Maya stirred in her sleep. She reached out her hand, longing for someone to hug but she touched nothing beside her. When she opened her eyes, no one was beside her. She sat up straight and looked around the hospital room to look for Richard. He was nowhere to be seen. She left the bed and went to the comfort room to check if he is there but it was empty.
They’ve been at the hospital for days now after Richard’s accident. Today was supposed to be the day where they would be going home. She looked at the closet, thinking that they already left but Richard’s things were still inside. She composed herself and headed to the nurse station on that floor.
“Ah, excuse me, miss. Alam niyo ba kung nasaan yung pasyente sa room 309?” Maya worriedly asked.
“Si Mr. Lim po?” The nurse asked back. Maya answered him with a nod. “Nasa garden po siguro, nagpaalam po kasi kanina nung pumunta po kami para i-check siya. Kasama po niya yung nanay niya. Wag po kayong mag-alala Ma’am, may kasama rin po silang nurse saka nasa wheelchair naman po si Sir.”
Maya slowly nodded as relief flooded her. She was used to waking up beside him in the past few days even though he would usually see Richard wincing in pain because of his wounds. Blushing was actually the first thing that happens to her when Richard tells her that he already felt better just seeing her. She decided to head outside to check on the both of them.
Esmeralda and Roberto came a day after her family visited. Maya was trying so hard not to laugh when Esmeralda scolded Richard for getting into an accident. Richard looked like a little boy who wanted to cover his ears so that he will not hear every word his mom says but he couldn’t do it because of his broken arm. So instead, every word that her mom said was completely heard by him.
It was a different case for Roberto though. He was so concerned by the condition of his son. Maybe it’s because he has been in that situation where he almost lost him and that accident almost cost them Richard’s life again. He even told him that he already consulted their family doctor even though there’s already a doctor attending him. Richard just thanked him and asked if he will also ban his driving rights, just like his mother. Roberto didn’t answer him directly; instead, he just said that Richard must get well soon before he makes his decision.
While Richard’s parents were still there, Maya’s family came, too. The couple introduced their families and was surprised when they jived well. Both Roberto and Arturo talked about cars while the mothers talked about beauty stuff. Richard and Maya were momentarily forgotten as both of the families talked about the incoming wedding. Both parties have different suggestions but they were all excited for the day to come.
At noon, Roberto said that they will take Maya’s family for a lunch out so that they could talk more and not disturb Richard too much. Maya’s parents happily obliged saying that it will be a perfect opportunity for them to get to know each other. They excitedly went out leaving the two of them alone again.
The two would always spend the day talking but Maya would sometimes leave for work. Jeff would substitute at the hospital until Maya gets back. Richard would just use the time she was away to get some rest. He was not getting enough sleep with Maya beside him, not because he doesn’t like her near, he actually loves it, but he was afraid that his injuries would get squashed by his fiancée.
Esmeralda was standing behind Richard’s wheelchair as she pushed it around the garden. Richard was the one who asked her to take him outside. She has this feeling that he’s been wanting to discuss something to her. She clearly knew his son. He wouldn’t just leave Maya alone like that if it weren’t for something too important.
“Son, are you planning to propose to her again?” Esmeralda asked as she pushed Richard’s wheelchair.
Richard shrugged. “I already proposed to her, Ma. We’re already engaged.”
“Ricky, I saw the ring. Nahulog sa kama nung natutulog ka kahapon. It was probably under your pillow. Tama ba?” She asked. Richard stayed mum. “Richard, kilala kita. There’s something that’s bothering you.”
Richard heaved a deep breath. “Well, yes Ma. It’s about the ring.” He started. “I was going to propose to her the day I got into an accident, and because of my carelessness, naudlot lahat. I .. I don’t know when to propose to her since ito nga, I’m disabled. It would take months before I can fully recover, before I can bend on one knee and ask for her hand!”
Esmeralda stopped the wheelchair in front of a bench. She moved and sat on that bench opposite of Richard. She smiled in awe of her son. He has this stern look on his face, with disappointment all over it. She lifted her hand and reached for her son’s hand and held it with both of hers. “Ricky, look at me.” She said and Richard slowly looked at her. “You don’t need to put a ring on her finger. She’s all yours.”
Richard shook his head. “It’s not that, Ma. I know that. But .. but I want to give her that ring. I want to make our engagement special since she’s the only girl that I will propose to. She’s the first and the last, and I intend to keep it that way.”
Her mother sighed. She knew Richard couldn’t see that Maya doesn’t care if Richard would propose to her again. She knew Maya would still want to be married to Richard no matter what their situation is. “Ricky, don’t say that. Hindi naman sukatan yung proposal eh.”
“Pero Ma –“
“Richard, listen to me. Kahit kanino mo itanong, isa lang ang nakikita namin kay Maya. She really loves you. At kahit iniisip mo na parang hindi formal yung proposal mo noon nung nag-usap kayo, she still believes in it. Nagtatawagan na nga kayo ng mister at misis di ba? And we were planning your wedding at the very same room you two were in the other day, hindi naman nagsasalita si Maya. In fact, she even suggested things ‘di ba? Like the motif and where the wedding would be.”
Her son still didn’t smile. His stern look was still on his face. Esmeralda just sighed. She doesn’t really know what to do. “Bakit mo ba naisip lahat ng ‘to, Ricky? Parang .. it’s all too sudden na isipin mo na ganito yung sitwasyon niyo?”
“I .. it crossed my mind the day I woke up with her sleeping beside me. I don’t know, Ma but right at that moment, I just want to freeze time. Gusto kong tumira na lang dun sa moment na yun. That moment when I’m beside her with her arm around me. It .. it felt like .. like home.” Richard said. He felt quite shy saying what’s inside his heart to his mom but it actually felt good. “I started questioning myself if .. if what I did was enough for her. Yes, we both knew we’re already engaged but ..” he trailed off.
“Why don’t you ask her, son?” Esmeralda asked making Richard to shot his head up and look at his mom. “I can’t, Ma.” He said.
Esmeralda laughed softly. “You know Richard, even though you’re old enough to make your own decisions, I still see that little boy I held in my arms a long time ago. Just ask her, son.” She said and looked up. “Maya, I think you can take it from here.”
Richard’s eyes widened. “She’s here?” He whispered to his mom. Esmeralda just laughed and stood up. Richard’s gaze followed her as she left and sure enough, when he moved, Maya was standing behind them. He was worried at first if she heard all of their conversation but he knew she would be crying if she did.
“Anong meron, Ricky?” She asked as she went near him.
“N-nothing.” He stammered. He felt something in his hand and when he opened his palm, the black box was there. For the first time, he smirked. It was his mother who put that in his hand and he hadn’t noticed it.
“Oh? May masakit ba sa’yo? Hindi ka na nagsalita.” Maya asked.
Richard shook his head and looked at her with a smile on his face. “Maya, will you still love me after forty years?”
Without hesitating, Maya nodded frantically. “Oo naman! Kahit sobrang puti na nung buhok mo, kukulayan natin ‘yan!” She teased and he chuckled. “Ikaw? Will you still love me after fifty years?”
Richard smiled before he answered. “Kahit ilang years pa ‘yan, my feelings for you would still be like this. Kaso .. kaso baka magbago eh.” He said with a serious face.
Maya’s face fell. “H-ha? Magbabago?”
“Yes.” Richard answered as he nodded. “It will change. I will love you more and more with each day that will pass.”
With those words, Maya’s face brightened again. Richard’s breath hitched. Just with that smile, he knew that his mother was right. She was his and he was hers forever, starting now. Everything doesn’t need to be sweet and perfect, because the person that you love just standing beside you is enough to make everything perfect.
“Maya, my recovery would still take months, but .. but can we please prepare the wedding during that time? Ang gusto ko sana, kapag nakakagalaw na ulit ako ng maayos, wedding na natin.”
She laughed. “Richard, pwede bang isipin mo muna yung recovery mo? Makakapaghintay yung kasal. Hindi naman ako aalis eh. Unless, mag-chicken out ka?” She replied with a brow raised.
“Oh, I will not, Mrs. Lim. Believe me.” He said. With the use of the only good hand he got, he flicked the lid of that black velvet box and turned for Maya to see the little ring he got for her. “I give you my word. Not just my word but my whole heart and my whole life that I will be yours forever. Alam kong tinanong na kita dati pero kailangan ko ulit itanong. The hospital may not be the perfect setting but –“
He was unable to continue what he’s saying when Maya moved to him and kissed his lips, which he eagerly returned. “Yes.” She said after their lips parted. “Kahit ilang libong beses ka pa magtanong, yes pa rin ang sagot ko. Kaya Mr. Lim, magpagaling ka na agad para makasal na tayo, ha?”
Richard chuckled and kissed her again. “Akala ko makakapaghintay ka, hindi rin pala. You didn’t even let me ask you!”
Maya laughed. “Ikaw kasi eh! Parang lagi ka kasing may lakad.”
“Tss.” Richard hissed. “Maya, will you marry me?”
“Oo nga! Ilang yes pa ba ang sasabihin ko para sagutin yang tanong mo? Yes yes –“ It was now her turn to get cut by Richard’s kiss leaving her dazed.
Richard shook his head and lifted the black box to his mouth. He pulled the ring out using his teeth and let the black box fall to get the ring from his mouth. Maya laughed as she watched Richard do all of that because of his disabled arm. When Richard already has the ring on his fingers, he wiped them first on his clothes before putting it in front of Maya. “Mrs. Lim, please lift your hand a little. Palagay ko, hindi ko na kaya ‘yung paghawak sa kamay mo habang nilalagay ko yung singsing.”
Maya laughed hard because of it. Her eyes are teary again as she lifted her hand just in front of Richard, enough for him to slid the ring on her ring finger. Her gaze got blurry as she looked at the ring on her finger. It was just a normal ring but it seemed to squeeze tears from her eyes. “Alam mo, Ricky, hindi mo naman kailangang bigyan pa ko ng singsing eh. Ayos na sa’kin yung usapan natin. Enough na yon.”
“Shh. I don’t care, Maya. I want to give you this.” He said. “My mom was right. I don’t really need to worry about picking the right time and place just to propose to you.”
Maya sat on the bench and hugged Richard tight. “Ricky, there’s always no right time and no right place for us. Kasi lahat sila, perfect. Unexpected na, perfect pa.”
Richard chuckled. “I really love you, Maya dela Rosa. I’m always thanking James that he entrusted me with you.”
“Hindi lang ikaw, Ricky. Sobrang thankful din ako na pinagtagpo tayo.” She said. “I love you, asawa ko!”
A/N : Last chapter na po ang next. Salamat po sa sumubaybay ng fanfic na ‘to!