My legs wanted to give in as I stared at the paper. Tears dropped from my eyes to the paper I had in my hand. My abuser had my child. Alam niyang nagbunga ang pangbababoy na ginawa niya sa akin at si Arthur iyon. Mas natatakot ako ngayon para kay Arthur kaysa sa sarili ko. They had managed to get their hands on my son and who knows what they could’ve done to me.
“Audrey…” Callum caught me before I fell to the ground. Napayakap ako kay Callum at umiyak sa dibdib niya. He took the paper from my hand and his eyes scanned through it. His jaw suddenly clenched and so did his hand, he crumpled the paper tightly into fist.
“I will fucking kill him.” He said in a silent roar.
Dad snatched the paper from his hand and read it. He had the same reaction as Mama when he saw what was written in there.
“Ibig sabihin lang nito malapit ko nang maibigay sa’yo ang hustisyang dapat na matagal mo nang nakuha. I will make them all pay, Drey. Magbabayad sila sa ginawa nila sa’yo.” I could see the flare, the burning hatred in Dad’s eyes as he said those words. And I knew he meant every letters in those words.
Arthur was interviewed by the investigator. Arthur sat on a chair in between Mama and Dad while the investigator sat across from them. I stood by the door with Callum behind me, his arms wrapped around my waist.
“Do you remember where Mr. Spiderman took you?” The investigator asked.
“In his house.”
“What does his house look like? Can you describe it for me? Ano yung nakikita mo sa bahay?”
“It’s small and it doesn’t have doors like in our house. Only the bathroom and when you enter the house. The bed and the couch and the kitchen’s in one room.” He answered.
“Eh yung labas ng bahay? Do you remember it?” The investigator asked, writing down something on the clipboard he was holding.
“It has lots of trees and there are no other house.”
“Alam mo ba kung paano pumunta doon?”
Arthur shook his head. “No. It’s too far away. Like from here to Pluto far away.”
“You said Mr. Spiderman has a friend? Did you hear what they talked about while his friend was there?”
“They were talking about the hero test. Sabi ni Mr. Spiderman he needs the result really, really soon.”
“Because I need to go home.”
I inhaled, trying to lighten the heaviness and anxiety in my chest. Callum hugged me tighter, resting his chin on my shoulder. He kissed my neck as if saying he was here to comfort me. I hugged the arm that was wrapped around me.
“I love you.” He softly whispered.
It was clear that they were toying with us. They were trying to rattle us and it worked. It would be less scary if they asked for something, like money. Hindi katulad nito na hindi namin alam kung ano ang gusto nila mula sa amin. Takot na takot ako para sa anak ko. What if they take him away again? Nagawa na nila yun at hindi malabong magawa ulit nila.
“You’re hugging me too tight, Ate Drey.” He giggled as he ate his dinner. Hindi ko mapigilan ang yakapin at halik-halikan siya. I was just so happy that he was back here with us.
“Kumain ka ng madami, okay?” I brushed my fingers through his hair and kissed him on the cheek.
We sat on the dining table with our entire family present. Everyone’s eyes were on us with big smiles on their faces. Callum couldn’t let go of Arthur too. Ramdam ko din ang pagkamiss niya sa anak ko. He was there to help him finish his food and wipe the corners of his lips. I’d lost count of how many times he’d kissed his head.
“Can I have a bowl of ice cream for dessert, Daddy?” He asked after finishing his dinner.
“You can have all the ice cream you want.” Dad looked at him with love radiating from his eyes.
“Can I watch cartoons too while I eat ice cream?” He innocently asked.
“Yes, you can.” Mama answered.
“I want to watch cartoons too.” Sabi ni Cookie.
“Cookie, Mymy’s not feeling well. Sa bahay ka na lang manood ng cartoons, okay?” Sabi ni Coco.
“Awww…” He complained.
After a wonderful dinner with the whole family and everyone was about to leave, Dad stopped them. He said we needed to discuss something really important with the whole family. He called us into the living room and had Arthur sit on his lap.
“Arthur, you know we all love you, don’t you?” Dad asked.
“Mmhm!” He nodded as he licked a spoonful of ice cream.
“Everything we do is for your own good.” Sabi niya.
“Arthur, do you remember what Mama told you before?” Mama brushed her fingers through his hair. “Hindi ba sabi ko sa’yo noon hindi ka nanggaling sa tummy ni Mama noong baby ka pa? Not like Kuya Miggy, Kuya Coco, and Ate Ronnie. You came from a different tummy.”
Nagkatinginan kaming magkakapatid. My throat suddenly went dry. I was never prepared for this situation but I anticipated this. I was nervous but at the same time, I was excited. Handa na akong malaman niya na ako ang ina niya at handa na ako sa kung anuman ang kahihinatnan nito. I was tired of putting on a pretense anymore. I wanted him to know me not just as his sister but his mother. When I lost him, I thought I would die. And I knew I couldn’t lose him again.
“Yeah.” He slowly nodded his head.
“Well, do you want to know whose tummy you came from?”
“Um, Daddy’s tummy?” He innocently said.
Dad laughed and shook his head but I saw tears swell in his eyes. “No, silly.”
“Your real mommy is Ate Drey, you came from her tummy.” Mama carefully said as if each word were made of glass.
“Ate Drey?” He turned his head to me.
By that time, my eyes were already flooding with tears. He looked at me with those innocent eyes that reflected his heart. He understood but the purity in his eyes stayed intact. There was no hate in those eyes, no pain, no questions. Just pure amusement.
“Arthur…” I knelt down in front of him. “Ako ang Mommy mo. You came from me.”
Those words freed me like a shadow that settled on top of me for a very long time had passed and the light came flooding back in. Like I had the weight of the world lifted from my shoulder. Like a bird flung up to the sky. Like a tiger let loose. It was so freeing and healing for me.
“From your tummy?” His eyes went down to my stomach.
Despite the tears, I nodded a yes with a smile on my face.
“If I came from your tummy then Mama isn’t my Mama?” His brows furrowed.
“She still is. She’s our Mama. She’s your grandmother, she and Dad made me and I grew inside her tummy. At ikaw naman, I made you you because you came from my tummy.” I tried hard to keep my voice steady.
“Is Daddy still my Daddy?” He turned his head to Dad. “Are you still my Dad? Did you make me?”
“He’s your grandaddy.” I sniffled.
“Then who’s my Daddy?” He asked, confused.
Everybody exchanged tensed looks. This was the question I feared the most because I didn’t how I’d answer it. I didn’t want to tell him that he was the product of a violent abuse that was done to me. I didn’t want him to know that the other half of him was from a man who had brutally violated me.
“I’m you Daddy…” Callum broke the awkward pause when he said that. He cupped my son’s face and kissed him on the forehead. “From now on, I am your Daddy and I will always be your Daddy.”
“Can I call you Dr. Daddy?” Arthur grinned.
Callum’s eyes were teary as he smiled and nodded his head. “Yes, I am your Dr. Daddy.”
“And you always tell me that I am your Arthur.” He beamed.
“I am your Dr. Daddy and you are my Arthur.” He chuckled causing the tears to spill from his eyes.
Callum took him from Dad and carried him into his arms, I wrapped mine around the two of them and we both showered Arthur with all the love and kisses we could possibly give him. This was what I didn’t know I longed for until now. I knew with his tiny little arms wrapped around Callum and I that he was the most precious thing given to us. He made my womanhood complete.
I regret the amount of time that I spent without my son. All those birthday, those christmas, those mother’s days, I could have had all those before but I could never take time back. I could only anticipate the future with him and Callum.
“Mommy is sorry…” I sobbed as I hugged. “Sorry wala ako sa tabi mo habang lumalaki ka. Sorry, Arthur.”
“It’s okay.” He petted my hair.
“From now on, hindi na tayo magkakahiwalay. I will be here for you. I will make up for all the years I wasn’t by your side.” I looked him in the eyes.
“You’re not flying in the sky to America anymore?” He asked.
“No… I wil celebrate all your birthdays with you and we’ll spend many Christmas together. And I will watch you grow into a handsome big man.”
“Just like Dr. Daddy?” He asked, his eyes shining with excitement as he looked at Callum.
“You will be bigger and more handsome then me.” Callum bent down to rub his nose against Arthur’s
“Do I call you Mommy Ate Drey?” He asked.
“Just Mommy…” My voice croacked from all the tears.
“Mommy and Dr. Daddy.” He hooked each of his arms around our necks and pulled us to him.
He wouldn’t stop asking questions and Callum and I both answered it. He asked if he could still call Mama and Dad, Mama and Dad even though he had a Mommy and a Dr. Daddy. He asked if he could still love them the same. If he could still give Dad a gift for Father’s day and Mama for Mother’s day. He was one bright child. Alam ko na kung bakit napamahal agad si Callum sa kanya.
“Do I still have the same birthday?” He yawned as we put him to bed between us.
Isinara ni Callum ang librong binasa niya para akay Arthur at tumawa ng mahina. “Of course, you still do.”
“I thought now that I have a different Mommy and Daddy, I also have a different birthday.” He said.
“That’s not how it works and no, you don’t have a different Mommy and Daddy. Si Mama at Dad, Mama at Dad mo pa rin sila.” I explained as I stroked his hair.
“Nadagdagan ka lang ng Mommy at Daddy. Now you have your Daddy and Mama and Mommy and of course, me Dr. Daddy. We all love you so much.” Sabi naman ni Callum.
“I love you too, Mommy and Dr. Daddy.” He lazily said, his eyes finally giving in.
I couldn’t stop staring at Arthur as he slept. I was afraid I’d lose him if I turned away even just for a second. Ang mawala siya sa akin ang pinakanakakatakot na bagay na naranasan ko sa buhay ko. I didn’t want it to ever happen again. I realized at that moment that he was the most important thing in my life and losing him would cause me to lose my sanity.
“Cal, thank you for claiming him as your own son.” Mahinang sabi ko. “Hindi ko alam kung paano ipaliliwanag sa kanya ang lahat kung wala ka.”
“I want to adopt him, Audrey. I want him to have my name. Ngayon alam niya na na ikaw ang tunay niyang ina, gusto kong ako na ang tumayong ama sa kanya. He doesn’t need to know about the truth of his conception. I love you and I love Arthur. You and him are my life now.”
“You’re my family.” He leaned over to kiss me and we both looked at the little one sleeping right in between us.