“Happy new year, Roomie! Miss na miss na miss na miss na kita!” It was a beautiful Tuesday afternoon. Maya immediately picked up her phone when she heard it ringing. Emman’s usual cheerful tone welcomed her from the other line. “Alam kong huli kami ng isang araw dito kaya happy new year!!”
“Thank you Emman!” Maya replied. “Happy new year din dyan sa inyo? Kamusta kayo diyan?”
“Ay nako, kaloka ang lamig! Dapat pala isinama talaga kita. Di ba gusto mong makakita ng snow? Girl, magsasawa ka sa snow dito.”
“Next time na lang siguro, Emman.” Maya replied. “Kamusta ang pasko dyan?”
“Ayun, pumunta kami kung saan-saan. Tapos nag-shopping ako – Teka teka, Roomie. Bakit ba ako ang nagkukwento dito eh mukhang maganda ang pasko mo?”
Maya giggled. “Hindi naman. Sakto lang.” She headed to their kitchen to check on the dish she is cooking for the dinner at Richard’s place later that night.
“Asuuus. Sakto-sakto. If I know, kinikilig ka na diyan.” He said with a teasing tone.
“Hindi no, Emman. Saka mahirap kiligin habang nagluluto.” Maya said as she stirred the pot.
“Nagluluto? Bakit? Hindi ka pa kumakain?”
“Hindi naman. Teka nga Emman, ilalagay kita sa speakerphone.” Maya said and moved the phone away from her ear to push the speaker button and put in on the counter near her. “Kumain na ako. Para ‘to sa media noche mamaya.”
“Ahh. Eh sinong kasama mo mamaya? Sina Eds?” Emman continued to inquire.
“Hindi eh. Inimbita kasi ako ni Richard sa kanila mamaya.” Maya said. She bit her lip when she didn’t hear Emman speak on the other line. She knew saying his name would drive Emman nuts. “Emman?”
“Sinong Richa –“ He stopped. “Ayyyy!! Kilala mo na siya Roomie? Kilala mo na yang si R mo?” Emman quickly said.
Maya smiled as she continued to cook her dish. “Oo, Emman. Si Richard Lim pala ‘yun no.” She said with a calm tone.
“Omaygad Roomie! Kilala mo na talaga siya! Eh ikaw? Kilala ka na niya?”
Maya just giggled. Hearing her friend tease her makes her feel more giddy even though their first date was already over. She decided that it’s better to tell Emman what had happened last Christmas. She told him about their dinner, how they ended up removing their masks and their talk near the lake. Maya skipped the part of Richard telling his heart disease. She thought it was all too personal to tell. As she continued to tell everything, Emman was always squealing because of his kilig.
“Kayo na?” Emman asked when Maya said that it was already the end of her story.
“Huy, anong kami na? Wala pa no.” Maya answered. She almost dropped the pot that she was holding.
“Pero ano nang meron sa inyong dalawa? May naaamoy talaga ako sa pagitan niyong dalawa eh.”
“Wala nga kasi Emman.”
“Crush mo na?”
“H-ha? I-ikaw Emman ha. Kung ano-ano na yang tinatanong mo.” She said.
“Huli!” Emman said. “Crush mo na eh!” Emman said and then he continued to tease her.
“Shhh! Wag ka kasing maingay Emman!” Maya said. She can’t believe that she’s like this teenager who got busted just because she admitted her ‘strange’ feelings for Richard. “Saka crush lang naman eh. Wala namang masama.”
“Dapat umamin ka na sa kanya. Malay natin, manligaw na.” Emman said. Maya was mum after that. She doesn’t know if she needs to say it but she has this feeling that Emman will find out anyway. “Roomie? Sumama ka na ba sa rekados ng niluluto mo?”
“Eh Emman, nanliligaw na eh.” She shyly said. Their condo unit was filled with Emman’s voice squealing. After their unplanned coffee date, Richard really made his intentions clear. He kept sending her flowers and would always text or call her. Maya would always feel giddy even if Richard would just send her those morning greetings. The last time that she felt like this was when James was still around but despite of all those giddy feelings, Maya was still scared.
“Sinagot mo na?” Emman asked.
“Emman! Iilang araw ko palang kilala ‘yung tao, sasagutin ko agad? Saka .. saka parang .. parang ayokong sagutin?” she said.
“WHAT? Bakit naman?” Emman exclaimed. “Hay nako, Roomie. Kung ayaw mo lang kay Sir Richard eh sabihin mo lang at akin na lang. Pero hindi kita maintindihan eh. Akala ko ba crush mo ‘yung tao tapos ngayong nangliligaw, ayaw mo naman sa kanya?”
“Ganito kasi Emman.” Maya said as she finally put on the last touches on her dish. “Natatakot ako na baka mamaya, kaya ko pala siya sinagot kasi nami-miss ko lang ‘yung feeling na ganito. Gusto ko munang makasiguro na mahal ko nga siya at hindi ko tine-take for granted ‘tong kilig na ‘to.” She said. “Hindi naman sa maarte ako o ano. Ang sa’kin lang, baka sa huli, pareho lang kaming masaktan kasi hindi pala namin mahal ‘yung isa’t-isa.”
“Naiintindihan naman kita Roomie. Pero, may itatanong lang ako sa’yo. Ito bang nararamdaman mo sa ngayon para kay Sir Richard ay, letter a, katulad ng nararamdaman mo noon para kay James? O letter b, katulad ng feelings mo sa mga nanligaw sa’yo dati na walang sawa mong binasted?” Emman asked. “Yun muna ang isipin mo Roomie. A or B. Saka ang sabi naman diba, sa love, walang kasiguraduhan. Kaya kung isusugal ni Sir Richard ‘yung puso niya para sa’yo. Siguro hindi mo malalaman ‘yung sagot mo dun sa tanong ko kung hindi mo rin isusugal ‘yung puso mo, Roomie.” Emman said. Of all the good things in Emman, this is what Maya likes the best – his love advices. It seemed like Emman has the answer to everything, especially after James died.
“Basta Roomie, pag-isipan mo, ha? Ibababa ko na ‘yung cellphone. Malaki na naman ata ang babayaran ko. More news pa Roomie ha? Sige Bye! Happy new year!”
Maya greeted back before finally disconnecting the call. There’s still one thing that she haven’t told Emman. It was how they actually met.
“You promised, Richard ha. I’m going to meet her tonight.” Ryan said as he sat inside Richard’s home office. “And thank you for inviting me ngayong new year. Sabi nga pala ni Tita, kailangan mo na naman daw ng check up –“
“That’s not really necessary, Ryan.” Richard said as she lifted his gaze from his laptop. “Just tell Mama that I’m better or else, you’re going to celebrate New Year alone.” He said with a grin on his face.
“Wha – Okay okay. Pero I can clearly see that you’re doing really well. May pinopormahan ka na ngang babae eh.”
Richard stopped typing and looked at his best friend who’s smiling at him. “Brod, is it normal for me to feel like .. like I’m already in love with a woman that I’ve just met for just around two weeks?”
“Well, in my opinion, I can call it attraction, or maybe lust? But not love –“
“Hindi eh.” Richard interrupted. “It’s like I’m really in love with her. Basta brod, ang gulo. And I have this strange feeling that I’ve known her all my life. Ewan ko, hindi ko ma-explain.” He said while Ryan just shrugged. “Another strange thing is that I’m always craving for coffee. Ewan ko ba. It started after the transplant. Parang may hinahanap akong lasa o ano. Minsan, habang kumakain kami, bigla na lang akong maghahanap ng tutong ng kanin. But I’m not really like that. What’s wrong with me, brod?”
Ryan chuckled at him before answering. “Blame your heart, Richard. There’s this Cellular Memory Hypothesis. Go look it up if you want to. Ang sabi don, hindi lang ‘yung brain natin yung kayang mag-store ng memory, pwede rin daw yung mga cells. Kasi, yung mga cell daw natin, parang extension ng sarili natin. Sila ‘yung nag-aadjust depende sa experience nung taong kinabibilangan nila.
“What you’re experiencing right now is not different from the majority of organ receivers. For example, your heart donor. I could say na dahil sa kanya kung bakit ka naghahanap ng tutong. Maybe it’s your donors favourite or he always eat that for his meals, depende. His experiences that were gathered up in his cell were transferred to you, kaya you feel the same. Ganun din for the coffee.” Ryan explained.
Richard nodded in agreement. “That explains it. Pero how about me always being happy? Kayo na rin ang nagsabi diba? And I know that I was never like this. But based sa inyo, kina Papa and even my employees, nagbago na raw ako. Hindi na raw ako masungit tapos lagi pa raw nagbibiro.”
“I really don’t know Richard. Siguro, we can assume na it’s also because of the heart? Kasi kahit ako, napansin ko yung significant progress mo sa ugali pagkatapos nung transplant mo.” Ryan answered.
“How about my feelings towards Maya?” Richard continued to ask.
Ryan smiled when he finally heard the name of the woman Richard was talking about. He really talks highly of her and he would always mention her with that grin on his face. “That, I cannot answer. Based on what I’ve read, ang kalimitan lang nata-transfer sa cellular memory ay ‘yung mga craving sa pagkain, eating habits, hobbies, song choice, bisyo, pati ugali na parang sa’yo. Halos sa ganoong category lang eh. I’ve never read or heard about the ‘feelings’being transferred. And besides, how can you be so sure na may kinalaman ang donor mo sa nililigawan mo?”
Richard shrugged. “I don’t know. I just .. I just thought na baka ‘yun yung dahilan. Anyway, thank you Doc.”
“Always a pleasure, my friend.” Ryan replied with a grin. “May tanong ka pa ba?”
“Yes. Do you happen to know who my donor was?” Richard asked. He really wants to thank this person who gave the heart he has now, even his or her family. Richard considers this as a huge turning point in his life and he just feels like he needs to show gratitude for this stranger that made him live again.
“Hindi ko alam, brod eh.” Ryan replied. “I had access to your medical records pero mukhang anonymous ‘yung donor mo. May mga tao kasing ganon na mas pinipili na lang na ‘wag ipaalam na sa kanila galing ‘yung organ. All I know is that your donor is a male and he died from an accident.”
Richard nodded. “Pero may way pa ba para hanapin ko siya? I just want to thank his family.”
“Meron. Maybe you can search for the car accidents that happened on the day you got your new heart. If all the details fell into place, he might be the one.”
“Thank you, Ryan.” Richard said. Finally, someone answered his questions. If this cellular memory thing is really what made him like that, Richard knew that he couldn’t thank his donor enough for it. He just needs to do his research and soon enough, he can finally find his donor. “I have to go. Kakaunin ko lang si Maya.” He said.
“Can I come?” Ryan asked.
“Dito ka na lang.” Richard said with smile on his face. He knew Ryan would just tease him when he gets to her place. He headed to the kitchen to inform his parents that he’ll be out for a while and finally walked to his car.
He was driving with this smile on his face again. He knew Maya was the only reason for that smile. All the things that were bugging his mind just evaporates the very moment that he sees her. Without even noticing it, he was already on her condo unit. He pulled out his phone and dialled her number.
“I’m here.” He said when Maya answered the call.
“Nandito ka na agad?” she said.
“Well, yes. Matagal ka pa ba?”
“Hindi naman. Akyat ka muna. Sabihin mo lang dun sa receptionist.”
“Alright. I’ll see you in a bit.” He said and ended their call. Richard walked inside and asked the receptionist for Maya’s room number. After that, he took the elevator and walked to her unit. He waited outside after he pressed her doorbell. Seconds later, Maya opened the door. Richard smiled as he saw Maya wearing just her jeans and a red polka-dot shirt.
“Pasok ka muna. May kukunin lang ako.” She said and she let Richard entered the unit. “Gusto mo ng kape?”
“Yes please.” Richard answered and sat on the couch as Maya gestured so. He watched Maya as she busied herself in her kitchen and walked back to him holding a cup of coffee. “Thank you.” He said.
“Richard, may carbonara ba na niluto sa inyo? Nagluto kasi ako eh.” Maya said as she sat beside him on the couch.
“You cooked? Hindi ka na dapat nag-abala eh. Inimbita naman kita.” Richard replied as he held the cup of coffee.
“Nakakahiya naman kasi eh. Pero hayaan mo na. Masarap naman ‘yung niluto ko. Promise ‘yan.” She said with a smile on his face.
Richard chuckled. “Confident.” He said and then he took a sip of his coffee. After taking a sip, his eyes widened and he turned to Maya. “You made this?”
Maya nodded. “Oo. Masarap? See? Sa kape ko pa lang, nasasarapan ka na, paano pa kaya sa carbonara ko?” She teased. Richard just stared at the cup he was holding. It was the exact taste of coffee he was craving for. It was the one he wanted. And he doesn’t even know why.
A/N : Sorry po for the late update. Hindi po kasi permanente ang internet ko. #buhayprepaid Haha. HAPPY NEW YEAAAAR! Thank you so much for being with me this 2013 and thank you for letting me be a part of your lives. God bless po sa lahat and may you all have a fruitful 2014 🙂