I woke up with the familiar surroundings of my room. It took awhile before it finally sank that I’m no longer in the States. My room remained untouched since I left. Kute told me that she’s the only one who’s authorized to go inside that even if a friend of hers would stay over, she’ll offer the guest room instead of my room.
I’m already home.
But why do I have the feeling that I’m not?
Starting two years ago, I usually have these vivid dreams. I’m with a man and I was happy. Whenever I’m with him, I have no worries, I have no problems, and it’s always me and him against the world. I couldn’t see the face of the man I’m with. The light coming from the sun would always block his face whenever I look at him or his back is always the one facing me. Whenever I’m going to go in front of him to look at who he is, I would jolt awake. Just like today.
I went straight to Limelight Photography after I got ready. This has been mine and Emman’s dream since we met. He finished accountancy while I finished architecture. We’re very different but we both love photography. We met at the university by a common friend, Edselyn. She’s a writer at a newspaper and a very close friend of our family. She helped me and Emman to find a place where we could start our very own studio. When she found one, we didn’t think twice and bought it from the money we saved and from Kute’s help also.
I was the one responsible for doing the design for the place since I’m the architect but I always goof off. I’m not easily inspired whenever I do a sketch. It would take time for me to draw. It was different in college because I have the deadline as my ‘inspiration’. But after I graduated, I felt like I lost the will to do what architects do. That’s why when I discovered photography, I committed myself into it.
The studio was built months before I disappeared. When I went to America to work, I kept saving money and I would send it to Emman, and sometimes to Kute though she says that it’s not necessary. I was surprised when the cab halted. Our studio looks very different from the last time I’ve been here. Emman did a really good job in renovating the whole place. I was also aware that he hired more photographers other than us.
“Girl!!” Emman shrieked and engulfed me in a hug. “Buti dumating ka! OMG. I miss youuuu! What do you think? Bonggang bongga na ‘tong studio na’ten ano?” He said.
“I miss you din Emman! Ang akala ko, maganda na yung nasa picture. Mas bongga pala ‘pag actual!” I said. I was really amazed. All the furniture inside are all new and very accommodating. “Mukha na tayong professional!”
“Ay nako girl, professional na talaga ‘tong studio na ‘to. Fully booked ang schedule natin this week and next week! Ang dami pang due na projects. Girl. This is it. This is really it!” He exclaimed. “At! Ang biggest client natin up to date ay itong sa bulletin na ‘to. Kaya Maya, sa’yo ko ipinapaubaya ang photo shoot na ‘to. Alam ko namang mas magaling ka sa’kin eh.”
“Asuus. Ayaw mo lang atang magtrabaho eh.” I said.
“Oy fyi, ang dami pang gagawin bukod sa magpicture! Andyan ang lights, ang make up, at marami pang iba! At isa pa,” He paused and grinned like a fool at me. I sighed and put my hand on my face. I know this look. “pogi raw si Mr. Lim! Kaya ikaw na ang bahala habang nagpa-fangirl ako sa isang tabi.” He blurted.
I rolled my eyes at him. “Hay nako, Emman. Ayan na naman tayo.Wala na naman tayong matatapos nito.” I said.
“Maya, kalma lang! May matatapos tayo, ano ka ba. Sure ‘yun. Teka, teka, eto na naman ba tayo sa trust issue mo?” He asked.
I opened my mouth to defend myself but I couldn’t utter a word. He was right. My trust issue’s kicking in again. When I got back, I had a hard time conversing with people. I always have a doubt that what they’re saying is not the truth. I have to ask questions confirming every detail until I freak them out. I have trouble controlling it and it’s affecting my life. I don’t even know where I got it. I’m not like this before. “Basta Emman, ‘wag kang masyadong magpa-fangirl ha? Trabaho muna bago titig, okay?”
“Aye aye Captain Dela Rosa!” Emman said as he saluted me.
“Usapang matino ‘to ha? Bawal –“
“Shhhh! Okay na. Hindi mo na kailangan manigurado. Sure akong gagawin ko yung pinangako ko, Mayabels. Wag mo na kong pagdudahan.” He interrupted and I just bit my lower lip to prevent another word to go out. “Tara na. Mag-lunch muna tayo tapos pupunta na tayo d’on sa venue. Nagtext nga pala si Eds, hindi daw sya yung makikita natin d’on. Alam mo ba kung sinong replacement?” He asked as he wiggled his brows.
“Sino?” I asked.
“Eh sino pa? Kung ‘di ang iyong lovey dovey na si Simon!” He said and I huge grin broke out from my face.
“Nandito na siya?” I happily asked.
“Oh yes. He’s back from Tacloban!” He said and I hugged him tight. Simon is back! I’ve been texting him since I arrived here. He said that he couldn’t meet me because he’s still in Tacloban, covering some reports. It’s really a surprise to know that he’s finally back.
Simon Villanueva. Oh yes, the journalist. He’s my boyfriend. We’ve been together since a year ago. We’ll be celebrating our first anniversary a couple of months soon. He’s a childhood friend of mine. Ever since he was a kid, he always dreamt of being a journalist and now, he has achieved everything. Simon is a close friend of Kute, and he was the one she entrusted to accompany me to the hospital when I had my full body check up. And that’s the start. He asked me out, we went to a couple of dates and I gladly said yes when he asked me to be his girlfriend.
As we strode through the hall where the interview will take place, I spotted him. He had a huge smile on his face when his eyes shot back. I saw him excused himself and walked and gave me a kiss on my cheek.
“Maya! I’m back!” He said. “Nasurpresa ka ba?”
I chuckled. “Hindi na masyado eh. Si Emman kasi sinabi agad.” I said. He’s just so adorable.
But he’s never the man in your dreams, right Maya?
Simon narrowed his eyes at Emman but he immediately gave a smile. “Just kidding, Emman. You’re just in time. Kakarating lang ni Mr. Lim.” He said and gazed at someone in front of us.
“Mr. Lim, I would like you to meet your photographers for this day, Maya Dela Rosa and Emman Castro. They’re from Limelight Photography.” Simon introduced. I was actually surprised to find him standing there. A couple of seconds ago, the three of us were alone and he sprouted from nowhere like a mushroom. “Maya, Emman, meet Mr. Richard Lim, the new CEO of the very famous Architecture Firm, Lim Visionary Vanguard.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Lim.” I formally greeted as I offered my hand. I have to give Emman some credit. This guy is indeed handsome. He’s taller than me, his skin is white and his eyes .. there’s something about those eyes. They are chinky, reminding everyone that his blood is Chinese but for some reason, I got lost in them.
“Same here Ms. Dela Rosa.” He replied with a stern voice. The sound of it brought me back from my thoughts. His tone is cold. I bet he always use this whenever he’s on business. He took my hand and he shook it. I smiled at him but he didn’t. I even felt that he’s staring at me for too long. Crap. Do I have something on my face?
“Please excuse me Sir. I still have to do some preparation for the photo shoot.” I said as I quickly withdrew my hand. I want to get away from here as soon as possible. I want to check if I have dirt on my face or I have something between my teeth. I hate it when I don’t look presentable to my client’s eyes. “Na-inform na po ba kayo tungkol dun sa mga shots? We’ll be doing 20 shots tapos yung lima po dun –“
“Yes, yes, I already know.” He interrupted. I confusedly looked at him. It’s an impolite thing to do when a lady is talking to someone. He must know that. Ang suplado naman nito. I saw him clenched his jaws and his eyes felt like he’s mad at me or something. Gee.
“O-kay. It’s nice to meet you again Mr. Lim.” I kindly said and gave him a smile, which as expected, he didn’t return. “Emman, tara na.” I said to Emman who’s obviously drooling over this snob and couldn’t find his tongue to speak.“Simon! Tara ‘don! Ang dami kong ikukwento sa’yo!” I said and quickly pulled Emman away from this Mr. Lim. I felt Simon’s hand around mine and I managed to smile fully again.
I kept telling stories to Simon as we checked if all of the things in the set are on their places. I missed Simon’s company. I missed hearing him laugh, I missed feeling his arm on my shoulder, and I missed talking to him.
But you still feel like something’s missing.
Okay, okay. My subconscious mind is right. I have this feeling that something is missing. I don’t know what it is and probably, I wouldn’t have any clue until I recover my memory back.
I was adjusting the lights when I shifted my gaze to this snob again. He’s talking with another guy and by the looks of his furrowed brows, I could say that they’re having an argument. I was going to observe him more when Emman spoke.
“Girl, ang pogi ni Mr. Lim.” He said.
“Love at first sight talaga itu.”
“Maya, in love na naman ‘tong si Emman? You’re always saying that ‘love at first sight’ thing. Baka naman ‘love at nth sight’?” Simon teased. I laughed. “Kung marami lang mata ‘yang si Emman, baka marami n.a ‘yang love at first sight.” He continued.
“Che! Palibhasa, may jowa ka.” Emman muttered and he continued on unpacking the things he brought. “Ay, Maya, yung camera mo?”
“Ah, teka lang kukunin ko.” I said. I left my bag on the other side of the room. O great, I have to walk pass through Mr. Snob and his friend who’s probably a snob too. When I’m almost in front of them, I stopped immediately when someone blocked me.
“Hi.” I heard a voice say. “I’m James Ventura, Richard’s best friend. I own Aero Designs.” He continued and laid out his hand, offering a shake.
I looked at him and I could see from my peripheral vision that Mr. Snob is glaring at this man like he’s irritated by him. Well, I’m with you on this one, Mr. Snob.
“Uhm, it’s .. nice to meet you Mr. Ventura. I’m Maya Dela Rosa, from Limelight Photography.” I kindly replied despite of the awkwardness between us. I have a feeling that this is some kind of a ‘may-I-ask-you-out’ thing but I was relieved when I saw a wedding ring on his left hand.
“Dela Rosa.” This man, the friend of Mr. Snob, repeated and I saw the smile he gave Mr. Snob. “Na-aamuse talaga ako sa mga ganyang apelyido. Yung ‘Dela’ ba ay middle name or is it a part of your last name?” He asked.
“It’s part of my last name Sir.” I politely replied. Owkay, something’s definitely not right. Everybody knows about the rule about last names like mine right?
James chuckled. “I’m not being rude or anything but, that guy over there, is he a relative or something?” He asked, nodding somewhere behind me.
I looked around and saw that he’s pertaining to my guy.“Si Simon?” I asked back and when he gave me a nod, I proudly gave my answer.“No, he’s not a relative. He’s my boyfriend.”
“I see. Now that I know, I was thinking if you could spend one dinner out with my best friend? You know, to get to know each other though I do understand that you’re already taken –“
“I’m sorry, Ms. Dela Rosa. My friend is acting preposterously. We don’t mean to offend you.” Mr. Lim interrupted and pulled Mr. Ventura with him even if he’s totally against it. “I’m sorry again.” He said again. I watched them as they continued to leave and when they stopped, I continued walking. I don’t want to be mistaken as an eavesdropper.
I reached my back and pulled out my camera. I stared at it before I put the strap around my neck. I still haven’t unlocked the mystery behind this camera but it’s mine right? Most of my pictures are inside though it’s just a couple of them.
Yep. And majority of them are missing, just like your memory.
I sighed and walked again so that we could start. The earlier this thing would start, the earlier it would finish and I really need some fun times with my friends. As I was walking, I saw Mr. Snob headed to the doors so I called him.
“Mr. Lim! The interview will now start. We’re waiting for you.” I said.
He turned around and I saw that the irritation on his face was gone when he faced me. He looked at his friend and waited for him to speak.“It’s your choice.” He said.
Then he turned his gaze back at me. There’s confusion in his eyes. I guess he’s just lost. Just like me. “I’ll be there in a minute.” He said and I gave him a nod. I walked again and left the two of them. I, too, was confused. I want to get mad with this snob but I felt my heart going out for him instead. His eyes looked too lost.
The interview started and so is the candid photo shoot. I only have five shots but I clicked as many times as I what. I can always delete them later. I was half listening to his answers and I could say that he’s a smart person. I’m an architect too, I know what he’s talking about. When I checked the photos I’ve got, they all look the same – stern, serious, blank, and .. sadness. I captured one where his face was zoomed that showed off his eyes and that’s what I saw in them. Sadness.
I was pointing my camera at him again as I head Simon’s question.
“Rumor has it that you got left at the altar two years ago. Is that true?” Simon asked.
I was pointing the camera directly on his face and I saw how his face fell. I saw his chest rise as he inhaled a deep breath. “I’m sorry but your question is way too personal.” I heard him answer.
As Simon murmured some apologies, I just kept on observing Mr. Snob under my camera. People say that if you look into a person’s eye, you’ll know the truth. It was what I saw in his. I saw him confirm Simon’s question with his eyes.
I slowly brought my camera down to look at him. Now I know the reason why sadness is in his eyes. I might’ve known him just for a couple of minutes but I feel sorry for him. Shame on the woman who did that to him!
A/N : I’m having fun writing both of theor POVs. Nakikita niyo po ba yung parts kung saan nagka-clash yung Cl3 at Cl4? 🙂