Jeremy was panting. His blazing, tear eyes locked to his father’s. “You kept this from me,” he accused.
“I’m sorry, son. So sorry. I’ve wronged you.” Edwin gave him a look of contrition and hurried to be close with him. Edwin opened his arms wide, Jeremy welcomed the embrace. “My boy, I’m so sorry. Please forgive me.”
Jeremy sniffed, he tears fell down, freely. “Papa, why did you not tell me?” he felt betrayed. “No secrets between us. Why?”
Edwin patted his son. “Shhh. My boy. Its okay. I’ll tell you everything.” He clung to him, never wanting to let go. He regretted not telling him.
After several minutes, Edwin let go of his son. “Lets sit.” He took him by the hand and led him to the sofa. They both sat. Edwin looked his son in the eye. “How did you get to know? Who told you?”
Jeremy dried his tears with the back of his hand. “Dr. Allan. I forced him to vomit all he knew about your situation. It was quite difficult. But after I told him you wanted to know, he finally confessed. You swore him to secrecy? Even from your own son?” He was still having a hard time to come to terms with that.
Edwin looked sorry. “I didn’t want that. I could have shared my heath condition with you, but I didn’t knw how you’d take it. We lost your mum not too long ago and now, you’d be losing me. I couldn’t bring myself to hurt you by telling you the worst news ever- that you’d soon be all by yourself in the world- an orphan.”
His heart was pierced by the painful words that came out of his father’s mouth. He felt remorse for doubting his sick father, not trusting him. He felt guilty. “How did it begin? When did you get to know?” Jeremy wanted the whole truth. It was his right. He had to be involved.
Edwin looked away, painfully. “Two years ago.”
“Two years! How-”
“After Emily’s death,” Edwin cut him off. “You know I wasn’t able to cope after she left us. I resorted to taking alcohol to be free from my pains. Little did I know that I was ruining my heath. I had the first attack while you were away, to seal some business deals. It became more frequent. Then Dr. Allan carried out some tests on me. It was then revealed there’s a permanent damage there. It was all too late. Nothing could be done about it.” He took a deep breath.
Jeremy squeezed his fingers tenderly, prompting him to go on.
“I instructed him not to let you know only till I give him the permission to do so. I think that’s why he told you. I didn’t want you to feel miserable. After losing your mum, you’d lose your dad. I want that not to happen. Only if I could.”
Jeremy’s vision was blurred. “Father, I’m going to be all alone in this world? Don’t leave me. I’m very sorry about your health condition. But please, don’t leave me. We could have a heart transplant, a surgery.” He suggested.
Edwin waved his head sideways. “Then someone would have to die. Its soul for soul. A person dies and I live? I can’t do that.” he explained.
“D–n! So what do we do? I can’t be without you! You want to join her? Where are you two going? I’m gonna go with you two!” He was visibly shaking.
Edwin Broderick chuckled. “My son. Its parts of life. No one wishes to die, but its inevitable. We just have to wait till it comes.” He held Jeremy by the shoulder. He tried to cheer him up. “Come on. I’m not dead yet. I’ve still got few years to live. Lets not spend it in mourning, make it the happiest years of my life. Just as we did with your mother.”
Jeremy heaved a sigh. “And when you leave?”
“Purity and her parents will be here for you. That’s why I so much want this marriage. With her and her family, you’d have kids bu then, you’d never miss me. You would see a reason to live, to go on. Your life would have hope and meaning. Just do this for me.”
It was all about him? He was this loved by his father? He loved him very much. If he was going to be born in a next life, he’d ask God to give him the same father. He was really going to miss him. Already missing him. He was determined to put smiles on the face of his father during the years he had to live. He wasn’t gonna fail him.
“Father, I promise to do as you wish. Will make you happy.” Jeremy solemnly vowed.
Edwin smiled and nodded in appreciation.
“I Love You, father.”
“Love you too, my boy.”