DAY 15

At the age of six, my biological father drove me to school when he asked me if he could marry someone else and leave my mother.

I replied, “Yes, you can marry her”. My mother, isolated because of her mental condition, never fall for any man since. I felt very culpable to have “given a permission” for him to marry someone else.

That morning, I asked my biological father why would he leave my mother. He said, “Your mother is tired taking care of you”. I asked him, “Would you leave this woman if she’s tired too?”. He said, “No. She would not be tired”.

His response left me puzzled.

Before I turned seven, my grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer and she refused the biopsy and refused to get treated abroad just so she can be close to me. Her choice to refuse biopsy led to an incomplete diagnosis which accelerates the deterioration of her organs. The doctors cannot administer her the right treatments because they didn’t know which type of breast cancer she has.

My grandmother was an inpatient at a hospital 10 minutes drive from where I lived. Her second daughter, my Warden, was spending a lot of her time there. Since I was a minor, I had to stay close to her. I spent months sleeping in the sofa-bed inside my grandmother’s room. I went to school from the hospital and would return to the hospital.

Relatives said I was mature for my age. I looked poised and composed despite the divorce and witnessing worried oncologists coming in and out of my grandmother’s room.

I amused myself by making up algebraic equations after school. I made simple equations made of letters and numbers. Warden would asked me to go get some things at a store across the hospital. She never went by herself. I was always been asked to do such errands. There were restaurants and stores across the hospital yet there is a busy road that separates them. The road is full with motorcycles and clumsy drivers.

I asked my Warden what would she do to ensure my safety. She said, “I will watch you from here”. She is five floors high. This does not make sense even to my younger self. She can’t save me if someone was going to harm me. As a way to ensure my own security, I walked closely behind adults when I was going out. Considering the abnormally high population density, I am quite fortunate to have never been kidnapped.

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