A/N: This is a continuation to The Guardian Angel – Prologue.
Elle, together with her father Edmund, sat at the waiting lounge. She and her mother Susie were on their way to Megamall in Ortigas when an over-speeding bus unceremoniously cut them out causing Susie to lose control over their car and slam it against a post. Elle miraculously survived the crash and much to everyone’s bewilderment, unscathed. Unfortunately, the same could not be said of her mother. She suffered a severe head trauma, a couple of broken ribs, and broken left femur and right fibula. Her chances of survival are very minimal.
I was standing at one corner, watching Elle sleep in her father’s arms. She looked so peaceful, oblivious of everything that’s happening around her.
“Everything will be okay Elle. Mommy will be okay,” Edmund whispered in Elle’s ear. The troubled expression never left his face. He’s been anxiously waiting and praying for Susie to wake up, for her to survive this. But Father has different plans for them.
“It’s time.” The good angel Simon stood by my side, looking impassively at Susie’s frail body. We both knew what he meant. I turned and looked at Elle and her father. “They’ll be fine. Father will see them through it all,” said Simon.
I looked at him and nodded my head. We may be a higher form of being and cannot feel pain the same way a human does but we know how to have compassion and love, the same way the Father does.
In a couple of seconds, loud disturbing noises came from the apparatuses that are attached to Susie. Edmund got up on his feet, looking frantic more than ever. Nurses were scampering around, followed by a doctor.
I watched through the glass window how the nurses and the doctor tried to save Susie and stabilize her dropping heart rate, all to no avail. Her heart rate continued to drop until it went flat. Susie’s soul detached from her body and she was approached by Simon.
“Come,” Simon called out to her.
Susie smiled at him and took his extended hand. She stopped momentarily in front of me and smiled. “Thank you, for saving my baby.”
“Her time has not come yet. She still has a full-life ahead of her.”
Susie nodded her head in understanding and was ushered by Simon to her now new home. I watched as they disappeared in thin air. I was about to glance back at Elle and his dad when the people inside the ICU caught my attention. Almost a minute had already lapsed but the doctor is still adamant and determined in bringing Susie back to life. He discarded the CPR equipment and tried to manually pump her chest. The nurses were already calling out his attention, asking him to stop, informing him that it is all over but he would not hear any of them. He continued to give Susie CPR. And when his strength waned down, he finally stopped. With much resignation, he turned to one of the nurse and informed them of Susie’s time of death.
I watched as the doctor hung his head low for a few seconds before he straightened up and went out of the room and approached Edmund and Elle. His vigorous efforts to save Susie and the sincere anguish he felt when he failed to save her impressed me. Even when half of mankind had gone bad and went on with their evil ways, there still are a lot of things that are admirable about them, and this is one of them.
As the doctor finally reached Edmund and Elle, only then have I noticed him closely. He was relatively tall, approx. 5’10” in height, well-built, and a Chinese who possess a pair of expressive eyes. Eyes that reminded me of someone – Richard.
With an apologetic tone and sincere sympathy, the doctor informed Edmund that Susie had passed away due to the internal injuries that she sustained. The doctor placed a hand on Edmund’s shoulder, as the latter broke down and cried over his deceased wife.
“Dr. Lim!” A nurse approached the doctor, stopping from his tracks as he was already about to leave. “Doc, kailangan niyo pong i-sign ito.”
The doctor took the papers from the staff and signed it. After handing it back, he continued to walk away and for some reason, I found myself following him. He rode the elevator, disembarked, and entered an office where his name is nicely etched on the glass door, Richard T. Lim, M.D. Neurosurgeon. And I smiled. For the first time, after the night that I left him, I saw him once more, the boy who holds a very special place in my heart.
I passed thru the door and stood before him. He was sitting on his swivel chair, leaning back with his eyes closed. One can easily sense his somber mood. This somehow tells me that he was still the same old Richard that I knew. The Richard who is compassionate, selfless, and loves helping other people, especially those in need.
“Everything okay brod?” A man, wearing a lab coat on top of a white polo, tie, slacks and leather shoes entered the room and approached Richard.
Richard opened his eyes. “Not really brod.” He sat up straight and heaved out a sigh. “I just lost a patient.”
Richard’s friend nodded his head in understanding. “I heard. But I don’t think there really is anything that could be done to save her. From what I heard, grabe daw ang injuries na na-sustain niya from the crash.”
“Yes. The injuries she sustained from the crash are what caused her to die. But still, it’s not an excuse for me not to have saved her. You should’ve seen her daughter. She was still so young. And now she’ll have to live her life without her mother by her side.”
“Brod, you know how everything happens for a reason. Besides, kung talagang oras na niya, oras na niya. You really won’t be able to do anything about that fact. Nothing we do can ever save her from her fate,” explained Richard’s friend.
“I know Ryan.” Richard let out another sigh. “Naaawa lang kasi ako sa naiwan niyang mag-ama.”
Ryan smiled at Richard, and I can tell he too was amused by Richard’s kindness and compassion. “They’re being watched over brod. They’ll get through this. Hindi naman sila bibigyan ng ganitong pagsubok ng Diyos kung hindi nila ito kaya eh.”
After a few more minutes, Ryan eventually got up on his feet. He informed Richard that he still has a couple of rounds before he call it a day. As he was making his way towards the door, Ryan turned his head and looked my way giving me a sense that he somehow knows I’m here or that he could actually feel my presence. But before I could further ponder on the possibilities, Ryan continued to walk and went on with his way.
Richard leaned back on his swivel chair and closed his eyes once more. I don’t know what’s going on in his mind but I can feel his sadness. It shows in his aura.
Without shifting from his position, he took out his mobile phone from the pocket of his pants and started dialing a number. After a couple of tries, he’s still getting the same response. He tried scrolling down on his phonebook and called a different number. After a while, a smile emerged from his lips and he started to speak.
“Hi Ma!” Richard said.
“Ricky hijo! Napatawag ka?” His mother Esmeralda asked.
“Wala naman Ma. I just missed you.”
“Ang anak ko talaga! Well I missed you too hijo!”
“How was Papa?”
“Your papa is doing fine son. Ikaw? How are you doing there? Is everything okay?”
Richard heaved out a sigh. “Okay naman Ma. Just another day in the hospital.”
“You sounded tired son. Baka hindi ka nagpapahinga ng maayos ha? Hindi naman tama yan hijo! You’re a doctor and you yourself should know that too much work isn’t good for your health! You should rest as well!” reprimanded Esmeralda.
Richard chuckled at her mother’s rant. “Ma, I’m okay. I don’t take my health for granted. I don’t overwork myself. Na-mi-miss ko lang talaga kayo ni Papa.”
“Aww.. Well I miss my unico hijo so much as well. Don’t worry son. I’ll ask your Papa na umuwi kami diyan para magbakasyon at makasama ka namin.”
Richard smiled. “That’ll be a wonderful idea Ma. I’ll look forward to it.”
“Well you definitely should!” chuckled Esmeralda. “By the way, how was Alex?”
“She’s doing fine Ma. We’re doing great.”
“That’s good to hear son. Ang gusto ko pag-uwi namin ng Papa mo, makapag-bonding naman kami niyang fiancé mo. And sana naman ay pag-usapan narin natin ang details ng wedding niyo.”
Richard let out a laugh. “Ok Ma. I’ll tell her.”
“Good. O pano son? I got to go. May pupuntahan pa kasi ako. I’ll catch up with you soon okay? Always take care of yourself ok?”
“Yes Ma, I will. You guys take care of yourselves as well. I love you.”
“I love you too son. Bye.”
After the phone call with his mom, Richard’s mood visibly changed. He’s now smiling though the hint of sadness is still there lingering in his eyes. He pressed the speaker on his desk phone and dialed an extension.
“Yes Dr. Lim?”
“Hi Liza. Do I still have any scheduled appointment?”
“Wala na po sir. You are free for the day.”
“Thank you. I’m leaving early today. Just call me for any emergency.”
“I will Doc.”
After the conversation, Richard packed his things up and went out of his office. He rode the elevator once more and this time hit the basement. As he got out, he went to his car and started driving. Am not really sure where exactly he is going but I just sat back at the backseat, contented to simply watch him, look over him just like how I used to when he was still a young kid.
He stopped by a flower shop and bought a bouquet of red roses. A couple of minutes more, we rounded a corner and entering a basement of a high rise condominium building. We boarded the lift once again and disembarked on the 20th floor. We turned left and I watch him stop in front of a unit and enter the code onto the security pad.
As we entered the unit, a nagging sense hit me. Something isn’t right. I brushed the feeling off. In a way, I know what I doing was wrong. I shouldn’t actually be loitering around and following another human who was obviously beyond my jurisdiction. By now, I should’ve been back to heaven and inquiring about my next assignment but I got too preoccupied by Richard that all I want at the moment is to catch up with him and know how and what he has become.
“Alex? Babe?” Richard called out but got no answer. He walked to the living room and found everything in place. He then walked to the kitchen and got himself a glass of water. Rinsing the glass, he placed it back on the rack. He was already on his way back to the living room when he stopped on his tracks. He turned right and started walking towards one of the bedrooms. His face had a darkened expression and only then did I start to notice the noise coming from the bedroom. Before I could react any further, Richard was already opening the door.
I may not have the ability to read minds or know everything that’s happening or that’s going to happen, but the dark, hard as stone and cold as ice expression that looms over his face and the menacing look he has in his eyes are already enough to predict the things that are running in his mind. Without thinking twice, I reached out to him, touched his shoulder and washed him with some calmness.
Reluctantly, he turned his back. With tears rolling down from his eyes, he started walking out of the unit.