“Maya! This is not what you think.”
“Palagay ko alam ko ang nangyayari, Chard.”
Lumapit siya sa’min. “Don’t. Please Maya. I can explain! She’s the one who started it all! I didn’t even – ”
“Ikaw, hitad na babae ka, anong ginagawa mo sa boyfriend ko?!” sabi ni Maya habang pinipingot ‘yung tenga ni Stephanie.
“May paupo-upo ka pa dyan, ang dami namang upuan! Sitting pretty ka, te?! Alis dyan!”
“Who are you?! Get your hands off of me!” sigaw ni Stephanie, pero hindi pa rin siya naalis sa lap ko.
“Eh ikaw, who are you?”
“I’m Richard’s fiancée!”
“Fiancée ka dyan! Sa’kin si Richard! Makaagaw ka naman dyan akala mo nasa litrato ka! Alis! Naku, umalis ka dyan kung hindi kakalbuhin kita!”
Nagmamadaling umalis si Stephanie at nagtatakbo papunta sa kwarto niya.
“Naku Richard! ‘Yan ang hirap kapag pogi ang boyfriend eh! Ang daming – “
I didn’t let her finish, I just kissed her. “Thank you.” Sabi ko.
“Thank you ka dyan. Nasan na ‘yung malanding ‘yon at kakalbuhin ko na.”
I laughed. Then I hugged her. “I missed you.”
“I missed you, too.”
“How did you figured out the situation? I do not doubt you; it’s just that, kung ibang babae na siguro ‘yun, magwo-walk out na siya at iiyak. How come you fought?”
She kissed me. “I made a promise, didn’t I?”
I hugged her again. “This is why I love you.”
“Richard! Why did Steph called to tell me that that you’re unfaithful? You shouldn’t be like that to your fiancée.”
I should’ve known that Stephanie will call my Mom after that incident with Maya. It’s currently 10PM and my parents came rushing here because of her.
“And who is that girl?” Mom continued.
“This is Maya dela Rosa. She’s my girlfriend, and probably the soon-to-be Mrs. Lim.”
“Tita! Siya ‘yung nang-away sa’kin.” Sabi ni Stephanie.
“Aba!” Mom lunged at Maya. “Ikaw babae ka! Sino ka para – “
“Ma! Stop this! Tama lang ang ginawa ni Maya kasi siya ang may karapatan! ‘Yang si Stephanie ang pagsabihan niyo! She’s way out of line!” I said as I hugged Maya protectively.
“Wala po akong ginagawa . . “ sabi ni Stephanie.
“Wala daw ginagawa! Kung makadikit ka naman kay Richard daig mo pa ang linta!” sabat ni Maya. “Tahimik na nagtatrabaho ‘yung tao tapos nung datnan ko nilalandi mo na!”
Mom was astonished by what she said. She turned to Stephanie. “Is this true hija?”
“Tita . . “
“Usapan natin ‘to diba, Steph? ‘Yun lang naman ang hinihingi ko sa’yo eh – ‘wag mong gaganunin ang anak ko. How could you do this to me?” Mom continued. She now turned his attention to me.
“Sorry, Ricky. Don’t worry, hahanap ulit ako ng Chinese na babae para – “
“I don’t want anybody else, Ma. Si Maya lang. Tapos.” Sagot ko.
“Pero Ricky, we must and we will follow traditions. It’s always been that way – “
“Esmeralda. That’s enough.” Dad finally said something. “Tama si Richard, we shouldn’t have forced him to go through all of this. I was also like him; I didn’t care what Papa thought or even what others said. Ipinaglaban kita, Esme. All I know that you’re the one I love. And you’re the one I’m going to marry, and I know that nothing can and nothing will stop me.
“We should be just happy for him, my dear. He finally found the one who’s going to make him happy. Who are we to stand in his way? Yes, we’re his parents, but he’s old enough to make his decisions.”
“As for the two of you.” He came closer to me and Maya. “Love each other dearly. And always take care of each other. I’m sorry Richard, for what I and your Mom did. I was wrong, very wrong. The truth is, I could never be more proud of you. And young lady,” he now turned to Maya. “I want to welcome you to our family.”
I couldn’t be happier after hearing the last words that my father said. Finally, I’m off the hook.
“Thank you Dad. Thank you so much.” I said as I hugged my Dad. “I promise you that you will never regret any of this.” Then I let go and I stood beside Maya again. “Maya, this is my Dad. And Dad, this is Maya, the woman who’s behind every smile on my face.”
“Uhmm, Sir nice to –“
“Call me Dad, Maya. And it’s wonderful to finally meet you.” My Dad hugged her.
I went to Mom. “Ma, I’m sorry if I acted so –“
“No need, Ricky. I should be the one who needs to apologize. I’m so sorry. I just became fascinated by these stuffs that I forgot what matters most – you’re happiness.” I hugged her. “Thanks, Ma.”
I woke up in the middle of the night because I felt no one on the other side of my bed. Where is she?
I sat up on my bed and I put on my glasses. I looked at my phone; it says it’s one in the morning. Does she really need to wake up in the middle of the night?
I decided to look for her. I went to the other rooms, into the living room, in the kitchen, and in the veranda She’s no where to be found. I’m starting to get worried
I went back to our room to get my phone.
“Where are you?” I texted her.
I was hoping to get a response but I just heard the buzzing of her phone on the table.
Where are you, Maya?
Then it hit me. I knew all along where to find her.
I got her sweater and I head outside. I’m positive that I will find her there.
And I was right.
She’s sitting on that bench where it all started.
“You should really not go here in the middle of the night.” I said as I approached her.
“Masyadong mapanganib. Ginising mo man lang sana ako.” I sit beside her.
She just smiled at me. “Sorry, Chard. Ang sarap kasing balikan ng mga memories natin dito.”
I smirked. I put her sweater around her shoulders. “That was the first time that we said goodnight to each other hanggang sa ‘di na mabilang na ‘goodnights’ ang sumunod.”
We laughed. It’s like we’re having nostalgia. “Remember that time where you told me your tale for an hour?”
She laughed. “Oo. Saka ‘yung mga palusot mong driver kuno ka. Bakit nga ba ako naniwala nun sa’yo Mr. Lim?”
“I have great convincing powers Mrs. Lim.”
“Ewan ko sa’yo!” she laughed again.
“Pero I was glad na naniwala ka.” I reached for her hand. “Kasi kung hindi, malamang hinahanap ko pa rin ang babaeng kukumpleto sa buhay ko.”
“Umagang-umaga Chard, nangbobola ka!” She leaned on my shoulder. “Pero sa totoo lang, masaya ako’t nalipat ‘yung basurahan na ‘yun sa kabilang kalsada.”
“Ha? Bakit dun ka pa natuwa?”
She laughed. “Eh kasi diba, kung nandito pa rin yun sa tapat, hindi kita sisitahin, hindi tayo magkakakilala, hindi mangyayari lahat ‘to.”
“Touche Mrs. Lim. Tara na’t pumasok na tayo sa loob.”
“Bakit? May gagawin ka no!”
I laughed. “Hindi. Masireno na. It’s not good for our baby.”
“Sige na nga. Tara na.” She stood up.
I stand and I put my hands around her waist, her hands on my chest.
“I love you, Maya.”
“I love you, too, Kuya.”
“Hanggang ngayong, Kuya pa rin?”
“Old habits die hard, Richard!” She laughed.
When her laughter died, I cupped her face between my hands, and I kissed her.
“Naku, Chard. Pumasok na nga tayo at baka may makakita pa sa’tin.”
I smirked. “Let’s go. Sundan na natin ‘yang anak natin.”
She hit my arm. “Sabik lang, Chard? Hindi pa nga nalabas ‘to eh!”
We laughed. I put my arm around her shoulder as we descend to our home.
I’m glad that our story happened in a strange way. If Manang Fe didn’t asked me to throw that trash away, if that bench was not there, if that trash bin was on its proper place, if I was a second late when I went home back then, if she didn’t went outside that night, none of this will ever happen. If you think that our first encounter was an accident, I’m telling you that you’re wrong, because for me, I know that is was destiny.
We’re now lying on our bed. We’re facing each other, no words said, no noises made, just our eyes looking at each other telling us all of the ways to say how much we love each other. I will never get tired of this scene. I know that I will savor each second of it as long as I live.
“I love you.” I whispered.
“I love you, too.” She whispered back.
I kissed her head. “Goodnight, Mrs. Lim.” I love saying this. It was just ‘goodnight Maya’ before and now it’s finally Mrs. Lim.
“Goodnight Mr. Lim.”