Yeah, go ahead. Blame me. Are you done? Because I’m blaming myself too. I know Richard is just being nice and all. I even cried in front of him again. It was completely his fault anyway even if I’m just finding excuse to lessen the guilt that I am feeling inside. But still .. argh!
The photos that I’m editing are almost finished. The last photo is Edward and Joy, looking straight into each other’s eyes, like nothing in the world can take their love away.
How come some people find happiness in an instant? Yet some are like me with heartaches and all? Is life really that unfair that even love is just this sort of luck?
“Bunso, asan si Richard?” A voice asked and when I turned my head, I saw Kute standing with her hands in her waist.
“Pinauwi ko na. Kanina pa.” I replied. The clock said that it’s already nine in the evening.
“Ang kulit mo rin ano? Kaya kita pinabantayan dito kasi baldado ka. Paano kung gusto mong kumain? O kay magbanyo? Kung hindi mo pinauwi si Richard edi sana may katulong ka -“
“Hindi ko siya kailangan, Kute! May sprain lang yung ankle ko, hindi ako disabled!” I exclaimed and Kute was astonished. “Hindi ko kailangan ng katulad niyang hindi tumatanggap ng tulong na kahit na kailangan na kailangan na niya, itinatanggi pa.”
I know Kute’s eyes are still narrowed at me. “Teka nga bunso, ano bang nangyari? Ang gulo mo eh.” She said asi I felt that she occupied the space beside me. “Akala ko okay kayo? Bakit ngayong pinaalis mo? Tapos may ganyan ka pang sinasabi.” She said, her voice irritated.
I groaned. “Naiinis kasi ako Kute!” I said as I faced her. “Bat ba siya ganon? Ilang taon na yung lumipas, mahal niya pa rin yung tao? Ano siya martir? Kailangan din niyang palayain ‘yung puso niya ‘di ba? Hindi lang naman kasi siya yung babae sa mundo. Ang dami-dami naman kasing iba na–“
“Na ano, katulad mo?” Kute interrupted and I stopped from talking.
“Kute naman eh! Basta naiinis ako. Naiinis ako sa kanya!” I said and turned around again. I heard Kute’s laugh behind me and when I looked at her, she was indeed laughing. “Magsama nga kayo ni Richard, pinagtatawanan mo pa ko eh.” I mocked.
“Sorry bunso, eh kasi naman ikaw eh. Dapat sinabi mo na lang na nagseselos ka kaysa inaway mo yung tao.” She said.
“Ha? Ako? Nagseselos? H-Hinde no! Never! Bahala siya sa buhay niya! Nakakasusot sya –“
“Ayooon. Nagseselos ka nga!” She said and I continued to glare at her while she continues to laugh. “Maya kasi, wag kang magpapahalata. Sobrang guilty mo kaya!”
“Kute, sige pa, isa pa, makikita mo –“
“Pwede bang ako muna ang magsalita?” She said as she held out her hand in front. I rolled my eyes and crossed my hands. Do I have any other choice? “Alam mo, si Richard, nagmamagandang loob lang naman eh. Kita mo, kung wala siya nung isang araw, edi sana nag-iiyak ka pa rin dahil kay Simon ngayon? Saka paano kung wala siya kanina nung nadapa ka? Ano na kayang nangyari sa’yo?” She said and I just kept my mouth shut. “Teka lang ha.” Kute said and went at the cabinet to get something.
When she came back, she handed me a piece of folded paper. “Pakibasa ng malakas ha?” She said. “Basahin mo kahit ano pang nakasulat dyan.”
I sighed and opened it, then I read the words written boldly at the center. “Nagseselos ako.” I muttered. “Argh! Kute naman eh! Sabi nang hindi nga ako nagseselos! Ano bang trip mo?” I exclaimed.
“Teka kasi!” Kute replied with a smile on her face. “Anong naramdaman mo nung binasa mo? Isa pa nga bunso. Basahin mo ulit.” She said and I glared at her. “Dali na! Isa na lang. Tapos pakiramdaman mo yung sarili mo. Malakas yung pagbasa ha?”
I heaved a deep breath and decided to do what Kute said since it’s the only way that would make her stop. “Nagseselos ako!” I yelled. After that, I felt something inside of me. It felt like .. like it’s agreeing to what I said.
“Anong naramdaman mo? Mali ba? O .. umayon sa sinabi mo yung nararamdaman mo?” Kute asked and I found myself mum again. “Ayaaaaaaan. Edi natapos din ang gulong ‘to! Sabi sa’yo nagseselos ka eh.” Kute mocked but this time, I didn’t glare at her. I am jealous. “Eh matanong ko lang, bunso, ha. Kanino ka ba nagseselos? Dun ba sa sinasabi mong mahal pa ni Richard?” I found myself nodding to Kute’s answer. “Bakit? Saka bunso, pwede bang Truth Day muna tayo? Wala na muna sa last day ng buwan. Ia-advance ko na.”
Truth Day is always on the last day of every month. It’s the day where every word that comes out from our mouths is always the truth. I made this thing because I thought it will make us closer since there’s one day in every month when we will be totally honest with each other. And now it backfired. “K-Kasi mahal pa niya si Sunshine. Sinaktan na si Richard at lahat, mahal niya pa rin.” I started. “Nagseselos ako kasi .. kasi hindi na deserve ni Sunshine yung pagmamahal ni Richard. Dapat binabaling na niya sa iba para maranasan ulit niyang mahalin siya pabalik. Hindi yung minamahal niya yung babae na hindi na naman siya mahal.” I said.
Kute nodded. “Alam mo bunso, hindi naman kita masisisi eh. Tama naman ‘yang sinasabi mo pero wala tayong magagawa eh. Mahal talaga ni Richard yung babae eh.”
“Tignan mo Kute, pumapanig ka talaga kay Richard eh. Ano bang pinakain sa’yo nun at sobrang close kayo?” I snarled. “Hindi dapat niya tinatrap yung sarili niya. Sa dami ng babae dito,sure akong titibok ulit yung puso niya. Hindi niya lang hinahayaan.”
“So tama nga ako?” Kute asked with a grin on her face.
“Na ano?” I asked back.
“Na gusto mo ikaw yung babaeng ‘yon? Na ikaw yung babaeng magugustuhan niya?” Kute asked with a meaningful smile on her face and I found myself mum again. “Bunso, ireremind ko lang ha? Truth Day tayo ngayon.” She added. “May gusto ka na kay Richard ano?”
I irritatingly scratched my head and groaned. “Oo. Oo Kute, may gusto ako kay Richard. Mahal ko na nga ata eh! Ayan, masaya ka na? Nasagot ko na yung tanong mo, ayoko na.”
“Yan! Nagkakaintindihan na tayo!” Kute exclaimed with a huge smile on her face. My brows furrowed. “O, bakit?”
“Kute, anong nangyari sa’yo? Usually kasi kapag nagkakagusto ako sa lalaki, nagagalit ka tapos tinatanong mo lagi kung sino siya. Kulang na nga lang bugbugin mo eh. Anong meron kay Richard?” I confusedly asked. She’s surprisingly happy about my confession.
My sister shrugged. “W-Wala! Basta, nararamdaman kong iba si Richard.” She said and stood up. “Sige na, matulog ka na’t kailangan mo ng pahinga. Alalayan na kita.” She suddenly said and helped me to get up.
Over the next days, I heard nothing from Richard. He would occasionally send text asking if I’m already okay but I can’t find the will to press the reply button. I know I should apologize to him but my feelings towards him hold me back.
The envelope that is sent to me is really consistent. Our mailbox will have it once or even twice a day and photos are the usual content. It’s usually photos that I’ve taken, mostly landscapes because that’s what I love to capture. It’s like hidden photos of mine that I haven’t seen until now. The closest one that triggered my memory is the mother and son one. It was one fine morning with the sun rising behind a tall building and a shadow of a mother on the corner bidding farewell to her son who’s off to school. I received this a day after I sent Richard home.
I was inside a car with somebody when I took that photo. So I wrote a letter to whoever is sending those pictures. I asked him if he’s the man in my dreams and if by all means, I want to finally meet him. I placed the envelope in our mailbox and it would surprisingly disappear during the afternoons but there are no responses from my letters. The notes inside the envelopes also get shorter and would just tell me to hold on and then my memory would come back.
Damn them all. They’re just making me confused more than ever.
It’s a Friday night and as Dr. Manalo predicted, my ankle will be now fine as long as I rest. Emman became in charge at the studio since I can’t really move that much. I just helped with the photo editing and lay outing. Good thing I followed his prescription. I can’t miss this event tonight.
I’m wearing my black dress. I really like dressing up during formal events even if I’m only going because of work. I’m off to a Junior-Senior Promenade this night with Emman. We were asked by this private school to cover their event, for everyone to remember what happened during this night.
Emman’s car arrived shortly. Unlike me, he’s wearing a pink long sleeve shirt and some formal pants. He said that wearing a tux will be nice but it will just make him sweaty while he takes photos. We arrived early so that we could set our photo booth. Our other photographers Ruby and Kyle joined us too since the venue is big and the school is really known in the country and we don’t want to put shame in Limelight so we’re going all out.
Ruby and Emman are assigned on the photo booth where the students will go first when they arrived while I and Kyle are already inside the venue to take a photo of the things that can be quite memorable. “Kyle, pupunta lang ako kina Emman. Magpapalit lang ako ng lens. May ipapakuha ka ba?” I asked Kyle who’s been taking the photo of the stage for some quite time now.
“Yung filter ko, Maya. Nasa bag ata ni Emman. Thank you.” He shortly said.
I made my way back at the entrance of the venue where Emman is behind the camera while Ruby was instructing the teens that are coming. As I was changing my lens, my eyes got fixed on this boy. He’s wearing a silver tuxedo with a black bowtie. His face looks so happy while his eyes show nervousness. He shifted his face and saw me. A smile formed on his lips and I smiled back. I really like the way his eyes are formed. It’s all .. Chinese. His chinky eyes are so cute.
“Maya?” I heard someone call my name. I turned around and saw the face I’m longing to see. He’s wearing a black tuxedo. His body standing tall like the wall I used to lean at whenever I cry on him. The man that I might be falling in love with, just like what Emman and Kute told me.
“Richard.” I said his name but it felt like I just whispered it. “A-Anong ginagawa mo dito?” I asked. Snap. Was that rude?
“Uhm, I’m, I’m chaperoning my brother.” He said and nodded at the boy I was looking at earlier. “That’s him. He’s name is Luke.” He said.
I turned back at him and saw the huge gap between us. I know that he’s still uncomfortable because of what happened the other night. Yet I couldn’t utter any word besides his name. I just missed his presence. I miss talking to him. I missed him.
“I can see that you’re busy. I’ll let you be. I don’t want to interfere.” He said with a tight smile. “I guess I’ll see you.” He said and before I could utter any word, he left.
The event went on smoothly as me and my team documented everything. Kyle shifted from taking photos to taking video clips that we will put altogether after. The King and Queen were chosen and Richard’s brother, Luke, won. As I took their picture, Luke kept staring at me like everything was surreal. I bet it’s because he couldn’t believe that he won.
“Congratulations!” I happily greeted to them.
The chinky eyed boy gave a huge smile. “Thank you Ate Maya.” He said and moved back to his seat. How did he know my name? Oh. Maybe Richard told him about me.
“Oy girl, bakit hindi kayo nag-uusap ni Papa Richard at panay lang ang sulyap mo sa kanya ngayon?” Emman coyly asked.
“Eh, Emman, nag-away kami eh.” I said.
Emman’s eyes went wide. “Whaaat? Iba talaga ang kapag mahal mo ano. Inaaway mo. Kaloka ka. Ano bang dahilan ng una niyong lover’s quarrel?”
“Uhm.” I muttered. “Nagselos ako. . ?”
“Ay naman. Ayan tayo eh. Hindi pa kayo, may selosan nang nagaganap.” Emman remarked. “Mukhang hindi ka pa ata nagso-sorry eh. Gorabels na, Maya, mag-apologize ka na, mukhang ang lungkot ng mukha ni Papa Richard eh. Aagawin ko ‘yan sa’yo, sige ka.” He said and left.
I sighed. Why can’t I bring myself near him and just apologize? Emman is right, he looks so gloomy today. And I don’t really have the right to be jealous. He’s not exactly mine.
“Good evening everyone! The floor is now yours! This is finally the opportunity boys! Don’t be afraid to ask her! And the floor is not just for our students but for our chaperons as well. If you like, please do. Enjoy the rest of the evening!” The emcee said on the microphone. Some boys stood up and bravely went to the girls to ask them for a dance. I was so amused that I kept pressing my capture button to save this kilig moment for them.
I was taking some steps back when I bumped into someone. I quickly turned around to apologize but got stunned when I saw that it’s Richard. His hands lingered on my arms, assisting me from my incident. He has this lopsided smile on his face that I could die looking at. “Be careful okay? We don’t want your sprained ankle to be back.” He said with a smile on his face.
I felt myself blush. What’s with his sudden change of mood? I thought we’re still not good? I built up my courage and opened my mouth to speak. “Richard, I .. I’m sorry for the other day. I didn’t really mean the things that I said. I’m really really really –“
“It’s okay. Forget it.” He said with a huge smile on his face.
“Hindi eh. If there’s anything that I can do for you, kahit ano, gagawin ko, makabawi lang. I’m really sorry.” I muttered.
“Well, there is one thing that you can do.” He said.
“Ano ‘yon?” I eagerly asked.
He laid out his hand in front of him. “Maya Dela Rosa, may I have this dance?”