Virgilio sat in the corner facing the wall with hands over his ears vainly trying not to hear the cries of his mother as Sven beat her. It was becoming a habit now and Virgilio was terrified. He was too frightened to make any noise as Sven could turn attention to him. He’d tried to defend his mother one time before even though he was only small but had been sent hurtling across the room as Sven swung his arm to fend him off. He’d hurt badly for several days after that event and had large bruises on arms and legs which had come under close inspection at school.
The teacher had coaxed him to the office of the school head and the principal teacher had spoken kindly to him trying to carefully search a reason for Virgilio’s wounds. But because this was a new country to him, and he’d not built trust in other males after experiences with his adopted father the small boy was guarded in his answers. Miss Nancy his teacher was delegated to pay the family a visit on the pretext of discussing Virgilio’s progress at school as an immigrant and as an experienced teacher she took in the environment and analysed answers to her questions to see if the child was in danger.
Sven and Dalisay put on their best front and in the course of conversation Nancy mentioned the bruises on Virgilio’s legs and arms. Sven cast what seemed to be a threatening look at his wife and spoke.
‘Yes, Dalisay told me about his accident. It must have been a nasty fall for the little fellow. We have told him not to climb that tree again unless we’re there to supervise. Now if I can be of any further help call me. I’ll be out the back working on play equipment for him.” His eyes bored into Dalisay as he left, and she sat with eyes averted.
Nancy’s trained eye thought it worthwhile to continue some discreet questioning, so she innocently inquired as to how Dalisay had met Sven and received guarded responses. Dalisay’s husband had died in a boat accident in Manilla leaving her with their only child Virgilio. They’d had a reasonably secure financial situation, better than most in her slum area and the family had been a trio of happy persons where love was constantly expressed. But the situation became very difficult and relatives could not afford to offer much help.
One of her relatives suggested she should advertise on web sites catering to foreign bachelors looking for a wife. Dalisay was hesitant, but a broker showed her glowing testimonials from those whose fortunes she’d supposedly changed together with happy photos of the foreigner with his Filipina bride. Little did she suspect half of those seemingly happy couples had issues that put their Filipina brides in tragic circumstances. Then several of the broker’s bachelor client photos were produced. But Dalisay thought it too risky and informed the broker she needed more time to think it over.
A month later the broker appeared at her door. She reported one of her clients had fallen in love with Dalisay’s photo which she’d supplied on the internet without Dalisay’s knowledge. Dalisay was horrified to think she’d had her photo placed on the internet. What kind of message would that give to the world? She was angry with this woman and after giving her a tongue lashing ordered her not to come back. But the broker was insistent. Why was Dalisay standing in the way of a bright future for her son? If she married abroad like all those women she’d showed photos of think of the good life she’d give her son. Dalisay subsided and agreed to meet the man, but with no guarantee she’d be interested.
But when Sven arrived in company with the broker woman he was the picture of charm and concern. He bought many gifts for Virgilio and was seemingly respectful and humble. More than that, he was very handsome and well built and neighbours who gathered around to watch the meeting gave unanimous support urging her in Tagalog not to let this prize get away.
Sven paid the broker woman handsomely and poured money into the wedding ceremony with Dalisay’s extended family all showing up for the wedding and later reception which was voted by all as the best they’d every attended. The women in her community praised Dalisay for her good sense in agreeing to this marriage made in heaven and looked forward to a continuation of Sven’s generosity flowing their way when their suddenly favourite relative moved abroad.
A trip to the Embassy was the first wake up call. There’d be no quick visa but a long process before Dalisay and her son would be permitted entry in her newly adopted country. There’d been too many tragic mail order bride occurrences and the Embassy would investigate not only Dalisay but also Sven before they could be reunited.
Sven continued to send money and would make occasional trips to Manila. All these contacts were positive and eventually the reserve Dalisay still felt in the back of her mind evaporated and she gave her love unreservedly to her new husband looking forward to the day when she’d be permitted to join him abroad.
To be continued
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