Tag Archives: Dependency

Randy Ford Author- emotional vomit

      Don found them.   They hadn’t expected to see him again.   He explained in his quirky way that he found heaven in Mindanoa.   Then he said, “But heaven wasn’t enough for me.   At age twenty-one, twenty-two, getting a degree, Chase Western, no, none of it was enough, not for me.   In Mindanoa, I was reading about Venezuela, and down there in heaven it had become required reading.   Until then I hadn’t thought of Venezuela, and then finally I was able to see where I wanted to go.   Indeed before coming up here, I hadn’t thought it through; but now, seeing how you two are ready to go, I’m ready too.   I’ve had enough Peace Corps.   So I’m off to Venezuela.   Why Venezuela?   I haven’t a clue.”   And they all three laughed.

       Late one night, right before they were scheduled to leave, Susan woke Ted up.   She couldn’t sleep.  She was in the lightweight summer pajamas she always wore to bed.

      She said, “Ted, I’ve got to get out of this room.   It’s too quiet.   This is not Manila.”   Until then she had thought she was some place else, or had she been dreaming?   In deed, as she lay there next to Ted, she laid out all their plans for the week, including all they had to do when they got to Singapore in a day or two.   But she was so completely in charge that she could hardly believe it, so full of energy that she could no longer lie there next to her husband.   She had to wake him up.   For some time she realized she no longer heard the clamor and the chaos of Manila, that she had grown accustomed to it and had concluded that Manila had become her home.   She had tried to sleep.   She was reminded of all of the kids she taught in school and felt sure that one of them would one day become president of the Philippines.   To hell with Marcos!   Who never showed up!   The bastard!   What had her all fired up?   Now what?   A flight to Singapore.

      She recalled how daunting those first flights were: first to San Francisco, then Hawaii.   How when she landed there in Hawaii she was expected to be someone else, to have changed on the flight.   She was constantly tempted to quit.   There was always more training, more reflection, so on.   She found she first had to do what? She first had to decide what.   Just as she now needed to decide.   “Ted get up!”

      “What!”

      “Let’s go for a walk.   Something’s missing.”

      “At this hour?”

     “Yes!”   She wanted to say, “You’ve dragged me half way around the world and now you want me to” and of course she couldn’t/wouldn’t say it right.   Forget all those bad memories.   “Ted get up!”

      They went to the elevator and there was no elevator operator at that time of night.   They looked for the fire escape when Susan insisted that she needed air.   She had lived through an earthquake.   So she could live through this.

       She had never confided her doubts to Ted in any comprehensible way, and he started talking about how he wished they could afford to buy a jeepney, an untouched jeepney with all the color, pomp and circumstance, and tour the world in it.   She told him that since age four she had been scared to death.   Yes, age four.   Did he hear her?   All he did all the time was talk about Borneo, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand; and in so doing, he once again left her behind.   Stand your ground girl.

      “Ah, he said, “But we’d have find a way of shipping the darn thing.”

       When he said that, she didn’t know what he was talking about.

      It was a typical night.   She asked to be held.   She was learning.   He held her tight.   Ted felt how she relaxed in his arms.   She returned to the same things out of her past over and over again: masturbating by definition.   She was learning to forget to edit.   Many might’ve found the exercise passe and even useless, but it wasn’t to her.   She was doing well and mostly by herself.   How often had she remembered her father doing everything for her and not allowing her to do things for herself?   But what if that wasn’t true?   What difference would it make?

      Susan said, “I don’t know if I can adjust to another place.”

      He said, “I think you can.”

      Walking the streets of Manila.   That was it.   That was all they did for a week.   And without direction.   Perhaps it was because they didn’t need direction.   Manila had become their home.

      She said, “I want you to promise me something, that you won’t die on me.   Just think if something were to happen to you in a place where they didn’t speak English.”

      Randy Ford

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Randy Ford Author- a little sanctuary for the radical of radicals

      She had never been placed in so difficult a position before by a photograph, and it bothered her to think that it probably hurt her father’s career, and that she probably would always be blamed.   She didn’t keep a clipping of the photograph; she wanted all the newspapers with it in it destroyed.   Nick kept a copy.   But he was unwilling to show it to anyone, knowing how Elaine felt about it.

      Ted had little do with his students since classes were suspended.   He had not directly participated in the demonstrations but had a long talk with Elaine about her participation.   He had a number of reasons for disagreeing with her; for some reason he hadn’t wanted to share them with her.   And they both had reasons to worry and worry they did.   Ted thought about the students that he knew who got injured.   Elaine had approached him as a friend, and it was because they were both Americans in a similar situation (though by no means the same) that she felt she could confide in him.   She would have to be careful not to abuse that; but he was the one neutral person that she could turn to.   They had in common the demonstrations and Nick and their nationality and other things.

      One day she couldn’t find Nick.   She went to his office; asked Ted.   But no one had seen him, and he wasn’t where he was supposed to be.   They were to meet.   No sign of Nick, and that worried her tremendously.   She hated to say it, but she had become very dependent.   Her idea of dependency was not pathological, all consuming, but conflicting.   She knew how it could become an illness…easy enough to get sick from; the “I-need-to-be-with-you-all-the-time” kind of sickness and the clutching and the constricting, the surrender of self and the possessing of someone, petty jealousies without a cause, the butt-chewing moments for no real reason, the apologies that began the crumbling away of a relationship…and she knew she wouldn’t allow that.   Still without Nick she had no life, no reason to be in Manila.   She would be lost.   The more she thought about it, the more she didn’t like that about herself.   She didn’t like being dependent on her parents, didn’t like being dependent on anyone.   Now there was Nick and her love for him, and her life suddenly became much more complicated.   Sometimes she wanted to lean on him; other times she didn’t.   Now where the hell was he?

      She worried until she found Nick, Nick who had been held up by the police.   When she asked for an explanation, he said, “I’ll tell you later.”   Later meant in the privacy of her apartment.

      Elaine said the next morning, “I wish you’d be careful.   I know that you’re the radical of radicals, and it’s against your principles.   I know there’s very little I can do about it.   The police have already detained you once, or as you say ‘held you up.’   They have your m o.   So be careful, honey.   That’s all I ask.”

     He said, “Where do you think I should be, hiding in the restroom?”

     She said, “You mustn’t scold me now.   You mustn’t hold it against me.   You must see how fragile I am.   You’re a perceptive human being.”

     She said the next morning, “Here comes the radical of radicals, get ready folks.”

     That day Elaine stayed home and spent the day reading.   Without a telephone, she couldn’t call him like she wanted to.   She had to trust that Nick would be careful.   Trust him.   She said, “I’m doing well.   But I’ll show up when he least expects me.   That way I won’t be such a big liability.”   Day after day it continued like that, with more worry for Elaine, and with Nick running around all over the place.   But the trust and the dependency, in their case, went together, and everyone else saw that side of Nick too.   They all knew they could depend on the radical of radicals, as he became known.   That would never change.   Sometimes before a demonstration Elaine did what she said she would do and just showed up.   She stood behind her radical most of the time.   He would go to her apartment because he had to go.

      Elaine said, “Remember what we promised.   We may come from different places, different countries, you and me, but now we share something special.   You might be everyone’s radical, and in that arena I have to share you.   But I’m better off.   I get to sleep with you.”

      She got her radical back.   She felt he was safe, provided she could hold him.   She created a little sanctuary for him, where they agreed they wouldn’t talk politics.   A sanctuary, where he could be himself.   A sanctuary, where something else motivated him.

       Randy Ford

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Randy Ford Author-someone to lean on or the Philippines, a grateful nation

           By evening Ted wanted to the leave the camp, but really had known for some time that he didn’t belong there.   Nick said, “The Constabulary and the Army know we’re here, but we have a truce for now.”   Ted said, “That’s good to hear.”   Then he thought, “If I got caught here, what would they do to me?   I would have a lot of explaining to do.”

      He asked Nick, “What’s next for you?   You seem happy at the university.”

      Nick said, “I’m doing well, and the movement needs me there.   But who knows about tomorrow.   I’m one of the few who has a grasp of the big picture and am actually one of the few who’s been to China.   When I came back I saw the Philippines differently.   I hate the Americans.   You can say I woke up.”

      Ted said, “But Elaine and I are Americans.”

      “I think you have to make a distinction between American influence and policy and the American people.   To be against everything American would be counterproductive.   To rid ourselves of everything would be impossible and set us back a hundred years.   We can’t ignore our history, the good or the bad.   But to see what’s happened can break your heart.   But generally common people don’t know how to speak for themselves; and they tend to forget what the Americans have taken from them.   So it’s up to us who are articulate.   I don’t think I have to explain myself to you.   You came here to help.   We accept your help, but we may not be as grateful as you think we should be.   In the end you will go back to the United States.   We’ll send you off with a fiesta, but we’ll still be here, and we’ll have to live with the choices we make.”

      Ted said, “I want to say that I’m different, but I’m still who I am.   An American from Texas and a Texan through and through.”

      And as they wandered around the countryside and all over town, Ted began to tell Nick about growing up in his home state.

      Back in Manila at home the days (Ted said) were by and large the same.   Their maid (Linda) took care of everything in the apartment…the cleaning, the cooking, the washing and the ironing (yes ironing because that was the way it had always been done).   Having a live-in maid was affordable, even on the stipend the Peace Corps gave them, and when it wouldn’t have been affordable at home.   All of the apartments in the building were basically the same, with an upstairs and a downstairs, a bathroom, a kitchen, and a living room down, with the bedrooms up, and in the bathroom a porcelain toilet without a lid or a seat.   People around the world would’ve been familiar with an apartment like that, even those who would’ve been envious.   Unlike other apartment buildings in Manila, Ted and Susan’s building withstood the great quake of that year.

      Somehow Ted got back to Manila, without totally compromising his position with the Peace Corps and without anyone knowing how close he came to calling it quits.   And thank goodness he hadn’t been kidnapped.   He had come home safe.   Nick had seen to that.   Incidents from the trip and the struggle that was obvious seemed to fit the goings-on on campus.   He waited all the time after that for a knock on his door.   That knock never came.   Sometimes he would glance over his shoulder to reassure himself, and more than once he thought he spotted the woman warrior.   Saw a face like hers.   A face in a crowd would appear and he was aware he had seen the face before.   There were voices in his head, then something like a fist in his chest, then screaming and shots in the dark, all somehow connected.   Immediately after the shaking stopped their neighbors lit candles which made them think that their building was on fire.

      He couldn’t focus on anything.   He knew everything that was expected of him, classes at the university during the day and drama at the fort at night, the long bus and jeepny rides; the familiar bridges, Quiapo Church,and the Luneta…the midnight rides down Mabini Street; and when he would finally lay down to sleep…the sleep he needed to keep going…sleep wouldn’t come.   And why?   Way too often he would see himself surrounded by arm militants and among them a woman warrior with a sidearm.

      He relied on Susan, on her strength and her common sense.   And just as he knew he had screwed up, he knew, as he had known from when they first met, that she would stand by him.   He believed in her.   Some of this had to do with his thinking that she was more intelligent than he was.   He believed that she was essential to him and, as long as she was there, that they could get through anything.   It may be because she was use to picking up after him; she really helped him get through college.   And of course, he naturally leaned on her or went back to her whenever he made a mistake, and this was one of those times.   He depended on her being there for him.   And there was no way that you were going to change his mind.   He hardly knew, however, why she would go along with moving to a foreign country, when before she had even been afraid of flying, except it was her idea to join the Peace Corps.   He loved Susan and believed in her.   Somehow they had stuck it out together.   And since she had her own ideas about the Peace Corps and Peace Corps service, he could use her as a sounding board.   And that was important to him because he wasn’t always himself sure.   You probably know couples like them, where dependency came with the marriage.   So he loved Susan, for all she did for him and because he could depend on her.   He knew she would do anything for him.

      Randy Ford

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