“I love you Maya!” said Richard as I tucked him in bed. He was smiling sweetly at me as he said those words. “Can you be mine forever?”
I smiled back at him as I gently sit down on the edge of his bed. Caressing his hair ever so softly, I looked at his innocent eyes as I try to explain why I can’t stay by his side forever. “Richard, di ba nasabi ko naman na sa’yo, time will come when you eventually grow, you’ll no longer need me but another kid will. When that time comes, I will have to leave and look after another child.”
Richard’s cute little brows furrowed the way I know he’s trying to ponder on the things that I’ve been telling him. Richard’s a smart little kid which makes it easier to talk to him. Despite his age, he talks and thinks like a matured teenage boy though he’s only nine years old. “Then I’d always need you! If that happens you’ll never leave me, right?”
I let out a chuckle. This boy never really fails to amuse me no matter what. “Pero di ba sabi mo you’re already a young man now? Young men are independent and can do things by themselves.”
“I know. But I don’t want to be a young man anymore. I just want to be a boy so you’ll never leave me.”
This does not always happen. Truth be told, this is not supposed to happen in the first place. As a guardian angel, we were supposed to protect children and keep them from harm’s length and not let them brokenhearted and vulnerable. I’ve been doing this task for centuries and haven’t failed, not even once. I’ve never, not even once during my existence ever broken our code: Never to show ourselves to humans and get attached with them. And now, that’s exactly what I did. For the first time in my existence, I never found the need to put my guards up whenever I’m with Richard. I knew the dangers of it all and what it could possibly do to the both of us. I knew it was reckless and irresponsible of me, but there’s just something about the boy that I simply can’t afford to miss even if it meant my vulnerability. And now, I’m starting to reap the consequences of my own selfish actions. Who knows how much I still need to reap.
I took his little hands and held them against mine. I looked at him in his eyes as I further explain myself to him. “You can’t always be a boy, Richard. You’ll grow up and become a fine man. You’ll finish school, find a job, fall in love and have your own family.”
Okay, I guess that had been a mouthful as his brows furrowed once more, but I know he understands where I’m getting at. “Can’t you stay with me then and be someone I’ll fall in love with?”
“As much as I’d love to, I simply can’t. You know that I’m a guardian angel right? And what I do is look at children and guard them the best way I can so they won’t be harmed. But once they grow up and can already stand on their own, I already have to leave them and take care of other children.”
“But why? Can’t you do anything so you’ll just stay with me forever?”
This is one of the reasons why letting your guard down is never advisable. You can easily feel helpless and defenseless. Feel the pain of parting with someone you’re already used to having around. And before I could utter another word, I noticed the tears starting to well up in his small chinky eyes.
He threw the cover off his body and in one swift move, threw himself to me and hugged me tight, wrapping his short arms around my neck. “I love you Maya! Please don’t ever leave me,” he said as he sobbed at my shoulder.
I closed my eyes as I try to control my emotions. I hugged him back and rub his back as I try to give him comfort. “Ssshh.. Don’t cry Richard. Di ba big boy ka na? And big boys are strong and can handle themselves already.”
“But I don’t want to be a big boy anymore!” he replied stubbornly. “I only want to be a young boy! A young boy who will always have a guardian angel by his side! Who would always have you by my side!”
I took a deep breath and composed myself the best way I can. I pulled him gently away from me so I can look him directly in his eyes. With my thumbs, I wiped the tears and held his face with my hands. “Richard, please listen to me okay?”
Richard nodded his head and I smiled at him once again.
“You can’t always be a boy. You’ll continue to grow and become a man. Gustuhin ko man na lagi nalang manatili sa tabi mo, hindi pwede. Paano nalang yung ibang mga bata na mangangilangan ng tulong ko?”
“Pero. . .”
“Richard di ba hindi magandang maging selfish?”
Richard nodded his head once more.
“Di ba mas maganda kung nakakatulong ka sa kapwa mo? Alam mo ba, pag lumaki ka na, nakakatulong ka sa ibang mga bata kasi magkakaroon na sila ng guardian angel na titingin at mag-aalaga sa kanila. O di ba mas maganda yun?”
“But I will be sad and I will miss you,” said Richard in a resigned tone.
“And I will miss you too. But these things have to happen. It may not make sense now, but eventually it will,” I smiled reassuringly at him though I know the reassurance is intended for me as well.
His tears flowed anew. “But I will never see you again, right?”
I nodded my head in confirmation. “You may never see me again, but I will always be here.” I placed my heart on his left chest, to where his heart is.
And I was surprised when he did the same to me. With his small little hand, he placed it on my left chest. “Will I always be here as well?”
After hugging and comforting him, he finally slept in my arms. Gently, I laid him back in bed and placed the duvet up to his chest. I watched him sleep and waited until the clock struck twelve and I knew it was already time. I bent down and placed a soft kiss on his forehead. “Happy birthday Richard! I will never ever forget you. You’ll always be in my heart. I love you.” With one last glance, I whispered my goodbye before I disappeared and went back to heaven.