Wednesday, August 31, 2005

With Apologies to John Mellencamp

A little ditty about Jack and Azon,
an American kid and a Boholana lass
growing up in Chocolate Hills land.

My aunt met her future husband, an American GI named Jack, while he was on a tour of duty here in the Philippines. Jack fell in love not just with the woman but also with her home town. Upon the end of his military stint, he packed his bags and went back to Bohol to court her. They married 27 years ago. He decided to stay in Bilar, Bohol for good so he can live a simple country life like the one he had growing up in Iowa (although he kept his American citizenship).

For the past 18 years of their marriage, Tita Azon was aware of Jack having mistresses in succession. They forged an uneasy truce regarding his side projects—so long as he came home to her and that those girls didn’t set foot in their house, Tita Azon was willing to turn a blind eye to his indiscretions. After all, she was running for public office and needed his US pension dollars to fund her campaign (she held the position of mayor of Bilar for two terms; after that she ran for a spot on the provincial board and is now in her second term).

Jack’s latest mistress is a 23-yr old with a child from another man. Like Jack, she’s a high school graduate who grew up in the country; he found in her a kinship he increasingly couldn’t find in Tita Azon. After all, my aunt was a teacher when she married him; with her flourishing political career, people have been egging her to run for vice-governor. Her personal growth didn’t match his; she grew by leaps and bounds, while Jack was happy being a simple country boy who’d love it if “his old lady” would wait on him during meal times. He grew increasingly insecure as her political clout got bigger. Sadly the only clout he has is his booming voice (complete with country drawl) and several hand guns.

Last month both Jack and Azon went to the U.S. to attend two weddings. His mistress kept calling him on the phone every day, crying. She was worried she’d lose him while he was with Azon in the States. My aunt chided him about having a crybaby for a mistress. He decided to cut their trip short so he can fly back to his mistress. She threatened to leave him. He chose to pursue a life with his mistress because he felt he can give her a better life. She let him fly home earlier. He took his stuff out of their house and got an apartment in Tagbilaran for him and his mistress. Both got their own lawyers.

I’m actually not surprised with the turn of events. Jack had slipped in past conversations about his indiscretions; I was just surprised my aunt lasted this long. They actually made a great tandem, she with her political savvy and clean public record, he with his pension dollars and his numerous civic projects. I never really liked Jack’s boorish manners (he’s a die-hard Bush supporter and thinks American democracy is best for everyone), but I could see that he genuinely cares for the “little people” in society.

What’s also sad is that my aunt now fears Jack might harm her (he has guns, remember?) to get her properties. That’s why she consulted her lawyers to make sure if anything happens to her, her properties won’t go to him. After 27 years, trust has been replaced by fear and suspicion.

Then again, 27 years was a good run.

Ooh yeah, life goes on,
long after the thrill of marriage is gone.


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