E P I L O G U E
How long has it been? Her heart pounding fast. Full of excitement, full of anticipation.
They sat quietly. They cleared their mind. They are coming home.
“I wonder how it feels like to be back,” said M, who's now in his mid-20's.
She smiled at him.
“I wonder if our house still look the same,” said E, who's in his puberty.
“Maybe, things have changed. Or maybe, things are still the same,' she said.
Please fasten your seatbelt. We are going to experience some turbulence and everyone is expected to be in their seats. Please wait till the seatbelt signal has been turned off.
She checked her kids and saw euphoria on their faces. M and E, on the other side are enjoying their snack. She was comfortable flying but when she checked the girl on her side, it was nervous.
“Althea, why are you pale?”
The girl looked at her.
“Mommy, I'm afraid. Aren't we near yet?”
“We're almost here, Althea. Don't worry about it. Atleast, you have conquered your fear of flying,” she said softly.
“Althea, we're going to a beautiful place. Just be mindful because it's really hot in there,” M said, while chewing his crackers.
Althea smiled at her brother.
“Mommy, how is he like?”
Her eyes met hers.
“Him,” she answered.
“He's a fine man. You'd love him for sure,” she replied.
She looked at her daughter and got reminded of him. Her brown, puppy eyes, her caramel skin that has a stunning radiance, her poise and wit. Everything.
“I just don't know what to expect, Mommy.”
“Set no expectations, Althea. Don't worry. You'd be fine. And i'm going to be there with you. Even your brothers. So you are safe.”
The turbulence has stopped. E stood and went to the lavatory.
“I just don't know how to feel. It's going to be my first time. First time, i'd be seeing him, touch him, hug him, kiss him. I have always wanted to see him, Mommy.”
She gave Althea a kiss on the forehead.
“I know baby, I know.”
Hours have passed. The kids already went to sleep while she's still wide awake. She's still thinking about him. There were miles between them and she could still feel his touch. There was no day that she didn't think or even dream of him. It has always been him. After all. She closed her eyes.
* * *
Finally, they're home. E and M giddily get their bags on the overhead cabin. Althea was just calm and composed. The crew assisted Ara as she try to get their stuff.
“Finally, we're home,” M said.
They lined and waited for their turn to alight. They were euphoric. Althea was still quiet. They walked out of the establishment and saw a car parked waiting for them. Ara stopped.
“Althea, this is it.”
M and E are looking at Althea's expression.
“Don't be, Althea. You've waited for years for this to happen. Now is your chance, no matter what, we'd be happy for you,' said E.
M pulled E and althea and the three had a group hug. Ara was left staring at the car.
“Mommy, aren't you joing our group hug?”
The hug felt tight and true. It hit home.
She saw him get off that black car. He's never changed. Years have passed yet he still managed to maintain that built. Though some lines have appeared on his face, that same look pierced her.
He started walking towards them. M and E are eyeing him.
“Is he, Mommy?” asked M.
“Althea, go near your dad.”
Althea nodded and slowly walked towards his direction. They are all waiting for them to recognize each other.
“Is he Althea's dad, mom?” E asked.
“Yes, E. He's Yari,” she answered.
Althea saw her male version. Some lines have appeared on his face still, Althea felt that sudden rush. He was now looking at her. He was amazed on how she looked like him. There's no way they could hide it but she's his daughter.
“Are you my daughter?” he said, in tears.
“Y-yes. I'm Althea,” she answered.
They were both quiet. Althea was shaking. Yari was sobbing. Ara watched them for a distance. M and E were silently staring at them.
“Can I hug you?” he said.
The next thing they knew is that they were hugging each other tightly. They were crying. They were happy. Ara couldn't hide her tears upon seeing the two of them finally meeting each other. M touched her shoulders. E handed her his hanky.
“Mommy, can I ask you something?” E.
“Sure,” she said.
“Do you love him, still?”
The cold wind brushed her face. M and E are looking at her. She smiled.
“I love you guys, more,” she answered.
“Mommy, do you love him still?” M repeated the question.
She took a deep breath.
“Yes, I still do,” she said.
“Then that's it. Go and get him, Mommy. You have done enough for us and we now wish for your own happiness. We are just here to support whatever decision you do. That's how we love you.”
She was in tears upon hearing that.
“Go Mommy. Go near him. Don't let go,” M said, smiling.
She started walking near Althea and Yari. Both of them are crying. The cold wind continued to brush her face. He saw her. She saw him. The world stopped rotating. Yari let go of the hug and went near Ara.
The wind got stronger. It sent cold on their bodies but the fire that their hearts were feeling could not be tamed.
“Ara,” he said.
“I missed you so much.”
Their hands locked as the sunset painted the skies orange in the busy city.