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Literary Pieces

Love Me Not

When the people you love are the ones who end up hurting you, is being touched upon by Michael David C. Tan in the retelling of a story of one who was molested by his father.

‘This shows how much I love you,” Dad said, his voice hushed as he forcefully pulled me towards him.

It is probably my earliest memory – one of those nights he’d drunkenly sneak into my room to, in his words, “establish a father and son bond.” All the while, the whole world, my Mom included, was I supposed sleeping in theirs – unaware of how close a father-son relationship can be.

‘Touch it,’ he’d say, all the while cajoling his manhood out of his pants, seemingly refusing to respond to his ministrations. He grabbed my hand as he pulled me even closer, his nearness dizzying as I was engulfed by his sweaty body that sourly smelled of vomited alcohol, and a strong scent of cheap perfume that reminded me of the flowers we placed on top of lola’s grave. ‘Touch it.’

I was five then. Who didn’t know what to do. So he hit me. Hard on the face. So hard that everything around me seemed to spin. I couldn’t even shout. Only whimper.

‘Touch!’ he commanded, his voice now louder as the urgency in his voice couldn’t be masked. So I did, following where his hand led mine, even doing what his hand was making mine do.

Tears would sometimes escape the corners of my eyes, which would only annoy Dad who’d hit me again. ‘Good son,’ he’d say, his hands letting go of mine when he’s pleased with the way I touch him. ‘That’s why I love you.’

I remember closing my eyes not so much to stop myself from crying, but to find comfort in the darkness that would slowly creep in my head: how could love feel so bad?

The next days were always awkward.

‘G’morning,’ I’d mumble, head bowed so my eyes don’t meet anyone else’s, as I joined them for breakfast. I was always at a loss following the events that happened the night before: if, as Dad always said, it’s an expression of love, then it’s a source of pride; or if, because I was always told to not tell anyone about what we did, there was something shameful about what happened to me.

But, even then, I must have been making such a fuss even if only in myself about the issue. ‘Iho, go fix me a cup of coffee,’ Dad, peering over his newspaper, would command, just as if nothing happened, at all.

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So things would return to how they were before.

Until one more night, he’d come home so drunk he wouldn’t even be able to stand properly, but still crawl his way to my room. And then one more night. And then one more…

Over time, and with the increase in the frequency of our bonding, Dad’s acts progressed.

By the time I was six, he was already fucking me. Oh, it hurt. I couldn’t stop the tears from rolling down my cheeks, flowing almost involuntarily from the pain of having something foreign forcefully stuck into my body’s orifice; then as the object expands, the pain of being torn by being filled too much; and then, with the constant thrusting, the soreness that wouldn’t go away for days here (in the ass) and even longer here (in the head). But then, like the numbness that soon seemed to coat me every time Dad entered my room, I developed a ‘get used to it’ stance over the fucking – physically and mentally.

‘Push against me,’ Dad would whisper, his thrusting going deeper with his every fuck. And then, when I was already doing that, ‘Clump your ass, you loose fag!’

‘Opo,’ I’d say, doing as he told me to. I didn’t know what else to do.

‘It will get better, you’ll see,’ he told me once, mouth close to my ear as he clamped my mouth with his calloused hand to stop me from crying aloud, or even whining. ‘Just you wait…’

And it did get better. For him, anyway.

Before I turned eight, Dad made his brother, Uncle Bob, join in our bonding. This time, there wasn’t much of the penile penetration as ‘creativity’ was introduced in our routine. A beer bottle joined the picture, with Uncle Bob laughing as Dad would hit me when I try to shout in pain when the bottle opened me wide. The handle of a stick broom or a mop, with the wood burning my insides as it was thrust in and out of me. The beads of Mom’s oversized decorative holy rosaries, with their dicks muffling my cries of mercy, gagging me to submission and silence. A spoon, supposedly to ‘cool you down and get you ready for another hot session,’ Uncle Bob said. And there were more.

‘Say more!’ Dad commanded me. ‘Ask for more!’

‘Beg for more!’ Uncle Bob seconded.

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And I did. Over and over and over again. ‘More! More!’ As if I wanted it, loved every moment of it. ‘More! More!’ As if I desired for it to happen, and then never stop happening to me.

When I turned 13, I managed to talk to Mom.

But she wouldn’t have any of it. ‘Show some respect to your father by not coming up with nonsensical stories,’ she said. And then, probably upon seeing the pain painted all over my face, ‘He may only be showing his love to you, so. Let him.’

And I couldn’t. Not anymore. So I ran away.

I visited home a few days back.

After years and years of trying not to look back, I finally gathered I needed to go back to my past to be able to move on.

‘Oh, it’s you,’ was all Mom said when she opened the door. She wouldn’t even let me in. ‘You shouldn’t even be here. Go now – and never come back!’

As she was about to close the door in my face, I managed to say, ‘All I wanted is a closure. No more.’

‘Everything was just a bad dream,’ she replied. ‘It is time for you to wake up. You were just having a bad dream.’

But if everything was just a bad dream, why does it still come every night?

Love me not is part of Queer Side Stories, a collection of MSM-related narratives told to, and then told by Michael David C. Tan. 

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The founder of Outrage Magazine, Michael David dela Cruz Tan completed BA Communication Studies from University of Newcastle in NSW, Australia; and Master of Development Communication from the University of the Philippines-Open University. He grew up in Mindanao (particularly Kidapawan and Cotabato City), but he "really came out in Sydney" so that "I sort of know what it's like to be gay in a developing, and a developed world". Conversant in Filipino Sign Language, Mick can: photograph, do artworks with mixed media, write (DUH!), shoot flicks, community organize, facilitate, lecture, and research (with pioneering studies under his belt). He authored "Being LGBT in Asia: Philippines Country Report", and "Red Lives" that creatively retells stories from the local HIV community. Among others, Mick received the Catholic Mass Media Awards in 2006 for Best Investigative Journalism, and Art that Matters - Literature from Amnesty Int'l Philippines in 2020. Cross his path is the dare (guarantee: It won't be boring).

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