I want to blame myself. I want to blame why Maya is here beside me, injured. I was so busy trying to impress her with my shots using the techniques she taught me before. I’ve been through every corner of this place looking for angles that I knew would capture her attention. And I lost sight of her.
The last time that I saw her was when I took a photo of her. She looked so beautiful while she was looking at a photo in her camera. I don’t know what it is that she captured but she’s smiling at it. I hide under the bushes when she lifted her head. Her ear was really sharp. She heard the sound of my shutter! When she saw that no one is around, she started jogging again.
I saw her lying on the ground when I reached her. I thought she was just doing some kind of photography stunt or she’s resting but I heard her hissing, like she’s in pain. Then I noticed the trail before her. That’s when I knew that she tumbled down.
I almost threw my camera away if it wasn’t for Luke’s words. I gently placed my hands on her nape and on her side so that I could place her head on my lap. My heart started beating fast. I don’t really like what is happening. It reminds me of the first time I ever laid eyes on her. The night that I’ve found her unconscious on the road, never knowing if she’s breathing or she’s still alive.
When I heard her voice call my name, I somehow felt relieved. She’s still alive. She’s still with me. Even though I’m mad at myself, I still manage to put my anger out on her. Instead of asking her nicely, what sounded like anger went outside me. When she shouted back at me, I couldn’t utter any word next. I just want to keep my mouth shut instead of arguing knowing that I can’t win.
Pamela called the medical team after I talked to her about Maya. I kept my eyes on the ongoing activity but my attention can’t seem to shift from Maya. I’m afraid that she might be worse compared to what happened to her before. I quickly went to Maya when Pamela called me. She said that it’s perfectly fine if we don’t attend the awarding and just go to the nearest hospital we can find.
Everything felt so right when I held her in my arms. She belongs here. She belongs to me. We cleared the air between us as I walked to the car. When she’s already at the passenger’s seat, I bent down just to take a look at her. I want to hug her, I want to kiss her, I want to be with her twenty four hours a day. I can’t wait for her to remember everything.
We arrived shortly at this hospital and Maya leaned on me as we walked to the emergency room. She doesn’t want to be carried because she was feeling embarrassed. Two nurses attend to her and said that they will just call a doctor to check up on Maya.
“Richard, sige na, mauna ka na. Abala pa ako eh. Baka kailangan ka na sa site inspection mo.” Maya said.
I shook my head. “They can wait for me. Maaga pa naman eh. And besides, this is more important. I can’t imagine leaving you there injured to go to the site. I might be physically present there but I’m sure that I’m mentally here with you.” I said. Maya bowed her head and then when she lifted it, she’s wearing a smile on her face and .. is that a faint blush I’m seeing on her cheeks? “Thank you.” She sweetly said. My heart cringed. Before I could utter any word, someone spoke behind me.
“Richard! How are you? It’s been a long time!” A familiar male voice said. I turned my head around and saw Jerry Manalo. I was about to greet him back when I remembered something. Holy crap. “I’ve been told that my patient is .. Maya? It is you!” The doctor said and before he could take another step closer, I stood up and grabbed his arm and pulled him with me.
“Ah, Maya, excuse us for a bit. Doc, if you will, please.” I quickly said and pulled Jerry with me until we were outside the emergency room.
“O? What’s the problem Richard? That’s Maya right? I honestly thought you wouldn’t find her yet here she is! Kailan pa kayo nagkita? Are you two back together? Matutuloy na ba ‘yung kasal?” The doctor continued on. Jerry was the doctor that attended to Maya when I brought her at the hospital when I first saw her. He’s been a big help to me and especially to Maya.
I ran a hand through my hair. I wasn’t really expecting this. “I .. I saw her during my interview for the newspaper –“
“Ah! The one on business page last Sunday? I should’ve known Maya took the photo. She’s always been good at it.” He replied.
I nodded. “Yeah. Well, uhm, the thing is .. the thing is you’re right. She can’t remember me. She’s at the States when I tried to find her.”
Jerry’s mouth gaped. “Oh. Oh, so that’s what happened. I’m sorry. But can I ask a question? Are you still pursuing her?”
I nodded my head. “Yes. I can’t let her go now. I think I can still work it out.”
“Sinabi mo na ba kung sino ka?” He asked.
I shook my head. “I have a plan. I will take things slow. Magpaparamdam ako ng paunti-unti hanggang sa maalala na niya ako.” Jerry nodded his head like he’s considering my answer. “She said that she’s having these vivid dreams with a man and I know for sure that it’s me.”
“I completely agree with your plan Richard.” Jerry said. “But I do hope your not taking things super slow. You’ll never know. Baka mamaya, sa sobrang pagbabagal mo, maunahan ka ng hindi mo napapansin.” He said.
I nodded. I know that. Even if Simon is out of the picture now, there are still men around us that will pursue to court Maya. And even if I’m against it, I don’t really have the right to disagree with her. It’s her life and I’m not really in any position to meddle with her decisions
Jerry left me and went back inside the room. He’s already checking Maya’s injury when I got back. “Masakit ba dito?” He asked as he applied pressure on a part of Maya’s foot. I saw Maya winced so I rushed to her side. I saw Jerry’s eyes tease me and I just rolled mine in reply.
“Okay, I can guarantee na sprain lang talaga ‘to. But if you want to make sure, pwede kang magpa-xray. Rest is number one sa irereseta ko. As much as possible, wag ka munang magtrabaho –“
“Doc, hindi po pwede, may event po kasi akong kailangan puntahan sa Friday. Makakaya na po ba ng ankle ko ‘yun?” Maya interrupted.
“Pwede na siguro. Ang gawin mo na lang, since kakasimula pa lang ng linggo, magpahinga ka muna. Don’t stress your ankle too much. Then pagdating ng Friday, I’m sure, you’ll be fine.” Jerry said. “And I do bet Richard will take very good care of you.”
My eyes widened. “Jerry!”
“Magkakilala kayo?” I heard Maya ask as her gaze shifted from me to Jerry. I nodded but my tongue could not seem to function.
“Yeah, we met around two years ago, I think. Then we became uh, friends and he often goes to me for consultation.” Jerry answered.
“C-Consultation saan?” She asked.
“Uhm, there’s this woman that .. that .. disappeared and .. and ..” Jerry stammered and I sent him a glare. I do hope he gets my message or I will punch him just to shut him up. “Look, Maya, it’s complicated and I don’t really want to discuss my patient’s condition with my .. my other patient’s condition.” He ended. I rolled my eyes at him. Why is he here anyway? I thought the hospital he’s working at is near my old place?
Maya nodded considerably. “Si Sunshine?” She asked.
“Okay, I think this conversation is enough.” I interrupted before Jerry could even ask who Sunshine is and then Maya would explain it and then Jerry would add some more information and then my life would be like hell. “Jerry, c-can we go now? I still have a site to visit.”
“Ah, yes yes.” Jerry said. “Well, as I’ve said, resting is the best way to heal your ankle. Then if it is still hurting by Thursday, call me. Richard here knows my number.” He said, giving me a meaningful look. “I should get going now. May pasyente pa ko sa kabilang room. Maya, it’s a pleasure to meet you and Richard, it’s nice to see you smiling again. Go get her.” He said and left the room.
I assisted Maya in getting inside my car. After meeting Jerry, she told me that we needed to change our clothes since I’m going on a site visit and that it’s unhealthy for us to be wearing our sweat-soaked clothes. I’m back in wearing my work clothes while Maya is in her casual clothes. “Richard, hindi ba dapat kakanan ka dun sa kanto para makabalik ako dun sa studio?”
“Maya, you’re disabled. I’m taking you to the site. When we’re there, call Emman, magpasundo ka. That’s the only way I will allow you to go home.” I said.
“Richard.” Maya called my name like she’s going to start an argument.
“Maya, you can’t win this one, believe me.” I started. “Bakit ka ba kasi natisod?” I calmly asked.
She took a deep breath before answering. “Hindi ako nakatingin sa dinadaanan ko, okay? Saka kailangang hindi ko masira ‘yung camera ko kaya nung nahulog ako, hindi ko pinagalos ‘yung camera. Okay na?”
I nodded. “Yes, believe me, I’m just worried about you. Nung nakita kita dun sa park, akala ko kung anong nangyari sa’yo. I thought something really bad happened and –“
“Is that what happened with Sunshine?” She asked. I almost stepped on my brakes. “Kaya .. kaya mo nakilala si Jerry? Kasi kailangan ni Sunshine ng tulong nya and .. consultation kasi umalis siya?”
My mouth gaped. Is she playing games on me? Can she remember now? “W-What makes you say that?”
She shook her head. “Bakit? Tama ba?” She asked and I just remained mum. Then she giggled. “Sabi ni Kute, powers ko daw ‘to. Ang galing ko daw mag-analyze ng mga detail kaya sa huli, nalalaman ko ‘yung buong storya.”
I sighed. I guess she’s telling the truth. “Well, kind of. I found Ma- I mean, I found Sunshine because she had an accident. Nanakawan siya. Then I took her to the hospital because she some fractures and Jerry was the doctor that attended her. And when she left, I talked to Jerry. May pagka psychologist din kasi siya eh, and I trusted him.”
I glanced at Maya and I saw her nodding. She reached for something inside her bag and took out the envelope I gave her earlier. My heart started beating fast. Is she going to open it now? Before she could even rip it open, we arrived at the site. I let her inside one of the rooms that I asked for to be my temporary office. I sat beside Maya on the couch and called Emman for her..
“Hello, Emman Castro speaking.” Emman’s usual voice spoke on the other line. “Sino sila?”
“Emman, uhm, good morning. This is Richard Lim. I’m calling to ask you if it’s okay for you to pick up Maya? She got into an accident earlier during the activity at the park and she sprained her ankle. I can’t really drive her back because I have a site inspection. I just brought her with me.” I said. I waited for his answer but the other line is quiet. “Hello?” I said and lifted my phone to check if the call is still going. “Hello, Emman?”
“Ay, Papa Richard, ay este, Mr. Lim pala. Sige po sige po, makikitext na lang po nung address kung nasaan kayo ni Maya.” Emman quickly said. “Babay Mr. Lim!” He said and without a word, the line went dead.
“O? Bakit? Anong sabi ni Emman?” Maya said with a laugh.
I shrugged. “I don’t know. Binabaan agad ako, pero ang sabi niya kakaunin ka niya.” I replied and then I saw that the envelope is already open. “O, you opened it? Anong laman?” I calmly asked.
Maya giggled. “Natense lang ‘yon kasi nakausap ka. Ikaw kaya ang pangsampung love at first sight nun ngayong buwan.” She said and laughed some more. When he gaze fell back on the envelope, her laughter died down. I thought she was going to open it but she lifted her head and looked back at me. “Richard, ikaw ‘yung nagpasa nung photo na ako ‘yung subject?” She asked. Damn, this is far worse than the whole envelope opening. I just nodded, not knowing what to say after. “Bakit?”
“Uhm,” I muttered as I scratched the back of my head. “Y-You were so happy looking at the photo you just took. I’ve.. I’ve tried to find people with the happiness you were expressing on looking at that photo and all I could find is none. Maybe it’s because they are trapped in the whole idea of competition that made them want to be on top of everybody else, but not you. I know that you’re not part of the competition which is why you’re like that but everybody there should, no, must be like you. They are too busy that they forgot that the reason why they are there is to have fun. I just couldn’t let that moment pass by. If I did, then it will be lost forever.” I said. I know, it’s like I’m just sugar-coating the whole situation but my words are on the right track. “What’s the photo you’re looking at, Maya?” I asked.
Her eyes widened for a second, like she was caught off guard of my question. “Ah, ano, wala, wala, ‘yung .. ‘yung sunset lang. Ay, mali, ‘yung sunrise pala.” She stammered.
I chuckled. I did miss this characteristic of Maya. “Well, whatever it is, you should hold unto it. It makes you happy, right? Very few people know where they can be happy at. They just realize it when they give it up. It’s all too late. And I do bet that if you let go of that, hindi lang ‘yun ‘yung bibitawan mo. Maybe, a huge chunk of your life will be missing.” I said. Don’t let go of me, Maya. I already know what it’s like to lose you. I already know what it’s like to have a part of me missing. I don’t want to watch another part of me die because I failed to hold your hand tight again. And I know for a fact that you’re the only way to make me whole again. Maya remained mum. I bet she’s thinking about Simon. He’s just a part of her life I know she will refuse to give up. “Uhm, lalabas muna ako. Paparating na siguro si Emman. I’ll come back when he arrived. Just stay here to rest. If you need something, just send me a text.” I said and stood up to leave her.
I guess it’s not just Maya who’s hurting right now because of Simon.
A/N : Pasensya na po sa pagiging absent. Lagi lang pong nasa galaan saka iniisip ko pong mabuti kung ano nang dapat mangyari. Nakailang bura po ata ako dito bago ko natapos.
Anyway! Sinong tinitignan ni Maya sa picture? At anong advice ni Richard? 😀