Richard arrived at his house feeling ecstatic. The whole house was now silent for it was almost midnight when he reached home. He went straight to his room with the little box on his hand and a huge grin on his face. He quickly changed his clothes and settled himself on his bed. He reached for that little box that he left at the bedside table and opened it. Inside was a pair of silver cufflinks that is shaped to form the letter ‘R’. He smiled at his gift. He noticed a piece of paper folded inside the box so he picked it up and unfolded it.
Merry Christmas! Kahit hindi natin napag-usapan, gusto pa rin kitang bigyan ng gift. Since hindi ko alam kung anong gusto mong regalo for Christmas, pumili na lang ako ng alam kong magagamit mo. At sure na sure ako na magagamit mo ‘to.
The smile on his face doesn’t seem to go away as he read Maya’s message. He turned his look back at the cufflinks she gave that were resting on his hand. He knew that he will always use it because Maya was the one who gave it.
“Gee, Richard. What happened to you?” He muttered. This is all new to him. Even he blurting out that he has a crush with someone was something he has never done before. It was all strange but he never felt this kind of happiness before.
Maya kept stirring as she lay down on her bed. She can’t seem to bring herself to sleep. With a sigh, she got up from bed and went to the kitchen to make a glass of milk. She brought the glass inside her bedroom and put it on her bedside table. Maya saw the little box that Richard had given her earlier that she forgot to open. After settling on her bed, she reached for it and pulled the ribbon.
Maya gasped when she saw the necklace inside. It was a simple-silver necklace with the letter ‘M’ as its pendant. She turned the box upside down to get the necklace but when she did, a piece of paper fell off, too. She unfolded it and read the message written.
Thank you for spending your Christmas day with me. I know it will be a memorable one for me and I hope for you, too. Merry Christmas!
The necklace was lying on her hand. It was simple, yet beautiful, just like the way Maya wanted it. Without waiting another minute to pass by, Maya reached for her phone and typed Richard a text.
Ang ganda nung necklace. Thank you, Richard!
Her phone instantly beeped back.
You’re welcome. Thank you for the cufflinks. Hindi ka rin makatulog?
Maya chuckled at Richard’s reply.
Binuksan ko pa yung gift eh. Bakit? hindi ka makatulog?
Maya waited for Richard’s reply, but after a few minutes, she still hasn’t received one.
“Baka nakatulog na.” She said. After that, her phone rang. Richard’s name flashed on her phone. “Tumawag pa?” She pressed the answer button and placed the phone near her ear.
“You’re still awake?” Richard said.
“Oo naman. Edi sana hindi ko nasagot yung tawag mo ‘di ba?” She giddily said.
“Ha-ha. Stop being sarcastic.” Richard said, making Maya giggle. “Seriously, why are you still awake?”
“Wala lang. Hindi lang ako makatulog. Kailangan bang may dahilan pa?” She said. Richard sighed on the other line.
“Alright.” He said. “You should rest.”
Maya smiled at Richard’s thoughtfulness. He can really be sweet. “Sige. Ah, Richard pwede bang ako na lang yung bahala sa next date natin?”
“Huh? What do you mean?”
“Itetext na lang kita kung saan saka kailan.” She said.
“Are you sure?”
“Oo naman! Para maka-menos ka na rin sa gastos. Malaki ata yung nagastos mo kanina eh.” She said.
“It doesn’t really matter. Ngiti mo naman yung kapalit.” Richard said.
“O sya sya, tama na nga ‘tong tawag na ‘to. Ayan ka na naman eh.” Maya said, completely flushed.
Maya heard Richard laugh on the other line. “Okay. Goodnight, Maya.”
“Goodnight din Richard.” She said but didn’t make any move of disconnecting the call, even Richard. “O? Bakit hindi mo pa binababa?”
The other line remained silent. Maya was about to disconnect, thinking that Richard already fell asleep, when she heard him spoke. “Thank you for earlier again, Maya.”
Maya smiled. She felt too giddy especially now that she admitted to herself that she has a crush on him, too. “Thank you rin. Sige na, Richard. Bye.” And then she disconnected.
The two of them kept calling and texting each other through the days that passed. Richard would usually go to LAS even if the holidays are still in. And Maya would occasionally remind him to eat in time. While Richard was busy, Maya had nothing to do. She was considering going home but she would always contradict it. Christmas did pass away but her parents still haven’t greeted her, only her sister. It has always been like that with her family. Ever since they were still a kid, Maya’s parents had always been workaholics. They were so busy making their ‘Chibugan’ grow that they even forget to celebrate those occasions that are important for a family.
When Maya graduated, she told them that she’ll be staying at Manila. And even if her parents didn’t allow her, she still moved. Her sister, Kute, was still living with their parents and she’s the only connection she had at home.
With a heavy heart, Maya decided to go out to clear her head. She quickly dressed up and went to the nearest Starbucks place she knew. She ordered one caramel macchiato and settled herself on a sit near the window and cleared her mind. As she was staring out the window, her phone rang. She smiled when she saw Richard’s name flashing on her phone.
“Hello!” Maya cheerfully greeted.
“Hey! My powers are back.” Richard said as he grinned.
“Ha? Anong powers?”
“Huhulaan ulit kita.”
Knowing what Richard meant by that, Maya frantically turned her head to look around. “Nasaan ka?”
“Shh. You’re disrupting my powers.” He said. “Hmm. Nasa Starbucks ka na naman.”
“Richard! Nasan ka kasi!” Maya said as she continued to search for him.
“You’re with a mug of macchiato. Do you want something to eat?” He asked.
Maya giggled. “Donut na lang. Nasaan ka kasi.”
“Hold on.” Richard said. Maya laughed as she heard Richard say his order to the cashier lady. She looked at the counter and saw Richard there. He shifted his gaze at her as he reached for his wallet to pay and gave her a smile. Maya instantly melt when he did that. She disconnected the call when she saw Richard walked to her direction.
“Hi miss. Would you mind if I sit here?” He said.
“Sorry. May iniintay ako eh.” She teased.
“Oh? May I ask who?”
Maya grinned. “Yung manghuhula ko.”
Richard laughed. He looked back at the counter when he heard them call his name. He stayed a little longer and when he came back, he was carrying a tray with him and stopped in front of her. He put the tray down on the table and handed her a piece of tissue. Maya got it from him and chuckled when she read what’s written on it.
Manghuhula ni Maya
“May I sit, now?” Richard said. Maya just nodded and Richard sat on the chair in front of her.
“Akala ko may trabaho ka?” Maya asked as Richard put the plate of donut in front of her. “Hati na tayo dito.” She said.
“I left early.” Richard said after he took a sip of his latte. “I’m craving for coffee for no reason. And I don’t even know why I chose this place. Buti na lang pala dito ako nagpunta.” He said. All of it was the truth. He was really craving for coffee since this morning and he even chose this place even if it’s quite far from LAS.
Maya just smiled at him. “Gusto mong magkwento na ‘ko?” She asked.
“Do you want to?” Richard asked as he took a bite of the donut. Maya nodded at him “Okay. Hold on, I’m going to get another donut.” He said and he left her to order another one. She wanted to tell Richard about her post relationship with James. It was the perfect place as it holds some of their memories.
Richard came back with a donut and settled back at his chair. “Whenever you’re ready.” He said.
Maya took a deep breath first before starting her story. “Nagkakilala kami ni James sa airport. Pareho pa lang kaming trainee non tapos nagkabanggaan kami sa Time Airways. After nung briefing namin, inalok niya agad ako ng date. Tapos after two months, naging kami na.
“Kaya ko gustong ikwento ‘to sa’yo ngayon kasi dito kami lagi madalas pumupunta. Dito sa Starbucks na ‘to. Tapos lagi kaming nagkakape tapos kung ano-ano lang yung napag-uusapan namin.” She said as Maya reminisced those times that she and James would just laugh because of his jokes. Of all the places that they’ve been to, Maya consider this as her favourite because it is where they really got to know each other.
“When he proposed, yes agad ang sagot ko. Mahal na mahal ko talaga siya eh. Mas lalo kaming naging close pagkatapos non. Nung nakapag-set na kami ng date para sa kasal namin, nagpa-register din kami sa wedding seminar. First day ‘yun ng wedding seminar namin tapos iniintay ko siya dun sa condo building namin .. kausap ko pa siya ‘nun eh .. nag-intay ako pagkatapos niyang ibaba yung telepono. Bigla na lang tumawag yung tatay ni James tapos .. tapos nalaman ko na lang na nabangga pala siya ng truck.” She continued. Maya felt her tears are starting to form. “Ano ba ‘yan ang iyakin ko talaga.” She said.
“It’s okay, Maya.” Richard said and gave her reassuring smile.
“Pagpunta ko sa ospital, wala na siya.” Maya said as her tears started to flow. Even if it all happened to her years ago, she still can’t forget what happened that day. Maya still felt the same pain from that day and it never goes away. “Ang sakit pala kapag nawala yung taong mahal mo. Ni hindi mo man lang nasabi sa kanya sa huling pagkakataon kung gaano mo siya kamahal saka na ayaw mo siyang mawala sa buhay mo. Kahit nailibing na si James ‘non, araw-araw pa rin akong naiyak. Hindi ko talaga matanggap na wala na siya.”
Richard quickly moved his chair beside her and wiped her tears. He doesn’t care what the few people inside are thinking. All he knew is that this lady is still in so much pain and that he wanted to comfort her no matter what.
“Kahit lumipas na yung ilang taon, masakit pa rin eh. Pero .. pero nakakapagmove-on na rin ako kahit papaano. Lalo na sa tulong nina Emman.” She said and then she chuckled. “Pasensya ka na Richard ha. Baka sabihin nung mga tao dito, pinapaiyak mo ko.”
“It’s okay. I don’t care.” He replied. “Are you okay, now?”
Maya nodded. “Alam mo bang sinisisi pa ko ng parents niya kung bakit namatay si James? Ang sabi nila, dapat daw hindi na ko nagpakaon pa para hindi siya nabangga. Tapos hindi ko raw sinabi na may sira yung kotse niya, pero sinabi ko naman. Hindi ko tuloy alam kung paano ako haharap kapag nagkita ulit kami.” She added.
“That’s absurd. Hindi dapat nila isinisisi sa’yo yung nangyari sa kanya. Everything happens for reason, right? And no one can do anything kung oras na talaga niya.” He said.
“Hanggang ngayon, ganun pa rin ‘yung tingin nila sa’kin eh.” She said and then she sighed. “Hay nako, ang drama ko na naman.”
“No you’re not. You’re saying what you’re feeling.” Richard said as he moved back to his position. “Drink up.” Maya reached for her coffee and drank it. She felt better after doing so. Coffee really calms her down. “Anong sabi ng parents mo?” Richard asked.
Maya just gave him a small smile. “Wala naman silang pakielam sa’kin eh.”
“Why? What happened?” He asked.
Maya raised her brows and smiled at Richard. “Sorry. Ibang kwento na ‘yun. Cheating ka, Richard.”
Richard chuckled. “Fine. So, sa date na lang natin ituloy?” Maya nodded. They continued to eat in silence. After a while, Richard asked. “What is James like?”
“Palabiro. Sobra. Tapos mahilig siya laging magkwento. Sweet saka thoughtful. Nakakatuwa nga eh kasi parang magkaugali kayo.” She said.
Richard grinned. Having said that, his hope rose up again. He felt that he has this chance with her. “Do you have anything to do on New Year’s Eve?” he asked.
“Hm. Wala naman. Mag-isa lang kasi ako sa condo. Nasa Canada kasi si Emman.” She answered.
“Wait. You’re alone sa condo? Hindi ba delikado ‘yun? Saka you’re sharing a unit with a guy?” Richard bombarded.
Maya just laughed at him. “Richard, may security dun sa condo building. Saka di ba nga, gay si Emman. Hindi guy. Roommates lang naman kami. Saka ilang taon na rin kaya akong nandun.” Maya assured him.
Richard just sighed. “Fine. You win.”
“Ano’ng meron sa New Year?”
“Well, since wala kang gagawin, just celebrate it with us.” He said with a smile.
Richard nodded. “Sa bahay ko. With my parents, I might add. Farewell party na rin sa kanila since they’re going back to China.”
“Eh .. hindi ba parang .. parang sabit lang ako?” She shyly asked. “Of course not!” Richard immediately said. “Please, Maya?”
“Sige na po, Mr. Lim.” Maya said earning her another huge smile from Richard. “Thank you.” He said. Richard continued to drink his coffee and then he broke their silence. “Maya .. do .. do you think you’re ready for a new relationship?” Maya’s attention was captured by Richard after he said those words. “Uhm ..” She trailed off. “Depende siguro.”
“Depends on what?” He asked.
“Depende, kung .. kung matutulungan niya ulit akong magmahal.” She just said. After the years, it seemed like she’s so scared to fall in love again. She’s afraid to risk her heart once more and just get it broken again.
“So if I help you, may chance ako?” Richard asked. It’s not really how he wants the sentence to be constructed but he wants to keep it light, just to avoid Maya trigger her painful past.
“Kung kaya mo ba eh.” Maya teased back.
“I’ll help you, Maya. I promise.”
A/N : Sorry po kung mabagal yung phasing ng kwento ko 😦