Damn! Hindi na ako makakaabot nito. Naiwan ako nung MRT. The next train will be arriving 30 minutes after. I decided to go back to my car. Argh! Nakakainis! Then out of nowhere, Maya’s face appeared in my mind. “Kalma lang, Sir Chief. Kalma lang.” Sabi niya.
I drove off to the traffic. Then I texted Cristina Rose.
“Pasensya na hindi ako nakasakay. Baka hindi na ako umabot sa graduation ni Maya, traffic pa rin kasi. Kung matapos man, dumiretso na kayo sa bahay ni Simon, susunod na lang ako.”
“Sige Richard. Ay naman, dapat kasi nakisingit ka na eh. Mag-aalala tuloy nito si Maya.” Reply niya.
“Paki-explain na lang sa kanya. Tell her that I’m sorry and congratulations.”
An hour later, malapit pa lang ako sa venue ng graduation ni Maya. Cristina Rose updates me. Malapit nang matapos ang ceremony.
Minutes later, I arrived at Simon’s house. Pagkababa ko ng kotse, si Maya agad ang sumalubong sa’kin.
“Sir Chief! Ano na? Napagod ka ba? Gutom ka na ba? Sinabi kasi ni Kute sa’kin lahat eh, nag-alala tuloy ako.”
I smiled. She’s still her. “Hay nako, Maya. You should be upstairs, celebrating.”
“Iniintay kita eh.”
“Eh dadating naman ako eh. Anong oras ka pa nag-aantay dito sa labas?”
“Pagkadating namin, inintay na kita dito.”
“Bakit mo ba ako inintay?”
“Ehhh hindi mo kasi sinasagot yung tawag ko, kahit text ko.”
“I was driving.”
“Yun lang?” I know I shouldn’t push, but maybe . . “Yun lang ang dahilan?”
“Ehh syempre, hindi kumpleto ‘yung celebration kasi . . . wala ka.”
I smiled. Napaligaya nanaman niya ang puso ko. “I’m sorry, Maya. Hindi ako nakaattend ng graduation mo.”
“Ayos lang ‘yun Sir Chief. Basta ang importante, nandito ka na.”
I hugged her. I don’t know what got into me. I just want to hug her. “Salamat Maya. Congrats ulit. I’m so proud of you.”
She hugged back. “Salamat din Sir Chief.”
Then we went inside the house, walking while holding hands, unafraid of what the others might think.
After the celebration, I asked Maya to go out that night. I told her it’s my way para makabawi sa nangyari kanina. Akala ko nga tatanggi siya kasi pagod na siya but pumayag siya. I told her to wear something formal and I’ll be back around 8. And I’m here again in my room, searching for something to wear.
“Dad, we recorded Ate Maya’s performance in the video cam and –“ si Nikki. Pumasok sa kwarto ko without knocking. “OMG, Dad. It’s so kalat in your room! Bakit nakalabas ang mga damit mo?”
“Uhm.” What will I say? I can’t simply tell her that I have a date with Maya!
“Hay nako Dad. You have a date no? And you don’t know what you will wear?”
“I’ll help you na, Dad. Don’t worry. I won’t tell anybody.”
Around 8, nasa labas na ako ng bahay ni Simon. I’m wearing a black tuxedo, with grey shirt and a blue tie. Nikki picked the blue tie because she said that it will be the perfect colour. I don’t know if it’s because she knows its Maya who I am dating or she just thought that it is a good colour.
I waited outside. I already texted Maya na nandito na ako. Then I heard footsteps coming near. When I look up, it’s her. She’s wearing a grey dress and she’s also wearing make-up. Her hair is tied up like the one she had on Luke’s prom. She looks like an angel.
“Sir Chief?” Maya said, bringing me back from my reverie.
“Ang ganda mo, Maya.”
She blushed. “Thank you Sir Chief.”
“Shall we go?” She nodded. Then I saw Nay Teresita, Mamang and Cristina Rose, watching us from the window.
“Magandang gabi ho.” Bati ko.
“Richard! Ingatan mo yang si Maya ko, ha?” sabi ni Nay Teresita.
“Opo.” I’ll always protect her. She’s my life.
“Lakad na kayo at gagabihin pa lalo.” Sabi ni Mamang.
With that, I opened her door. Then I went inside and drove off. I can feel Maya’s eyes watching me. Sumulyap ako sa kanya.
“May dumi ba ‘ko sa mukha?” tanong ko.
“Wala no, Sir Chief.”
“Eh bakit nakatingin ka sa’kin?”
“Ehh . . “
“Ang pogi mo kasi eh.”
I think I just blushed. “San ba tayo pupunta?” tanong niya.
“It’s for me to know and for you to find out.” Sagot ko.
We arrived at this place na nirentahan ko just for the two of us. Hindi talaga ‘to pang bawi mula sa kanina, pinlano ko talaga ‘to.
It’s an open air garden where there’s a table at the center. The sound of violin is surrounding us playing “When you say nothing at all”. There are flower petals everywhere on the floor.
Napatakip ng bibig si Maya nang makita niya lahat ‘to. “Sir Chieef!! Ano ‘to?”
“It’s my graduation gift for you. Actually, pinairal ko ang pagiging selfish ko eh. Gusto kasi kitang masolo ngayong gabi.” I offered my hand and she took it. Umupo kami sa may table then we started to eat.
While we’re eating, she told me about her plans as a full time FA. She told me that she’s so excited to work. And she also filled me in with her schedules. Sunod-sunod ang flights ni Maya. I wonder if mauulit ko pa ‘tong ganitong dinner.
“Oy Sir Chief, malalim na naman ang iniisip mo.”
“Don’t call me Sir Chief, Maya. Call me anything ‘wag lang yon.”
“Ehh nasanay na ‘ko sa Sir Chief eh.”
“I know. That name has a brand new meaning to me now.”
She smiled. “Anong itatawag ko sa’yo?”
“Richard.” I know it is common, but we’ll change it, in the future.
“I’ll always be your Sir Chief, Maya. Don’t worry.”
She blushed. “Sige na nga, Richard.”
I smiled. Iba pag siya yung bumabanggit ng pangalan ko. Then it hit me. “Magiging busy ka na, no?” tanong ko.
“Oo, Sir – ay Richard. Matutupad na rin ang pangarap ko!”
“I’m happy for you.” I am, indeed. “So, baka huling dinner na natin ‘tong dalawa?”
“Ha? Bat magiging huling dinner?”
“Busy ka na eh. This might be the last. Let’s make it memorable.”
I stand up and offered my hand to her. “May I have this dance, Ms. Dela Rosa?”