“Hey, bro, are you alright?” A voice said. Richard slowly opened his eyes and shielded it instantly as he was blinded by the sunlight. He heard some laugh beside him. “C’mon, sit up. Madumi yung lupa.” The voice continued to say.
It was then when Richard realized that he was lying down. He slowly sat up and he expected to feel his head banging but he was surprised that it’s not. When he was finally sitting up, he tried to feel every inch of his body. He was expecting some pain, enough for him to remember why he was lying down but he felt fine. In fact, he felt better.
He moved his head around to get a better view of where he is. The place is like a paradise. He was sitting on grass, a clear view of mountains were at his front, bed of flowers were found everywhere, the sound of birds chirping filled the air and huge trees are arranged in a row surrounded them. Richard felt like he has never been to this place in his life and there might not be a place more beautiful than this. Everything was so peaceful and he felt like he could happily live here with Maya.
Richard instantly lifted his left arm to look at his wrist watch the moment he remembered his fiancée. It was 6:00 but he noticed that the hand of his watch was not moving. “Jesus, I’m late.” He muttered. He turned to his right and saw a man grinning at him. He was sitting at the grass with him with him with amusement in his eyes.
“Ah, excuse me; may I know what the time is?” Richard asked. The man just grinned wider at him. He seems amused at what was happening. “Ah, sir?”
“We’re at a standstill. Time doesn’t work here.” The man simply replied. Richard’s brows furrowed but he still nodded. He must be high. “Where am I? Please answer me this time. I need to be someplace important at the moment.” Richard anxiously asked.
“You’re quite far from the place where you have to be, bro.” He said.
Richard quickly tried to stand up but stopped when the man put his hand on his arm. “Dito ka muna. Let’s talk.” He said. Richard had that strange feeling that he wants to say no to the man but somehow his gesture seemed to stop him from doing so. Like he was under some spell, Richard sat down again. “Good. Now. Tumawag na ko ng sasakyan para daanan ka. Let’s just wait. For the mean time, I want to talk to you.” The man said and Richard could only nod.
“I’m Richard.” Richard introduced and laid out his hand for a shake. The man took it and smiled at him once more. “I know.” The man said and then he broke the handshake. “So, how’s life?” The man further asked.
“How did you know my name?” Richard bewilderedly asked.
“Y-you’re Richard Lim, right? I always see that face in .. in m-magazines and stuff. K-kilala ka sa .. sa ano diba sa airline industry.” The man stammered. Richard laughed at him. “Alright, alright, I get it.” Richard said. “What’s your name –“
“Rumor has it that you’re getting married.” The man interrupted. The question instantly brought a smile to Richard’s face. “With that kind of smile, I’m guessing that it’s the truth, right?”
Richard nodded. “Yep.” He took a deep breath. “I finally found her. And there’s no way that I’m letting her go.”
The man nodded at him. “I’m happy for you. I’m glad that you’ve found her.”
“Thank you.” Richard replied. He looked around again and saw that the two of them were still alone. “Is the vehicle you called already near? I’m getting late for an event in my life.” He said.
“It’ll be here soon.” The man answered. “Why? Ano bang meron?”
“Well, I .. I’m going to propose to my girl. Again.” Richard said. The man had a curious look on his face. “Why again?” He asked.
“We had a .. well, we had a little fight one day and after we settled everything down, I just proposed to her right there and then. Pero wala akong dalang sing-sing. Kaya pagkatapos no’n, kumausap agad ako ng magaling na jeweller and asked her to make the perfect ring for my girlfriend.” Richard cited with a smile on his face. “Nung isang araw ko lang siya nakuha kaya pinlano ko agad ‘tong dinner na ‘to. But the problem is I have no idea how I got here. Alam mo ba?”
“You really seem to love your girlfriend, huh?” The man asked back. He seemed to avoid all the personal questions and those questions about where Richard is.
“Yeah. I do love her so much.” Richard answered. He noticed that the man he was talking to was wearing full white clothing while he was in his grey long sleeves, all ready for his proposal.
“Hey,here’s another humor for you. Inoperahan ka daw?” The man continued to ask. Richard felt like the man he was talking to was asking everything on purpose. He knew that he needs to be alarmed but instead, he felt like talking. There’s something in that place that made him to just answer every question the man asked.
“Before I answer that, may I ask what your intention is? Parang .. parang ang personal kasi nung mga tanong mo eh.” Richard asked.
The man just laughed at him and shook his head. “I’m not planning anything, Richard. I just want to know you, that’s all. I promise.” He said.
Richard nodded his head and told the man his story. “I inherited a heart disease from my mother’s side. So right from the day that I’ve learned that I have that, I hated my life. I was always serious and grumpy, and all I had in my mind was that I have to look forward to the day that I just die. I had a girlfriend back then but when she broke up with me, I had a heart attack. Ayun, dun na nangyari ‘yung heart transplant.”
The man nodded his head like he fully understand everything. “I also had my surgery when I was still young.”
“Really?” Richard asked.
The man nodded again. “Sa puso rin.”
“Bakit? Anong nangyari sa’yo?” Richard curiously asked.
The man looked at him and smiled. “They took out my heart. I’m a heart donor, Richard. I’m your donor. I was the former owner of your heart.”
“Roomie! Ayos ka lang ba? May bubog ka bang nadali?” Emman frantically asked when Maya hit the glass of water when she stood up.
Maya was mum. She just felt a tear that escaped from her eyes. The same thing happened when James had his accident. The only missing part was when her phone rang.
And sure enough, her phone rang.
As she reached for it inside her pocket, there’s only one thing that kept repeating in her head. Please, let it be Richard. Please let it be him. Please. I hope he’s the one who’s calling. I hope he called to say that he’s almost here. Please, please let it be him.
She pressed the answer button without even looking who called and she put it immediately near her ear. “H-hello?” She stammered.
“Ate Maya.” It was Jeff. His tone was wobbly making Maya feel nervous. “Oh, Jeff, napatawag ka?” Maya said as she tried to retain her calm tone.
“Ate Maya, si .. si Kuya Richard.” He trailed off. Another tear fell from Maya’s eye. “Bakit? Natraffic daw ba siya? Nasaan na raw siya?”
“Ate Maya .. na – nabangga si Kuya Richard. Nasa ospital ako ngayon. Nasa emergency room si Kuya.” Jeff said his tone breaking. And that was enough to burst Maya into tears.
“Y-you’re .. “ Richard stammered.
“I’m James Ventura, Richard.” The man said. “It’s nice to finally meet you.”
Richard was astonished. He wasn’t expecting that the man he was talking to would introduce his self as James. “Y-you’re really him? This isn’t a joke, right?”
James shook his head. “Of course not, Richard!” And then he started laughing again. “I’m pretty sure that I’m James Ventura.”
“Jesus! You have no idea how much I would like to thank you!” Richard exclaimed. “I really am thankful to you. Sa dinamirami ng nangangailangan ng puso no’ng araw na ‘yon, sa akin pa nabigay yung sa’yo. And .. and then when I recovered, you even gave me more. You .. you literally changed my life!”
James smiled at him. “Yeah, well, you’re welcome, bro.”
“No! Seriously! Thank you so much!” Richard continued to exclaim.
James laughed again. “Seryoso din ako, Richard. You’re very much welcome!” He said. “Well, how’s my heart?”
“It’s good! Wala akong ginagawang bagay para makasama sa puso mo. And then you keep making me calm through tough situations kaya maliit lang yung porsyento ng stress ko.” Richard explained.
James smiled at him again. “Good. I guess gumagana yung pagkokontrol ko sa’yo. Ah, nga pala. I’m sorry if I used your body when you argued with Dad when you had dinner with him. Hindi ko lang talaga natiis yung ginawa niya kay Maya.”
Richard nodded. “So that really happened, huh. At first I thought Ryan was just kidding. Lumabas ka palang talaga.” He said. “Well, it’s understandable, and thank you.”
“How’s Maya?” James asked.
“She’s still her, I think. Kung ano siguro yung pagkakakilala mo sa kanya noon, ganon pa rin siguro siya ngayon.” Richard said. “Ah, about that deal nung nireject mo yung katawan ko –“
“Ah, yes. Sorry for rejecting your body, bro. Akala ko kasi, hindi maganda yung patutunguhan kung sa’yo ako mapupunta. It’s weird though. Ang alam ng mga doktor, yung katawan mo yung umayaw sa puso kasi foreign organ pero ako talaga yung may ayaw.” James said.
Richard chuckled. “Yeah. Kung hindi pa kita nakausap no’n, baka patay na rin ako.” Then he took a deep sigh. “I guess I don’t need to agree with your deal. I fell for her without your help.”
James nodded. “I was so broken when I knew I was going to die. At alam kong mas doble pang sakit yung mararamdaman ni Maya kasi namatay ako. I offered you the deal na mahalin siya kasi ako na yung puso mo para hindi siya masaktan ng todo. I didn’t know you were so stubborn. I still remember that you told me that you will try but you cannot guarantee because you will only fall to the woman you knew you will love from the first time you see her.”
Richard smiled. “See? It was right that I didn’t agree with your deal. Baka ipinilit ko lang yung sarili ko kay Maya kung nagkataon. Pero .. pero wala eh. I fell in love with her the moment I laid my eyes on her. Kahit wala pa lang tulong mo, siya pa rin ‘yung mamahalin ko.”
James patted Richard’s shoulder. “Thank you, Richard. For loving Maya. Ikaw lang ulit yung nakapagpangiti sa kanya. And besides, you’re the only one who helped her with her family. Nung kami pa ni Maya, never niya akong pinakilala sa parents niya. I just knew that they have an issue, and that was it. Pero ikaw, nakilala mo sila and you even fixed them.”
“I want to thank you for that. Baka kung hindi mo ako inawat nung nagalit ako, baka napunta sa wala lahat ng nangyari.” Richard replied. “So I guess Maya’s going to be crying again.”
“Bakit naman?” James asked.
Richard shrugged. “Well, you’re dead right? If you’re dead and I’m talking to you, it only means na patay na rin ako, right?”
“Paano mo naman nasabi?” James asked again.
“Natatandaan ko na. Nakabangga ako ng bus kasi iniwasan ko yung motor na umovertake. Then the next thing I knew is that I’m here.” Richard explained. “Tama ba?”
James just smiled at him. “If you’re really dead, and you have one wish, what would it be?”
Richard paused for a bit to think. He has thousands of things to wish for. But he knew that there’s really this one wish that prevails. “If I really am dead, I wish that Maya could meet another man. A man who will love her like I do, a man who she can truly love, and a man who sees her the way I do now.” He said.
James nodded with a smile on his face. That’s when they heard a sound of an engine getting nearer. A jeepney stopped a few feet away from them. Richard turned to look at James with a confused face.
“Nandito na ang sundo mo.” James said.
Richard nodded. “To heaven?”
“No.” James said as he shook his head. He stood up and waited for Richard to stand up too before he continued. “To earth. So you can be with Maya again.”
“I – I thought I’m already dead?” Richard stammered.
James laughed again. “Pareho talaga kayo ni Maya na assuming. Lumakad ka na at baka matuluyan ka pa sa ospital.” He said.
“But, I already made my wish.” Richard said.
“Richard, you’re the only man that will love Maya the way you do. You’re the only man that Maya can truly love and there’s no other man on earth other than you that sees her the way you do.” James started. “You’re the man you wish Maya to have. And now she needs you. Kaya lakad na.”
Richard smiled at him. “Thank you James. Thank you so much.” And then he started running to the jeepney.
“Richard!” James shouted that made Richard turn around. “What?” Richard asked.
“Please take care of Maya. Ipinauubaya ko na talaga siya sa’yo. You know how much I love her, right?” James shouted again.
Richard nodded at James. “I’ll take care of her. Don’t worry James. I promise.” He said and when he saw James waving good bye at him, he did the same and ran again to ride the jeepney. The jeepney immediately moved the moment he was inside.
Wait for me, Maya.
A/N : Abot pa po ba? Kamusta ang mga luha? Happy Chinese New Year! Hi sa mga laging nag-iiwan ng comments and to my readers. You have no idea how you always make my day. God bless to all!