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Straight out of a ‘teleserye’

Riyadh—It was never in their plan for her to go to Saudi Arabia. Only her husband would. But something went terribly awry along the way.

Her husband did proceed to the distant Arab land, working as a laborer. Initially, he communicated with his family regularly, sending them money monthly. But as the months wore on, his sending of money became infrequent, and the amounts dwindled. Then one day, he stopped communicating.

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His family members in the Philippines were worried sick, thinking that some terrible fate had befallen him. But the wife had doubts. It did not take long for her to arrive at a decision. Within months she had flown to the Saudi capital to work as a dressmaker. It took her quite a while to track her husband down, but she found him and confronted him.

On that fateful day the long-lost husband admitted that he was having an affair with another woman, also a Filipino. The wife exploded, venting her pent-up rage on him. How could he have possibly done such an outrageous deed? Practically abandoning her and their young brood just to satisfy his worldly desire?

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Seized with guilt, he asked forgiveness; he promised he would reform. He ended his relationship with the other woman, they kissed and made up, and eventually lived together, renting a room in the city near their places of work.

As they were now both working, they sent home a bigger monthly amount for their children, who were being tended by a relative. Life thus went back to normal. Or so the wife thought. Soon she began receiving text messages from a stranger, supposedly a concerned compatriot. The messages disclosed a rather maddening tale: Her husband was having an affair.

At first she refused to believe it. It was impossible, she thought. Never would he do it again. But the messages kept coming regularly. On workdays, according to the messages, her husband would return home with another woman and they would stay there for hours.

For some nights the wife was sleepless. Finally she devised a plan.

One day after her husband drove her to work, she hurriedly returned home, lay in bed and covered herself with the thick comforter. She waited for hours. It was late afternoon when she heard a key turning in the lock and the door creaking open. As she nervously stayed hidden, she heard her husband’s voice. And a female voice. The text messages were true! Then she heard them laughing.

What followed were scenes straight from a teleserye. Gripped by fury, the wife abruptly rose, screaming, cursing. She noted the fright on the faces of the adulterers. (It was the same woman!) The husband and his love quickly made for the door. The raging wife grabbed the electric body massager resting atop the bedside cabinet and threw it at her husband, who caught the blow near the back of his head. He was able to shield his distraught paramour who, once they managed to pry the door open, fled to the street, forgetting her bag and her abaya (the long black gown that every woman is required to wear outdoors in Saudi).

Now outside, the pair managed to get away in his car, leaving behind the scorned, sobbing wife.

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An hour later the husband came back, seeking forgiveness. She refused to let him in, yelling through the door that she would kill herself. Alarmed, he phoned her friends and asked for their assistance. When they arrived, they managed to calm her down and told the husband to leave. For a week she stayed in a friend’s house.

Eventually the couple reconciled, after the husband swore to high heavens that he would never, ever do such a despicable deed again.

It has been years since that near-marriage-shattering event. Well, they are still together, and they are still working here in Saudi Arabia.

Amador F. Brioso Jr., a lawyer, has been working as a senior legal advisor in a Riyadh-based bank for eight years now. He is the author of several books, and his first nonfiction work published in 2015, on Arsenio Lacson of Manila, earned him the award for best nonfiction prose in English in the 35th National Book Awards.

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TAGS: Amador F. Brioso Jr., Inquirer Commentary, Inquirer Opinion, Overseas Filipino Workers
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