A Little Taste of Heaven

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"Loving can heal." (2)

Oh, now that I am back, I can’t help myself but think of Nate. He also had everything he ever wanted. He had a full scholarship, loving friends and family. Heck, he probably had a girlfriend, I’m not sure. But, what I know is that people loved and admired him for who he was. And I was one of them. What happened to him, you wondered? Cause during the summer of 2013, on the 17th of June, was the day when my world stopped rotating. This story is not about him, but I suppose my love for him. And I hope deep down, in his short life, he was happy.

I carefully lay my head against the pillow and cover my face in my palms. I feel my heart throbbing from my wrist, and that’s when I know I am still alive. That’s also when I realized he really is gone. This thought made me tear up again. I let my grievance overcome my whole being and cry. When I feel a little better, my heart slowly beats as I breathe heavily. I have accepted the fact, and I am tired of seeing those years where I tried to pretend I am happy as if everything in my past did not happen. I’ve had it. It’s gone as it should be in the past where it belongs. It’s time to be fearless and embrace what’s still here.

After a while, I take deep breaths and then suddenly, my family enters the room. Talking to each other as mum places a basket filled with muffins on the table, Dion slumping on the couch, turning the TV on, Célina stealing the remote control, and Dad helping mum place a bag of probably good food because the aroma filled the room.

I let out a laugh and choke, which only made me laugh harder.

They all stop and look at me, how dramatic! The nurse mentioned she had notified them, right? I roll my eyes and laugh again.

Mum rushes to my side, “oh my god, you’re awake!” and hugs me tightly. Her arms around my limp body, I can feel her shaking, and even though I am not fond of her most of the time, I still love her. So I hugged her as tight as I could. She then calls out and releases me, sniffling, “she’s awake!”

My siblings and dad hurry to hug me too; they are crying.

I sniff, “you guys! Don’t act as if I’m dying!” I joke.

“There she is, with the inappropriate jokes, again!” complains Célina, even though I can see how relieved she is that I can crack inappropriate and cringe-y banters again.

Dion shoves Célina lightly and laughs, “I’m just glad those are back.”

With a weak smile, I ask, “What happened?”

They fill me in: so I’ve been sedated for three days, for me to heal and not feel the pain since they know how much I’ll feel it even in the slightest way, that’s why Célina always says there’s a possibility I will not handle giving birth well. Just thinking about it makes me wanna shudder.

The car that hit me was real, and then I was rushed into the hospital. An SUV beat the red light and hit one of the cars passing by, and I got caught in the middle. They were shocked to know the driver that got hit by the SUV was Ryan.

I immediately sit up, giving myself another head rush, “Ryan?!” I gasp.

They frown at me as they watch my expression fall. I watch Dion and Célina exchanging looks while my parents avoid my eyes.

“What happened?” I ask as my breath seethes, and my tired eyes are welling up with tears again. “Is he okay?”

The beeping sound from the heart monitor is irritatingly loud, for my heart is beating as if running to win the marathon.

Mum wraps her arms around me and sobs, “we know you two have broken up, but he didn’t make it, honey.”

The news paralyzes me. Ryan, my knight in shining Italian shoes, is gone…? My breathing is too fast for me to realize what I am doing. I stretch my hand for something to hold as if I will fall from my bed. My throat tightens before my tears stream as my head pounds with excruciating pain again. Why of all people? Ryan? I can’t believe this. I just, I CAN’T.

Mum is still hugging me tightly, and she says, “I’m just so glad Nate was there or else you would be…” she trails. She couldn’t even say the word.

“Nate?!” I voice out, bewildered. I push Mum away to look at her in the eyes because my hearing is playing tricks on me. “Nate?” I repeated, and she nodded.

Dad responds, making me look at him. “Yes, honey, he was the one who took you here. I don’t know what would happen if he wasn’t, and I wouldn’t want to find out.”

The sound of my dad’s voice cracked. He chews his lips and covers them with his palm, just like me. It is his mannerism when he is about to cry.

Dion agrees. “We are so lucky he was there.”

Célina rolls her eyes. “She is lucky he’s there.”

I burst into tears. I couldn’t help myself. I let myself cry. I will not hide what I feel anymore. I will no longer hide my feelings. I feel torn between being happy that Nate and I are alive, but Ryan?! RYAN?!

My heart aches at the thought that his last words to me, which I clearly remember, are ‘See you on Monday?’

“Whoa, whoa!” Célina gasps, “since when did you let waterworks flow in front of us!?”

My parents laugh and cry at the same time, hopefully out of joy. I guess today is a blessed day for all of us. I don’t understand why they are not as mournful as I am that Ryan is gone. Am I missing something?

“Speak of the dev — I mean Angel!” says Dion when Mum shot him a look.

Nate walks in with his brother, Ariel, and Lacey. They all hug me. Apparently, they also visit me every day. Nate says, “Célina and April were so persuasive, I had to relive your memories, Mariana!” he smiles. HE SMILES AT ME. But, the smile doesn’t reach his eyes.

I hold Nate’s hand. “I’m so sorry about Ryan.”

He presses his lips together and drops his gaze to the linoleum floor. “Well, yeah, I’m sorry too,” he sniffs before giving me back to greet everyone else.

“Thank God, you’re alright!” says Lacey, squeezing my hand. Her face, relieved.

I could hear my best friends outside, bickering, worried and happy at the same time. Beth, D, and Lea walk in first and hug the shite out of me. I had to shout to them that I couldn’t breathe. We all laughed, and then Ros and April stopped arguing and ran to me, crying when they finally saw I was awake. I can’t believe my eyes to see that Ros is the one wailing hard. I can’t help but giggle. April also tells me Chandler was worried sick and was restless in China when he heard about what happened to me. I ask April to hand me her or my phone, and I call Chandler. We talked for a while. He feels relieved now and can go back to focus on his work. So, Chandler and I are still friends, no romantic feelings blossom, and I am alright with that.

So here we all are, talking, catching up, eating homemade food dad cooked, and me, munching the sweet, delicious muffins. Lea and D are talking about their pregnancies and names. Lea is in her third trimester already, and she shares with us that she and her boyfriend decide to name their unborn son Adrian James (I will call her son AJ in the future). D is in her second trimester and is still undecided about what to call her unborn daughter. I heard she is naming her a long one that starts with Z. So I will call her daughter Zee. Beth is saying she will be spoiling them with toys and such once they are born. I giggle through it all. They look so blissful. Even though I’m sitting on a hospital bed, tubes sticking in my skin, practically naked inside this gown, pale and make-up-less, I am happy.

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