After sharing the kiss, Maya and Ricky held each other savoring the warmth they derive from their embrace.
“I missed you so much Maya. Alam mo yun? This place is where I always stay kapag I need to clear my head, I need peace of mind, I need solitude. Lagi kong binibisita si Luke, hoping that one day I would chance upon you here. Wala naman akong makausap to share my sorrows, my pain or even my little triumphs with. Since wala ka dito na lang kay Luke.”
“I shut my world Maya. It was just work and home for me. Siguro nawalan ako ng gana, ng motivation to live. How could I when the person who brightened up my world left me.”
“Ricky naman eh. Pinapakonsyensya mo naman ako nyan. Di ba sinabi ko naman sa’yo kung bakit.”
“I’m not. It’s just that I stopped living when you left Maya. Nasaktan ako ng sobra. But I am very happy that you are here now. And knowing your reasons you left make me feel like a fool. Sana naexplain ko agad, sana I exerted more effort. Sana hindi na lang ako napromote becaushidhat’s what started it.
“Everything I achieved, all the awards, accolade, they meant nothing because the person I wanted to share it with, to celebrate it with, is not with me. Fate played with us Maya. But we’re blessed that Luke is here. Luke talaga is always the reason why we find each other.”
“Alam naman kasi ni Luke na ikaw lang ang makakapagpasaya sa’kin Ricky.”
He smiled and held her tighter.
“So are you going back to Dubai?”
“Depende sa mga bagay, sa mga mangyayari, depende sa’yo…”
She shyly admitted and hid her face in his chest.
He held her tighter amused at what she said.
“I will never let you go Maya. I will never allow that to happen again.”
They shared another kiss when Richard heard Maya’s stomach grumble.
“Oh parang may negrereklamo na dyan.” He joked.
“Hindi pa kasi ako nagaalmusal. Gusto kasi kitang kasabay kumain.”
“So what did you cook? Parang andami naman nyan.”
“Adobo, sinangag, omellete, pang breakfast lang to Ricky. May tsokolate din.”
“Wow mukhang masarap nga Maya.”
“Ikaw anong baon mo?”
“I just brought sandwich and coffee then cake. Pero the cake I give it to the kids dyan sa may labasan. May mga bag of goodies din sa sasakyan for them. May cupcakes, candies and drinks din tapos toys. They really enjoy it Maya. Masaya magdistribute later.”
Her heart warmed at the thought that Ricky had been doing for the past years.
“Oh why are you looking at me like that?”
She just smiled, got teary eyed and hugged him again.
“Sige Ricky kain na tayo para maibigay na natin yun sa mga bata.”
They spent a few more hours while building the Millennium Falcon.
“You give this to Cho later Maya. I’m sure magugustuhan nya to.”
“Oo matutuwa yun. Nagpapalakas ka kay Cho ha!” She joked.
“Kailangan ko pa ba?”
“Siyempre hindi na!”
They fixed their things and was ready to leave when Richard held Maya’s hand and urged her to sit beside him as they moved closer to Luke’s grave.
“Luke, I’ll court your Mommy na ha! Then I’ll ask her to be my wife.”
“Ano ka ba? Puro ka naman biro eh.”
“I’m serious. We’ve wasted 5 years Maya kaya magpapaalam na ako kay Luke.”
“Hindi naman kailangan nang magpaalam. Gustong gusto ka naman ng anak ko.”
Then she addresed Luke…
“Anak I’ll grant your wish na to make Tito Ricky a part of our family.”
Ricky was happy at what he heard.
He gathered Maya in his arms then kissed the top of her head.
“I promise Luke, I’ll take good care of your mommy.”
Maya and Ricky distributed the goodies for the kids.
Maya didnt expect that there were even grocery packs and medicines for the residents just outside the memorial park.
The moment the crowd saw Ricky, they were excited and they even prepared a simple salo-salo complete with song and dance number from the kids for him.
They also prepared a personalized banner which says ‘Thank you Doc Ricky & Luke’.
They do this yearly and Maya is overwhelmed at the kindness and love Richard is showing her, her son and other people as well.
“Mang Lem eto po si Maya. Siya yun mommy ni Luke.”
Mang Lem and his family were caretakers at the park.
“Kayo pala si Maya. Wag kayong magalala, araw araw naming dinadalhan ng bulaklak si Luke at araw araw ding linilinis ng mga anak ko yun puntod nya.”
“Maraming salamat po Mang Lem.”
They spent a few more hours with Mang Lem’s family and the other residents nearby. They entertained them with songs from the kids and they also prepared a simple merienda of pansit, turon and gulaman.
Maya realized that everyone treated Ricky like family. He was known by almost everybody.
“Ricky lagi kang dito?”
“Yes. Masaya dito. Simple lang sila but they are very happy.”
After a tiring yet fulfilling day, they were now on their way home.
Richard brought Maya to her sister’s place.
Cristina Rose had a pleasant, welcoming face and a warm smile as she met Richard.
She was pregnant that’s why she wasn’t able to visit Luke. She’s been feeling uncomfortable due to the sudden change of environment.
“Ate Cris, si Ricky yun kaibigan namin ni Luke.”
“Naikuwento na sakin ni Jeff. Ah ikaw pala si Dr. Richard Lim? Kaya naman pala excited si Maya. Ikaw daw yun napakaespesyal na tao sa kanya at sa pamangkin ko.”
He was about to offer his hand but Cris, embraced him.
“Maraming salamat Doc sa pag-alaga kina Maya at Luke ng mga panahong hindi ko man lang siya nadamayan. Maraming salamat.”
Maybe due to being pregnant or overwhelmed with gratitude and also guilt for not being able to be with Maya before, Cristina Rose became emotional that tears welled in her eyes.
Jeff saw it and joked.
“Pagpasensyahan mo na doc. Ganyan talaga ang magkapatid na yan.”
Cris threw him a glare and Ricky smiled.
“Pareho nga sila ni Maya.”
They just laughed. And they proceeded to the living room.
Maya asked Ricky to stay for a few more minutes. She really wanted him to get to know her sister and her sister’s family.
“Cris, how many months na?”
“Five months na Doc.”
“Good that you were allowed to travel.”
“Okay naman kasi akong magbuntis. Hindi naman ako nahihirapan kahit dito sa panganay namin.”
Cho was now busy playing with the Millennium Falcon toy.
“So you’re going back to Dubai?”
“Oo kasi nandun yun bahay at work namin. Umuwi lang kami kasi may sakit yun kapatid ni Jeff. At gusto rin naman naming magbakasyon. Etong bahay na to sa kaibigan ni Jeff, pinahiram lang sa’min. Isang buwan lang kami dito.”
“Anong sakit ng kapatid mo Jeff? I might be able to help.”
“Colon cancer Doc pero stage 2. Buti nakita agad.”
“I see. So he’s undergoing chemo now? San syang ospital?”
“Sa PGH doc, nurse kasi siya doon dati kaya dun na rin siya nagpapagamot.”
“They have very good doctors at PGH but here, I’ll give you the card of my good friend, Dr. Ryan Molina. He is the top oncologist now. He would be very glad to help.”
“Ay doc salamat po pero nakakahiya naman ata atsaka hindi naman ni kuya kakayanin sa private hospital.”
“Ah no. He could visit your kuya at PGH. Kahit saan pwede yan si Dr. Molina. Actually kilala siya ni Maya, kaibigan siya namin.”
“Maraming salamat Doc Ricky.”
They continued exchanging stories.
Richard found out that Maya never had a boyfriend in Dubai and that she would always tell her sister that someone left in the Philippines could never be replaced. He was happy thinking that it was him.
After almost an hour, Richard prepared to leave.
“Thank you so much Cris, Jeff. It was great meeting the family of this very special woman beside me.”
Maya elbowed him and whispered.
“Ano ka ba! Nakakahiya Ricky!”
Cris and Jeff were exchanging glances smiling at what they heard.
“Its true Maya. I really enjoyed this. I would also want to make my intention to court your sister known, Cris. Sana wag nyo na rin siyang isama sa Dubai.”
“Ay manliligaw ka pa lang? Akala ko naman kayo na kasi etong si Maya, aligaga masyado atsaka nasa cellphone nya yun picture mo na laging kinakausap parang sira.”
Maya blushed and hid her face in Ricky’s chest.
He just held her and laughed with Cris and Jeff.
“Eto naman si Maya. Biro lang. Ang pormal kasi ni Doc. Para naman akong nanay na kailangan pang hingan ng basbas.”
“I just want to make everything perfect Cris.”
“Alam ko naman yun. At siyempre payag kami. Alam ko naman na di mo pababayaan si Maya at alam kong ikaw lang naman ang nasa isip at puso nyan eh. Pero siyempre si Maya ang magdedesisyon. Alam ko naman Doc na ikaw ang magpapasaya sa kapatid ko.”
“Thank you Cris. I promise to take care of her.”
Richard bid goodbye and was accompanied by Maya to his car.
“Thank you for making me very happy today Maya. I will never forget this day.”
“Thank you din Ricky. Ingat sa pagmaneho. I love you.” She blurted out unintentionally that she blushed and was embarrassed.
Ricky saw this and smiled, his heart overwhelmed with happiness.
“I love you too Maya. So much.”
Then they hugged again.
“Hmmm hindi na ata ako kailangan manligaw. We already said we love each other a couple of times today.”
He teased her.
“Ano ka! Siyempre kailangan ko namang maranasan na ligawan kahit tayo na!”
“Oo, ayaw mo?”
“Siyempre gusto! Gustong gusto! And of course I will still court you. I also wanted to feel what its like. Well how about dinner tonight?”
“Naku Ricky, gabi na at alam ko pagod ka na. Bukas na lang.”
“But I still want to be with you Maya.”
“Well pwede ka namang matulog dito.”
“Biro lang. Siyempre hindi no. Baka kung anong isipin nina Ate Cris. Kita tayo bukas Ricky kung hindi ka busy. At magiingat ka sa pagmaneho. Tawagan mo agad ako pag nasa bahay ka na.”
He was amused at her show of concern. Even before, Maya had always been caring and concerned. She would fuss about what he eats, how he drives. He missed it.
“Yes Mrs. Lim. I’ll drive safely and I’ll report agad pag nasa bahay na ako.”
She blushed again.
“Grabe ka! Sige na bye.”
She was in bed when she received a call from him.
“I’m home safe and sound and missing you so much Mrs. Lim.”
She giggled at the other line.
“Ang cheesy mo Ricky at tigilan mo nga ang pagtawag ng Mrs.Lim. Nakakahiya!”
“Ikinakahiya mo?” He pretended to be hurt.
“Hindi kaso hindi pa naman eh. Baka may makarinig. Iba na lang.”
“Hmmm sweetie pie?”
“Ang corny naman.”
“Ricky ang corny din. Kinikilabutan ako. Wag na muna. Pagisipan na muna natin.”
“Okay. Basta we should have our endearment soon.”
“O sige goodnight na. Lunch ka dito bukas. Magisa lang ako. Ipagluluto kita.”
“I would love that Maya. Sige goodnight. I love you.”
“I love you too Ricky. Ikaw lang naman wala ng iba.”
“I know. Dream of me ha!”
“Sige na. Hindi tayo matatapos nito.”
They ended the call and for the first time in years they both slept with contented smiles and hearts full of happiness.