Reflections on Seeking Solutions, 2018-2019

The Manila Memos, Issue 7, 2019 January/Carmen Good-bye


There’s no easy way to say this.  I don’t want you to be hurt.

I won’t do this by text – that’s about as hurtful as it gets.

So I want to talk about it, and I will come to The Philippines to do it.

But I have got to tell you my mind is made up: I think it would be better for both of us if we stopped this relationship.

I know you think you love me and want to be with me, even coming to Canada to take care of me, and live with me, but it won’t work. There are too many obstacles. 

‘Genebebe’ might say, love will solve all problems, and I used to say that too. But I don’t think I love you enough. I’m sorry. The problems are just too big.

Genevieve also has said to me, if I don’t truly love you, I should let you go now and not hurt you anymore than I will already. I am listening to her.

I wanted to make you happy. I wanted to ‘rescue’ you from your life and your troubles in Cavite. But that is not right. I need to love you for you, not as a ‘project’. I need to look out for my own happiness and not be ‘obliged’ to someone. I’ve done that all my life, and I can’t do it anymore.

Carmen, I think you know how hard it would be for us to try to be together. I wish we could just live in Discovery Suites and go to restaurants all the time, but we can’t.

I so admire your effort to start to learn better English, so we could communicate and converse better. But it isn’t going to be enough. Will we really be happy with our two universes? I’m an intellectual, hmmm, and I don’t think you are an ideas person, or informed about politics or history, or psychology or maybe any of the things I think about and need to talk about.

Immigration to Canada is going to be very difficult. At the minimum we will have to be married. I don’t think I want to be married again. It might take two or more years, maybe never. And then if it doesn’t work out between us, where does that leave us?

You have such a big extended family, many of them with serious problems, but they’re a very important part of your life. As is your church. You will have none of that here and you would have to start all over. You will become very lonely. I don’t think you realize how hard that will be on you. 

We’ve talked about you running your business from here, maybe with all new customers, but that was mostly because I wondered what you would do with all of your time to keep yourself occupied. I don’t want you as a house keeper, and we can’t stay in bed all the time. And over time … what then?

Carmen, it’s clear to me that we can’t continue. We have to stop.

I need to keep on looking for the companion I need right here in Canada. 

I curse Amity for all this trouble, but it’s not her fault either. It’s just life.

Carmen, let me say again, I promised you I would come back to The Philippines to celebrate your birthday. And I will if you want me to. 

Even so I always thought that if I came back it was so we could get to know each other as well as possible before we finally decided you should come to Canada with me, or even I should come to The Philippines. We had lots more thinking and getting to really understand what we mean to each other before we made a final decision. But I think the situation is already clear and it we can’t go on.

I’m sorry Carmen. Please don’t cry. I will still be willing to be in touch with you. I will send you money for as long as you need it. I will work with Genevieve to help you get through this loss. 

I know I’m stronger now than I was in November and December. You have helped me with that. 

You are a very strong woman. You have troubles, but You are a survivor. You will find solutions to your problems. And you will be happy.

I promise.


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