After the interview and all, I was welcomed with too much work as the replacement of my father. Those two days were literally filled with papers, meetings, more papers, and more meetings. I’m too exhausted whenever I go home and always end up sleeping right away. I hadn’t even got the chance to call her yet.
It was a Sunday where I promised myself that I would just stay home to relax. I’ve been busy throughout the week and I just wanted to rest at my condo. Then my phone rang. I was surprised when I saw her name. I nervously pressed the answer button and she spoke almost immediately.
“Uy, favour naman o, pwede ka ba ngayon? Naliligaw ata ako eh. Mali yung pinagbabaan sa’kin nung driver eh. Baka magalit na yung client natin kasi late ako.” She said in a worried tone and gave some kind of landmark to where she is. It’s actually just a corner before getting to where I am. “Pasensya na Ruby ha, nagmamadali lang talaga kasi ako. Hintayin na lang kita dito kung pwede. Thank you! Bye!”
I quickly grabbed my keys but stopped when I reached the front door. She said Ruby, not Richard. Should I? Or not? Clearly, she called the wrong number. I weighed my options. If I stayed here, she’ll still be wherever she is, and I’m partly responsible to what’s going to happen to her and to her client. If I go, hopefully my day will be filled with her and me together. I groaned and shut my door and drove my car. A day with her is simply just an option that doesn’t come too often in our situation.
After a few minutes, I reached where she is. She’s sitting on one of the tree pots as I put my car to a halt. I can see the curious look on her face when my car’s engine died. I stepped out of the car and heaved a deep breath. I tried to put on the best smile I could possibly do but my facial muscles doesn’t seem to recognize what I want to do. “Shall we go?” I said.
“Ha?” She replied. “Anong ginagawa mo dito?” As I expected. That’s what she’s going to say.
I still felt that I’m doing this wrongly. “You .. you called me. Ang sabi mo puntahan kita dito.” I said.
“Ha? Hinde .. si Ruby ‘yung ..” She trailed off and scanned something on her phone. I’m guessing it’s her phonebook or something. “Ay, naku, Richard, sorry! Si Ruby kasi ‘yung tatawgan ko. Naistorbo ba kita?”
“It’s okay. I’m not busy anyway. Before we argue, sumakay ka na so that we can go to the venue of your photo shoot.” I said as I opened the passenger’s door for her. She slid in and I drove. I couldn’t help but feel glad that Maya is still like before. She’s still the humble person I know. I engaged some topics so that we will not have that silent moment. I was adamant to know why she didn’t call Simon for the fact that he’s her boyfriend.
“Pwede bang no comment muna?” She answered and a grin flew in my face. She may think that it’s because of her ‘showbiz’ answer but frankly, it’s the thought of he’s not here that made me smile. “Ganito, if I tell you about Simon, would you share what happened to you and to her?” She asked and I sighed.
“And here I thought I was the businessman.” I said and saw her smile beside me. “I’ll think about it. Happy?” I asked and she smiled even wider at me. Talking about it is not really a problem but I might have a problem with revising my story. It’s not as easy as it looks.
I chose to spend the day with her as I intended to. I don’t care if it means being her assistant for today. , I would do anything, as long as I’m anywhere near her. I wasn’t really familiar with all of these equipments but I managed to pick up the terms she’d been using for it. In the end, we’re almost done by her job. Getting near her is just one of the things I wanted to do. I longed for caring for her the way I used to and I did it during our little snack time. Then I asked her something that I know will make her really think before answering.
“A couple of days ago, you said that you’ve been dreaming about this man. Well, what if, one day, he goes in front of you out of the blue and introduced himself, say that he’s in love with you and you knew right there and then that he is that man. What would you do?” I paused, holding my gaze in her eyes, pleading, that somehow she will recognize me along with the words I said earlier that would drop some hints. “Would you turn him down because of different reasons? Or would you take the risk of saying I love you back because for once in your life, you want to be happy, just like in your dreams?”
A couple of days ago, you said that you’ve been dreaming about this man who loves you like crazy. Well, what if one day, I go in front of you, scream at the top of my lungs that I am that man, whisper to your ears that I’m still madly in love with you after leaving me unexpectedly and hope that you will know everything by then. What would you do? Would you turn me down because you will choose Simon over me or would you take the risk of claiming my love for you because I know that it will make you happy and I know that I can make that happen?
Behind the question I gave her, that is what I really want to say. I’m still hurting inside knowing that I have to start from scratch again. I have to do those things again so that I can make her fell for me if she couldn’t retrieve her memories with me. But I don’t care. I will do everything better this time. I will give this love another chance. I don’t want to lose her. I can’t lose her.
Gie’s voice rescued Maya from my question like a bell in a boxing match. I stood up and decided to leave. “Let’s go?” I asked. I went back to the set we prepared earlier only to check the unnecessary things. I kept glancing at her and she’s still in deep thought. She stood up and walked in my direction. She called Hanna and the photo shoot resumed.
“Maya, thank you so much! I know that it’s a Sunday pero pinagbigyan niyo pa rin ako.” Gie said to Maya as I packed up her tools.
“You’re welcome Gie. We’ll just call para ma-inform kung kailan niyo makukuha ‘yung album.” I heard Maya said.
“Kuya Richard, Kuya Richard.” Little Hanna called
my name. I turned to my right and went down on my knee to level her.
“Yes?” I asked.
“Thank you po for helping me kanina. Ayoko po talaga kasi sa matataas eh.” Her little voice said.
I gave her a grin – a true one after years of hurting. “You’re welcome. Just remember to don’t look down then focus your attention to something that you’ll surely like. It’s proven and tested by this brave girl that I know.” I said. I instantly remembered Maya during our ride in the Ferris wheel. She said that she was afraid of heights and it was the same advice that he gave her. And it worked with Hanna too.
“Who’s this brave girl po?” She curiously asked.
I sighed. “Just .. just someone I know, Hanna. You’re a lot like her. Takot din siya sa heights eh.” I said.
Hanna’s face beamed. “Can I meet her po?”
My face produced a sad smile. “I’m sorry, pero .. she .. she left me. And I haven’t talked to her for a very long time.”
I thought Hanna was going to frown but instead she still gave me a smile. “Don’t be sad, Kuya Richard. She will come back. ‘Di ba po kapag love kayo nung tao, hindi ka po niya matitiis? It’s what Mommy said to me when I wanted to have a new doll.” She said and I just gave her my smile. “Thank you Hanna.” I replied.
Her mom called her and she bid me farewell, hugging me before she left. I heard the sound of a camera’s shutter and when I turned my head, I saw Maya looking at the screen of her camera. I should’ve known she’s been ogling me. It’s already her habit two years ago.
“Hey, my photo shoot’s over. Why do you have to take my photo?” I asked as I stood up and placed my hand on either of my sides.
Maya’s lips pouted and her brows furrowed. “S-Sino namang nagsabi sa’yo na ikaw yung pinictuaran ko?” She defensively asked.
I shook my head. “I bet for 100 pesos that it’s my picture you’re looking at.” I said and before she could press another button in her camera, I lunged for it and snatched it out from her hands. Sure enough, it’s my photo with Hanna. It was the moment that she was hugging me with her arms around my neck and I was grinning while hugging her back. The background is blurred and me and Hanna are on the left part of the photo. “See?” I mocked.
She rolled her eyes at me and snatched the camera back. “Akin na nga ‘to. Eh kasi naman eh, ang cute niyong mag-usap ni Hanna kanina. Natuwa lang ako. Maganda naman yung kuha ko ah. Rule of thirds pa nga ‘yan eh!” She said.
I sighed. “C’mon, let’s go. You owe me 100 pesos.” I said and before she could utter any word, I picked her bag and walked to my car. I could hear the sound of her footsteps behind me and when I reached my car, I placed her bag on the back seat and I opened her door. “So, 100 pesos plus the temporary assistant slash driver. ‘Yun ang utang mo.” I teased.
I saw a hint of smile on her face. “Alam ko na kung saan tayo pupunta. Ililibre kita.” She said and went inside the car. I walked on the other start and started to drive. Maya gave me directions but the place remains a secret. After a few minutes, we arrived at Manila Bay walk. She got out of the car before I could even open the door for her. She quickly grabbed my arm and pulled me. “Tara na Richard! Maraming isaw dito!” She exclaimed.
We were walking beside each other when she spotted an isaw vendor. She ordered and after a while, they were cooked. Maya handed me a plastic full of it while she held hers in her hand. She grabbed a stick and started digging in. “O! Kain na!” She exclaimed.
I produced my newly acquired grin and grabbed a stick as well. “I never expected you to be eating something like this.” I said as I ate mine. I started walking but she remained rooted to her spot. “Are you coming or ..?”
“Richard. Kumakain ka ng isaw?” She asked with her eyes wide.
I nodded. “When I was in college, laging nagugutom si James. He usually eats this kaya nung naging magkaibigan kami, nililibre niya ako nito. At first I thought it’s doesn’t taste good because of its form pero ayos pala.” I said and I took another bite. Maya laughed and walked to reach me. Then we started to stroll.
“So, care to tell me what happened between you and her?” She asked and I just gave her blank face. “O, c’mon Richard! You’re practically telling Hanna what happened. Buti pa ‘yung bata, sinasabihan mo.” She said.
“Hey you’re eavesdropping.” I commented.
“It’s not my fault that I heard your conversation! But please, sabihin mo na kasi sa’kin para hindi na ko nangungulit.” She said.
I sighed. “Fine. Pero I’m reminding you, we have a deal.” I said and she nodded with a smile. We sat near the bay and I turned around to watch the sunset as she waited for my story.
“I .. I’m not the same man I used to be when I met her. She just came into my life out of nowhere. It may sound a little cliché but yes, I fell in love with her. She broke every barrier I built around me. She made me face my fears and even helped me with my father.” I stared, trying to make everything as broad as possible. I don’t want to take her by surprise. “Then one day I proposed to her and she said yes. I was so happy that day. James and Angela got married a few months before us and then .. during our wedding day .. I was just anxious to marry her. Then I felt something’s not right. Sure enough, it was her that was feeling not right. She.. she left me.” I continued, picturing the whole scenario again in my head.
“I spent a year trying to find her but I can’t. I was so depressed. I gave up everything that I can give up. James, Papa and my little brother were with me through my sufferings. Then after that, I went back to Vanguard again and went on my old ways. Work, eat, sleep, more work.” I said. I took a look at her and saw that she’s so saddened by my story. “Enough of mine, questions later. Your turn.” I quickly said.
Maya heaved a deep breath. “Simon and I are childhood friends. When our family broke apart, he’s the shoulder I cry on besides Kute. I used to have this crush on him but we didn’t really have any relationships past being friends. Until a year ago, he’s on US while I was there to work. He asked me out and then that’s the start of our love story.” She said and sighed again. “Simon always has this dream to be the chief editor of one of the newspapers in the country. Pero nung unang naging kami, lagi siyang nagko-compromise eh. Nauna siyang bumalik sa Pilipinas para ituloy yung trabaho niya. Then when I came back, parang ..wala na siyang time para sa’kin eh. Hindi pa nga niya ako nabati nung birthday ko.” She said. “Ewan ko kung nasaang lupalop na siya ng bansa ngayon.” She ended with a sigh.
“Sounds sad.” I replied.
“Mas sad ‘yung sa’yo.” She countered.
“Then maybe we’re both sad people.” I said with a grin.
She nodded. “Are you still in love with her?” She asked.
I gave her a sure nod. “Yes. With all of my heart.” I answered. “How about you? Do you love him?” I asked. She was about to answer when I spoke again. “Not Simon. The man in your dreams.”
She paused and I just stared at her while she thinks. Then she heaved a deep breath and faced me. “Hindi ko alam eh. All I know is that he makes me happy in my dreams. And to answer your question kanina sa park, kung mangyayari man ‘yung sinabi mo and for some reason, dala-dala niya lahat ng nawawalang piraso ng pagkatao ko then yes, with no doubt, I would run away with him.”
I could feel myself hiding this huge smile on my face. All I have to do now is to do what I have to do.
A/N : Maligayang Pasko po ng Muling Pagkabuhay! I do apologize for my very long absence, Sobrang busy lang po talaga sa simbahan nitong Holy Week, pero totally worth it naman po. Ito lang po muna ang maibibigay ko sa ngayon. Wala po kasi akong time para magtype. Maraming salamat po! 🙂 God bless!