Chapter 4

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When we got to the hospital, Naomi cried a lot. Pagpasok namin sa room kung saan nakahiga ang malamig na bangkay ng aming mga magulang, halos madurog ang puso ko sa kaiiyak ni Naomi.

She rushes to the side of the bed, held her mother's hand, then cries as if there's no tomorrow. I couldn't go to her and comfort her. Because honestly, I don't even know what's the meaning of "comfort" anymore.

I'm only standing at the door side, looking at the gloomy scene that I have never imagined to happen. But it happened. I don't know what to feel: feel sad or feel mad?

I find my fists clenching at my sides. Then I see Dr. Lee going to Naomi's side, he's whispering something to her ears I couldn't hear. Then Naomi tries to stop her sob before hugging Dr. Lee, as if searching for an alliance.

I want to hug her, too. I want to tell her that everything's going to be alright. Kaya lang, paano ko gagawin kung ako mismo sa sarili ko ay hindi kumbinsido na magiging okay ang lahat? I know...I'm not alright at all.

Hindi ako gumagalaw sa kinatatayuan ko. I'm seeing them, pero natatakot akong lumapit. Natatakot ako na baka sa paglapit ko ay bumigay ako at umiyak. I never cry for anyone except God. Is it wrong if I can't cry over my parents' death?

Is it wrong if I just don't want to cry?

I don't want to cry.

"Kuya," narinig kong tawag sa'kin ni Naomi. Nakatingin na pala siya sa'king direksyon ngayon, pati si Dr. Lee. Nakita ko ang pamumuo ulit ng mga luha sa kanyang mga mata, then says, "Hindi mo ba sila titingnan, kuya?"

"What for? They're already dead." Malamig kong sabi at namilog ang kanyang mga mata.

Oh yes, they're dead. They abandoned us. Just like how God abandoned them. Isn't it unfair? They've been serving God all their life, go to missions and serve people other than us, their children, and yet when they needed help for themselves God is nowhere.

Ilang birthdays na ba ang hindi napuntahan ni Mama dahil busy siya sa negosyo? Ilang parents meeting ba ang hindi sinipot ni Papa dahil nandun siya sa mission field at tumutulong sa ibang bata?

But I never thought of those as something terrible, 'coz I thought they're doing it for God, and it's for the best. Ngayon ko lang narealize na napaka-unfair pala. Mas madami pala ang time nila kay Lord at sa missions kesa sa'kin. Then how about Naomi? For sure, she's feeling the same, especially when her father is a pastor.

Why, God?

Why have you forsaken our parents, your good servants? What, we're not alone? But we are alone right now. Why have you forsaken us?

Why, God?

I keep asking that. In fact, I lost count of it.

Bumukas ang pinto at natamaan pa ang kanan kong balikat. I look at the intruder but he's rushing towards my parents' bed. I could only see his back. Who is that man?

"Miriam!" He screams, at may halong pighati sa kanyang garalgal na boses. I compose back myself while witnessing the man's desperate cry. Who is that man?

"Mr. Doromal, mabuti naman at naisipan mong dumalaw." Sabi ni Dr. Lee sa bagong dating na lalake. Doromal? It's my mother's maiden name.

"Of course, she's my sister!" Singhal ng may edad na lalake. "Nasa airport na ako papuntang States nang tumawag ka, Dr. Lee. Thank God you called just in time!"

"It's my responsibility to inform her relatives." Sagot ni Dr. Lee at si Naomi ay nahihiyang nakasuksok sa kanyang likuran.

"Who's that girl?" Tanong ni Mr. Doromal, trying to get a closer look at Naomi. I don't like the tone of his voice. And the way he looks at Naomi. Naalarma ako at aakma sanang pumagitna upang kunin si Naomi sa mapanuri niyang mga mata.

"Jonathan's daughter." Pero nagsalitang muli si Dr. Lee.

"Ha! The pastor's kid! What is she doing here?"

"No, sir, what are you doing here?" Matigas kong sabi nang hindi ako makapagpigil. I step towards them and the next thing I know, Naomi runs to my side to hold my right hand. She's clutching me as if I am her lifeline. Yes, that's it. That's it, Nao. Hold my hand as if I'm your only source of strenght. I am your lifeline now.

"And who are you?" Tanong ni Mr. Doromal pero mukhang may naalala siya nang matitigan ako sa mukha. He mocks a laugh, while saying, "Oh, right. You are Josh. Miriam's son. Why am I even surprised?"

He knows me?

"He's Robert Doromal, Josh. The eldest of Doromal siblings, your uncle." Pakilala ni Dr. Lee, but I'm not interested even a bit. So what if he's my uncle? Must he appear now in front of us? Of my parents' dead bodies?

Mom told me she has two older brothers. One is Lucas and the other one is named Robert. I've met Tito Lucas when I was ten years old. I couldn't forget that day, that day when someone looked at me as if I was a pest. But I never got the chance to meet this Robert.

Sabi ni Mama itinakwil siya ng kanyang mga magulang when she married Dad. But when I was born, her parents' heart softened. Nang dahil sa akin ay napatawad ulit si Mama at binigyan siya ng maliit na parte sa stocks nila sa Marc Pole. I didn't meet my grandparents, Mom said they died when I was two years old.

Honestly, I don't remember them being good uncles to me. They hated my Mom for marrying Dad.

"I only have one uncle, and it's Tito Jonathan." I tell him, tilting my head to the right. And just like that, Mr. Robert Doromal runs to my side only to slap me hard on my face.

"Impudent child! How dare you talk to me like that?HoHo" Singhal niya at naramdaman ko ang panginginig ng kamay ni Naomi sa braso ko. Oh great, now she's scared. And it's because of this man!

I look up to him and we exchange glares. As much as I can, I try to hide Naomi behind my back. She doesn't know that I'm not accepted in my mother's side. She doesn't know that my Mom has this type of family. Gah, she doesn't know that Doromals are like this!

"I'm sorry sir, but I'm just saying the truth."

"You are not a Doromal. You're just like your father, a Boaz!"

"Well, yeah. Maybe because I'm Josh Boaz." Natatawa kong sabi at sinampal niya ulit ako. This time, umiyak na si Naomi. I mustered all my courage up due to my anger. I realize one thing, I hate it when Naomi cries because of someone else.

"Hit me again, sir, and I'll make sure you can't enter my parents' wake." Before he could say anything, I grab Naomi's hand. "Let's go, Nao."

"Pero sina Papa?" Nag-aalangan niyang tanong habang nakatingin sa kanyang mga magulang.

"Attorney Lim will arrange their funeral, Nao. As of now, let's go out." Sabi ko at hinila siya palabas ng hospital room. I didn't even glance back. Not even to Robert Doromal.

"Kuya, alam ko na kung bakit hindi ka umiiyak," biglang sabi ni Naomi habang naglalakad na kami sa hallway. Ang totoo nyan, hindi ko pa alam kung saan kami pupunta.

"Bakit?"

She looks up to me, smiling, "Alam mo na pupunta sina Papa sa langit, kasama sina Tito William at Tita Miriam. Hindi ka nalulungkot dahil kasama na nila si Lord ngayon, tama ba kuya?"

I suddenly stop from my pace. I look at her and wanted to say something, but I couldn't find the right words.

Why, God? I will stop asking that from now on. Basically because, I will never get an answer.

My heart cries for one thing: I don't think God is real. That's why...I feel so sorry for Naomi.

I feel sorry for all of us.

So I reply, "I don't know, Nao. Maybe heaven is not real, after all."

Beauty And The BeatBasahin ang storyang ito ng LIBRE!