“Maya!” A voice called me as I entered the faculty. “Don’t forget Inigo’s birthday tomorrow, okay? I’ll be expecting you.” I saw that it was Sir Ryan with a huge smile on his face. I could see that he is really excited to celebrate his son’s birthday.
“Nako Sir, wala pa pala akong regalo!” I suddenly blurted out. I’ve been so busy with the last few lectures before final exams next week and I’m still doing my thesis in Sir Dean’s class.
Sir Ryan just smiled at me. “Don’t worry. ‘Yung pagpunta mo pa lang, Malaki nang regalo. Besides, I can’t really blame you. Finals na kasi eh. Ang daming pending projects and exams. Kahit kay Doc, busy kayo ano?”
“Oo Sir Ryan. Sobrang hassle. Pero tatapusin ko na mamaya. Konting push na lang kahit Friday. Madali lang naman ‘yung ginawa kong topic for thesis.” I replied.
“That’s good then! But seriously, Maya, I really hope you can come. Pati na rin si Lim.” He said and gave me a wink.
I sat down on my chair and reached for my notes. I have another long test coming up on Sir Dean’s class. First semester will soon end and it feels like it’s been years. I really need to do well so that I could apply for scholarship again. And with that, I don’t have to work part-time.
“Maya! Kain tayo. Nagdala ng pancit si Zenaida. Nailabas na kasi ng ospital ‘yung anak niya. Mar already bought drinks.” Ma’am Ched happily said. Her eyes shifted from my face to the notebook I’m holding on my hands. “Long test na naman? Mamaya na ‘yan. It can wait and the food cannot.” She said.
“Okay po Ma’am.” I replied. I stood up and followed her to the table where we do our meetings. She handed me a paper plate and Sir Mar gave me a cup of soft drinks. All the professors are exchanging stories and puns about their day. I laughed along with them. Yes, my notes can wait. Even though all of us are stressed and busy, this moment that we’re having is already enough to remove all of it. Who knows? This is actually a family I never thought that I would have.
“Sino pa bang single dito?” Ruby, a fellow professor, asked.
“Well, as far as I know, tatlo na lang kayo. Ikaw, then there’s Ms. Tina, and Ms. Annie.” Sir Mar said.
“Ay si Maya pa, Sir. Bago lang.” Sir Ryan quickly said then he winked at me. I just rolled my eyes at him. “Single pa nga ba, Ms. Maya?”
“Single pa, Sir.” I rode along.
“Hay nako, bakit ba big deal kung single sila?” Ma’am Ched butted in. “More or less naman makakahanap na rin sila ng partner nila dito sa school. Just wait for it girls. Usually, if not from our department, he’ll be in the other colleges.” She continued.
“No need to reminisce Ms. Ched!” Sir Mar quickly said making us all laugh. Ma’am Ched’s husband is actually a professor in the College of Engineering and Architecture.
“Pero Sir, ‘di ba po si Doc Santelices, single pa?” Tina inquired.
“Well, yes, I think he is.” Sir Mar answered and Tina, along with Ruby and Annie squealed. “O, may fans club pala si Doc dito eh!”
“Sir naman. Ang gwapo kasi ni Doc. Lalo na nung trip sa Baguio. Lagi syang ngumingiti!” Annie said with a huge smile on her face.
“Mukhang madami kang kaagaw.” Sir Ryan whispered beside me.
I just chuckled and played along. “I don’t think so, Sir. Nag-iisa lang ako kay Ricky eh.” I whispered back and it made Sir Ryan laughed. The banter about Sir Dean continued and it actually made me miss him even more. The last time that I saw him was that Wednesday morning. He’s been busy in med school, something that I would understand because of the relationship I had with Simon. He usually calls me at night but only for a brief of time. It would either be me telling him to go to sleep or he’ll fall asleep in the middle of the call. But he never fails to greet me good morning every day with a text.
In the middle of the whole laughter, the door suddenly opened with a loud sound. Silence enveloped the faculty as we watched the door to see who’s going to come in. After a few seconds, Sir Dean came into view. His head is bowed down and he looks like a mess. He walked slowly until he got inside his office without even saying hello to us.
“Uh, excuse me.” Sir Ryan said and he quickly followed Sir Dean inside his office.
“Well, the boss is back. Ubusin na natin ‘tong pancit para makauwi na rin ‘yung iba.” Sir Mar spoke. All of the professors just nodded and the stories went back on.
“Ma’am, balik na po ako sa table ko, magre-review lang –“
“Maya, I think you should check on them.” Ma’am Ched said.
“Ched’s right. Sige na. Kami na ang bahala.” Sir Mar butted in. I just nodded at them. I discreetly left them so that no other teacher will notice that I’m gone.
I quickly got inside the room and to my surprise, it’s all dark. I flipped the switch inside the room and saw that Sir Dean and Sir Ryan are sitting on the floor at the corner of the office.
“Maya, just stay with him. I’ll just tell Tita Ched to cancel his class at 6PM. I’ll also get some food. Just .. just stay with him.” Sir Ryan said as he stood up. I just nodded and when the doors closed, my eyes found Sir Dean.
His arms are on top of his knees while his hands are around his bowed head. I slowly walked until I am beside him and then I sat on the floor beside him. I don’t know what happened. Did something happen in the hospital? But even if it is, I have never seen Simon like this.
“Ricky?” I softly said. “Ricky, I’m just here okay?” I continued.
“They’re .. dead.” He softly muttered.
“S-Sino?” I nervously asked.
“I .. I .. I did everything I could .. but .. but ..” He continued then I heard a soft sob. I quickly put my arms around him and tried to give him a hug. “I wasn’t enough.”
“Ricky, ‘wag mong sabihin ‘yan.” I replied.
“They died right before my eyes. I’m supposed to heal them .. but .. but .. they just ..” He continued and then the sobs grew louder and now he’s crying. He shifted in his position to hug me back. “I’m not good enough.”
I took a deep breath and I decided to put my hands on each side of his face and looked at him. His eyes are red and I could see that he hasn’t gotten that much sleep. “Ricky, makinig ka sa’kin. Everything happens for a reason, okay? If things didn’t go according to plan, it doesn’t mean that you’re not good enough. It means that you have to be strong for them. And that you have to keep working hard para sa susunod, ikaw na ‘yung makikipaglaban para sa kanila.” I told him as I wiped the tears from his eyes. “May tulog ka na ba?”
Sir Dean just shook his head and leaned on the wall behind him. He took a deep breath then he brought his hands together and started to fidget. “One adult female, one adult male, a teen girl and a young boy. Emergency room. Car accident.” Sir Dean started talking in fragments. “Kulang sa doctor so they asked us to attend the others. They are all suffering from third degree burns and .. and fractures, and concussions. The boy and his father survived. But .. but the mother and the daughter ..” Sir Dean’s voice started to shake and tears started to fall again from his eyes. “It’s .. It’s like I was looking at my mom and Alex. And they died. They died all over again. In front of me. Right before my eyes. It’s just … I .. I couldn’t take it and ..” He trailed off and he buried his head again between his hands and cried.
My heart cringed at the sight of him like that. I fully understand that it’s hard for him to see such a scenario knowing that he didn’t accept his mother and Alex’s death right away. I just hugged him tight. “It’ll be alright, Ricky. It will be, okay?” I comforted him. I guess that’s the best way that I could do to help. “Tayo ka muna dyan. Dun tayo sa couch mo, malamig kasi sa sahig eh.” I gently said. He just nodded his head and I assisted him until we reached his couch. I laid him down, with his head on my lap, even though it’s against his will. I took his hand in mine and for a second he just stared at it. “Matulog ka muna, okay? Sobrang stressed ka kasi kaya sobra ‘yung nagging epekto sa’yo.” I said.
I felt his hands tighten around my hold. He turned sideways and faced me. “Don’t leave me.” He muttered.
I tried to curl up a bit and kissed his head. “I won’t.” I replied and just by doing that, he immediately fell asleep. The door to his office suddenly opened revealing Sir Ryan with a plate of food on his hands.
“Is he okay?” He asked. Sir Mar and Ma’am Ched are behind him and they locked the door after everyone is already inside.
“Parang hindi pa.” I just replied. Sir Dean is still holding my hand tight as I used my other hand to run it through his hair.
“What happened ba?” Sir Mar asked.
“Hindi po nya nakwento nang buo pero parang sa ospital po nangyari eh. May nasugod daw pong pamilya sa emergency room gawa po ng car crash. Eh dahil may shortage daw po ng doctor, sila ‘yung nag asikaso. Naligtas naman daw po yung tatay saka yung anak na lalaki kaso ‘yung babae saka ‘yung nanay, hindi po.” I explained. “Mukhang sa pagod na rin po ni Sir Dean, parang nakita po niya na ‘yung mom nya at si Alex ‘yung hindi nya nasagip.”
“Yan talagang batang ‘yan o.” Ma’am Ched muttered. “Sabihin mo nga kay Robert na ‘alisin na sa pagiging Dean ‘tong si Richard. Nahihirapan lang lalo ‘tong inaanak ko eh.” Ma’am Ched reacted.
“I’ve been telling that to him. Matagal na Ched. Wala naman sa kanya ‘yung desisyon eh. I think Richard still wants to be here kahit na nahihirapan siya.” Sir Mar explained. “Di bale, I’ll talk to him again. I know he’ll be worried when he finds out na nagkaganito ang anak nya.”
“I already texted Tito Roberto, Tito Mar. Kahit ako nagulat eh. First time kong makita si Lim na ganito.” Sir Ryan said. Then he took out the phone from his pocket when it beeped. “Tito asked if we could bring Lim sa bahay nila.” He said.
“Hayaan muna siguro natin syang matulog Sir Ryan. Baka sumpungin na naman ‘to kapag nagising eh.” I suggested.
“Well, Maya has a point.” Sir Mar said. “Is Robert in his office?”
“Oo ata Tito. Nung dumaan ako kanina, nandoon naman ‘yung sasakyan niya.” Sir Ryan answered.
“Puntahan ko muna. I’m sure, nag-aalala na ‘yon.” Sir Mar said and stood up. “Good thing Maya’s here.” He added before he closed the door.
“Maiba ako, Maya. Kayo na ba ni Richard?” Ma’am Ched asked with a smile on her face.
“Nako sinasabi ko na nga ba at itatanong niyo yan Tita.” Sir Ryan quickly said. “You need to answer her, Maya or else, hindi ka talaga tatantanan niyan.”
I just gave Ma’am Ched a smile. “Hindi pa po.” I replied.
Ma’am Ched just gave me a teasing smile and she turned to look at Sir Ryan who is already laughing. “Hay, Maya. Richard could be a very difficult man. I guess it’s because he shielded everything para hindi na siya masaktan. He was so close to his family, lalo na sa mom and to his Ate. And I couldn’t really blame him nung nagkaganyan sya. They are his world and then suddenly, the both of them are gone. He guarded everything in his life. But .. I can already see that you’re someone who can easily go through that wall he built around him. And I’m happy that Richard finally let someone enter his life.”
I just smiled at Ma’am Ched and then my eyes went back to the Dean sleeping on my lap. His hands are still entwined on mine and he’s holding unto it so tight like he doesn’t want to let go. After all I’ve been through with him, after all he’s done for me, and after what Ma’am Ched said, I knew deep down in my heart, I also don’t want to let go.
Sorry it took too long po! Salamat po sa lahat ng tumatangkilik sa mga fanfics na ‘to! It really means a lot to me po 🙂 God bless everyone!