I Just Can't Say Goodbye

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Two Years

At Jia's persistence,  Anthon showed her the news which broke out in all the news portals and social media sites.

"At around ten in the morning,  a fire broke out in a private beach house in Maribago,  Lapulapu City which is owned by a certain Mr. & Mrs. Go. The said property is currently rented by Mr. Phyllis Wayne,  the principal shareholder of Catherine Fields Group of Medical Centers. "

" It was being confirmed by one of the family members that when the fire erupted,  Dr. Jim Wayne, one of the sons of Mr. Phyllis Wayne, was left alone in the premises. Because of the severity of the fire outbreak, his body could no longer be identified. However,  personal items like  wristwatch and sunglasses which were covered by  a plank of fallen wood, were retrieved and positively identified by Dr. Wayne's family as his. "

After some moments of silence,  Jia spoke out. "Where's dad? "

Anthon and Aijohn looked at each other, silently pushing each other.

Aijohn took the courage in the end.

" He's confined and is also sedated. His grief became more difficult for him to bear when he learned that Jim was not taking Hailey's Pill.  And that Miss Cruz secretly added his daily dose into his glass of smothie everyday. Kuya Nap, who is also torn with grief,  is with him now. "

Jia knew how painful it was also to Kuya Nap. He may be born with a sense of humor like Aijohn,  but those people with the same personality as them were the weakest and the most vulnerable. Aside from that,  Jim loved him so much as his older brother eversince they were still young.

"Daaaaaaaaaddy! "

They all turned towards the cry of Jian who sneaked into the guest room the moment he arrived from school. They did not notice his coming in since they were so engrossed with their own grief. He saw that broadcast on the screen and he was already matured enough to understand that his daddy  was caught in a fire and died helplessly.

Though Jim was tied in his wheelchair these few days, they never told him about the severity of his illness because nobody expected that Jim wouldn't make it. They guarded his feelings because they didn't want him to feel that unnecessary grief at such a young age.

This morning,  while Jia was still in a deep sleep,  Anthon brought the two kids to her. He succeeded in telling them that both their parents were sick and that they should not disturb them. Though Jian wondered why his mom slept in the guest room,  Anthon lied that she was too tired to climb up into the stairs.

Their bedroom held too many memories of her and Jim,  and Aijohn decided to let her stay for a while in the guest room to lessen her depression.

Anthon picked him up into his arms and instantly,  his walls of feigned  emotional strength broke down. The shrill and bitter voice of his son who was grieving for a father who gave him his name , the father who loved and accepted him as his very own,  the father whose heart leapt in so much joy when he came into this world,  made his shoulders moved.

He faced the door to  hide his anguish but as his son's voice waved louder into his ears,  he was moved to cry loudly with him. This scene was again too painful in Jia's sight that she began wailing again.

Then,  a loud knock interrupted them. As they all  fastened their eyes towards the door,  Casey and her husband barged in.

Seeing that they were all crying,  her own sadness broke in and she also began wailing.

"I knew it,  I knew it. That's why he asked us to take a vacation with him. It's because he knew he was about to leave. And the reason why he asked to be left alone was because he didn't want to be seen taking his last breath. Didn't you see him bringing any explosive chemicals, Jia? Or any solution in the laboratory that would cause combustion? "

Jia's eyes widened as her heart trembled with the thought. He could always do that if he wanted it. He could hide those solutions in his wheelchair since it had unused pockets. And she realized that Jim's wheelchair was not a manual type but an electric - powered model. 
For a time she thought that Jim could not go anywhere by himself but now she realized,  he just had to push the button and he could go inside the house,  either to extinguish the existing flames or ignite the fire himself.

All these were just speculations and speculations were scarier and fiercier than the truth. With these thoughts,  Jia's vision dimmed and she fell limply into the bed.

To pay their respect for Jim, and so that their family,  friends and their whole business society could also mourn for him,  they held him a week of funeral service. They also built him a physical tomb for them to visit.

During the last night of the vigil,  while all of them were bidding goodbye to their guests,  a surprise guest walked in. She walked directly towards Anthon and hugged him emotionally.

" Hon,  I'm sorry I came too late. I could have comforted you from the very start. But don't worry,  I'm here already. " She got emotional and tears raced immediately from her eyes.

Aijohn, who saw her from afar,  suddenly grumbled. " What the.. " He did not finish his statement but gritted his teeth, instead,  in annoyance.

Anthon was dumbfounded.  On that night when he left her sleeping in his room, bringing with him the paintings and his important things,  he thought it made everything clear between the two of them. That he already ended everything. But now it looked like she did not understand at all. Or,  she was just acting stupidly.

Aijohn was checking the progress of his patients through the Hailey's Pen when his secretary informed him that somebody was waiting for him in the office.

Marilyn Lucero

Edited: 28.08.2019

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