The Other Woman
This story was an enigma when it happened. I was a little boy of four. At that age, I didn't know strange from normal. When I experienced this situation, I didnt think much of it because I thought it was normal. Then, as I grew older, I began to wonder about it. But since I didn't have all the facts, I stopped analysing it. Then one day, I had the opportunity to dissect it and to put the enigma to sleep.
You see, my family and I used to live in a kampong [a Malay village] in Geylang in Singapore. This was way back in the year 1964. Our house was made mainly with wood, and the doors in the house were creaky.
Every night, for a month or so before my mother mysteriously died, a pretty woman would visit my parents. This was at bedtime. I remember because I'd be lying in my bed when I heard the front door creak open. The woman would walk by me, smile and go into my parents room. As soon as she'd be in there, my parents would start to argue and fight. I remember dreading the fights, unfortunately, they became very regular and I got used to it. The strange thing was, I wouldn't hear the womans voice at all during the entire squabble. After some time, the woman would come out of the room, and just as she did, the squabble would end. She would then sit by my bed and gaze at me with a beautiful smile on her face. I felt very calm and happy whenever she was there.
When my mother died, I remember not being able to sleep, and I cried often. I realized later on that I wasn't just crying for my mother, but for the mysterious visitor too. Because, she had stopped coming. I only got used to the idea of my mother's loss and the visitor's absence some three months later.
Then, a year later, my father died, also mysteriously. One night he went to bed and never woke up. It was the saddest day of my life. I was distraught and miserable. Without parents, we went to live with our aunt—my 8-year-old brother, my 6-year-old sister, and me.
Years passed, and all was progressing well. I had many dreams about my parents, especially about my father, but none impacted me more than the following one. This dream was a dreadful one. My father was on his bicycle and riding away. My brother, sister, and I were crying and running after him. We were calling on him to stop but he just rode away, leaving us all alone and lost. I woke up in the middle of it feeling very sad but angry.
The morning after the dream, a distant uncle from Penang visited us. He brought a suitcase that belonged to my late father. In the suitcase, I found something that stunned me. It was a picture of my father with a very pretty young woman. That young woman was the same woman who visited me by my bedside before my mother died. I could never forget her face.
My uncle told me that she was my fathers first love, and that I was her son. My father had made her pregnant and then offered to marry her. But her family disapproved of him. Not only did they disapprove him, they nearly killed him. The woman had three brothers who beat my father silly when they learnt of her pregnancy. My father was in the hospital for four months because of broken ribs, broken arm, and concussion.
As for her, she wasnt allowed to be seen in public until the baby was born. One day, she appeared at my fathers house when he wasnt home and left me there with my grandmother.
Some days later, my father received a bad news—my birth mother's body was found floating in the river. She had committed suicide.
After knowing this truth, I became very upset and went into depression. I stopped school and nearly jump into the river myself. But somehow I found the strength to resist. I ended up working instead of going back to school. I worked as a shop assistant and never returned to school. I was only 12 years old then.
Time always heals pain, but nothing can take the scars away.
Thank you for letting me share this story with you.