I’m already awake by two in the morning. When Kute arrived, I already slept since I was really tired from crying. Instead of thinking about Simon, I got up from bed quickly and took care of the things I needed to bring. I made sure that I have extra clothes and that my camera is placed inside its bag. I’ve always been careful about it and even though it’s quite heavy to be running with, I still don’t care. I will still use this camera.
I was cleaning the dishes when I heard the sound of a car’s engine outside. I don’t know how or why but I was sure that it is Richard. I peeked on the window and saw that it is him. I excitedly grabbed my bags and opened the door. I was expecting that he will fetch me but I still felt this rush inside of me. I bet it’s because Richard made me smile yesterday and he made me forget that I actually have a broken heart to mend.
“Good morning!” I happily greeted as he stood on the other side of our gate.
“Good morning Maya.” He greeted back and this time, he’s wearing a black shirt and white pants. I shut the door since Kute is still asleep and locked the gate too after I got out. Richard is still wearing his smile. I found him really cute with it. His smile really lights up his face. Then I was reminded. His smile is never meant for me. It’s for her. “Tara na.” I said and got in when he opened his car door for me.
Before Richard could shut the door, I noticed that he’s holding an envelope on his hand. “Ano yan?” I asked as I pointed at it using my lips.
“Ah .. I .. I found it lying in front of your gate. Baka nahulog ‘dun sa .. sa mailbox niyo.” He said and he handed me the envelope. I took it from his hand and flipped it but I can’t see any name. I tucked it inside of my bag as Richard got in his car. “I’ll open it later. Baka mamaya kung ano ‘yung laman.” I said
Richard started to drive and that’s when I realized that he’s wearing jogging pants and sneakers. Where’s he going? “Why?” He asked. I think he saw me starting.
“Richard, bakit ka naka jogging pants din? Anong meron?” I asked back.
“Well, since it’s early and I am still due by nine in the morning, I decided to join your activity. And don’t tell me that I can’t. I borrowed my brother’s camera. I’m going to be a photographer for today, ah, no, just for this morning lang pala.” He said and I laughed. “Don’t laugh at me. Magaling ata ‘to.” He continued.
“We’ll see Mr. Lim. We’ll see.” I meant it. I’m actually looking forward to this day with him. Richard reached for a bag at the backseat and gave it to me. “May tumbler sa loob. Coffee.” He said.
“Richard! Hindi ka na dapat nag-abala. Nagdala din ako eh.” I said and lifted the small bag I prepared earlier. “May tumbler din ako ng kape dito tapos may apat na sandwhich.”
“Ah. I did not bring any food. Dapat siguro nag-usap tayo kagabi. Anyway, exchange na lang tayo ng kape? Para matikman mo ‘yung timpla ko. I swear, ako nagtimpla nyan.” He said.
“Bakit ang defensive mo? Hindi naman kita pinagdududahan ah!” I said.
He chuckled. “It’s just that I’m not always satisfied with my coffee. It’s hard when you found the taste of coffee that you know you will love forever then all of a sudden it’s gone.”
I just nodded. I know that he’s talking about her. Damn, why am I feeling like this? I want to compete with this Sunshine. I want Richard to realize that there are other women that he can love. He needs to move on. He doesn’t deserve all of this. I twisted the cap off and poured the coffee he made. “Richard! BesiAng pait naman!” I joked.
“Really? I’m sorry,dapat pala isang pack na ng asukal ‘yung nilagay ko.” He teased.
“Joke lang!” I exclaimed. “Sakto lang ‘yung timpla ng kape mo. Ako naman! Tikman mo ‘yung kape ko.” I said and poured the coffee from my tumbler.
“Alam ko nang masarap ‘to.” He said and drank it. “See? Pwedeng pahingi pa?”
“Asuus, nambola ka pa.” I said as I poured some coffee.
“No! I swear it’s good. It’s the best tasting coffee I’ve tasted since .. probably since forever.”He said. I tried to give him the best smile I could give. Since forever daw eh ang sabi lang kanina natikman na nya yung coffee na hinahanap niya tapos ngayon, binabaling sa’kin? Sinong niloko nito? “ Maya, is everything okay? “ I heard Richard asked. “You’ve gone quiet. Inaantok ka?”
I shook my head. “Hinde. Everything’s fine.” I shortly answered. I reached for my phone and pretended to be busy but I’m really just playing games. I spent the rest of the trip like that with Richard asking me some questions. I knew he’s engaging me in a conversation but my mood completely shifted. Great. First thing in the morning and I’m already like this. Before I could turn the situation around normally again, the car halted. We’re already at the venue. It is still 4:45 and the activity should start by 5. Richard followed me as I talked to the officer in charge of the event.
A lot of participants joined. I think almost 100 individuals are with us. Who would not be? Besides the run, me and Pamela, the officer, are going to pick a picture that one individual will present and the chosen photo will win P5,000.00 So yeah, it’s an activity slash competition.
As Pamela explained the mechanics of the competition, my eyes searched for Richard. Surely he will not be beside me since he’s joining this activity and not as my assistant. Though I wish he’s beside me. I’m already a bad company during the ride even if he’s done nothing but good to me.
The jog was about to start so everybody was on their places. I stood on the side to give way to the sea of people. Pamela blew her whistle and people started running, some paused to take a picture. “This is a great idea, you know.” A familiar voice said, making me turn and there he is. Richard. “It can make people realize that there’s more to than just jogging, and that they can learn to appreciate the beauty of the place they are in.” He said.
I nodded. “That’s the whole reason why I want it to be like this. Healthy na, nakakaenjoy pa. Eh ikaw? Why are you not running?”
He shrugged and walked towards me with a smirk on his face. My heart fluttered. God, he looks so handsome. Wait. What? When he was standing a few inches before me, he dipped his head and stopped just before my ear. “There’s no need to rush, right?” He whispered.
I can feel my cheeks getting warm. Then Richard stood up straight and started jogging while I’m rooted to my spot. Okay, what’s really happening? Why am I like this? I’ve spent hours with him yesterday but I didn’t feel this .. this .. feelings. Alright, alright, maybe I did feel it yesterday but it’s different now. It’s like .. it grew. I shook my head and started running. I need to get working.
The sun hasn’t showed up except for its rays so I maximized that fresh light in my photos, taking any object that transforms the light. I jogged again and saw Richard near the lake with his lens pointed at the rising sun. I took a few steps back and took his photo. After my camera’s shutter made it’s sound, I started jogging again. I stopped when I reached the other side of the lake. I pressed the preview button and looked at what I’ve captured earlier.
Richard is on the left side of the photo, his body is slightly curved and his arms are on the right places for him to take the shot. The photo overall is beautiful, especially my subject. I found myself smiling as I’m staring at his photo. There’s just something about him that made me like him after the doubt I first gave him. I can’t believe that the person I just met a couple of days ago would be the one who will be here for me.
I heard the sound of a shutter but when I looked up, no one’s around me. I shrugged. I guess I’m doing this for too long that even that little sound haunts my ears. The park is so huge that there are only a few people jogging with me and because I’m always stopping, I always get left behind. I was pointing my lens at the view when I tripped on something, making me fall and stumble. I hugged my camera tight, preventing it from getting scratched.
When my whole body stopped, I slowly opened my eyes to see what happened to me. Since I’m wearing jogging pants, I think I don’t have any wounds but I feel pain in both of my arms and on my legs, also on my butt. I groaned. What the hell happened to me? I turned my head and looked for someone who can help me but the place is deserted. I sighed. Now I can feel pain in my ankle.
I tried to lie on my side so that I could get up slowly but I can’t really bring myself to because of the pain in my leg and I think I sprained my ankle. I couldn’t really call anyone because I left my phone in the bag of my camera before the activity started.
I lied on my back again and sighed. What a lucky day for me. Then out of nowhere, a shadow loomed over me. A hand was on the back of my neck while the other one is on my body. It lifted me up and settled me on a lap. “Maya, Maya, are you okay? What happened? Are you hurt?” A voice said.
“Richard?” I muttered.
“What the hell happened to you?” He said, his voice .. angry?
“Galit ka ba?” I asked.
“No, no. It’s just ..” He trailed off. “What happened? Nadapa ka ba? Bakit hindi ka nag-iingat?” He continued to ask, his voice rising up.
“Alam mo Richard, kung sisigawan mo lang ako, umalis ka na. Nakakasakit ka lang ng damdamin eh. Ang sakit na nga ng katawan ko!” I defended with the same intensity as his voice. I could tell Richard got surprised by my outburst I tried to lift myself up but my ankle is still hurting.
I felt Richard move and I don’t know how but after a few seconds, I’m already in his arms. The strap of his camera is slung on his arm while I’m holding mine in my hands. I couldn’t really protest since i knew that I can’t walk. Richard remained silent and his brows are furrowed but there’s something more in his eyes.
After an hour, the people were gathered up on their starting point to have their chosen photo printed and then passed unto us. Richard ushered me down on a chair and quickly left and talked to Pamela. The medical team responded right after that and applied first aid on my sprained ankle. I also got wounds on my lower arm from protecting my camera. Good thing it’s undamaged.
The competition still went on. I sat on the chair as I looked at the photos submitted. Pamela was beside me doing the same. She says that we have to choose something that would truly promote this place. There are all sorts of picture on the table but one captured my eyes. I lifted my hand and reached for that particular photo.
It’s me. I’m on the right side and the sun starting to rise is on my left. The photo is stunning. The colors from the sun really made the whole photo beautiful. My head is slightly bowed but a smile is widely spread across my face. I’m looking at the screen of my camera. When was this? Then I remembered the sound of shutter when I was looking at Richard’s photo. I flipped the camera to look at the name of the person that captured the photo.
My heart lurched. Richard did this? Of all the photos he captured, he chose this? And it’s not just a normal shot, it’s like a pro captured it. I suddenly felt embarrassed. Yes, the photo is beautiful, but it’s also evidence that I’m admiring him through the photo of him that I captured.
In the end, a twelve year old boy named Andrew Mendez won the contest. Pamela perfectly understood why I can’t attend the awarding ceremony. I still need to go to a hospital so that my ankle can be checked. Richard is already with me after judging the photos. Pamela called him the moment it’s over.
Richard scooped my up again in his arms though I kept telling him that he doesn’t have to. He insisted that I need to be carried so that I will not put too much pressure on my ankle. “I’m sorry for raising my voice at you, Maya. I’m just so worried. Akala ko kung ano nang nangyari sa’yo. I should’ve stayed beside you while you jog. I’m sorry.” He muttered as he carried me to his car.
My heart fluttered. Why is he being like this? “Richard, hindi mo naman kasalanan eh. Ako yung may kasalanan. Hindi kasi ako tumitingin sa dinadaanan ko eh.” I said. “Thank you nga pala.”
He nodded and smiled a bit. “Are we okay now? How about your wounds? Masakit pa ba?”
“Kailangan ko lang magpacheck sa doktor, para sure.” I replied. “And yes, we’re okay.”
He smiled and bent down a bit for me to open the door of his car since his hands were occupied. He helped me get in and then he bent down to look at me. I don’t know why but he just looked at my eyes and said nothing. Then he lifted his hand and tucked a loose strand of my hair. The side of his lips lifted up, and gave me a lopsided smile. My heart fluttered again. Then Richard closed the door and got in the driver’s seat.
Can Richard be the man in my dreams?