Dr. Lim was met by Dra. Celeste at the hospital entrance.
“I’m sorry Ricky.”
“Was he in pain?”
“No. Ang sabi ni Maya mahimbing yun tulog nya kagabi kaya nga nagulat kami this morning.”
Liza, whose eyes were puffy also met him while he was on his way to where Maya and Luke was.
“Liza, inayos mo na lahat?”
“Okay na po doc. Yun mga gusto ni Ms. Maya ang sinunod namin.”
“May kasama ba siya?”
“Nandun si Emman at si Dr. Molina.”
“Okay Liza thank you. Just wait for my further instructions. Nandun si Joma sa entrance. Hintayin nyo na lang tawag ko.”
“Sige po doc.”
“Ah Ricky, aayusin ko lang yun records ni Luke. I’ll see you later. I’m really sorry.”
“It’s okay Celeste.”
While on the flight back home, Dr. Lim couldn’t help but blame himself.
Had he found a donor earlier, Luke could still have been alive. He had access to the best facilities and best doctors yet he wasn’t able to save the most important person in Maya’s life.
He felt useless and ashamed at Maya. He promised her that he would do everything for Luke yet he failed.
The moment he saw Maya with Emman and Dr. Ryan, Dr. Lim found it hard to will his feet to bring him to her.
Emman saw him.
The moment Maya heard his name, she rushed towards him and embraced him tight while crying.
“Doc, wala na si Luke. Iniwan na ako ng anak ko.”
He wasn’t able to say anything for he will surely cry the moment he says something.
He just hugged Maya tighter while caressing her back.
Emman and Dr. Ryan allowed the two some privacy and left.
“Doc masaya siya kagabi. Sabi niya gusto na niyang makita yun papa niya.”
“Maya, I’m sorry.” His misty eyes were staring at her.
He was obviously as devastated as her.
“Doc bakit ka nagsosorry. Wala kang kasalanan. Kung hindi dahil sa’yo mas maaga pang kinuha sakin si Luke.”
She was staring back at the man who did everything to make the last days of his son memorable and happy.
Luke was in pain but he was happy when he talks about his tito doc, who never failed to be by his side in all treatments he had.
They would never run out of stories ranging from school, classmates, toys, sports, dogs and when Maya was not around, she was the main topic.
“I still failed Maya. I promised you na gagawin ko lahat para gumaling si Luke pero nabigo ako. I’m very sorry.”
Dr. Lim was trying so hard to stop his tears from falling. Maya saw this and immediately cupped his face and prevented his tears from falling by blocking it with her thumbs.
She tried to give him a smile.
“Doc magagalit si Luke pag inisip mo yan. Mahal na mahal ka ng anak ko at sabi nya happy siya na may new big friend siya. At sobra na doc ang naitulong mo sa akin, sa amin. Sobra.”
Luke was laid to rest in a lot beside his father. His classmates and teachers were there. All the hospital staff who grew fond of the boy and his mom were there. Dr. Ryan and Dra. Celeste and the other doctors who attended to Luke were there.
Dr. Lim and Emman, who was carrying Luke’s dog, Snow were beside Maya as Luke was being lowered to the ground.
The kids had white balloons with their own written messages for Luke. It was a very sad ocassion yet Maya took comfort in the thought that his son was loved by many. That lessened the pain she felt.
The people have long been gone. Emman went ahead.
Richard and Maya were seated at the bench in front of Luke’s grave. Maya’s head was on Richard’s shoulder. They held hands seeking comfort in each other.
Maya was already comfortable around Dr. Lim. The months they spent together during Luke’s treatment made Maya aware of Dr. Lim’s sincerity and genuine goodness. Inspite of his confession of being attracted to her, he never made a move to make her avoid him.
“Ang daming nagmamahal kay Luke.”
“Yes. Luke is a very sweet kid. I will miss him.”
“Mamimiss ko siyang sobra. Pero masaya ako at hindi na siya masasaktan.”
“Yes. He is in a much better place now.”
“Pati ikaw, mamimiss ko.”
“Huh? I wont be leaving. Why would you miss me?”
“Ah eh siyempre wala na si Luke. Wala ng rason para magkita tayo.”
Maya was also sad at the thought of no longer seeing Dr. Lim. She was already used to being with him.
They would eat together, attend the mass at the hospital chapel together, spend long hours talking while they stay with Luke during treatments. She would definitely miss him.
“Now that wala na si Luke, all the more na makikita mo ako kasi your son told me to take care of you.”
“Hindi mo naman kailangan gawin yan doc kasi busy masyado ang trabaho mo.”
“I said, call me Ricky pag wala tayo sa hospital. And yes gagawin ko yun hindi dahil kailangan but dahil gusto ko. Unless ayaw mo?”
“Siyempre gusto, Ricky. Atsaka kaibigan ka namin ng anak ko so sana ganun pa rin kahit wala na siya.”
“Of course! And I would love that Maya. Let’s promise each other and promise Luke na walang iwanan ha?”
Maya smiled at Richard and he tightened his hug while kissing the top of her head.
“Ricky nagkita na kaya si Luke at ang papa niya?”
“I’m sure they did. I’m sure masaya na si Luke.”
Richard glanced at the other grave beside Luke’s.
“He left very young, si Simon.”
“Oo. Ilang buwan bago ko ipanganak si Luke. Akala ko di ko kakayanin pero binigyan ako ng napakabait na kaibigan, si Emman. Ayun nakayanan ko.”
“You’re a very good person kaya maraming nagmamahal sa’yo.”
“Oo pero lagi naman silang kinukuha.”
“Maya when Simon left, binigay sa’yo si Luke. His stay may have been short but it was a very memorable and special 7 years.”
“Oo at sobrang nagpapasalamat ako sa chance na makasama si Luke.” She was crying again. He caressed her hair.
“Hey, nandito lang ako ha atsaka si Emman. We will never leave you.”
She held Richard’s hand tighter.
“Salamat Ricky ha! Hindi ko alam kung kakayanin ko pa kung wala kayo ni Emman.”
Maya went back to her regular routine of working. She also took some subjects in college with the goal of finishing her degree. Deep inside, her motivation was to be able to make herself worthy for Ricky.
Though she never admitted it even to her best friend Emman, Maya was already falling for him even before he admitted that he was attracted to her.
The time when he went out of his way to bring Luke to the hospital when he first fainted, Maya was already touched by his gesture. She was certain that Dr. Lim was a very good person. Of course he was very handsome, intelligent and charming too.
It was four months since Luke left. Ricky would regularly fetch Maya in her office or school. They would often have dinner and sometimes watch movies with Emman.
They were both comfortable with this set up. Richard wanted to pursue her but he was afraid that Maya would think that he was taking advantage of her vulnerability having lost her son a few months ago.
He wanted it to be perfect when he makes his intention clear. He wants Maya to accept him not out of gratitude but because she wants him too.
But of course he would not risk losing Maya to someone else, whether in work or in school. He knows that there are lots of competition out there, younger, more vibrant, near Maya’s age, with the same interests that she has.
To ensure that there would be no one else, he makes it a point to be very visible around her. He would never fail to give her flowers either.
Maya was so giddy with everything Richard does for her. What makes it more special is he obviously adjusts himself for her. He tries his best to know her world and try to fit in.
Maya, on the other hand would also do her part to make Richard feel special. She loves to cook his favorite dishes and when she knows that Ricky has a very toxic day at the hospital, she would prepare a very special dinner for him. This is her own way of making Richard feel that he is special to her too.
Emman would always tease Maya about her very special friendship with Dr. Lim but Maya would always stop him. Nahihiya siya coz Richard never reiterated what he said during that conversation in the hospital months ago.
She thinks that maybe Richard now only considers her as a friend. Maybe he just said what he said before out of pity for her and her son. But despite these thoughts she was beyond happy and overly thankful to have Dr. Richard Lim as a friend.