I couldn't think of anything to say while he was talking to me. The first thing we did was to laugh it out, because even if it meant him having to re-tell his story, I could sense that he was hurting inside, the pain searing through him, obviously weighing him down that he's gotten pretty much skinnier after 3 years that we've had a close encounter.
I never had any problem with him since I did my graceful exit from his company. If there was a problem with him, it was work related. It was never on a personal note that I went away to find a better workplace. It was something that I believe was due to some bad company decisions that gave me a chance to find my own place in the sun after working with his company.
I'm talking about my former boss. 54 years old, beautifully married with three children for 27 years, until just recently when some bad turn of events came to claim his wife away from him. No, we weren't only just a boss-subordinate type, I believe we were more friends, even after I left the company and the job that I have been enjoying for eight wonderful years.
He'd ask me to make his business letters for him, teach him how to type, teach him how to input some message on his high-end mobile phone. Because he was the boss and he is rich, and he is one that appreciates the things you do for the company, even if his wife wasn't the kind that supports him in any similar way. He'd tell me stories about how he championed his way to riches, how he met his wife, how they had started with nothing until he was able to build a company that eventually catered and fed more than a hundred people. He told me stories about how he grew up with almost nothing, time when he was a dropout, and that time he was in love with a girl, yet had a fling and had to be a responsible man for who later on became his wife who bore him 3 kids.
He was the kind of boss who would understand. In fact, I was closer to him than his wife, because I saw him as someone who could understand, was open to any suggestion that you say, would listen to a recommendation if he thinks it is the better way. He was able to bring me to places, a trip to Cebu with my husband, a trip to beautiful Eden Nature's Park in Davao with my whole family, and to Manila, Pangasinan and Tagaytay to meet his pool of writers, maybe because he trusted me that much while I was at their employ. It was then that I have gotten closer to him and his family that we would get coffee any time we want and talk about each other's progress, and still be my boss when we reach the office.
Until that fateful night I walked away from the job I have loved because my demands weren't met.
But we still remained friends, as I have mentioned. We were more than the boss-employee type, because I understand what happened and I would always understand the ways he is trying to make in order to cater to the business, I understand more so the caprices and aggrandizement of the wife to which he never fails to satisfy because of love or maybe to cover for the lack of time he has given her. The wife was someone whom I have also entrusted with eight years of my career, however, she was not the kind I would automatically trust with my life because she is the bossy type, not somebody who could understand human ways, she's more the boss than the husband who actually built the company. It is even safer for me to say, she is still under the employ of the husband, their marital relationship aside.
He just sent me a private message on Facebook, there is something he wants me to do, a book that I need to edit, given my experience with them as a proofreader/writer. He wanted to meet me for coffee, so I was able to give him a little of my time. Then I saw him in his skinny profile, somebody whom I knew to be skinny has shed off more pounds and more haggard looking now. He was all wrinkles and I was taking pity on the life he has led.
And then he re-told his story all over again. That his wife left him for another man after 27 years of marriage. He said he never ever imagined his life to be in this situation - ever. Because he thought that they were okay. True, he calls everyone his sweetheart, he is a marketing man, and sales agents like him does have the reputation to be womanizers but it was never his intention to have a broken family. He may be close to his women sales agents under his employ, but he never had a child outside marriage, he never had to leave his family because of some woman. He admitted having a few flings here and there, but they were just as it is - flings. But they never came to a point of getting any serious relationship, one that could wreck a family.
I could feel his pain. I could feel how betrayed he was, and I could feel how deeply he hurts by the way he told me his story over a grande of coffee. I can sense his loneliness, I can sense his ego hurting too much and his concern for the children who were also hurt because of what their mom did to them. But what surprised me most is when he told me the reason the wife gave him when they separated. He said that the wife said she was never happy with him the way she is now with the present lover. What a piece of crap!
After 27 years of marriage with three kids, a promising line of businesses, after all they have gone through, when they started from scratch until the many family trips to the US, she'd say she was never happy like she is now with her present lover? Methinks that was bullshit. Seriously? After all those years, you'd say you were never happy with him?
What happened to their marriage, that I could not really judge because I am not in their shoes. I could never understand it the way they could because I am only a listener to a story. I can only pray that a flicker of hope would cover the whole family, that they will remain friends however impossible I could think of it. But that is the most I could give them. Whoever is telling the whole truth, I could not definitely say, but one would have the instinct to know who is telling the honest story. And I stand by him whom I consider my friend.
She sent the annulment papers already, ready to be signed by him. He's been talking with his lawyer now for division of their properties. He said that she never left anything at their house, not even a handkerchief to remind him of her, but she did left the children to his care. And that for me, is her biggest mistake. Because I see him being taken care of by the children, and she is all alone with her lover whom she is presently happy with. Oh well.
It is sad that families have to be broken because of unrepairable indifferences. I pray that this won't happen to my own. I swear, I might die just thinking about it.
I happen to be sane that time and told him this: "Move on! It's not worth sulking over." Easier said than done, I know. But he has to get on his knees and move forward. He said he is slowly picking himself up, and that is something that I am grateful for. There is hope for a more beautiful tomorrow if you see more positive than the negative from what happened in your life. And maybe, it's high time you re-assess your life. The remaining years could be more joyous than the longer ones which only turned into bitter-sweet memories.
I also told him to trust again.
Take care of your families. It's the only one you've got!
Unless you've already made a lot!