I felt his warmth amidst the rain and I can clearly hear his heartbeat even though we’re surrounded with pandemonium. Being held by his arms made me feel at ease. Parang tumigil ang mundo ko at siya lang ang tanging nakikita at naririnig ko.
Ang tagal kong hinintay na magkita ulit kami. Ni hindi ko lubos-maisip na halos mag-iisang taon kaming nagkahiwalay. I managed to be with his consciousness but that was it. The only thing I want is to be with him together with our daughter Rainie but fate is really cruel on me. And now I know that my simple wish will never come true anymore.
Unti-unti na ring nawawala ang boses nila sa isip ko pero nanatiling konektado ang isip namin ni Hideo. Ngumiti ako sa kanya at kasabay nun ay ang tuluy-tuloy na pagtulo ng luha ko.
‘I’ve been waiting for you,’ sabi ko at naramdaman ko ang paghigpit ng yakap niya sa akin.
‘I know and I’m sorry if I—’
‘It’s not your fault.’ Pinilit kong itaas ang kamay ko at hinawakan ko ang mukha niya. Pinunasan ko ang luhang tumutulo sa mga mata niya at kasabay nun ay hinalikan niya ang kamay ko. ‘Alam ko ang pinagdadaanan mo. After all, I am like you. You’ll be the next tribe leader and that position carries a lot of burden. Kaya huwag mong sisihin ang sarili mo.’
‘Pero dahil doon, napabayaan kita.’
Naramdaman ko ang pagpatak ng luha niya sa mukha ko kasabay ng pagbuhos ng ulan. Lalo lang akong naiyak nung nabasa ko ang isip niya. And now, I’m going to lose you again, he said.
I know I’m going to die but why does it have to be so soon? Bakit ngayon pa kung kailan kasama ko na siya? Bakit ngayon pa kung kailan mabubuo na ang pamilya namin? I just have a simple wish—to be with my family and to grow old with them—but I guess fate is really cruel to me.
‘May I wish for something?’ tanong ko sa kanya at nakita kong pinigilan niya ang pag-iyak niya.
‘Anything. What do you want me to do?’ Ngumiti naman ako sa kanya.
‘Please stay. That’s all I need.’ Pagkasabi ko nun ay ngumiti rin siya sa akin pero ramdam ko ang sakit sa mga mata niya.
‘I will. I won’t leave your side again,’ he said then he hugged me tighter.
I know that Hideo is in pain but somehow, I’m glad that he’s crying for me. Strong people like him always hide their pain even though they’re dying from it. But right now, he’s showing his emotions and it’s all because of me. I never thought that he can cry like this.
If I’m only allowed to wish for a second life, even as a humdrum, I would gladly take it. I want to know him more. I want to marry him just like what humdrums do. Before, I always view wedding and other humdrum ceremonies as corny and nonsensical but right now, I’m thinking what if we got married? What would I feel? What would it look like?
‘How about we do it right now?’ Nagulat naman ako nung narinig ko ‘yun sa isip ko at bumilis ang tibok ng puso ko nung nakita ko siyang ngumiti sa akin.
‘Is that possible?’ tanong ko at naramdaman kong humihina na rin ang inner voice ko.
Inalalayan niya ako at lalo niya akong inilapit sa kanya habang si Nathan ay nasa pagitan namin. Hinawakan niya ang mukha ko at habang tinititigan niya ako ay parang lalo akong nauubusan ng hangin. Hanggang sa dulo, iba pa rin ang epekto niya sa akin.
‘I, Aaron Lopez, take you,’ sabay tingin niya sa akin at nagtuloy-tuloy ang pag-agos ng luha sa mga mata ko. This is the first time I heard his name at sa simpleng pagsabi niya nun ay lalo ko pang gustong mabuhay para makilala at makasama siya.
Dahil hinihintay niya ang pagsabi ng pangalan ko ay agad ko ‘yung sinabi sa kanya.
‘Rielle Miyamoto,’ sabi ko at ngumiti ulit siya.
‘I, Aaron Lopez, take you, Rielle Miyamoto, to be my wife. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad.’ Napahinto siya at rinig ko ang pagcrack ng boses niya at ang pagpigil niya sa pag-iyak. ‘In sickness and in health, till death do us part. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.’
Kahit na tuluy-tuloy na ang luha ko dahil sa magkahalong saya at lungkot ay ginaya ko ang mga sinabi niya.
‘I, Rielle Miyamoto, take you, Aaron Lopez, to be my husband. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, till death do us part. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life...I’ll love you and death won’t change my feelings for you. I’ll love you even in the after life.’
Lalong humigpit ang pagyakap niya sa akin at narealize ko na sa mga panahong magkasama kami, ni hindi ko man lang napakita o naparamdam sa kanya na mahal ko siya. I am really not the type of person who can easily say and do romantic things and stuff. I am always the reason of his pain. I always make him cry. This time, I want to make him happy.
‘I love you,’ I said.
I think this is the first time I said that phrase to someone. Being a Shinigami, that phrase or the words connected to that is a taboo and should never be said. After all, it can stir up different emotions. But seeing his expression after I said that, I’m sure that he didn’t expect it.
‘I love you,’ I repeated and the next thing he did made my heart flutter. He gently pressed his lips into mine and after some time, his kiss became passionate. We’re both crying as we share our last kiss and it made me realize how much I love this guy and how scary death is.
I thought dying alone is not that bad but when both Naomi and Rainie ran away from me, it made me realize how terrifying to die without anyone around you. But when Hideo came, all those worries melted. However, as my life nears its end, those fears are coming back.
He slowly pulled away from my lips and he locked his eyes with mine. Humagulgol na ako dahil alam kong malapit na ang katapusan at mawawala na sila sa akin.
‘I’m scared,’ I said as I cried. ‘I’m really scared, Hideo. I don’t want to die yet.’
Wala siyang sinabi at idinikit niya lang mukha niya sa akin. Naramdaman ko ang mainit na luha niya sa pisngi ko at pinilit kong hawakan ang mukha niya.
‘I want to be with you. I want us to watch Rainie grow up. I want to be a good wife and mother. I want to be with my friends. But I won’t be able to do those things anymore.’
Habang sinasabi ko ang mga ‘yun ay tumatango lang si Hideo habang nakayakap sa akin. Kung nandito lang sana si Rainie, kumpleto kami, pero maging iyon ay pinagkait sa akin ng tadhana.
I want to be a different mother than my Mom. Gusto kong maranasan ni Rainie ang mga hindi ko naranasan bilang isang anak. Gusto kong makita na nakikipaglaro at nag-uusap sila ni Hideo tungkol sa mga bagay-bagay. Naalala ko tuloy ang panaginip ko dati tungkol sa aming tatlo. Kahit papaano ay napangiti ako.
Bigla namang nanlabo ang paningin ko at natakot ako nung hindi ko na maaninag si Hideo. Unti-unti na ring nawawala ang koneksyon naming dalawa at hindi ko na mabasa ang isip niya. Naramdaman ko ang panginginig ng buong katawan ko pero bigla niyang hinawakan ang kamay ko kaya kahit papaano ay nabawasan ang takot ko.
He’s still here. I can still feel him.
‘I’m here,’ sabay pisil niya sa kamay ko.
‘I-I think...’ I think my time is near. That’s what I wanted to say but I can’t. ‘I still...have three wishes,’ sabi ko na lang.
‘Tell me. I’m going to make them happen.’ Napangiti naman ako sa narinig ko.
‘Please tell Rainie that I love her so much,’ sabi ko at naramdaman ko ang paghigpit ng hawak niya sa kamay ko. ‘Tell her I’m sorry for leaving her so early. Tell her that I named her. Do you know she likes the rain?’ Tumango naman siya. ‘Protect her, Hideo, just like how you protected your tribe. Love her, just like how you love me. She’ll go through a lot of pain because of us so support her in every way that you can. Don’t let her experience what we have gone through. I...I...want her to live a happy life.’
‘I will. I won’t allow anyone to hurt her. I’ll protect her with all of my life and I’ll tell her how great you are. So don’t worry anymore. Okay?’
‘Thank you,’ I muttered.
Lalo namang lumalabo ang paningin ko kaya kahit alam kong mahirap ‘to ay sinabi ko ang iba kong kahilingan sa kanya.
‘I know this is a selfish wish but...’
‘What is it?’
‘Can you smile for me?’ I asked as his image becomes hazy. ‘I want your smiling face be the last thing I’ll see before...before I...’
I tried focusing my sight to his face and my heart almost broke when I saw him smiling as he keeps his tears from falling. I reached for his face and traced the outline of his face. I want to remember everything—his captivating eyes, his long lashes, the tip of his nose, his soft and gentle lips. Using my last surge of energy, I pulled him closer and kissed him for the last time.
I knew it. Choosing him was not and will never be a mistake.
‘Thank you, Hideo. And for my last wish...’ Tinapat ko ang bibig ko sa tenga niya at gusto kong sabihin sa kanya ito gamit ang sarili kong boses. “I...I...love...you...so...please...don’t...forget...me...
I felt his breath on my ears and his warm tears on my neck.
“Never,” he said and I felt relieved. “So wait for me there.”
‘I will. But don’t come to soon. Okay?’
I closed my eyes and as I wait for my heart to stop beating, he continuously said I love you. I really want to say a lot of things to him but I don’t know where to start or how to say it. But just like what I wished to him, I also smiled because I want him to remember me happy.
And yes, even though I have a lot of regrets, I was and I am happy.
And it’s all because of him.
I think it’s time...