It was a blessing in disguise. I never thought that I could find the exact address of
The store owner was indeed the right person that I've asked about the whereabouts of his family.
" Their house is just less than 2 km. away from here. Don't worry, we will reach their house in no time." He assured me while we walked side by side.
" Thank you. I appreciate your help." I smiled as I answered him.
" I would assume you are also a soldier, right? Did Mack send you here?"
" Yes. By the way my name is Kayel. Nice to meet you."
"I'm Robert. Vickie's uncle. I am the youngest sibling of Mack. It's a pleasure to meet you too."
We shook hands as we both made eye contact. He looked friendly and sincere.
" I'm his friend. It so happened that I was assigned here in this place for a mission. I just want to check his family myself and send my regards as what Mack told me."
" I am glad to meet someone like you. Please visit the store anytime. You're always welcome here."
We walked towards a small, humble home beside most of the houses aligned beside the road.
"You can go straight and the fifth house belongs to them."
" Thank you so much."
" I will just make it from here. I will still go back to my store. I guess my customers are already waiting for me."
" Thanks Robert. I appreciate your help."
I was able to look at him as he went back to where he came from. I took a deep breath as I moved forward. I stepped on the footwalk and looked at the door before I knocked.
I could hear two voices of girls who argued who would open the door this time.
"Alright." He could hear a faint voice who agreed after the other rushed to the door to open it first.
He could see the shock on her face as she met his eyes.
" Hi, do I know you?"
" You're about to." I never expected this girl to open the door for me. I guess she is the younger daughter of Mack. She giggled as soon as she heard my answer, he ran back inside their house. She shut the door in front of me again.
I heard someone laugh inside the house.
"Vickie, there's a stranger outside! We don't know him!"
" That is why you need to open the door, alright?"
"Okay," I heard rushing steps towards the door. She slowly opened the door for me again.
"Hi, I'm sorry. I guess you're our guest. Please come inside."
"T-Thanks," I awkwardly answered as I stepped inside, leaving my shoes outside their house.
Her smiling face caught my attention the most. She's even more beautiful in person. I never thought I could be amazed by her beauty in an instant.
"Did you hear what my sister said?"
"Sorry. I haven't introduced myself yet. I am your father's colleague. My name is Kayel Apaciello." I shook hands with her.
"Vickie Acosta. Nice to meet you, sir." She sounded too formal, I couldn't help but to chuckle.
"Don't call me sir. We're almost in the same age group."
She laughed that it's almost music to my ear. I also met their mom. She welcomed me with all of her heart.
"I am excited to see Mack going home at last. I missed that man already."
I swallowed as I smiled. "I am sure he felt the same way too, ma'am."
Upon hearing her, it's like something pricked my heart that it hurts. Where could I start telling them about the real situation of the head of their family?
I felt like my conscience was slowly eating me as I looked upon their hopeful eyes.
"Thank you for visiting us. I just want to let you know we're totally fine."
"How was daddy?" I felt somebody is pulling the hem of my shirt as I face their mother. I noticed that it is Vickie's younger sister again.
"By the way, she's Pheby Acosta. She's the apple of the eye of this family."
"Nice to meet you, cute girl." I complimented her and her cheeks flustered right away as she looked down.
"Y-Your dad is fine," I added, avoiding her gaze. I am really guilty of making stories for them to feel better.
"She's a shy-typed kind of girl."
"And this is my beautiful eldest daughter, Vickie."
"Mom, he knew me already." She whispered to her mom as she smiled at him.
"You're always welcome here in our house. I promise to cook Mack's favorite meal and for you to taste my specialties."
How could he ever face them when he knew the real situation of Mack? He's probably six feet below the ground by now, resting peacefully.
"I will surely come, ma'am."
"By the way, it is getting late. Please stay with us tonight. We have our guest room on the left corner behind the kitchen." Mack's wife offered with a smile. I guess she noticed that I entered with my heavy baggage with me.
"I am sure you won't find some nearest hotel here since our place is a rural area. The hotel is at least fifty kilometers from here." Vickie added. Even if I'm a little bit shy, I nodded because I guess I haven't got a choice but to stay here for the night.
"Vickie, Pheby, would you like to accompany our visitor to his room?"
They both looked at each other with a smile. "Of course! Let's go!" Pheby grabbed my hand as she also helped her sister move her wheelchair.
"I guess I should help Vickie too."
"Thank you, sir." Pheby looked at me as she lifted her chin. I noticed I am already towering both of them.
"You can call me Kayel, it's alright."
When we reached the door, Pheby opened it for all of us.
"I am excited to see daddy. Please tell him to come soon, okay?" Looking at Pheby's eyes, I couldn't help but to be sad for all of them.
How can I ever last here when they hope for him to come home alive in the first place?