Admin Note: *Contributed Story* Please give credit and thanks to princemackaroo. This is a continuation to After God’s Own Heart – part 4.
Richard has been unusually quiet that evening. While having their dinner, his mood has not changed which was easily noticed by his mom and siblings. “So Ricky. How’s school?” asked Mommy Esmeralda. “It’s ok mom,” was Richard’s short reply. “Really? You looked troubled? Anything wrong? Anything you wanted to tell me?” inquired his mom. Richard just looked up at her mom, trying to come up with an excuse but before he can say anything, his mom sensing his son’s hesitation, gave him a look of disbelief and surprise, with eyes wide blurted out, “hindi ka makakagraduate? You failed a subject?” “Of course not mom! Am pretty much consistent with my studies! How can you say that!” said Richard in his defense. Mommy Esmeralda, together with her 2 other children, after seeing Richard’s reaction, started to laugh out loud together.
“Hay nako kuya! Of course we know how consistent you are with your studies naman noh. Mom’s just kidding you, obviously. You’re so quiet kasi and looked pretty sad,” said Nikki. “Oo nga kuya. We’re not used to seeing you like that. Besides, aren’t you supposed to be happy? Glad that finally you are already graduating from college and eventually, would already become an engineer?” chimed Simon. Richard gave them a sly smile, “Kayo talaga. Ako na naman ang nakita niyo. I am happy naman and glad even that finally I’ll be graduating from college already. And yes I might become an engineer once I pass the board exam.” “Which you will kuya! Ikaw pa!” said Simon. Richard was smiling while shaking his head at what he’s hearing from his brother. “Eh totoo naman kasi eh! Di ba Niks?” “Yes kuya Simon! Pa-humble lang yang si Kuya Richard. But for sure, hindi lang basta maipapasa ni kuya Richard and board exam. We might even see his name on the top ten’s list! Oh my gee!! That would be super-duper cool! I can’t wait na!” declared by a beaming Nikki while clasping her hands in delight. Richard momentarily forgot the troubling thoughts that’s been hovering him since that afternoon. His family really has a way of making his mood lighter.
“By the way Ma, yes there is something that I needed to tell you,” said Richard. Mommy Esmeralda gave her son an expectant look. “I am terribly sorry to disappoint you..” Richard paused for a moment, and tried to give them a sorry look before continuing. He was trying so hard not to expose his façade but the reaction on the faces of his family makes it hard for him not to do so. He could already be nominated as best actor in the Oscars basing on the apprehensive, terrified, shocked look on the faces of his family. “I.. I..” continued Richard, trying to sound like he’s stuttering and at loss for the right words to say. He’s enjoying what he’s seeing right now.
“You what Ricky?? What are you terribly sorry for?? Don’t make us hang like this! Spill it out now!” scowled Mommy Esmeralda obvious that she’s not enjoying the suspense. The three bracing themselves with the news that Richard is about to deliver to them. “I’m sorry.. Cause.. Cause.. I didn’t fail any subject.. But..” “But??” the three said in unison. “But..” said Richard once again. “But what nga Ricky! Just spill it out!!” said an obviously fuming Mommy Esmeralda. Richard grinned at them and said, “Am not only graduating but am graduating as Magna Cum Laude.” Eyes wide like saucers, the three shouted for joy with the news that they just heard. Richard finally let go of the laugh that he tried so hard to suppress.
“Ouch!” exclaimed Richard as Mommy Esmeralda slapped his arm. “Ma!” said a grinning Richard while massaging the arm that his mom has just slapped. “And do you plan to give me a heart attack??” said mommy Esmeralda trying to look irritated but simply can’t as she was overjoyed by her son’s achievement. “You’re so G-R-R-R-R kuya! You make pa-suspense pa talaga kanina! I was not able to breathe kaya kanina! Kala ko nakabuntis ka or what!” said Nikki. “Ang OA mo Niks! Wala ngang girlfriend si kuya, naka buntis agad?? Para namang di mo kilala yang si Kuya. He’s a man of honor. Di ba kuya?” said Simon, beaming joyfully at his Kuya Richard. “I am so proud of you hijo! I can never be prouder! If only your dad is here I know he’ll be overjoyed by the news as well. I’ll tell him later about it over phone,” said a teary-eyed Mommy Esmerlada. “Thanks mom!” replied Richard then hugged her tightly. “Awww.. Group hug!” announced Nikki. And all four gathered together for a hug with smiles on their faces.
Richard proceeded to their garden after having their dinner. He still can’t get over the façade he put up earlier in front of his family. He can’t help but smile whenever he thinks of it. He still cannot believe that he was able to pull it off convincingly. Remembering the terrified looks on his family’s faces still makes him laugh like crazy.
“Kuya? Are you busy?” asked Simon as he approached Richard from behind. “No. Am just trying to relax,” giving Simon a sweet smile. “Anything up?” asked Richard. Simon, still with a smile on his face, “I just want to congratulate you kuya. I know you worked hard for this. You totally deserve it kuya. I’m so proud of you kuya. I always will.” Richard gave his brother a pat on the shoulder, “Thanks Simon,” and smiled warmly at him.
The two brothers remained at the garden as they shared recent events in their lives. As their discussion progressed, “Kuya, wala ka pa bang nagugustuhan?” Simon asked suddenly. Richard, surprised by his brother’s abrupt question answered, “What do you mean?” giving his brother a quizzical look. “Well,” smiled Simon, “I know your priorities & convictions in life Kuya and those are some of the things that I admire about you the most. Pero, sa 5 years mo sa college, wala ka man lang bang nakita o nakilala? Someone na nagustuhan mo? Crush maybe? Someone you admired? Ni isa man lang ba sa mga girls na andun sa school mo walang naka pasa sa standards mo?”said Simon teasingly. “Silly!” countered Richard. “Hahahaha! Pero seriously kuya, wala nga?” Richard paused for a moment, “truth is there is this girl that I met way back my Sophomore years,” smiled Richard while trying to reminisce the past, with an obvious glint in his eyes which Simon easily caught. “Yun o! Kwento ka naman about her kuya! How did you meet her?” “Well, I met her during the bible study held at the campus. She was with her group of friends then. They weren’t from the Engineering College so I easily took notice of them. At that time kasi, mostly mga classmates or ka-college ko lang yung mga initial na uma-attend sa bible study kaya you’d easily notice any new faces around,” said Richard. “But I must also admit, I easily took notice of her, not only because she’s a new comer but she’s pretty as well. And from what I’ve heard, she’s not just beauty. She’s intelligent and a passionate servant of the Lord as well.” “Wow! Based on your description of her, she really seemed like an amazing woman.” “I bet she is.”
After his last statement, Richard heaved out a sigh which earned him a concerned look from Simon until it finally hit him. “Siya ba ang rason?” he asked. “What do you mean siya ba ang rason?” asked Richard. “The girl that you so fondly described to me right now. Siya ba ang dahilan kaya malungkot ka kanina? You looked quite bothered kanina nung umuwi ka til dinner. Kung hindi pa nga nag try mag joke si mommy hindi magbabago mood mo eh,” explained Simon. Richard only nodded in agreement. “So what happened?” inquired Simon further. “Well, I never really got the chance to befriend her nor get to know her immediately. I initially got close to one of her friends, si Emman. It is from him where I learned a lot of things about Maya. And with the things that I heard about her, I can’t help but admire her more. But what happened earlier somewhat changed something. Changed the way I used to see her.” “Huh? Eh ano bang nangyari kanina?” “Kanina kasi was the only time that I was able to approach and talk to her.” “What?? Seriously kuya?” said Simon while laughing at what he just heard from his kuya. “After all those years kanina ka lang nakalapit at nakipag-usap sa kanya? Hahahahahahahaha!” “Sira! I never had the chance to talk to her before. Dala narin ng busy sched ko sa campus and org, hindi ko sila nakakasama sa bible study na sinasamahan nila. Sa ibang slot ako napapasama. Basta, opportunity didn’t knock on our doors until this afternoon.” “And?” “Kanina I just found out that she’s in a relationship right now.”
“So?” “What do you mean so?” said Richard raising a brow. “So what if you found out that she’s in a relationship already? Pre-requisite na ba ngayon yun para sayo to deem if she’s someone you can be friends with or even someone that you can approach?” Simon asked. “You don’t understand. She has never been in any romantic relationship before. As Emman explained it to me, she & her family wanted her to finish college first before she even try to entertain anyone. Tapos kanina malalaman ko na in a relationship na pala siya since December pa.” As a realization hit Simon, he smiled and said, “Kaya bothered ka kasi it is one of the qualities that made you admire her more, right?” Richard nodded. “And because of this one slip, na-disappoint ka na agad agad,” Simon said shaking his head in disbelief.
“Look, you know fairly well my stand about it right? Studies muna before anything else. Romantic relationships can wait. We’re supposed to settle with friendships first. Pag naka graduate ka na and stable enough to handle relationships, that was supposed to be the only time that you’d enter a romantic relationship. There’s no sense in entering it pre-maturely. It’ll only lead to more casualties.” “I know that kuya. Ang akin lang, why give too much fuss about it? Why is it such a big deal kung in a relationship na siya?” Richard heaved out a sigh, “I don’t know either. I guess I just looked up to her way too much. I must’ve given her too much credit. Kala ko kasi she’s different. I thought we share the same conviction and priorities in life.”
“Don’t you think you’re overreacting about this whole stuff Kuya?” Richard just gave his brother a surprised look. Simon smiled and continued, “Kuya, nobody’s perfect. Everyone’s bound to make mistakes one way or another. She may have shared that same conviction that you have but her entering a relationship at this moment is not enough basis for you to conclude that she already forgot her priorities in life. I don’t think it goes that way. Di ba nga, there are things that we cannot control in this life? Besides, one minor slip does not conclude kung ano ba talaga ang tunay na pagkatao ng isang tao. You said it yourself, kanina ka lang nagkaroon ng pagkakataon na makausap siya. The things that you learned about her are technically second hand info nalang. Alam mo kuya, you shouldn’t be so hard on her. Sige ka. Pag ganyan ka ng ganyan, hindi ka na talaga makakapag-asawa,” said Simon with a grin. “Sira!’ said Richard eventually laughing at Simon’s banter.
“Seriously kuya, give her and yourself a break. It’s not like she committed blasphemy or turned her back on her faith and beliefs. As I’ve said, walang perpektong tao sa mundo. We all have flaws. You have flaws. Our parents have flaws. Kuya Carlo have flaws. But despite those, we still look up to them. We still accept them for who they are. Disappointment is part of this cycle called life kuya. It isn’t as if this is the first time you got disappointed.” Richard could only smile at everything that he’s hearing right now.
“Just my 2 cent advice, don’t be too much of a perfectionist kuya. Nothing’s perfect in this world. It’s ok to admire someone who has flaws cause if you say that it is not ok, para mo naring sinabi that you are perfect. And that is pagmamataas na. Humility is nowhere to be found in that kind of an attitude,” said Simon as he pat Richard’s shoulder. “Thanks Simon. I don’t know what got into me,” Richard shaking his head as disbelief showered over him. “Ewan ko nga ba why I gave so much fuss about it. Hay. You really brought me back to my senses. Ikaw lang pala ang kailangan ko. Am glad we had this talk,” said Richard with a smile. “Anytime kuya. Basta kung kailangan mo ng kausap, am always here for you,” said Simon.
After a few minutes of silence, “But thinking about it kuya, hindi kaya nagseselos ka lang dun sa guy kaya ganyan ka maka-react?” asked Simon.