“The reason why you won’t let go of what is making you sad is because it was the only thing that made you happy.”
“Richard, late ka na naman. Asan ka na ba?”
Dr. Ryan Molina is on the other line sounding impatient.
“I’ll be right there Ryan. You can start ahead of me.”
“We won’t start ahead of you. This is your celebration. It is your birthday!”
“You start ahead of me.”
Richard said with finality then he ended the call without waiting for Ryan to speak.
“Ano ang sabi? Papunta na daw siya?”
“Di ko alam Celeste. Dapat ata you didn’t organize for this party. Wala na naman yun celebrant eh.”
“Hayaan mo na. Let’s just be here for him.”
Dr. Richard Lim just visited Luke’s grave.
He frequently does it when he needs to clear his mind, when he wanted to be alone.
He could have stayed longer if not for Dr. Ryan Molina’s incessant calls.
As much as he preferred to be alone today, he didn’t want to make his bestfriends, Ryan and Celeste feel bad.
He appreciates their efforts in trying to make him happy, in trying to make his day special.
Richard knows that more than anybody else, these two are most worried of him.
Despite his lack of excitement for the said party prepared by his friends, Richard had no choice but to be there.
It was his birthday again.
For the past 4 years, his friends always try their best to make his birthday special.
But nothing could erase that one bad memory he now associates with it.
He dreads this day.
He hates his birthday.
“Ms. Maya the kids are requesting you to sing for them.”
“Yes Ms. Inah. I will do that after I finish our storytelling session.”
Maya de la Rosa now works in a preschool in Dubai.
She had been working here for 2 years and 11 months already.
The first work she had when she arrived was as an office clerk.
She stayed there for a little over a year until her boss recommended her as a Pre-School teacher.
Despite having a different educational background, the owner of the pre-school, who is also a Filipino, hired her.
They knew that she lost a son years ago and was sure that her experience would make her all the more a good teacher to pre schoolers.
Her sister’s husband helped her in processing her papers and employment requirements.
She is living with her sister Cristina Rose and husband Jeff.
Jeff had been working in Dubai for 10 years already and he met Maya’s sister in the workplace. They have a little boy Cho who is
a year old.
“Teacher! Teacher! Will sleeping beauty die?”
She was telling the kids the story of Sleeping Beauty.
“No she won’t die Bettina. She was just under the spell of the wicked witch.”
“How will she wake up?” Lance asked impatiently.
“A prince will come to kiss her and remove the spell of the witch. Then she will wake up.” Maya explained
“No teacher! You are wrong. Sleeping beauty got poisoned. Dapat a doctor will treat her, not a prince. Like when my daddy’s heart is not okay, it is a doctor who healed his heart.”
Abby, her sweet little student said.
A doctor – ah she remembered Dr. Richard Lim again.
She remembered the doctor who always invades her thoughts every day, every night.
She remembered her friend who was there for her during the most trying times of her life.
She remember that one doctor she thought would heal her heart.
But Richard didn’t heal her heart.
He broke it.
“Bessie stop looking at the clock nga. 1 pm pa lang naman eh.”
“Emman ang sabi ko sakanya lunch time.”
“Eh baka naman may emergency sa hospital. Alam mo na your friend, laging patient first before self ang peg. Tawagan mo na kasi.”
“Tinawagan ko na kanina, sabi nya oo daw, pupunta siya.”
“Kasi naman bakit ang aga ng birthday celebration na inihanda natin for Dr. Lim? Parang oras para sa kiddie party naman to Maya. Dapat nag dinner na lang kayo.”
Emman was laughing at his friend.
“Eh kasi nga di ba pupunta kami kay Luke after ng party dun sa PGH cancer ward. Di pwedeng madilim pumunta dun kay Luke.”
“You could have gone there earlier bessie tapos nag dinner na lang sana kayo, ay este tayo. Siyempre present din dapat ako.”
“Emman di ba idadaan pa nga yun ibang pagkain sa PGH. I’m sure Doc Ricky would love it. Perfect birthday surprise for him.”
“Ay shoot oo nga pala it slipped my mind. Eh bessie nandun na ba yun Jollibee?”
“Nandun na daw. Tinawagan ko si Edz, nagpaparlor games na sila. Naihanda na rin yun pagkain. Etong cupcakes, barbecue at ice cream na lang ang kulang.”
“Until what time ba yun?”
“Til 4 lang Emman. Naku asan na kaya si Ricky.”
She dials his number but he doesn’t answer.
She texted him too but she got no reply.
Maya with the help of her friend Emman and a friend in her office, Edz prepared a special surprise for Dr. Richard Lim’s birthday.
First she organized a Jollibee party at the cancer ward of PGH.
When Luke died, Ricky frequently brought her to the PGH children’s cancer ward to see the kids and bond with them.
He said that she needed it to come into terms with Luke’s passing. It was also one of the charities he supports.
Maya thought it was a good idea to celebrate Ricky’s birthday with the kids he supports.
Maya also baked cupcakes for the kids and Emman provided gallons of ice cream for the kids and hospital staff as well.
Maya prepared Ricky’s favorite paella, caldereta and steamed fish for their simple lunch.
She wanted to do something for his special day.
She knows it wasn’t much but she was sure Ricky would appreciate it.
The plan was to have lunch then go to PGH then visit Luke.
She was so excited on how the day would turn out.
Aside from the celebration she prepared, she was also ready to give him her best birthday gift ever -she will accept him to be her boyfriend.
It would be more memorable to do this in front of Luke, her son who was instrumental in bringing them close together.
For the past months, even after Luke died, Ricky had always been with Maya.
When she finished her college degree, had a new job, Ricky never left her side.
During her graduation, Richard again made clear his intention of courting her.
She appreciated all his efforts and today, she plans on rewarding him with her matamis na “oo”.
Her phone rang.
“Hello Maya, pupunta pa ba kayo? Medyo hinahanap na kasi kayo ng head dito. Mamaya daw kasi kailangan na rin magpahinga ng mga bata.”
It was her friend Edz.
“Ah eh sige Edz. Pupunta na kami ni Emman dyan.”
It was already 3pm and she couldn’t contact Ricky.
His phone had been ringing but he wasn’t answering.
Even her text messages were ignored.
A wave of worry engulfed her.
Ricky was always particular with schedules.
He would never forget an appointment.
He always fulfills every promise he makes.
She called his secretary Liza and learned that Dr. Lim went out with fellow doctors this morning.
She knew about the meeting with some doctors Liza mentioned and Ricky told her that he would proceed to their lunch after the meeting.
But its already late and he still wasn’t here.
What made her worry was she can’t contact him.
“Emman mabuti pa tayo na lang ang pumunta sa PGH. Ang importante eh makita man lang tayo ng mga bata.”
Emman could clearly feel Maya’s anxiety.
“Mabuti pa nga bessie. Don’t worry I’m sure may bonggang valid reason si Doc Ricky.”
“Oo Emman alam ko naman. Sana lang ay okay at ligtas siya. Di kasi ako mapakali.”
“Naku Mayabels, tara gora na muna talo sa PGH, yun cupcakes, barbecue and ice cream pwede naman nilang merienda part 2. Wag na munang isipin si Doc Pogi.”
“Oh sige Emman. Aayusin ko lang to. Ihanda mo na please yun kotse.”
Maya and Emman drove to the PGH children’s cancer ward with the food they prepared.
Her thoughts were on Ricky.
She was disappointed that he wouldn’t be able to experience the special celebration she prepared for him.
The surprise she made didn’t turn out well.
She was disappointed but she was also very much worried.
“Bessie stop worrying na muna. Malay mo naghahanda rin si Doc Ricky for tonight. Baka may bonggang pasabog later at dadaigin ang suprise na hinanda natin. Malay mo naghahanda siya para mamaya. Ang aga pa naman eh.”
Emman believes that Richard is setting up a special surprise for her best friend.
Maya thought so too.
Or so they thought….