
I blinked as if I had been in a trance. Agad akong nahimasmasan. “I’m going to go to bed. I’m having a bit of headache.”
“Get some rest.” Ma sounded like all energy had been sucked out of her body. “You don’t have to go through everything alone. You’re surrounded with people who loves you and cares about you. Nandito kami para sa’yo.”
I turned off the cam and went to my room. I slipped into the blanket and hugged a pillow.
Sleep was not kind to me that night. My mind wouldn’t let me rest and so I tossed and turned in bed.
Things hadn’t been the same since the abduction. Wala akong ginawa noon kung hindi umiiyak. Hindi ako makatulog at hindi ako makakain. Nights were always the worst; nights when I had difficulty falling asleep. I would lie in bed and suddenly flashbacks what they did to me comes rushing back as if I was back in that place again. Whenever I do get any sleep, iyon lang din ang napapanaginipan ko. I was close to snapping. Iniisip ko nga lang noon, sana mabaliw na lang ako. At least I wouldn’t be that aware anymore.
Two months after, I received a new blow. I was taken to the clinic for my monthly checkup and that’s when we found out I was pregnant. I was hysterical. Galit na galit ako sa mundo noon. I’d already been through so much and I didn’t want to go through another ordeal. I packed up my things and booked a flight to California without my parent’s knowledge. Dito kasi legal ang abortion. I wanted to get rid of the thing inside me.
It was a disgusting feeling to feel that my body was invaded by a horrible monster I want killed. That his seed was now growing inside me. The creature inside me was a monster and a child at the same time. I never thought of it as a baby. I saw it as a parasite who invaded my body through rape. I just wanted it gone.
Mama and Dad followed me and stopped me from having an abortion. I already had the date set. They arrived three days before the abortion. They talked me out of it, Mama cried and Dad begged me, even getting to his knees, to change my mind.
Mama stayed with me here all throughout my pregnancy. Dad went back and forth between here and the Philippines as he had a business to run and he was taking care of my case. Minsan bumibisita din sina Kuya Migs, Coco, at Ronnie. Nobody knew that I was already pregnant at that time except for my family. I never wanted anyone to know. Sabi ni Mama noon we’re going to get to put him up for adoption so I wouldn’t have to see him again.
After some months, I gave birth to the child. Mama, Dad and all my siblings were there. I never breastfed the child. I never let him anywhere near me. They were the one who made the decision to keep him. Sila ang nagdesisyon para sa akin.
They brought him back to the Philippines. Pinalabas nilang anak siya ni Mama at Dad. That Mama was the one who gave birth to him and he was our sibling. Hindi ko kayang tanggapin ang bunga ng kahayupan nila sa akin. He wasn’t mine. I couldn’t accept that I had to spend the rest of my life sharing a child with a man who raped me and I knew I wouldn’t be able to look at it without thinking of what they did to me.
Kung pwede ko lang ibalik ang panahon, I would have him aborted. I angrily clutched onto the pillow as hot tears began to trickle from my eyes.