“Uhm, Sir Roberto, saan po pupunta si Richard?” Maya anxiously asked as she and Roberto rode the elevator. She has a feeling that Richard’s hiding something to her which is peculiar since he was always an open book when it comes to Maya. Something just tells her that there’s something wrong.
“I-I think my site visit siya sa Alabang.” The old man said. “Pasensya ka na Maya ha, at mahina na rin ata ang pandinig ko. Hindi
ko kasi naintindihan yung sinabi ni Richard kanina.” He said, hoping that Maya would buy his little alibi.
Maya nodded and tried to absorb what Roberto said. May site visit sa Alabang? Eh ang alam ko last week pa tapos yung project niya ‘don. She stole a glance at Roberto and saw that he’s still acting normal. Mukhang may tinatago si Richard.
“Sir, sinabi po ba ni Richard kung anong oras siya uuwi?” Maya asked. She saw Roberto gulp before he answered. “Uhm, wala eh.”
He replied. “Maya, you can just call me Tito. Wala na naman tayo sa trabaho. Or even Papa if you want to.” He suggested as a grin was plastered on his face.
“O-okay po yung Tito.” She relplied. Papa? Bakit naman Papa? Maya wondered. Her mind continued to analyze things as the elevator pinged. Roberto’s driver opened the door to the car’s door and she went in, followed by Roberto. She remained silent as the engine came to life.
“Lino, Richard’s condo. Thank you.” Roberto said to his driver. And then he glanced at Maya. As expected, she was still lost in her thoughts. I should’ve warned you, Richard. “Maya? Is there something wrong?” He dared to ask.
“Ah, wala naman po Tito.” She shortly replied. She took her phone out and texted Richard.
Anong oras ka uuwi? Then almost instantly, her phone beeped.
Not sure. Talk to you later. Richard’s reply said. Maya’s brows narrowed. Ang cold naman ng reply niyang ‘to. Hindi naman siya ganito.
“Maya?” Roberto’s voice brought her back from her reverie. “Ah, wala po, si Richard lang po nag-text.” She replied.
“Bakit hindi maipinta ‘yang mukha mo?” Roberto asked.
“Eh .. eh kasi po yung reply ni Richard, parang .. parang kahinahinala po. Ang ikli-ikli po kasi tapos parang ang cold. Hindi naman po siya ganito mag-reply dati. Parang may tinatago po eh. Tito, meron po ba?” She asked. “Ay, sorry po, Tito. Dirediretso na naman po akong magsalita.”
Roberto chuckled. “It’s okay, Maya. I really enjoy your company.” He started. “Well, I don’t think Richard is hiding anything. Actually, I’m the least person you should ask. Ang .. ang tagal kasi naming ‘di nagpapansinan ‘di ba? If he’s hiding something, then I guess you should ask someone whom he really trusts.” He said.
“Si James!” She exclaimed like a light bulb just lit up in her head. Damn Roberto, your mouth. The old man said in his thoughts.
“Baka po may problema si James o kaya po may business sila.” Maya muttered. She unlocked her phone to send a message.
James, kasama mo ba si Richard? She asked and after a few seconds, she got a reply.
Nope. I’m in a meeting. Need something? It said. Knowing James, Maya took it as the truth. Aero has been expanding since Richard left and from what Richard tells her, they’ve been receiving more and more clients.
Wala naman. Thank you. She replied and then sighed. Maybe Richard was just really busy. But he always makes time for me. Always. She contradicted her thoughts. She sighed again. Maya, ‘wag mo na lang isipan ng masama si Richard. Mag-eexplain din yun mamaya pag-uwi niya. She further thought.
A few more minutes later and the car came into a halt outside their condo building. She thanked Roberto and rode the elevator. Maya went to the fridge to get some water to only realize that they’re almost out of food. She checked the cabinets and saw that they’re almost out of supplies too.
Maya went inside the bedroom to change into some comfortable clothes and grabbed her bag to shop for some groceries. As she was locking the door, her phone rang.
“Hello.” She greeted as she slid her keys inside her bag.
“Maya! Is Richard with you?” The voice on the other line said.
“Angela?” She asked and looked at her screen to check whose calling. It was indeed her.
“Yes it’s me. Is he with you?” She further asked.
“H-Hindi ko kasama. Bakit?” Maya replied.
“Tinext ko si Richard, ang sabi niya, hindi nya kasama si James pero nung tinext ko si James, kasama raw niya. Alam mo naman ‘yong si James, hindi makapaglihim sa’kin.” Angela explained. “Alam mo ba kung san sila pupunta?”
“Wait. Richard’s with James? Eh nung tinanong ko si James, hindi naman daw niya kasama si Richard.” Maya replied.
“See? Tinext mo ba si Richard kung kasama niya si James?” The lady on the other line said. “Hindi ko natanong. Itetext ko tapos i-text mo rin si James. Tawagan na lang kita kapag nakareceive ako ng reply.” Maya stated and then she hung up. She quickly typed a message.
Kasama mo si James? And sent it to Richard.
No. Was his short reply. Maya’s brows narrowed again. There’s really something going on with Richard’s responses. He usually sends a yes or a no, followed by some explanation but its different now. Her phone rang again.
“What did Richard said?” Angela’s voice welcomed her ears.
“Hindi daw nya kasama.” Maya replied.
“How dare he! Ang sabi ni James kasama raw niya.” Angela replied. “Maya where are you? Nasa condo ka ba?”
Maya felt a pang in her heart. Why is Richard lying to her? “Oo. Paalis ako. Maggo-grocery lang ako.”
“Great. Hintayin mo ako sa lobby. I’m on my way. Kailangan nating malaman kung nasaan ang dalawang ‘to.” She said and hung up. Maya was bothered once again by her thoughts as she rode the elevator. What could Richard be hiding? He was all sweet last night, even earlier at his office yet something changed this afternoon. He usually let Maya know if he’s going to drink with his colleagues and now all he could reply was a yes or a no.
Maya sat down on one of the benches inside the lobby as she waited for Angela. Still, she was thinking things through. If Richard is with James, what could they possibly be doing that would be enough for Richard to lie? So many things popped out in Maya’s mind but she brushed them all off. She was scared to think that Richard might be doing something that would end up hurting her.
The sound of screeching tires made Maya’s attention to shift. She stood up and looked at the entrance and saw a familiar silver Camry. “Maya!” Angela said as she peeked through the window of her car. “Get in!” She hurriedly said.
Maya obliged and immediately opened the passenger’s door to ride. Once she closed the door, Angela stepped on the gas and the car screeched. “Angela! Kumalma ka nga! Nakakanerbyos ka eh!” Maya exclaimed as she put on her seatbelt.
“C’mon, Maya. I really think something’s not right with them. Hindi mo ba napapansin?” She asked.
“Ikaw din?” Maya replied. “Akala ko ako lang. Nagmamadali kasi si Richard kanina pagkatapos nung board meeting tapos ang iikli pa ng reply niya.”
“Yeah, same thing with James. Pinuntahan ko siya kanina sa Aero kasi hindi na kami nagkakabutan ng schedule. Pagdating ko ‘don, kakatapos lang ng meeting niya. And do you know what he said? Ang sabi niya may kailangan siyang puntahan. Ni hindi nga niya ako hinintay sumagot kasi umalis na agad eh.” Angela explained. Maya knew that her blood was boiling too. “And he was talking to someone on the phone when I entered his office. Si Richard, I swear. Tapos ginagamit niya yung pronoun na ‘her’ sa pag-uusap nila at alam kong hindi ako ‘yon. Ang sabi kasi niya ‘She’s wearing a black dress and she always has her iPad in her hands. Go look for her.’ See? Sino bang hindi maghihinala sa dalawang yon?”
Maya felt her heart pound fast. “May .. may babae?” She asked.
Angela nodded. “Apparently yes. I already know where they are at dun tayo pupunta ngayon. Hindi ko talaga tinantanan si James. Paulit-ulit kong tinatawagan yung phone niya hanggang sa nagreply na lang siya kung nasaan sila.”
“Eh paano kung decoy lang niya ‘yan? Paano kung wala talaga sila dyan?” Maya asked.
“Subukan lang ni James. Binantaan ko sya nung nagreply sya. Ang sabi ko, kapag hindi totoo yung sinabi niya, hihiwalayan ko siya.” The other woman replied. “Honesty kaya ang isa sa mga pundasyon ng isang mabuting relationship. Kung wala ‘yon, edi puro na lang kayo nagsisinungaling sa isa’t-isa. Isang malaking kasinugalingan lang yung relasyon niyo.”
Maya was slowly shrinking in her seat. Angela was right. It’s all about telling the truth, and now, Richard is starting to tell lies. What now? Is their relationship starting to fall apart? She decided to send another message to Richard.
I’m going out. Wala nang pagkain sa condo. Nasaan ka?
Okay. Take care. I’m in Makati.
Nagyaya ng inuman yung kaklase ko nung college.
Bakit kailangan sa Makati pa? Ang dami namang lugar na malapit ah.
After her text, Richard didn’t respond any further. There it was. Lies. Maya could recall that Roberto said that Richard is in Alabang, doing a site visit. Yes, Roberto said that he might’ve not heard it right but Alabang and Makati doesn’t sound alike, and going out with a colleague all the way to Makati? Knowing Richard, she knew he wouldn’t go that far just for a drink. Everything was a lie.
Angela hurriedly parked the car and pulled Maya inside the mall. “Paano kaya natin sila mahahanap dito?” Angela wondered.
“Sa mga coffee shop, o kaya restaurant. Someplace quiet so they could talk.” Maya suggested. Angela nodded and pulled Maya as they walked fast. They carefully looked at every restaurant in every floor of the mall, looking if Richard or James is inside. When they were almost giving up, Angela gasped.
“Maya! Ayun sila!” She hissed as she pointed somewhere inside the Starbucks stall. Maya followed what her friend is pointing at and sure enough, saw Richard with James while two women are seating across them. Those women were wearing dresses that really show up their curves and when she looked at the men, they had these smiles on their faces.
With a heavy heart, Angela pulled out her phone and captured the heartbreaking scene they are seeing. After two great years of being together, she felt betrayed by James. Never did he attempted to look at any other woman besides her only to find out that he might be doing everything behind her back. She reached for Maya’s phone and did the same, and together, they walked away feeling that pain inside their hearts.
When they got inside the car, they were both speechless. No one dared to speak as Angela drove Maya back to the condo. The car came to a halt a few seconds later. But still, Maya was too shocked to do anything.
“So, what are we going to do?” Maya whispered.
Angela gave a small shrug. “I don’t know. But I think I’m going home. Then turn off my phone and cry myself to sleep. Eh ikaw? You have to face him because you two live together.”
Maya sighed. “I’m going to sleep on the other room. I’ll get its key and lock myself inside until morning arrives.” She swallowed the lump in her throat. She knew she’s going to cry soon. “I should’ve known Richard would grow tired of me. Ano nga bang mapapala niya sa babaeng hindi man lang maalala kung ano yung buong pangalan niya?”
“Hey, don’t say that.” Angela said trying to comfort her but she too needs one. “Men suck. Hindi talaga sila nakukuntento sa isa! Here you are, doing everything for him. Next thing you know, they’re off to find someone better. Lagi na lang may ‘mas’ kapag sa kanila.” She exclaimed and wiped a tear from her eye.
“Sige na, Angela. Papasok na ko sa loob. Thank you. Siguro kung wala ka, baka matagal pa bago ako nagpaloko kay Richard.” Maya softly said.
Angela nodded. “Women like us needs to stay together.” She said. Maya gave her a hug because from what she can see, they both really need it. She opened her door and went out and heard Angela leave by the screeching of her tires.
As what Maya told Angela, she picked out the key to Luke’s room from the set of keys that are hanging beside the kitchen cabinet. She locked the door and started to cry.
“I should’ve known. I should’ve known! Kaya pala ganon na lang yung paglambing niya sa’kin kaninang umaga kasi makikipaghiwalay na siya! Nakakabwisit ka Richard! Nakakainis ka!” She shouted, not caring if someone hears her. She searched for the photo Angela took in her phone and that made her cry even more. The tears seemed to be on automatic as they flow endlessly, pouring whatever pain Maya has inside. She was crying so hard that her tears lulled her to sleep.
Richard and James were wearing huge grins on their face as they reached the parking lot. Their cars were parked beside each other. When Richard opened the door of his car, he saw James offering his hand to him.
“Congrats. You’re getting married soon, bro.” James said.
Richard accepted his hand and shook it. “No. We’re getting married soon.” He said, putting an emphasis on we’re. “Congratulations to us.”