The man sat nervously on the chair waiting for the reporter. After all these years, he had no idea why he accepted to tell his story. The past isn’t easy to erase, and especially forget. It will always be there to haunt you day and night. He has a good life and loves dearly his wife and two wonderful boys. That day when he saw “them”, there was a bitter taste in his mouth. They recognized him right away. He didn’t really change, except he aged. He wasn’t anymore the skinny little boy with the old pants, brown jacket, with a dirty t-shirt inside. They tried to hug him, but he backed away quickly. His thoughts were interrupted, when the breathless woman reporter entered the room. She took another chair and sat next to the man. She knew that this interview won’t be easy for him. He looked sad and nervous.
Reporter: Thank you Mr. Feno for taking the time to come here today. I know you’re a busy man. To make my job easier, so I won’t forget any important details. I’m going to record this interview. You read my article about Painful Past. You accepted to testify about your past that you never told anyone, even your own family.
Mr. Feno: Honestly, it wasn’t easy for me to do this. For several years I tried to bury all my past. Now, it’s like I’m digging it up again. I know whatever I do; I can never run from it. You’re right I never told anyone especially my wife or children, even my closest friend what I’ve been through. I kept silent through all these years. Maybe it will help me to get rid of this heaviness off my chest. I carried it too long. I’m ready to talk about it.
Reporter: You painful past, when did it occur for you?
Mr. Feno: I guess around the age 6. I came from a big family. We lived with our parents. I had 5 siblings, and I was the youngest. We lived in poverty. My mother didn’t work, and Dad was a guardian. He wasn’t paid enough to feed us all. So they decided to send my older siblings to work in people’s home. My 8 yrs old sister and I were left to stay with them. Our life didn’t change. There are times that we hardly even ate or didn’t eat at all during a day. Mother would leave us alone at home, and go to Dad’s job. She would leave a small loaf of bread for my sister and me to share, until they come back in the evening. Or she would just tell us that she had no money, and left us there. We knew that she lied.
Reporter: Where your parents abusive?
Mr. Feno: Yes, they were, especially when we didn’t do or finish the things they tell us to do. Once I was sent to fetch water. The tin pail was too heavy. We weren’t allowed to help each other with house chores. I could barely pick it up, so I dragged it back home little by little. It was half empty when I got there. Dad was angry. He took off his belt and beat me with the metal part. He didn’t stop until I was bleeding. I couldn’t cry for help. If I did, I knew he would have killed me on the spot. So I was there, until his arm was tired. I had a hard time walking around for days. I’m grateful, it didn’t leave terrible scars.
Reporter: What was the most painful for you the physical abuse or verbal?
Mr. Feno: People might think I’m crazy if I say this, but it was the verbal abuse. I’d rather be beaten often, because the wound will heal. But when your parents tear you apart with their mean and cruel words, it hurts a lot. In your mind, you can hear the nasty things they say repeat over and over again. It won’t go away. At night, I even dream about it.
Reporter: You went through a lot during your childhood. What was the most terrible thing they ever done to you?
Mr. Feno: Ok, this is going to be tough. I know I have to let this out one day. We lived in the countryside, pretty far from town. Dad worked there. He’s often absent at home. He came home late at night, and they had an argument. They sent my sister and me outside, because they didn’t want us to hear what they were fighting about. That week Dad didn’t go back to work. Later on I figured out that he was fired from his job. Frequently, my parents had this private conversation between them. One day Dad told me to get dress, and go with him. At first I was surprised that rarely happens. It was exciting because my first time to go to town, and ride in a car. I had no idea where we were going. He told me that he had an appointment for another job, and he wanted to take me long as company. All I remember was that he held my hand, and we were zigzagging through the market. There were a lot of people. I was scared. He told me to wait for him at a certain spot, and warned me not to move. So I obeyed him, and stay there. It was getting cold and dark. I got tired and sat on the ground. People were busy putting their merchandises away, and heading home. I waited but didn’t see Dad coming back to get me. It was dark, everyone left except me. I was very hungry and cold. The last thing I ate for lunch was a small bowel of sugarless corn back home. My stomach didn’t stop growling. I waited and waited until I fell asleep on the ground. Someone woke me up, but it wasn’t Dad. It was already morning, he didn’t show up. The person told me to move from the spot, so I had no choice. So I was this 6 yr old little boy walking around this unknown place.
Reporter: Did you know how long we were out there alone? Did your parents come back to look for you?
Mr. Feno: I didn’t exactly how long at that time I was out there. I didn’t go to school, so I didn’t know how to read or even write my own name. No my parents never searched for me.
Reporter: I mean, how did you survive out there?
Mr. Feno: As time passed, I realized that my parents abandoned me. I didn’t know anyone or relatives in this town. Where could I go? I had to dig through trashes and steal in order to survive. Once I got caught stealing a banana at the market. The seller was furious, and dragged me to the nearest police station. The police were asking me all these questions, that I had no answers too. Finally they sent me to a place for orphans.
Reporter: How does it feel to be abandoned by your own parents?
Mr. Feno: It was more than painful. At that time, I kept asking myself what did I do wrong to make my parents hate me that much? How could they live in peace while their little boy is out there in a strange place, cold and starving to death?
Reporter: Now it seems that everything changed for you. If you see your parents again one day, how would you feel towards them?
Mr. Feno: I did see them recently. They’re old, compared to the last time I saw them. Immediately, they recognized me. They approached and wanted to hug me, but I back away. What really hurt me deep down inside. The moment in my life when I really needed their love and support they abandoned me. They let me go through all that terrible things. Now they know that I have money and succeeded in life. They want to know me. Through all these years, I lied to my family that my parents were dead. That’s the reason I was in an orphanage. I never dared to tell them what my parents did to me. It was a total shame. Suddenly, they appear in my life.
Reporter: Are you willing to forgive them, and start a new relationship?
Mr. Feno: I forgave them a longtime ago; I hold no grudge against them. But it’s better for us to stay our separate ways. Some people say that parents will never harm, destroy or take away the lives of their own children. I tell you that’s wrong. For those who had good parents think that way. They had a wonderful childhood, with precious memories. They can’t say all parents are good or bad. Each parent, mother or father is different. Don’t compare your life to others. If someone says that they have the best parents in the world, they have their reasons. But if others say that there parents were nothing but cruel heartless people, don’t blame them. I believe that parents like mine, don’t deserve the love of their child. They made their choice to abandon me. I made my choice to stay away from them and protect my family to have contact with people like that.
Reporter: Thanks a lot again for sharing your life story with me. So I can write an article about it. Is there a last thing, you’ll like to say.
Mr. Feno: I don’t have much to add, except it helped me out a lot talking about my past. My last message is that no child was born to suffer. It’s us, the parents who brought them in this world. Treat your own flesh and blood as you would like to be treated.