Disclaimer: Please part 1.
You are my sunlight and my rain
And time could never change
What we share forever more
I never knew love like this before
Now I’m lonely never more
Since you came into my life
“Beh, huwag ka ngang masyadong magulo,” she told him exasperatedly, stepping away from him to look at what’s been bothering him.
“Hindi ko kasi maayos ‘tong damit ko, eh,” he breathed impatiently, pulling out the lower part of his shirt he’s been trying to tuck in. He patted down the now wrinkled hem and turned a little to the right to look at himself in front of his mirror. Dissatisfied at what he saw, he started tucking it in again.
If he hadn’t been at it for almost an hour now she would actually be amused by his misplaced lack of self-confidence, but it was just one of the many things she’d been more or less forced to participate in the whole afternoon and, somehow, whatever amusement she might have been fostering awhile ago is now developing into a full blown feeling of exasperation.
“Ok, ba?” he asked, looking at her expectantly. His shirt looking the same way before he supposedly fixed it.
“Oo, mas maayos na,” she said in forced agreement, trying not to roll her eyes upward with amused incredulity.
“Makapal masyado, mainit,” he complained in frustration, tugging at the collar, pulling it off right in front of her before going through his clothes inside the cabinet again. He pulled out a blue shirt and put it on haphazardly. It was the first shirt he tried on when they first came into the room. It was obviously the time to step in.
“Halika nga dito,” she said tenderly, taking his sweaty hand in hers before tugging him to sit with her on the bedroom sofa. He collapsed tiredly on it, dropping his head back, rubbing his eyes roughly. “Sabi ko sayo hindi mo kailangan mag-alala,” she assured him, rubbing his arm gently. “Hoy,” she exclaimed, trying to catch his attention when he didn’t look at her, “tignan mo naman ako.”
He opened his eyes and looked at her sadly. He still couldn’t believe that it has only been seven hours since they met again after three years. He gazed at her hungrily. She still looks as beautiful as the first time he saw her more than ten years ago. But that’s not what’s making him sad. It was her eyes; they look as if she’s seen deep sorrow, been through unknown sadness that she would never be able to share with him.
“Anong iniisip mo,” she asked curiously, moving closer to him, unconsciously offering him comfort.
“Wala,” he said smilingly, touching her cheek gently.
“Beh, ano ka ba? Ayaw kong makita na malungkot ka. Tignan mo nga magkasama na tayo,” she rebuked him agitatedly, not knowing what to do to help him.
“Di halika dito, kiss mo ko,” he said teasingly, closing his eyes and puckering his lips at her.
She was only too happy to comply although only kissing him on the cheek much to his disappointment. Afterwards, she rested her head on his chest and hugged him, wanting to wipe whatever sadness or anxiety he was feeling.
“How did you do it?” he asked her quietly.
She rubbed her ear on his chest, liking the feel of his voice pressed so close to her. Her hand was trying to smoothen out the wrinkle on his shirt as she thought-out his question, understanding what he was asking but unable to find the right answer.
“Nagpapanic na kasi ako dahil makikita ko na siya, excited pero takot din,” he added, trying to explain what he was feeling, “tapos, biglang naalala kita,” he abruptly paused and she knew that he was trying to keep his emotions at bay. “Paano mo nakaya lahat? It must have been worse for you,” he whispered huskily, tightening his hug as he kissed her hair.
“Mahirap nung una,” she answered carefully, not wanting to undermine what she went through but also trying not to hurt him anymore than she already has. “Kasama ko yung kaibigan kong si Julia, malaki ang tulong niya sa akin hanggang sa pag-uwi ko dito. Pero ang totoong kalaban ko ay yung lungkot”
“I’m so sorry for not being there with you.”
“Please, huwag mo na naman sisihin ang sarili mo,” she begged him, “kung may dapat sisihin e ako yun.”
“Ok, ok, huwag na natin pag-usapan kung sinong may kasalanan,” he said, kissing her temple.
“Natatakot lang kasi ako,” he finally confessed after a while.
“Baka kasi hindi niya ‘ko matanggap,” he revealed, embarrassed for even entertaining the thought.
She took a deep, surprised breath, taken aback by the truth that she only suspected before. All the anxiety he’s been showing, his demand to go home first before going to her house, his somewhat obsession in finding the right clothes, his badly nicked jaw and chin from his distracted shaving—they all point to his fear of rejection.
She knew that fear only too well. Many nights, during her pregnancy, she was plagued by questions of what ifs—what if she discovers she couldn’t be a good mother, what if the baby hates her, what if she makes a mistake and hurt her baby.
She raised her head and looked at him straight in the eye. “Hindi ko alam ko anong sasabihin ko para matanggal ang takot mo,” she admitted to him, caressing that part of his chest where his heart lies beating with love for her and for the child he hasn’t yet seen, “pero isa lang ang ipapaalala ko sa iyo,” she told him, smiling with remembered gladness when she first took her child in her arms, “anak mo at anak ko siya, a part of me and a part of you.”
He pulled her in his arms and held her tight. He knew what she was trying to say. He loves Sarah so much and to see that love actually come to life was too amazing to even consider. He doesn’t know if he’s deserving of that child or if he’s well-equipped to even be his father, but all he knows is that no other father would love him as much as he, John Lloyd Cruz, would.
They arrived at her house around seven o’clock. Her family has probably taken their supper already and must have retreated to their own rooms—at least she wish they have. She didn’t want John Lloyd to have an audience when he meets his son for the first time.
He was quiet the whole time they were travelling home. She understands his trepidation. She knew that once they meet face to face, all his fears will go away.
She opened the front door to the quiet household. The living room was dark except for the lamp standing by the foyer that must have been left on for her benefit. She knew that only her sisters are at home since her father and Gab are still with their mom in the hospital.
“Upo ka muna,” she told him, pointing to the large sofa, “hahanapin ko muna mga kapatid ko.”
She went to the kitchen when she found the dining room empty but found only Manang there washing the dishes.
“Manang Susan, nasaan po sila?”
“Ay ma’am, nasa kwarto po ni Ma’am Jonnah,” she informed Sarah.
“Nakakain na ba sila?”
“Opo ma’am, kanina pa pong ala-sais.”
She went to the back way, up the stairs to her sister’s room and quietly knocked on her door. Shine was the one who opened the door to the brightly lit bedroom and she could hear loud music playing inside coming from the television while a small voice cheerfully sang along with the beat.
“Sarah,” Shine greeted her with all smiles, “galing pala kumanta ng anak mo,” she observed, talking a little bit louder than her usual voice.
“Ha, ha,” Sarah laughed, beaming with pride, “Oo, mahilig talaga siya sa music baby pa lang siya,” she told her sister as they walked inside the room.
Her son erupted from Jonnah’s lap when he saw his mother come into the room, cutting short his version of Gitchee Gitchee Goo, a song from Phineas and Ferb.
“Mommy,” Johnny shouted, flinging himself on her leg.
“Baby,” Sarah said, laughingly pulling her son up into her arms.”
“I was singing Kitchi Kitchi Koo,” he exclaimed, grasping both his mom’s cheeks between his hands.
“Yes, narinig ni mommy,” she said, kissing his cheek, “mommy heard you.”
Johnny started squirming again, wanting to go back to his singing, seeing an opportunity to show off to his easily impressed mom. Sarah put him down, turning to her sisters to speak with them quietly.
“Nandun sa labas si Lloydie,” she informed them nervously.
“Alam na nya?” Shine asked, looking at her engrossed nephew watching the television.
“Oo, nag-usap na kami kanina.”
“Anong sabi nya? Nagalit ba?” Jonnah asked curiously.
“Hindi,” Sarah smiled ruefully, “mukhang wala akong maaaring gawin na ikagagalit niya.”
“Anong plano niyo,” her oldest sister asked.
She took a deep, exasperated breath, rolling her eyes upward. “Gusto niyang magpakasal–ngayon.”
Her sisters laughed, they’ve always known John Lloyd’s penchance for melodrama.
“Anong sabi mo?” Shine asked, amused despite the seriousness of the situation.
“Sabi ko paglabas na ng mommy ng hospital,” she confessed blushingly, embarrassed to show her weakness for her son’s father.
She nodded, getting redder. “Mukhang matagal na niyang pinaghandaan eh,” she explained to them, playing with her engagement ring on her finger. “Simple lang daw muna tapos later na lang daw yung simbahan.”
“Congratulations,” her sisters kissed and hugged her emotionally, confident that their sister is choosing a good man for herself.
Shine went to Johnny, cuddling him a moment longer in her arms. “Johnny, your mommy wants you to go with her,” she whispered to him, bending down to kiss his be-dimpled cheeks. “Goodnight, baby.”
Johnny embraced his aunts, kissing both of them affectionately. “Goodnight,” he said, waving at them.
Sarah took his hand and walked with him outside.
John Lloyd had been waiting for quite a while, getting more anxious as the minutes pass. Unable to sit still much longer, he stood up and walked towards the sliding door leading to the swimming pool area and gazed outside the dark sky beleaguered by torrential rain. The skies opened up soon after Sarah left him there earlier. The humid air finally easing up, allowing him to relax the constricted breath he’s been trying to hold in. He pulled at his collar uncomfortably, wondering again if he wore the right shirt.
He swiftly turned around when he heard two sets of footsteps walking toward him from the hallway. His heart was pumping hard, anxiously breaking out in cold sweat as he waited for them to finally come into view.
And then he saw them. He was looking at Sarah’s face first, unconsciously seeking assurance from her, and when she smiled that familiar grin at him, he trained his eyes on the little boy holding her hand.
How was it possible that he can hear the loud beating of his heart when he was so sure it has stopped functioning? He almost crumbled down before them, unable to feel his legs anymore, but then a bolt of energy suddenly surged within him as they finally stopped in front of him and looked at him expectantly.
“John Lloyd,” she began, reaching for his hand, wanting to introduce him to his son, but her eyes quickly brimmed over with unshed tears, which she swore to herself she would never do. He clutched at her hand like a lifeline, his eyes filling with tears as well. He couldn’t measure the happiness he was feeling as he stared at the lovely face of Sarah Geronimo. All he wanted to do was pull her in his arms and assure her that she will never be alone again.
But then someone interrupted his thoughts. A little hand was tugging at his pants as he lovingly reached out to gently wipe Sarah’s tears away.
He quickly turned his head downward to the unfamiliar voice that was talking to him, calling him with a new name that he would have to get used to from now on.
“Yes, Johnny?” he asked the little boy, his voice trembling with emotion.
The child simply nodded his head as he impatiently lifted both his short arms toward his father. “Carry?”
That broke his restraint, making him swoop down and pick-up Johnny to clutch him to his chest. He is discovering that preludes and introductions are never needed when it comes to children. They would never understand it. Memorized speeches and prepared preambles are useless to them. Action is more important it seems. They look at you and you would know immediately what they needed. They wouldn’t ask you to define what love is but, rather, they would need you to show it to them instead.
He turned to Sarah, his expression questioning, baffled that his child knew him. “Meron siyang picture mo na tinitignan namin gabi-gabi,” she explained tearfully, “as we pray for you. Sabi ko sa kanya na mahal siya ng daddy niya at magkikita din kayo.”
He sat down on the sofa with his son still held tightly in his arms, feeling too weak to remain standing. He stared lovingly at his son, allowing himself to immerse himself in the moment but then Johnny reached out one hand toward his father’s face and touched his cheek.
“Why are you crying, daddy? You want band-aid?” his son was asking, his face wrought with concern. Johnny quickly looked around from his father’s lap in search of his mom.
“Mommy, daddy needs band-aid,” he told his mom, who was, by now, sitting beside them on the sofa.
Sarah chuckled, quickly wiping away the tell-tale signs of her own emotions. “Daddy doesn’t need a band-aid, baby. Just kiss him and he will not cry anymore,” she suggested to her son.
He kissed his dad enthusiastically on the cheek but turned around just as quickly back to his mom when he didn’t get the result he was aiming for. “He’s crying more,” he complained frustratingly.
Both the adults erupted into laughs. John Lloyd was thinking that his son looks so much like his mom when she doesn’t t get what she wants—and Sarah was thinking about the same thing, looking at her son fondly, seeing John Lloyd in his every expression.
“But there is still one way to stop him from crying,” she reminded her son impishly.
Johnny suddenly beamed at her making John Lloyd gasp. He didn’t know he could love his son anymore than he already does, but when he saw the dimple beside his mouth, showing the same smile he loves so well on Sarah, he almost cried again.
Almost. Little fingers suddenly dug into his sides, making him forget everything he was thinking, as Johnny tried his best to find his ticklish spot. John Lloyd was getting red in the face, controlling his jerks, afraid that he might throw his son off of him. Sarah didn’t help at all when she too dug her fingers in his neck laughingly, knowing immediately what spot to torture.
All smiles now, John Lloyd carefully put his son on the seat next to him and decisively captured both Sarah’s hand and pulled her toward him and silenced her with a kiss.
“Wow, daddy, you’re good stopping mommy’s tears,” Johnny observed approvingly, his hands on his hips looking like someone’s master.
Still flustered, Sarah looked at the clock. “Johnny it’s time to sleep. Kiss your daddy goodnight,” she told her son as she stood up with John Lloyd, patting her hair down. She wanted to giggle but her son was still looking at them. It wouldn’t do well for her son to see his mother reduced into a giggling teenager.
Johnny kissed his dad’s cheeks and peremptorily run to their bedroom.
John Lloyd sighed disappointedly as he pulled Sarah back in his arms. “Hindi ba ako pwede matulog dito?” he asked, pretending to pout.
A tinge of red colored her cheeks as embarrassment crept over her again. “Ano ka ba,” she rebuked frowningly, “we only have to wait for a day,” she reminded him as she put her arms around his neck and leaned into him.
“Ok, ok, hindi na po. Basta don’t forget bukas ha,” he reminded her firmly. “I will come over after lunch, pero I will call early tomorrow morning, ok?”
“Opo,” she replied timidly, staring at him, lovingly memorizing the way he looks, afraid as well to let him go, lest she loses him again.
“Mommy,” she heard Johnny calling her. John Lloyd smiled. He has to admit, his son does sound as demanding as he is.
“Papatulugin ko na yung anak mo,” she informed him distractedly, still unwilling to let John Lloyd go, “sama ka?”
At his nod, Sarah pulled John Lloyd with her toward the bedroom and made him sit on one side of the bed as she sits on the other side, while their son was lying down in the middle.
“Daddy, mommy will sing to me now,” Johnny whispered to him excitedly as he clutched a blue bedraggled bunny in his arm, worrying one ear with his fingers.
Sarah dimmed the lights and finally settled herself beside her eager but sleepy son. [click to listen]
She looked over at John Lloyd and saw tears streaming down his face, mirroring her own. She smiled at him, full of love, wondering what she ever did to warrant her to receive these wonderful gifts. She already thought she was blessed when she had her baby, but now, seeing John Lloyd beside them, giving them such a kind of love she could only dream about, she now feels twice blessed.
Staring at her, John Lloyd felt he never knew he could be this happy. He wouldn’t trade a single tear that he shed in the past if it meant finding his way to her. Now, he knows, he is finally home.
You are my lovelight, this I know
And I’ll never let you go
You’re my all, you’re part of me
Once I was lost and now I’m found
And you turned my world around
When I need you, I call your name
‘Cause I never
Knew love like this before
Notes: When I had an accident a few years back (was thrown by a taxi that got hit by a truck), this tindera in a sari-sari store refused to let me borrow their landline so that I could call home. She made me buy from her a prepaid card instead. I can’t forget her 2 year old son though who asked me if I wanted band-aid for my pain :D.