Friday, February 12, 2010


By now the book had been out for a year and a half and had not done well. But it was not quite dead, for some new interest had come as the Marcos era was ending. In February the dictator had suddenly called a snap election he would rig, after all the martial law years in which were mostly free of elections, rigged or otherwise He was in terrible shape now because of the murder of his rival, our buoyant friend Ninoy Aquino, and the people’s hatred of his rampaging military, and because of his personal corruption, and that of the cronies he had put in high placers, and because of the desperate poverty of most of his people. And not least because of his showy and cruel former beauty queen wife Imelda, whose personal possessions now ran all the way to New York skyscrapers. So Marcos called an election, which had not been done for years. And Aquino’s widow ran against him, along with another old Marcos enemy. And anti-Marcos campaigners were being murdered, while important people, from brave nuns to old feudal leaders, kept up the fight against the Marcoses. So when the old ruler announced he had won the election, no one believed him.

One night in February I had done a telephone interview from my apartment with a radio talk show host in California. I predicted, wrongly, that Marcos would not leave peacefully, would fight to the death rather than flee. Which was where I had gone wrong in the book’s last chapter. It reminded me of myself when I was a champion debater and made points to close a subject rather than open something up. Before the interview was over I took a Halcion, a sleeping pill I was trying out, then took another, and the next morning I could not recall much of what I had said. I threw all pills away, but did not tell anyone about the circumstances. And despite my desire to be open, I did not always admit to sadness about what I was shedding.

The sadness had taken me by surprise earlier in February when for the first time I led an ACOA meeting. In that darkened conference room at St. Vincent’s I had heard myself saying words that, without conscious volition, kept coming into consciousness. The words were “My heart is breaking.”

No comments:

Post a Comment