Nanay Teresita’s condition is now fine. She’s scheduled for an operation next week. I had paid all of their bills even their debts. I even bought Maya a new phone. It might be quite a large amount, pero kaligayahan ni Maya ‘yung kapalit nito. It’s now my last day here in Cebu. I’m leaving in an hour.
“Salamat talaga, Richard. Sobrang salamat talaga. Ang dami mong nagawa para sa’min eh.” Sabi ni Maya.
We’re at the airport. I’m just waiting for them to call my flight.
“You’re welcome. Ayos lang din sa’kin ‘yon. Malaki naman ang pag-asenso ng Aviation eh. And I know na mas maganda ang tumutulong.”
She smiled. “Mag-text ka ‘pag nakarating ka na sa Maynila ha.”
I nodded. “H’wag mo na ulit isasanla ‘yang cellphone na ‘yan Maya. Basta kung kailangan mo ng tulong, nandito naman ako eh. Handa naman akong tumulong, lalong-lalo na sa’yo.”
“We are now boarding passengers for the flight to Manila …”
“I should get going. Update me of Nanay’s operation.” Sabi ko.
“Oo na Kuya. Salamat talaga ha.”
I hugged her. “Don’t mention it.”
“I love you.” Bulong niya sa tenga ko.
I smiled. “I love you, too.”
Then I kissed her.
The next few weeks were a breeze. Maya told me that Nanay Teresita’s operation was a success and she’s currently recovering. Maya even told me that she might go back to Manila after a week or so. My company is still doing well and Manang Fe’s happy about my current relationship with Maya. What more could I ask?
It’s Sunday morning and I’m just having coffee at my veranda.
“Ricardo, nandito ang Mama mo.” Sabi ni Manang Fe.
Why are they here? “Sige po Manang –“
“Ricky!” si Mama.
“Hi Mom. How are you?”
“I’m good!” she took a seat beside me. “How about you?”
“I’m happy, Mom.” In fact, very happy.
“Oh good. Listen. I brought someone with me.”
“Who is it?”
“Stephanie!” Mom called someone. A few seconds later, a woman appeared.
“Stephanie, this is my unico hijo, Richard. Richard, this is Stephanie Lao, your fiancée”
I almost spitted my coffee.
“Ricky, I’m afraid you’re not getting any younger – “
“I’m not marrying her, Ma. I have a girlfriend!”
“Is she Chinese?”
“I asked you if she’s Chinese.”
“N – no, but – “
“Then I don’t want her.”
“Since when did you follow Chinese traditions, Ma? For Pete’s sake, I’m not even full Chinese!”
“Kahit na Richard – “
“Does Dad want this?”
“What?! God, this is all wrong.” I left them at the veranda. I got my keys from my office. “Manang, lalabas lang ako.”
I drove to my parent’s house. I want to talk to my Dad. He’s the only one who understands me.
“Dad, I need to talk to you.”
“Bakit Ricky? Nagkita na ba kayo ng Mom mo?”
“Bakit kailangan niyo akong ipagkasundo?”
“Richard, we want grandchildren – “
“I can give that to you! Pero bakit sa isang taong hindi ko naman mahal? I have a girlfriend, Dad. And Chinese or not, I’m going to marry her.”
“We need to follow traditions – “
“Traditions? You didn’t even follow it! Mom’s not even a Chinese is she?” God, I’m so furious!
“Dad, alam kong ipinaglaban mo si Mom kay Lolo. And I know that Lolo forgave you because he just wants you to be happy. Why can’t you be like that for me?”
My father just looked at me. I took a deep breath.
“Paalisin niyo na si Stephanie. Papaasahin niyo lang siya na mamahalin ko siya.”
With that, I stormed out.
“When will you be back, Maya?”
I’m now on my phone, at my office. Good thing that when I came back home, they had left.
“Hindi ko pa alam eh.”
“If it’s about the money, just tell me. Ako na mismo ang magpapa-book ng flight mo.”
“Richard, how many times must I tell you na hindi ko kailangan ng pera. Well, siguro noong mga nagdaang araw pero hindi lagi, ha?”
“May problema ka ba?” tanong ni Maya.
“. . . . . Promise me, Maya . .”
“Promise. Ay teka, anong ipa-promise ko?”
I smirked. “You never fail to make me smile.” I heard her smile on the other line.
“I want you to promise me, na kahit anong maging balakid sa’ting dalawa, hindi tayo bibitiw.”
“Ehh halos bumitiw ka na nga nung hindi mo ako makausap eh.”
“Eight months is too long, Maya. That’s an exception. If you don’t want to promise then –“
“O, ayan ka nanaman.” Putol niya sa sinasabi ko. “Kalma lang, Richard Lim. Ok, I promise na kahit ano mang mangyari, hindi ako bibitiw. Promise na promise ‘yan ha?”
I smiled. “I love you so much, Maya.”
I want you to know kung anong kabaliwan ang pinagagawa ng parents ko. But I want to tell you personally. Please be patient. I don’t want to lose you.
“I love you too, Richard. Matulog ka na.”
“Kailan ka nga makakabalik dito?”
“Ewan ko nga eh. Ang kulit! Basta, titingnan ko muna ‘yung kalagayan ni Nanay. ‘Pag ayos-ayos na, babalik na ko dyan.”
“Can we please get married?”
“Kasal agad? Hoy, Richard Lim, magpropose ka muna!”
I laughed. “Sige na. I don’t want to keep you from resting. Goodnight.”