My life will never be the same.
I can’t remember the last time that I’ve smiled for this long. I can even feel my cheeks cramping from doing so. It’s been three years already but I still can’t seem to get used to the new me. Don’t get me wrong but I really like the new me. And my parents, even our whole company, like the new Richard Lim. They kept saying that ever since I had that second chance in my life, I became a completely different person.
“Sir, ito na po yung files na pinapagawa niyo. I’m very sorry po sa delay.” Liza said when she entered my office. I can feel that she’s nervous again. Is it because of me? I reached out my hand to grab the folder.
“It’s okay Liza.” I said and I gave her a smile. Could I ever get used to smiling? The corners of my mouth automatically rise up in times like this. Liza’s anxious face suddenly disappeared.
“Naku Sir, nagbago na talaga kayo. Alam niyo Sir, siguro kung katulad pa rin kayo ng dati, nasigawan niyo na ko.” Liza said.
I chuckled. “Was I really like that? Hindi lang ikaw nagsabi nyan eh.” Well, she’s right though. I can still remember that I used to shout at my employees most of the time. Almost all of them are scared at me to the point that some couldn’t handle the pressure and resigned. But since three years ago, there are less people resigning and we even grew in number. I was even surprised because the company really excelled during that time up to now. I guess, what happened to me was for the best.
Liza nodded frantically. “Yes Sir. Ano po ba talagang nangyari?”
I shrugged. “I don’t know either. But whatever it is, I’m thankful. Pati rin naman kayo di ba?” Yes, I’m thankful, so thankful. I’m treating everything that happened as a miracle. In a blip, my agonizing years on Earth was replaced by painless and better one.
Liza nodded with a smile. “Anyway Sir, ang sabi po ng mama niyo magpabili daw po ako ng pain killers gawa nung sugat nyo. Should I Sir?”
“No need.” I said as I put my hand on my chest and felt the scar I now have. My parents have always been overprotective of me. I think it’s because of my condition. Well, my past condition. “Hindi na naman nasakit yung tahi. And it’s been years na rin ‘di ba? I’ll call Mama na lang. Thank you Liza.”
Liza nodded and turned her heels to leave my room. I picked up my phone and dialled my mother’s phone. On the third ring, she picked up.
“Ricky, kamusta yung sugat mo? Did Liza already buy -“
“Ma, I’m fine.” I interrupted but I also smiled because of her thoughtfulness. “Hindi niyo na kailangan mag-alala. It’s been three years!”
“Are you sure? Sa puso din yan. Eh how’s the new heart?”
I smirked. “I can say that it’s doing great Ma. How many times would I tell you that I’m better na?”
“I’m just worried Ricky. You’re already at the verge of dying and then in just a snap, you’re all healed.”
I smiled as I remembered what had happened. “I know na parang nakakapanibago ang lahat, Ma, pero I’m fine. Thank you for being so thoughtful. I know that you and Papa might get a hard time accepting that I’m already healed compared to those years that you’ve dealt with my pain. And if I felt that pain again, you’ll be the first to know, okay?”
“Alright son. I trust you. Oh, before I hang up, are you going to attend the summit this Saturday? If I’m not mistaken, Lim Aviation Services is going to host this year’s Summit, right?”
“Yes, Ma. I wouldn’t let this one pass by.” I think this is only the third time that I’ll be attending the Summit. My dad was the one who always attends these kinds of stuffs while I only stay inside the office. Even if I wanted to, they won’t let me because of my condition before. I’m the CEO yet my retired father is still the face of LAS. I think it’s time to show the world the real man behind LAS’ success for the past eight years.
“Are you taking someone with you? You should, you know. Ang daming makakakita sa’yo.” Mama said.
I chuckled. “No, Ma. I’ll be alone.” I gave up dating a long time ago when someone I love left me just because of my post condition. Ever since then, I completely lost faith in love. “And it’s a masquerade event, Ma. I’m positive that something will happen.” Hopefully.
I still wanted to cry.
I know that it has been three years already but I still wanted to mourn. I miss him. I miss him so bad. I miss his presence, I miss the sound of his voice, I miss his jokes, I miss the feeling of his arms around me and I really miss his sweetness.
I really miss James.
James was the only man that I’ve ever loved. He was the only man that showed me what love is. And when he asked me to marry him, I wholeheartedly said yes. I loved him. I can’t believe that after three years, my heart still screams his name.
“Oy girl, naggmumni-muni ka na naman dyan. Dapat talaga hindi ka naiiwan mag-isa eh.” Emman, my gay best friend and my flatmate said. I wiped the tears springing from my eyes, hoping he wouldn’t see it, but he did.
“Roomie, si James na naman yang iniisip mo, ano?” He said as he sat beside me on the lounge area of Time Airways.
I nodded. “Emman naman kasi eh.” It’s always been like this for the past three years. I would always cry at this very same spot and Emman would always be there to give me words of encouragement.
He sighed. ” Roomie, alam mo kung nakakababa lang si James mula sa langit, nabatukan ka na nun.” he sighed again. “Alam mo, wala namang may gusto nung nangyari sa kanya eh. Ganun talaga, desisyon ni Lord na pagpahingahin siya ng maaga eh. So please, Roomie, cheer up na.”
I wiped my tears again. “Nakakainis naman kasi siya Emman eh. Bakit kasi nagpabangga pa siya eh!”
I heard Emman chuckle. “Girl, wala naman talaga sa plano niya yun eh! Nagkataon lang talaga. Kumbaga shit happens. Pero seryoso, cheer up na girl. May flight na tayo in 40 minutes.” He said as he gave a squeeze on my shoulder.
I tried to give a smile bit my tears kept flowing. Yes, we have a flight today. And if James is still alive, he could be the pilot for this flight. He’s a pilot, you see. And he’s also the pilot of my heart. Well, he used to be.
“Hala girl, nasisiraan ka na ba ng bait?” Emman said, with his brows lifted up, when he still saw me crying.
“Eh kasi naman Emman, posible kasing si James yung piloto ngayon kung buhay pa siya.” I uttered.
Emman sighed and hugged me. “Girl, alam kong mahirap mag move-on lalo na sa nangyari kay James, pero hindi mo ba naiisip na nalulungkot si James kapag naiyak ka? Syempre gusto ka nyang maging masaya di ba? Tama nang iyak girl.”
I sniffed for the last time. Well, Emman is right. If James was here, he will say the same thing. I knew he wants me to be happy. It’s just that I don’t know if I can be happy again like when he was here.
I straightened up and wiped the last drops of my tears. “Thank you Emman. Sige. From now on, susubukan ko munang magpakasaya. Alam ko namang magagalit sakin si James kapag nagmukmok na lang ako buong buhay ko. Susubukan ko, para sa inyo ni James.”
Emman smiled. “Roomie, wag mong gawin ‘yan para sakin o kaya lara kay James. Gawin mo yan para sa sarili mo. Ang gusto lang naman namin, makita kang masaya ulit eh. Na daladala yung ngiting Maya dela Rosa.”
I nodded. Yes, I want to bring the old Maya back. I’ve been mourning for too long. I want to see myself smile again. I know that it’ll be hard but I just have to give it a try right?
“Maya, Emman,” Eds, our other co-FA called. “Pinapatawag na tayo. Briefing na.”
Emman and I hurriedly went inside the office. Ms. Belmonte, our supervisor, was already there waiting. She usually asks us questions before letting us board.
“Before I dismiss you, I just want to announce something.” She said after Joshua, our other co-FA, answered her final question. “As all of you know, Time Airways always attends the summit for the past 15 years. So we’ve decided that this time should be different. Instead of us supervisors, we’ve decided to take two from your batch to attend the event. This will be a good opportunity to interact with peers.” Miss Belmonte paused to open a folded paper. “This is the list of the companies who will be joining. Time Airways, Royale Airlines, Lim Aviation Services, Ventura Inc …”
I stilled. Ventura Inc. will be there? Now, my heart is pounding really fast. There are four of us today. I have 25-75 chance of not being selected. I just hope that I will not be chosen. I don’t have the strength to face them yet.
“Lim Aviation will be hosting this year’s summit.” Ms. Belmonte continued. “So, Ms. Ina and I chose Emman and –“
“YEEEEEEEEEEHEEEEEEEYYY!” Ms. Belmonte was stopped by Emman’s squeal. “Oh my God Ms. Belmonte! Maraming maraming salamat po! Ultimate dream ko po ang maka-attend sa Summit!” he continued.
Ms. Belmonte gave him a smile. “I’m glad we chose you, Emman. But before you celebrate, I still have another name to announce.”
“Ay, sorry po.” Emman gave her an apologetic smile.
I inhaled and closed my eyes. Not me, not me, not me, not me, oh please oh please, not me. I kept repeating that mantra in my head.
“Emman, you’re going with Maya.” Ms. Belmonte said.
My whole world stopped. “P-po?” I uttered. I felt Emman hug me on my side and started jumping up and down but I’m too shocked to join him.
“Yes, Maya. Sasama ka sa Summit.” Ms. Belmonte said. “Well, Ms. Ina and I thought that this would be like a break for you. Gawa nung nangyari years ago?”
I felt tears springing from my eyes again. “Naku Ma’am, yung iba na lang po kasi –“
“Ms. Belmonte, pupunta po si Maya.” Emman interrupted. “Saan po ba namin kukunin yung mga additional details para po makapagpreapare po kami ng maaga? You know po, shopping, spa, manicure, and pedicure and there’s still more!” He continued with too much giddiness.
Ms. Belmonte chuckled. “I understand, Emman. Siguro, puntahan niyo na lang ako sa office pagbalik niyo mula sa flight. O sya, malapit na ang flight niyo. You may go.”
“Ryan, there’s nothing wrong with me.” I said but Ryan kept examining me with his stethoscope. “Brod, stop. Please.”
“Richard, let me do my work. Your mother set this appointment and I’m getting paid for this. Ayoko namang isipin ni Tita na binabayaran lang niya ako sa wala.” He said. He removed his stethoscope and sat in front of me. He brought his hand on my chest and put pressure on it. “Masakit?” he asked.
I raised my brows at him and I removed his hand. “Itigil mo na, ‘to, Ryan.” I said.
“You’re an unbelievable patient Richard!” He exclaimed. “You may be the CEO of the number one Aviation Company in our country but inside this clinic, I’m in command, understood?”
I narrowed my eyes at him. “Fine.” Let’s see what will happen if I did something.
Ryan exhaled and brought his fingers back on my chest and applied more pressure this time. “Does it hurt –“
“Argh!” I screamed in pain. “Brod! Ang sakit! Lift your hand!” I exclaimed as I touched his hand. “Brod!”
“Oh God.” Ryan said as he quickly withdrew his hand. He stood up and went behind his desk to open his drawers as if looking for something. He’s panicking, I can see that. He kept opening and closing his drawers. I finally laughed out loud. I just couldn’t take it anymore. It made Ryan stop.
“What the hell, brod?” He said, his brows knitted together.
“Hahaha. I’m sorry. I couldn’t help it. Masyado kang seryoso sa trabaho mo. I decided to play along.” I said while I’m still laughing. “You should’ve seen the look on your face! It was epic!”
“God, Richard!” He exhaled and leaned back on his swivel chair. “Akala ko naman kung ano nang nangyari sa’yo!”
“I’m sorry!” I said as I continued to laugh. “Ayoko nang tumawa, Ryan. Ang sakit sa tyan!”
“Then stop.” He said.
“I can’t. Naaalala ko yung mukha mo! Hahahaha!”
Ryan sat in front of me again and leaned back. He smiled as he shook his head. “Loko ka talaga. What the hell happened to you, brod? Hindi ka naman ganito dati ah.”
“I don’t know.” I shrugged as I tried to stop myself from laughing.
“Hay nako Richard.” He said. “Dapat natuluyan ka na dati eh.”
“Why are you so harsh, brod?” I replied. “Kung natuluyan ako dati, eh ‘di wala ka nang makakausap?”
Ryan exhaled. “Fine, fine. I’m glad that you’re still alive. But honestly speaking? Akala ko talaga mamamatay ka na nung inatake ka last time.”
I smirked. “Akala ko rin eh. Well, I didn’t. God sent me a miracle. And that happened three years ago, kaya itong sugat na ‘to,” I pointed at my chest. “ayos na. I don’t even know why Mama made this appointment. I made it clear to her earlier na okay ako.”
“She’s just concerned brod. Ikaw kaya ang magkaron ng anak na may problema sa puso?” He reasoned out.
“I guess you’re right.” I admitted.
“So let me continue this check up. Para malaman mo rin kung fit ka para sa Summit.” He said.
“Fine. Just so you know, I’ll attend no matter what.”
“And why is that?” he asked.
I opened my mouth to say something, but closed it again. “Basta.” I just said. I don’t know what it is but I’m expecting something this Saturday.
“Girl, ito na yung invitation.” Emman said as he handed me a white envelope.
I glared at him. “Emman naman kasi eh. Ayokong sumama.”
“At bakit naman?” He said, though his attention is on the invitation he’s reading.
I went by his side and reached for the invitation. When I saw the name I’m looking for, I pointed it at him. “Ayan, Emman oh. Ventura Inc.”
“Emman! Ventura Inc. Ventura si James. Makikita ko yung tatay niya. Makikita ko ulit si Sir Frank.”
“Roomie, hindi ko magets.”
I sighed. “Nalimutan mo na ba Emman? Ako yung sinisisi nila sa pagkamatay ni James. Ako daw yung dahilan kung bakit nabangga siya. Tapos ano? Aattend pa ako nito? Kaya ibigay mo na lang kay Eds ‘to.”
“Ay Roomie naman eh!” he said as he looped his arm around mine. “Wag kang mag-alala. Hindi ka nila makikilala.”
“Panong hindi? Tandang-tanda nila ‘tong mukhang ‘to –“
“Maya, masquerade ang theme ng Summit ngayon!”
Two different lives. Two different situations. Two different pasts.
How will their paths cross?
A/N : Prelim exams are over and Christmas break is here! Thank you po sa mga naghihintay sa story ko. Naging sobrang busy lang po ngayong December. It’s good to be back!