A/N : As promised, by midnight. :))
Richard arrived at his house before six. His father told him to go home immediately after his appointment with the doctor but whenever he asked why, Roberto just told him to do what he is told. Without a choice, he went home early. Roberto is seated on the sofa, reading a newspaper when he entered the house.
“Pa.” He called.
“Ricky. Good, you’re here.” He said, looking up from the material he is holding.
“Anong meron, Pa? Why do I need to be home early?” he asked. Roberto didn’t say anything. Instead he turned his head to look at the veranda. Richard followed his father’s gaze and saw her mom talking to somebody. With crooked brows, he took some steps closer and saw that Maya is with her.
“W-why is she here?” he stammered. Damn, Richard! Your heart always beats fast whenever you see her. I should probably go to a cardiologist.
“I invited her for dinner.” His father simply answered.
“Wala lang.” His father said, shrugging his shoulders.
Richard turned to look at the two again. He can’t help but to look at Maya. He was so worried about her last night. Yes, was mad at her because of that simple phone call she took but it disappeared when she panicked that evening. It scared him to see her like that. There’s always this spot in his heart that always feel pain whenever he saw her crying. He took a deep breath and turned to his father.
“Akyat lang ako, Pa. Magbibihis lang.” Then he turned to leave, not waiting for his father’s answer.
When Richard went down, he saw Maya and his mother preparing the table. He smiled at the sight. It’s been so long since he saw his mother do some prepping again, maybe because he slept for too long, but nevertheless he is happy about it. And seeing Maya helping brought extra joy.
“Ricky! Don’t just stand there. Tumulong ka dito.” Esmeralda commanded when she saw his son who stopped on one of the steps of the stairs.
“I’m disabled, Ma.” he said, showing his cane.
“Nonsense! Ikaw Ricky ha, nagiging tamad ka na.” Her mother said; bring her hands on her waist.
Richard laughed. “I’m just kidding, Ma. I’m coming, I’m coming.” He walked towards them and stopped near the table. “Anong maitutulong ko?”
“Grab the plates.” Esmeralda said.
He obliged, getting the plates and bringing them on the dining table. After putting it down, he grabbed the individual plates to put them on their places. He was about to grab the last one when his hand landed on another hand. When he looked up, he saw Maya staring at him, with her mouth gaped. He smirked seeing her at that state. “Close your mouth, baka pasukin ng langaw.” He teased. Maya immediately closed her mouth and even covered it with her hand. Richard chuckled. He couldn’t find anyone more adorable than Maya.
Yes. She is adorable.
Unlike before, Richard didn’t give any second thoughts to the things that pop out from his mind. He is very certain that they are very true as it always been about Maya. He’s starting to get used to those thoughts because he can clearly see it.
It’s my feelings I’m confused about.
Dinner was different this time. Before, they would just eat silently. Talking never really happened unless it’s necessary or it’s about work, but with Maya around, the food ranked second from talking. She was the one who told stories starting from how their family spend their dinner and so on. Richard was waiting for his parents to tell her to be quiet and just eat but he was surprised when his parents joined the conversation. In fact, he was the only one who’s not talking, but he was laughing on the different jokes being thrown.
Being quiet has its advantage. While eating silently, he managed to study Maya. He was seated across her, giving him a good view of her. Richard is amazed by her, seeing that even though she has fears, she can still be that jolly person she is, and she has this effect on people around her. He never saw his parents laughing during dinner until this time. He’s clearly smitten about Maya.
Roberto cleared his throat. “Ricky, dahan-dahan ang tingin, baka matunaw.” He teased. He immediately laugh when he said that and also because he just saw his son blush. Maya, on the other hand, blushed, too, which made Esmeralda and Roberto to laugh more.
“Nagustuhan mo ba yung kare-kare?” his mother asked.
“Yes, Ma. I like it very much.” He said with a smile. “Bagong recipe mo?” he asked. As he can remember, his mother does not cook kare-kare this way. Its taste is different. There’s something .. extra.
“I’m glad you like it, Ricky.” Esme said. “And no, it’s not a new recipe. Si Maya ang nagluto niyan.”, Esmeralda said, quite proudly. Richard stopped eating and looked at the woman in front of him. He smiled and said to his mom, “It’s my favourite then.” But he never took his eyes off of Maya to look at his mother.
The dinner ended and the ladies helped in cleaning up, while the gents went to the veranda. Manang Fe entered to bring them their coffee. Richard looked at his cup right after he took a sip.
“Manang, kayo po ang nagtimpla ng kape?” he asked.
“Ah, hindi ako. Si Maya eh. Bakit? Ibabalik ko ba?” the old woman said.
Richard gave her a smirk. “No Manang. Tell her .. tell her that it tastes great.”
Manang Fe smiled at him before leaving. Ang alaga ko, nagmamahal na ata uli.
When Richard turned, he saw his father smiling at him. “What, Pa?” he asked. His father just answered him with a laugh. “Oh, c’mon son. Alam mo, ‘yang ngiti mong ganyan, alam kong may dahilan.” His father further said.
“Pa, it’s just a cup of coffee.” Richard said.
“Exactly!” the older Lim said immediately. “It’s just a cup of coffee! And yet abot tenga na ‘yang ngiti mo.” He took a sip from his own cup. “May dapat na ba akong malaman?” He teased.
Richard sighed. “I don’t know, Pa. Kahit ako nahihirapang i-distinguish ‘tong nararamdaman ko. But bakit ganon Pa? It’s like .. it’s like parang lahat na lang ng ginagawa ni Maya, I appreciate. And it’s like I’m always waiting for her moves and I also have this feeling that I’m longing, I’m longing for her.” He said. He took another deep breath. “Is there something that I should know na nangyari nung na-coma ako?”
Roberto just smiled at his son. So, his heart remembers, but not his mind. “Well, if you’re going to ask me, based on the things you just said, I think you fell for her.” He was just testing the waters and was waiting for his son’s reaction, but he just saw him staring ahead, thinking. So he continued. “That is just me, son. And about your feelings, I think you have to dig deep inside your memory. Baka nandun ang sagot.”
The younger Lim closed his eyes and sighed again. “My repressed memories are making it all difficult. I want to have it back. If only I know how.”
“Don’t blame yourself too much, Ricky. Everything happens for a reason. Baka its God’s will that he made you like that when you returned.” Roberto said. His heart is breaking every time he saw his son like that. Ever since he was out from the hospital, he would always catch him here at the veranda and just looking at the sky. He’s happy that Richard is back but having him with some of his pieces missing always makes it hard for them.
“You’re right Pa. All I need is time.”
“Tito” the two men turned to look at the source of that voice. They saw Maya near the door, who bowed her head when she saw them turn. “Ah, Richard, uuna na po ako. Mag-eempake pa po kasi ako ng gamit.”
“Where are you going?” Richard asked. He got curious when he heard that Maya needs to pack her things.
“Sige, hija. Ipapahatid na lang kita kay Joma.” Roberto said, not giving attention to what his son said.
“Hindi na po, Tito. Magta-taxi na lang –“
“Ihahatid na kita.” Richard interrupted. “I don’t want you taking a cab.” He stood up and grabbed his cane to get his keys.
“Richard, ‘wag na –“ she said when he’s near her. “I insist.” He cut her off and then he left. Maya turned to the older Lim. “Tito oh, yung anak niyo. Hindi po ba masama yun? Hindi pa fully recovered pero masyado nang mag-drive.”
Roberto chuckled. “Hayaan mo na, Maya. Mana ‘yan sa’kin, matigas ang ulo.”
“Mukha nga po. Pareho din po kayong mapilit eh.” She also chuckled. “Thank you po sa dinner Tito.” Roberto stood up and hugged her. “It’s our pleasure, hija. Nakapag-paalam ka na ba kay Esme?” he said as he lets her go.
“Opo. Siya pa nga po ang nagpa-uwi sa’kin nung nalaman po niyang uuwi ako bukas.”
“Maya. Let’s go.” She heard Richard said and when she turned, she saw that he’s already near the front door.
“Sige po, Tito. Goodnight po.”
“Goodnight din, hija.” He said. Maya started walking when he called her. “Maya.”
Roberto smiled. “His heart remembers.” Then he walked away to leave her. “Ricky, ang pagmamaneho, ha?”
“I got it, Pa.”
When Maya reached outside, Richard opened the passenger’s door and ushered her in. The moment Richard was inside, Maya opened her mouth. “Hindi ba masama sa’yo ‘tong nagmamaneho ka lagi? Dapat pinag-taxi mo na lang ako, edi nakatipid ka pa ng gas tapos –“
“Why do you always like to argue?” he said and gave a chuckle when Maya covered her mouth with her hand. “There. Much better. Wag ka nang makipagtalo kasi nandito ka na. The least you could do is to say thank you when we got there.” He started the engine and shifted gears to head off. “Don’t worry. Hindi na ko dadaan dun sa dinaanan natin kagabi.”
Once they were on the road, Maya started to fidget her hands again, and she kept looking everywhere. “Ri-richard, yung bintana, pabukas, please.”
He quickly pressed a button from his door to open her window. He kept glancing at her once the window is lowered down. “May sakit ka ba, Maya? You’re scaring me, you know.”
“So-sorry.” She stammered, trying to catch her breath. “Akala ko wala na eh. Bumalik pala.”
“Anong bumalik?” Richard asked. “Bumalik yung claustrophobia mo?” he was surprised with what he said. How did I .. how did .. Why do I feel like I’ve known this all my life?
“Ganun bang ka-obvious na may claustrophobia ako?” she said. “Sorry ha. Hindi ko naman gustong takutin ka, nadevelop lang to nung –“
“Nung naaksidente ka.” Richard finished her sentence. Good God! Why do I know these stuffs?
Maya couldn’t believe her ears. Is his memory coming back? She just decided to play along. “Paano mo nalaman?”
“I .. I .. I just put the pieces together.” He lied.
Maya only nodded. But the light of hope she’s been holding on started to grow bigger. He does remember! And he also remembered what Roberto said: “His heart remembers.”
“Anyway, where are you going tomorrow?” Richard decided to change the topic.
“Uuwi ako ng Laguna.” She said.
“What time are you leaving?”
“Hmm. Around 8.”
“How will you get home?”
“Edi sasakay ng bus.”
“Magko-commute ka? Eh paano na lang kapag inatake ka ulit ng phobia? Tapos inatake ka ulit sa bus eh hindi nga nabubuksan yung bintana ‘non.” He stopped talking realizing that some memories of him are trying to creep back. He raked his hair with his hand. “What’s happening to me?” he whispered.
“Richard?” Maya called, but Richard did not respond. Her heart is beating loudly. Are my ears deceiving me or did I just hear him say my incident inside the bus when I went home after my accident? Hindi pwedeng fluke kasi may word na ‘ulit’. At nasabi pa niya yung sa bintana. Maya slightly smiled. Thank you Lord. He remembers.
“Thank you, Richard. Sige na, gagabihin ka pa eh.” She said as soon as the car parked. Richard did not say anything so she opened her door to leave, but Richard caught her by the arm. She stared at it before looking at him. She saw his face like he is worried and that he’s been thinking too much.
“Bakit?” she asked.
With a sigh, he looked straight into her eyes. “I’m coming with you tomorrow.”
“Pe-pero Richard –“
“I’m coming. No buts.”
“Hanggang Linggo ako dun.” She further said.
“I’m still coming. I’ll sleep in a hotel. I’ll be here before 8.” Then he opened his door to go to his side. He opened her door and helped her to get out. “Just tell your parents that a friend of yours is coming with you.”
“Maya.” He interrupted her. “You don’t have to worry about me. Ang sabi ng doktor, pwede ko nang hindi gamitin yung cane ko. And I’m sure my parents will allow me. Sa tanda ko nang ‘to.”
Maya chuckled. “Sigurado ka?” her heart pounding loudly. It’s all surreal.
“Yes. I’ll be here early, okay?” he said and gets his answer when Maya nodded her head. Richard gave her a smile. “You’re so adorable, Maya.” Finally, he lowered his head to kiss her on her head. He just couldn’t resist not doing it.