I found myself standing in the middle of a living room. I’m pretty sure I’m not home. Behind me, there are doors that would lead to the rooms. I don’t know why I knew that, but I’m sure that there are two bedrooms in this place. Further in this room is another room.
It’s his home office.
Who is he?
I heard something on the kitchen. It took a lot of will before my feet started walking. When I reached the kitchen, there he is. His back was facing me and it seemed like he’s cooking something. All of the sudden, my heart was filled with happiness. I have this feeling that just the sight of him can already make me giddy, happy, all those positive things. I felt the urge to get near him and hug him from behind for unknown reasons. I just want to do it.
Because I love him.
“Morning!” I automatically said, like it someone was controlling me. “Ay hapon na pala!” I giggled. “Good afternoon!” I greeted.
He turned around and I felt my heart beat fast. I’m going to see his face now. But when he faced me, his face is unclear. It’s all a blur. I can see his eyes and all but I can’t figure out what shape it is. I can’t even make out what his nose or what his lips look like. “Ah, good .. Good afternoon.” His voice said which is also unclear. His pitch goes up and down making me yearn for a switch or something. I need to adjust everything so I can finally know who he is!
I started walking towards him and reached his side. I can feel his presence. It’s all comfortable and he makes me feel safe. “Ano ‘yan?” The words slipped out from my mouth.
“Ah .. Ano .. ah soup.” He stammered which I found very cute. It only means that I also have some effect on him. He scooted away from me a bit and I took the ladle from his hand and my hand ended up touching him. I felt my heart pound fast.
Who is this guy?
Then I fell into a hole. I was yelling at the top of my voice, my hands are in the air trying to grope for anything. I closed my eyes and when I opened them, I was sitting inside a fast food chain. I was alone but my heart is telling me that I’m not. Food is served on the table and I’m smiling. Why am I smiling?
“Maya, grateful ka lang sa kanya kaya ka ganito.” I heard my inner voice said. Who am I talking about? Why am I grateful? And what am I feeling?
A man came into view and took the seat in front of me. His physique is the same, everything’s the same. His face is still blurred and the familiar fluttering of my heart happened. I now know the answer to what I’m asking my inner voice.
It’s still him. And I’m not grateful.
I’m in love with him.
We started eating and then his unclear voice rang in my ears. “I found the best punishment for the Sorry Agreement.” He said. What is that? “Ano?” I asked but even though I’m confused inside, I still produced a smile. “Whenever one of us disobeys the agreement, may karapatan ‘yung isa na utusan ‘yung nag-sorry.”
I laughed. I’ve always known that he could be fun like this. I saw him get a tissue paper from the tray and a pen in his hand. He wrote something and then he pushed the paper to me. “Sign it.” He said.
I looked at the paper but it’s all blank. Is there something wrong with his pen? But I heard myself laugh and then I lifted my hand and signed somewhere on the paper. Then I returned the same blank tissue paper to him. Even if his face is blurred, I swear, I know he smiled.
Then reality slapped me on my face. Simon clouded my mind. Images of what happened at the airport made all of this moment with him have been eaten by darkness. Everything was replaced by the moment Simon kissed his girlfriend, then our confrontation at the parking lot. I want to scream so badly. I don’t want to be here! I don’t want to cry anymore!
Before I knew it, I was falling again. I was screaming again and I was still crying. I hate Simon. He’s the reason why I’m feeling like this. He’s the one to blame why I’m hurting right now. And how dare he interrupt in my dreams? It’s the only place where I know I can truly be happy. It’s the only place where I can be with him. I kept falling this time. I’m scared. I don’t know where I will fall. I don’t know where I will be. I’m alone and it’s dark.
I heard someone calling my name above me and then I felt a hand groped mine. I stopped from crying and yelling. It was holding me tightly, preventing me to fall any further. When I looked up, I saw a silhouette of a man. He brought his other hand and started pulling me up. I started to cry again.
“Don’t cry, Maya. Everything’s fine. You don’t need to cry.” His familiar voice said. “Everything’s alright, Maya. Don’t worry, we’re all here for you. I’m here for you.” He kept murmuring. When I’m near the surface, I was blinded by the sunlight. I shielded my eyes from it with my arm but it wasn’t enough.
So I closed my eyes.
When I opened my eyes, I am inside my bedroom again. I could feel that I’ve been crying because my eyes felt really heavy and that I could feel the surface near my eyes is wet. I’m at the farthest part of my bed, facing my side, and I’m all curled up. I felt my heart heavy and I was brought back to the reality of betrayal. I started crying again then I felt a hand holding mine.
When I turned my head, I saw Richard sitting a chair near my bed. His hands are both holding mine now. I don’t care what he’s doing here or how he managed to get inside. I stopped crying and got up slowly. Then I started crying again, burying my face on my hands. I felt the bed dip and then I felt his arm around me, guiding me to his side.
My head is now placed on his shoulders as he hugged me tight. I cried harder like I can remove the pain I have from crying. I don’t care what’s happening around me. I just want to cry this pain out.
“It’s okay, Maya. Just let it all out.” He softly said. “But promise me after this, you will cry no more, okay?” He kept on saying but I just cried and did not give him any answer. He continued to hold me as I cried. Richard kept on muttering words that made me feel better. His hand kept rubbing my arm to soothe me.
After a while, I finally got tired of crying. I slowly lifted my head from his shoulder and wiped my tears. Richard’s hand wiped them as well while I could feel his other arm around me. He reached for something in my bedside table and handed me a glass of water. “Drink up. I know you’re drained.” He said.
I took the glass with my weak hands and slowly lifted it. Richard’s palm is on the base of the glass, assisting me on drinking. He placed the glass of water back on the table. “Do you want something? Name anything. I can go out para bumili.” He said.
I shook my head and took a deep breath. I got out from his embrace and leaned on the head rest of my bed. Richard shifted in his sit and faced me, both of his legs are on the bed, tucked in. “Do you want me to hunt him down and punch him in the face?” He asked with a hint of grin on his face. I just shook his head.
“Ice cream?” He asked and I shook my head just the same. He heaved a deep breath and laid out his palm at me. I just stared at him. “Go on. Let your anger out in me. If this will help in the littlest way, I’m glad I helped.”
My eyes welled up again. I started punching, slapping, and all the possible ways I could ever hurt his hand. I need to apologize when I’m all better. I know what I’m doing must’ve hurt but he took all the pain. He doesn’t deserve this. He doesn’t deserve any of this. I slowly stopped and ended up crying again. I was welcomed in Richard’s arms again, hugging me tight.
“Ang sakit sakit, Richard. Ang sakit .. ang sakit sakit.” I muttered as I cried on him again.
“Shh. I know. I know what pain feels like. I’ll be here with you, okay? I will never leave you. I’m here, Maya.” He muttered. It felt good to be in somebody’s arms. Simon used to comfort me whenever I get lonely when we were in US but I never felt this kind of comfort when I was in his arms.
I felt my eyes heavy. I decided to close them and found myself so sleepy. I felt Richard moving, lying me down on my bed. I felt his hand on my head, his hand moving like its lulling me to sleep. I fell asleep again because of it. Or maybe, I’m just too tired.
I’m standing in the middle of the darkness. I kept turning but there’s no one insight. I’m scared. I’m so scared. I sat on the cold black floor and hugged myself. Then I closed my eyes.
“The mind forgets but the heart remembers.” I heard a voice say. I know that it’s him. I felt myself smile and found peace on my heart. I decided to open my eyes.
I’m back inside my room. I slowly got up from bed and let my eyes linger. Richard must’ve gone home. He’s not in my room now. I was about to head outside when I saw a bouquet of sunflowers on the other side of my bed. My eyes narrowed as I picked the small card on it.
Hope you’re feeling better.
The corner of my lips slightly moved upward. He can really be a sweet friend. I took a deep breath to calm myself. I should try to keep what Richard suggested earlier. I’ll try my best not to cry anymore. I got outside my room and went down the stairs only to stop because of the voices I heard.
“Hindi ka na nagawa ng residential plans?” I heard a voice say. I’m sure that it’s Kute’s. “Bakit naman? Naikwento sa’kin ni Eds, ang galing mo raw gumawa ng gano’n, parang Papa mo.”
“I stopped.” Another voice said. It’s familiar. Wait. Richard? I took a few steps more on the stairs until I got a view of them. They are sitting opposite each other on the couch. “The last one I did was the house where we are supposed to live in after we got married. Kaso, ayun nga yung nangyari. I refused to move in, I bought another condo, I abandoned the one I shared with her before, and I couldn’t make another house again.” My heart swelled. Is he talking about her again? He must’ve really loved her.
“Tsk. Palagay ko mahihirapan ka nang magtrabaho ngayon. Tignan mo nga ‘yang kamay mo oh. Baldado!” Kute said and they laughed. My gaze shifted to Richard’s hand. A pack of ice is placed above it. I gasped. Nasaktan ko talaga siya kanina!
“Bunso.” Kute called, both her and Richard are now standing. “K-Kanina ka pa nandyan?”
I shook my head and I got down the stairs. I was biting my lower lip as I approached Richard. I took both of his hand, one was pinkish while the other one was holding the ice pack. I lifted my head and met his gaze. “Sorry.” I apologized. “Ikaw kasi eh. Alam mo nang puno ako ng adrenaline kanina, nag-offer ka pa ng ganito.”
He snickered. “After apologizing, you’re going to blame me? Ako na nga ‘yung nasaktan eh.” He defended.
“Kaya nga nagso-sorry eh!” I said. Kute laughed making our heads turn.
“Umupo na nga kayo dyan at kukuha ako ng kape.” She said. Then she nodded at Richard with a smile. My head shifted between my sister going to the kitchen and to Richard who is now sitting on the couch. I sat down beside him. “Anong meron sa inyo ni Kute?” I asked.
He shrugged. “Nothing. Close na kami. Ang tagal mo kasing natutulog eh.” He teased and gave a smirk. My mouth gaped. Are my ears deceiving me? Or am I still dreaming? Richard Lim is teasing and now he is smirking. “What?” He asked. I might be staring at him for too long.
I poked the side of his face. “Hindi ako nananaginip!” I exclaimed. He suddenly looked nervous. “Bakit?” He asked again.
“Nangiti ka na!” I exclaimed. His face became relaxed again and he smiled again. “Tignan mo oh!”
He didn’t reply and just stared at me as he kept his smirk. “What happened to you? You were crying so hard earlier and now you’re back to your usual self?” He asked.
I shrugged. “I decided to take your advice.” I said. “And I saw him again. The man in my dreams. I knew right away that I will be fine.” He just nodded. “Are you talking about her?” I asked making his brows furrow. “Yung pinag-uusapan niyo ni Kute. SIya ‘yun ‘di ba? Don’t worry, I just heard the part where you’re explaining why you don’t make any houses anymore.”
“Ahh. Yes, yes, it’s her.” He said and I suddenly felt jealous. She’s really a very lucky girl. Even though she left Richard, he still kept on loving her. Unlike Simon who loved another woman even if he’s still with me. “But now I guess I can’t make anything now. My hand is swollen.” He said.
I smiled and took the ice pack from his hand and placed it on his right hand. “Bakit kasi yung kanang kamay yung binigay mo?”
“Hindi ko naman kasi ineexpect na gagawin mo nga eh. When you started punching my hand, I suddenly regret everything. I should’ve given you my left hand instead.” He defended making me laugh.
“Richard, thank you nga pala ‘dun sa flowers.” I said. “It helped.”
“You’re welcome.” He shortly replied.
“Siya ba, binibigyan mo rin ng flowers dati?” I suddenly asked. I don’t know what got into me. I just wanted to ask it.
Richard nodded. “Yes. Sunflowers too. I first gave it to her during our first date.” He replied. I nodded and tried to give the best smile I could give.
She’s really a lucky girl.