Richard and the children hurried quickly into the mausoleum as the first few drops started to fall. They had not thought to bring an umbrella, and judging by the sunny weather, they knew that this was just one of those freak showers that would last only a few minutes, enough to steam the pavement and make the weather more humid. He used to hate the rain. It was raining when she died. Nowadays, the rain only brought happy memories. He looked at the inscription at the top of her name. In Loving Memory Of …and he smiled. There was no bitterness in his heart now.
The children brought their own small bouquets that they placed under the altar at the head of the grave. Even three-year-old twins, Sky and Sunshine, whom they brought with them for the first time, had flowers to put. They were too young to understand, but they mimicked their older siblings grave faces as Luke, Nikki and Abby each took turns telling her what was going on with their lives. Afterwards, they left him alone.
“Every year na pumupunta kami dito, may mga pagbabago,” Richard spoke to her softly as he placed his own elaborate basket of flowers beside the other one that was already there; it was a different arrangement, but was equal in size, and just as beautiful. “Our children have already given you their yearly update,” he smiled, looking back for a glance, feeling blessed and grateful. After the first time he visited with them, it was easier to come back. Luke was keeping a watchful eye on his two youngest siblings as they ran about. Abby was chasing after Sky, while Nikki was busy talking to someone on her phone. He sighed as he turned to face her again. “Ang lilikot ng kambal. Don’t worry, as they grow older, i-ku-kwento ka rin namin sa kanila. I’ll make sure that they’ll know who you are.” He paused, then squatted to caress the ground where she lay. “You know we’ll never forget you even if we have moved on; and I know you’re happy for me…because I really am, truly and happy again.” He stood up. “We have to go now.” He smiled like she was really there. “Goodbye…Alex.”
Richard stood at the place where he always waited for his wife, missing her so much. In his hands he was clutching a bouquet of sunflowers, her favorite. There was an occasion for her to travel to London to observe and assess Time Airways’ newly opened route to better manage flight and staff schedules, part of her job as line administrator. She had been away for three days.
“Sweetheart!” Maya was surprised. Before she could say anything else, he had already engulfed her in his arms. She smiled gently as she returned the hug. They stayed that way for a little while until he sighed and finally loosened his hold, enough for her to lean back and gaze lovingly at his face. “Bakit ikaw ang sumundo? Di ba usapan natin, si Kuya Joma na lang? Walang kasama ang mga bata.”
He wrinkled his nose a little. “Pinaki-usapan ko si Luke. Kaya na naman niyang bantayan ang mga kapatid niya. I just missed you so much,” he said, looking back at her with a smile that said it all.
“Mmm, mukha nga,” she said, reaching up to caress his cheek, and he leaned forward to kiss her, lingering over her lips. Maya was blushing when he released her. “Sweetheart!”
He laughed and presented the bouquet.
“Thank you,” she said, using it to hide her face as they walked to the car. She clung on to his arm. “Sweetheart, kamusta ang dalaw niyo? Behaved ba ang kambal?”
“Behaved naman sila nung nasa loob pa kami. Naglikot lang sila nung nasa labas na. Nanibago sa dami ng mga tao sa sementeryo. Nagpunta ka pala?” He knew the flowers were from her.
“Oo. Pinadaan ko muna si Kuya Joma bago kami dumiretso dito. Marami akong na-ipong kwento para sa kanya. Ang tipid mo kasi mag-kwento, e.”
He looked at her. It never ceases to amaze him how generous she was. She was never jealous of his late first wife, and even spoke like they were truly friends. They reached the car, and he opened the door for her, stowed her luggage at the back, and slipped in to the driver’s seat. He hesitated. “Nag-uumpisa na silang magtanong tungkol kay Alex. Luke, Nikki and Abby were trying to explain that she was their mommy in heaven; that Alex was their mommy na naging angel na, kaya ikaw na ang mommy nila dito. Is that Ok?”
She smiled as she nodded. She reached out to take his hand. He entwined their fingers. “Dapat pag-usapan natin kung paano natin maipapaliwanag sa kambal ang tungkol kay Alex. Dapat makilala din nila siya. Wag kang mag-alinlangan na sabihin sa kanila kung sino siya.”
He lifted her hand to kiss it. “I was thinking the same thing. Thank you,” he said, his voice grateful.
“Ano ka ba?” She chided gently. “Ok lang sa akin yun. Kung naging pangalawang ina ako nina Luke, Nikki, at Abby, bakit ko naman ipagkakait na magkaroon sina Sky at Sunshine ng pangalawang ina sa langit?…Ay, pangatlo pala, kasama si Mama Mary…hmm, parang hindi tama…”
Richard chuckled. “Ganito na lang. You are their mother here on earth. In heaven, they have Mama Mary and Mommy Alex.”
“Parang mas gusto ko yung ganyang explenasyon. Ang galing mo talaga, sweetheart. The best!” She gushed as she giggled.
He raised an eyebrow. “Nambola ka nanaman.”
“Naku, nahalata mo?” She asked sheepinshly, and they both laughed. He cupped her cheek.
“I really, really missed you,” he said softly.
“Alam ko, sweetheart, na-miss din kita,”she answered back in the same soft tone, as they looked into each other’s eyes for a moment; then in a normal voice she said, “miss ko na rin yung mga bata kaya bilisan na nating umuwi.”
Richard’s face registered surprise but he turned to start the car. “Pagkatapos mong puntahan ang mga bata, sa akin ka na. Show me how much you miss me,” he demanded.
“Abaaa, ganun ka din dapat, Mr. Lim. Show me how much you miss me,” Maya said, blushing again.
He grinned at her. “Don’t worry, sweetheart. I will.”
Maya settled back, eager to see her children, and later, to have some you-and-me time with her husband. It was good to be home.
A/N I am not a flight attendant. I tried looking for a job description for line administrators sa airline companies but couldn’t find any.I just followed the job description of the closest position That could match it.