Richard made his way to the coffee shop one fine afternoon. Right after Ryan called, he immediately asked Ryan to meet him so that he could ask him more personally about his donor. He was really amazed by how the whole world works around him. Who would’ve thought that his donor would actually be his Tito Frank’s late son, James Ventura? He never met the guy and he never will, but Richard felt closer to him since he has his heart. James was the reason why he was still alive now.
“Brod!” Ryan called when he spotted Richard entering through the doors. Richard nodded at him and made his way to the table and sat on the chair in front of Ryan. “Kailangan mo ba talaga ng proof para paniwalaan pa ‘yung sinabi ko sa phone no’ng isang araw?” He asked.
“Of course, Ryan. I’ve been waiting patiently for a name to pop out. It’s been years na rin and I would really like to thank his family.” Richard said.
“Hindi mo na naman siguro kailangang pasalamatan ang pamilya ni Mr. Ventura. Tito Frank treats you like his son! Almost a brother to Jeff na rin.” Ryan said.
“This is different brod. What happened years ago changed my whole life. I’m really in debt to them. It was my whole life that their son saved.” Richard explained.
Ryan smiled at his friend. He and Richard always look at each other as equals since they were kids but it was during these times that Ryan would think that Richard was the better man. Richard’s sense of gratitude has always been so strong that Ryan knew he will not stop until he properly thanked the ones he knew he’s in debt, like the Venturas in this case.
With a sigh, he took his iPad from his bag and showed Richard a picture from his gallery. “I wasn’t able to have it photocopied so I took a picture instead.” He started. Ryan was pertaining to James’ records. “James had a car accident last February 2008. Sira yung preno ng sasakyan niya kaya nabangga siya ng isang truck. An ambulance came but he was declared dead on arrival.
“The doctors removed his heart when they discovered that he was a donor. They were about to deliver it to another hospital when they found out that a person inside the hospital he was also needed a heart. The doctors knew that the heart has a better chance of survival if they give it to the person inside the same hospital due to the limited time the heart provides. So they gave it to the person who needed it the most – they gave it to you. James was brought to the same hospital where you were admitted, Richard.”
Richard was astonished. No one ever mentioned to him what really happened to James. Well, he couldn’t really blame others for not telling him since he shut everyone off. His eyes were still locked to James’ records even though he can’t understand what some words meant.
“Fortunately, you were a match for his heart. You went under surgery and then here you are.” Ryan added. Richard just nodded and handed the iPad back to Ryan. “Thank you.” He said.
Ryan reached for his gadget and slid it back in his bag. “So, what’s your plan? For Tito Frank and his family.” Richard shrugged. “I don’t know. Maybe a simple dinner? But whatever I do, I know it will never be enough.”
Ryan let out a chuckle. “Whatever it is, Richard, I already know that Tito Frank will appreciate it. I also know that he will be happy to hear that you got his heart since he doesn’t also know kung kanino napabigay yung puso ng anak niya.” He said and glanced at his wristwatch. “Ah, brod, I need to go. I have an appointment within fifteen minutes.”
Richard nodded. “Okay. Thanks again, Ryan. Tatawagan na lang kita so you can join the dinner with them.” Ryan nodded. “Sige, brod. Bye.”
Richard leaned on his chair when Ryan left. He was still absorbing all of this new information. He totally forgot that he chose that coffee shop since it’s near the airport, and that Maya would be arriving any time now. He was lost in his own thoughts that he hadn’t notice the lady in front of him.
“Richard?” Maya confusedly called. A smile crept on her face when she entered the coffee shop when she sighted him sitting at the corner. His usual look never failed to make Maya feel giddy. Ang pogi naman talaga ng boyfriend ko. She quickly approached him as she carried her luggage with her but it seemed like Richard’s thoughts were more important than her when he didn’t notice Maya.
Maya lowered her head and moved it in front of Richard’s face so that she could block whatever it was he’s looking at. Richard eyes widened when he noticed that Maya was already there. “M-Maya?” He stammered. And then the strangest thing happened. He felt like he had a déjà vou. Something in him was telling him that that moment happened before. He felt that Maya already stood there and called him which was quite impossible because it was the first time that he went to that place. Richard just put all of those thoughts behind him and spoke again.
“Y-You’re here! Bakit hindi ka nagsasalita?” He just said when he found his voice.
Maya’s brows crossed. “Ikaw nga ‘tong hindi namamansin eh.” She pouted. “Kanina pa kaya kita tinatawag dito. Tulala ka lang dyan.” She said. “Aalis na nga ako.” She turned to leave but Richard caught her wrist enough for her to turn around back again.
“Maya naman eh.” Richard said. “I’m sorry, I was just thinking about something.” He gestured her to sit down but Maya insisted in leaving. “Hindi na, uwi na lang ako. Mamaya na lang –“
Richard sealed her lips with his for a kiss. “I’m sorry.” He repeated with a pleading tone. Maya could see through his eyes that he was really sorry. And what else could she do? Just that kiss from him, she already forgave him. Maya just hid her face with her hands as she shook her head. “Oh bakit?” Richard worriedly asked.
“Ikaw kasi eh!” Maya said. “O? What did I do?” Richard asked. Maya peeked a little and whispered. “Wag ka kasing manghahalik in public!” She said.
Richard laughed. “Akala ko naman kung ano. So, were okay na?” Maya nodded and sat on the chair where Ryan sat earlier. Richard sat again with a smile. “Did I take you by surprise?” He asked.
Maya nodded that made Richard laugh even more. “Ikaw kasi eh. Nagtatampo ka agad eh hawak ko naman yung weapon para maalis agad ‘yang tampo mo.” He said. “Anong weapon?” Maya asked.
Richard leaned in. “You want me to do it again?” He asked and Maya shook her head frantically. “Oo na sige na, panalo ka na.” She said. Richard laughed even more and said, “I think this is the first time that I won an argument between us.”
“Ewan ko sa’yo.” Maya said and noticed that a cup of coffee was in front of her. It was empty but she was sure that someone drank it. “Richard, may kasama ka ba dito kanina?”
“Ah, yes. Ryan was with me before you came.” Richard said. “We talked about my heart donor.”
“Ahh. Kaya malalim ang iniisip mo kanina?” She asked.
Richard nodded. “Pretty much. Ngayong nalaman ko na kung sino siya, I was thinking of inviting his family for dinner. You’ll join us, okay?”
“Ha? Bakit kasama pa ko eh family matter yun?” Maya asked.
Richard reached out for her hand and held with both of his hands. “Maya, you’re part of my life now. So basically, you’re family. I want to share everything with you.”
Maya smiled at him and nodded. “Sige. Sasama ako.”
After a few more days, Richard was finally able to set a dinner with Frank and his family. He hasn’t told them yet what it was for. Richard chose it to be that way so that he could surprise them. He was already at the restaurant when he saw Ryan coming.
“Ang aga mo, brod ah.” Ryan said as he approached them. “Well, I’m never late, Ryan.” Richard teased. “Wha- Richard, for your information, the reason why doctors are often late is because most of the time, we’re not around the area because we also work in other hospitals.” Ryan explained.
Richard laughed and raised both of his hands. “Why are you defending yourself, brod? Wala naman akong sinasabi ah.” He said. “Anyway, have a seat. Parating na sila.”
Ryan shook his head as he sighed. “Nasaan nga pala si Maya? I thought kasama natin siya?”
“She’ll be a little late. May napahabol na flight sa kanya eh. I think she’s just arriving from Cebu.” He said.
“Mr. Lim, your guests have arrived.” The waitress said and three persons came in. It was Frank, his wife Imelda and their youngest son, Jeff. Richard approached them and thanked them for coming to his invitation.
“You’re welcome Richard. I didn’t mean to be rude pero, para sa’n ba ‘to?” Frank asked as they sat down.
“Ah, Tito, Tita.” Richard started. “First of all, I .. I’m sorry for the loss of your son James. But .. I don’t know how to say this but I’m also thankful for it.”
“What do you mean, hijo?” Imelda asked with his brows furrowed.
“James was a heart donor po ‘di ba?” He nervously asked and got nods as his answer. “Uhm, I .. I was the one who .. I was the one who received his heart.” Richard saw Frank and Imelda gasp. “I was planning this dinner a long time ago pero hindi ko po alam kung sino yung donor. And now that I’ve found out that it was your son, I couldn’t be more thankful to you. I know that this dinner is just nothing compared to what James had given me.”
Frank stood up and went near to Richard. He put his hand on his shoulder and smiled at him. “I’m glad James’ heart found you. He was a good man and I know that you are too, Richard.” He said. Richard stood up and gave Frank a hug. Imelda was teary eyed by Richard’s revelation. They were wondering for so long who received their son’s heart and they couldn’t be more happy that the person who received it was someone so close to them.
“I’m sorry, hijo. I got so mushy.” Frank said as he broke the hug. He also wiped some tears that escaped from his eyes. He patted Richard on his shoulder. “If it’s okay with you, Richard, can we treat you as our own son?” He asked and when he turned to his family, he saw Imelda and Jeff nodding.
“Yeah. Pwede ba Kuya Richard?” Jeff asked with a smile on his face. “I just missed having a big brother. And it wouldn’t make any difference di ba since you have Kuya’s heart?”
Richard smiled at them. He never expected this kind of welcome to the Venturas. “It wouldn’t make any difference, Jeff.” He said.
Jeff stood up from his seat and hugged Richard. “Thank you, Kuya.” He said. When Jeff was done, it was Imelda’s turn to hug him. “I can really feel James within you Richard. Malaki ata yung epekto niya sa’yo eh.”
Richard chuckled. “You have no idea, Tita.”
As the dinner went on, Richard told them about the positive things that happened when James’ heart was successfully transplanted to him. He told them that he became a much happy person, that his anger would always disappear and that he learned how to smile. It seemed like James’ family understood everything. They told him that James had always been a jolly person. He would always play pranks at Jeff whenever they were kids and that he never seemed to get angry no matter how bad the situation gets. He was the complete opposite of Richard. And it seemed like the touch of James in Richard completely balanced him as a person.
“Ah, before I forgot, may I ask why James’ had that accident?” Ryan asked.
“He was on his way to his fiancée that day. May wedding seminar kasi sila.” Jeff said.
“James was engaged?” Ryan asked.
Jeff nodded. “I really like them as a couple. They looked great together. Sayang lang at hindi natuloy yung kasal ni Kuya.”
“Well, it’s a good thing that they didn’t got married.” Frank said.
“Bakit po Tito?” Richard asked.
“She’s the reason why James died.” Frank said.
“Dad, she’s not the reason.” Jeff said. “I believe it was still Kuya’s –“
“It’s not his fault Jeff. I’ve texted her to tell James to have his car fixed pero hindi niya nasabi.” Frank insisted. “Anyway, Richard, I don’t want you to ever meet that woman.”
“Frank, don’t be so hard on her. She suffered enough when James died. I know it was really hard for her.” Imelda said.
Frank just sighed. “But it was harder for me. Losing a son was the most painful thing I experienced and I guess it’s the same for the both of you.” He said pertaining to his family.
“May I ask who’s this lady we’re talking about?” Richard confusedly asked.
“She was James’ fiancée. Maya dela Rosa is her name.” Frank said.
Richard stilled at his spot. His ear was ringing with the name Frank mentioned. “A-ano po ulit yung pangalan, Tito?” He asked.
“Maya. Maya dela Rosa.” Frank replied.
Richard heard Ryan choke beside him and saw from the peripheral point of his eye that Jeff helped him while he was still stunned. Maya was James’ fiancée? My Maya? He was trying so hard to absorb all of this when his phone beeped. It was a text from Maya.
Richard, nasa labas na ‘ko. 🙂
A/N: After a million years! This story is getting closer to its end. But I have another story in my mind. Have a pleasant evening!