I Just Can't Say Goodbye

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A Home To His Most Precious Memories

"I, now,  understand,  dad,  why you were always so cold to us. Why you were so distant and never spent time with  us. " Jim said sadly as he recalled all those insecurities he had as a child.

"I focused on the business as the newly appointed president of Catherine Fields and spent most  of my  time in learning how to make it grow instead of working on my own marriage. " Mr.  Wayne admitted his failure then.

"Where is she now? " Jim asked further though he was hurting for the fate of his mother. This would have been the fate of Dr. Grace had they pursued the agreement.

___
Three years after Mr. Phyllis Wayne returned to Georgia...

Laura knew he always longed to go back to his country where his heart belonged. She understood it because she, herself, was a Filipina who spent most of her life in Georgia.  To trace back her family roots,  her great,  great grandmother had married the heir of Catherine Fields Medical Center. And from her,  succeeding marriages of her children down to her grandchildren were  all between Filipinos. Only Phyllis Wayne had closer roots to  American ancestors since his grandfather was a US military who married a Filipina and,  thus,  did not return after the war.

Laura always remembered the wish of her mother,  that if they were to choose,  they would go back and run their business in their own country.

"Phyllis,  how about opening up a branch in Cebu? Since we have been discussing about expansion, why not make it in our country? "

Soon,  the plan was carried out.  Mr. Wayne returned to the Philippines with his family to personally lead out the strategic planning.  He even supervised the erection of the building  down to the setting up of each departments. He decided on the appointment of all department heads down to the equipments each of their areas needed.

One day, when a meeting of all hospital heads was held in Palawan, he thought of going back to Sitio Dakit. He did not expect to find her there,  he just wanted to cherish back the memories.

Before he pulled out his rented car in front of the house, he saw a three year old boy playing in the front yard. Sensing his presence, he ran inside the house to call an aunt.

"Auntie!  Auntie! Come! " His childish voice rang out through the quiet environment.

"Tonton? " When she lifted up her head beyond,  she saw him.  She hurriedly ran and fell on his neck.

"Pepe, you're back! You don't know how much I long to see you again. "

She instantly broke into tears as she couldn't believe that in her lifetime,  there would come a time that she would be meeting him again.

"Sylvia! "

He couldn't say a word. His heart was, likewise,  too overwhelmed to see her again. When he left three years ago,  he left his heart with her. He came back to his family as an emotionally numb figure.

"Is this our child? " He turned to look at the boy who was so surprised to see her hugging a stranger. He was such a handsome boy with a bronze complexion,  big pair of black eyes and thick brows.

"No,  he is Rosa's son. When you left,  I went after her in Hong Kong. You knew that she worked as a domestic helper there even before she married Greg. She got pregnant on the last time she went home,  so I went  to assist her before her delivery. Greg could not do it since he had a work ."

To go after her bestfriend in Hong Kong would leave him no doubts since Sylvia was an only child to a wealthy family who owned hectares of farms.  She could even live there in a year without working. He knew her parents would always gave in to her demands.

To support her needs wherever she went,  her parents alloted her the rentals of their land properties in the city which were leased to some establishments. Aside from this,  she had a business of her own ever since they were in college. She would purchase RTW's from Hong Kong and Malaysia and supplied it to the local stores of the city.

"And why is he with you?" He asked,  wondering why such a young child would be left to her.

" She is also having a young one, his brother,  so she entrusted him to me. Aside from that,  I love this boy as my own. I was the one who took care of him the moment he was born."

"Does Greg agree with this? "

"Yes,  because he works until now as a local ship crew so he is always away from home."

"I see. "

He didn't understand why but he couldn't take  his eyes off from the child. He picked him up and hugged him tight and  noticed that he had a birthmark at the back of his right ear. It was a brown discoloration in a shape of a chicken liver.

"This is so rare. " He exclaimed as he traced a finger on the mark.

"He would easily be recognized if lost." She said as she made an unusually big and amused smile.

___
Do you mean,  dad,  the boy was Anthon?  Jim asked as his eyes lit up.  All heads, then,  turned towards Anthon.

Anthon stared absent - mindedly at Mr. Wayne. His eyes were gloomy and his expression was sad.

"Auntie Sylvia died when I was almost seven years old due to breast cancer. When she started to get weak,  she returned me to my parents and Uncle Pepe took him to the hospital for many months."

"So you remember me now,  
Tonton? " Mr. Wayne asked,  his eyes became teary again .

"Yes, 'uncle'.  I even recognized you from the very start but I felt so insignificant to bring it out."  He confessed.

Anthon was not yet done. " How can I forget?  While Auntie Sylvia was like a real mom to me,  you were also like a father. I even remember that I always looked forward to your  coming every weekends."

Jim felt hurt and humiliated. " He went home to you while I hardly knew him as a father. I did not even see him during my birthdays." He paused for a while before he continued.



Marilyn Lucero

Edited: 28.08.2019

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