I feel like a knife stabbed me in my heart. He’s right here, in front of me. He’s talking to someone over the phone and I do bet that it’s his best friend. It was the perfect opportunity for me to study him. Even if he’s wearing a coat, I could see that he lost some weight. He must’ve been so stressed here in New York.
Or maybe, it’s actually my fault.
I don’t even know what I’m doing here. I just want to see him. I’m would be really okay if I just called him. Flying to New York is James’ plan. He said that I should just join him and Angela since they are also flying here.
And now here I am, standing a few feet before him. I rubbed my hands closely together. I found it incredibly cold here in New York. I wasn’t even like this when I stayed in Canada to work. It wasn’t even too long since I last flew there. Maybe I’m just nervous because in just a few seconds, everything will change.
I went still when I saw Richard move. The phone is not even on his ear anymore. So that means, in just a few seconds ..
His eyes stared back at me. I bet they are wondering what the hell I am doing here. He went completely still, like he just saw a ghost. His mouth is slightly gaped and he’s in complete shock. I couldn’t help but to smile widely. It’s him.
Since he’s already paralyzed in his spot, I decided to move. I walked and closed our gap, stopping only a step before him. His warmth on me is so familiar even if he’s just standing in front of me. I smiled again. He’s really the man in my dreams.
“Maya.” He called my name and my breath hitched. He’s really here. My Richard is here.
“H-Hi Richard.” I uttered back. His eyes got wide for a second and he took a step back. I watched him as he rubbed his head with his hand.
“You’re just tired, Richard. She’s not here. She’s not here. You’re just hallucinating.” I heard him mutter to himself. He closed his eyes and when he opens them, he was staring at me. “Jesus, what did I eat earlier? Did somebody drug me?” He asked. I only chuckled. He’s really cute. His eyes found me again and his mouth gaped. “Damn, she’s still here.”
I chuckled softly. “Why are you finding it hard to believe that I’m here?” I dared to ask.
Richard’s mouth gaped again. “Now, I can hear her voice. Great, just great. Just two weeks passed and now I’m delusional.” He muttered again. “Okay okay fine. I might just answer you. Uhm, you’re not supposed to be here. You’re in Manila, with Simon, the so-called love of your life.” He groaned. “I don’t even know if the things I did had any effect on you. Can you remem- argh, why am I talking to you? You’re just in my head! You’re not real!” He exclaimed.
I bit my lower lip. Richard is really arguing with himself. I started walking until I’m a step away from him again, but he took a step back. I took another step and he took one backward step again. “Damn it, why are you even following me in my head?!” Richard continued. I started walking until I’m a step away from him again, but he took a step back. I took another step and he took one backward step again. “Damn it, why are you even following me in my head?!” Richard continued.
“I’m sorry.” I muttered, making his brows to furrow deep. “I told you that if this whole thing happened, the first thing that I would remember about you is your eyes. Yet, I didn’t remember.” I softly said as I stare at his chinky-eyes. “I still remember comparing it to Richard Gere’s. Ang pogi kasi ng mga mata niyo.”
Richard narrowed his eyes at me and then he closed them. “This is really a perfect dream, you know, Maya-in-my-head? I’ve been waiting for this moment, where you would just blurt those words out.” Then he sighed. “Now it’s happening, yet everything is just not real.”
I pursed my lips to hide the smile that kept forming on my lips. “What will you do if you learned that this whole thing is true?” I asked.
He shook his head with a sad smile. “None. Because I know that this is not true.” He sadly said.
I nodded slowly. Maybe I should join him in this dream. “Richard, how are you since you moved here in New York?” I asked.
He tucked his hands inside his pockets. “I’m doing good. Uhm, Vanguard’s not that hard to run. The people here are kindly welcoming the ideas that usually came from the houses in the Philippines.” He started. “I’m still living in a condo unit. Tito Louie is with me but he said that he’s leaving next month, and that’s already the maximum of his extension. I’m still sad though.” He said, making me to look at him. “Even though I don’t want to hear any news about you, I still spent every night thinking about you, and wondering if you’re thinking about me, too. I miss you like crazy, Maya.”
My tears started to well up in my eyes. “Eh, paano kung sabihin ko sa’yo na galit ako sa’yo? Kasi umalis ka ng hindi nagpapaalam ‘di ba?”
He smirked. “I know that well enough. Kaya nga hindi na ko umaasa na magkakausap pa tayo. You must be mad as hell that I gave you all those stuff so that you can finally remember everything. Then when you’re done reminiscing your past, you’ll learn that I’m now living in New York.”
“Bakit ba hindi ka nagpaalam?” I asked.
Richard shrugged. “I guess I thought that you will not care, that you’ll not give any damn about me leaving. You were still mad at me when we last saw each other, right? That day inside Simon’s office? Ah, speaking of Simon, I don’t know if he has any in-my-head version of him, too, but if you happen to see him, please tell him that he will pay for what he has done.” He taunted.
“You don’t really need to make Simon pay. In fact you should thank him –“
“See? Even if you’re just the Maya in my head, you’re still defending him.” Richard interrupted. “What is it in him that you love so much? He’s a liar! He’s living in the news world where he should always deliver the truth yet he lied to you, and you bought it.”
“It’s not my fault okay? I can’t still remember –“
“Damn, even in my thoughts we’re fighting.” Richard interrupted again. “Don’t bother defending him. I already made a promise that I can’t always control you. If you want to be with him, then be with him.”
My mouth gaped. “You’re giving up on me that easy?” I asked.
He shook his head. “I will never give up on you, Maya. Hell, I don’t even want to let you go. I just want you tied up with me wherever I go. But .. but I can’t. Loving someone doesn’t mean that you need to always be with her, or by sweet words nor sweet actions. Sometimes, it means that you need to set her free. And that’s what I’m doing, Maya – I’m setting you free even if it’s breaking everything in me. I love you and I want you to be happy, with your own life now, without me.” He said, and I could just feel my heart shatter with every word. This is how Richard loves me. He’s willing to take all the pain and live on with it.
“Richard, you once told me that if I love someone, I should set him free. And if he comes back, he’s mine forever.” I said and he just nodded. “You already let go of me because you love me. And I still came back. It means that .. I’m yours forever, right?” I hopefully said.
He nodded. “That’s true. You came back, but .. but not because of me. You coming back gave me a second chance but I guess it was just not mean for us.” He said then he chuckled softly. “I can’t believe that I’m still talking to you. You’re just in my head! The real Maya is still in Manila, with Simon, happy with her own life.”
“How can you even say that I’m happy with my life?” I asked. “You kept claiming that you’re the man in my dreams, and now that I’m standing here in front of you, you don’t even have the balls to claim me!”
“That’s the thing, Maya. I’m the man in your dreams. I am, I really am. And I would just remain that man inside your dreams.” He said. “I really need to go. Tito Louie is expecting me, and I still have to go to James. I guess you could ‘poof’ now.” He said and turned around to walk.
I can’t believe this guy! I can’t believe that I traveled miles just to follow him and now he’s just turning his back on me! Damn it. He’s so unbelievable. “RICHARD!” I yelled. I walked fast while he stopped and turned around.
“Why are you still –“ He started but didn’t finished. I tiptoed and placed my hands on either side of his face and pressed my lips on his. I felt him paralyzed in front of me, then after a few beats, I felt his hands wrapped on my waist tightly and kissed me back hungrily.
I missed him.
I missed his lips.
I missed being in his arms.
I missed being with the man I love the most.
I leaned back and stared at Richard who’s still stunned at what happened. He leaned in and kissed me again. I smile spread on my lips as I placed my hands around his neck. Before I became completely drunk with his kisses, I leaned back again and smiled at him. “You’re not dreaming, Richard. I’m here. I’m here.” I said and gave a peck on his lips as he leaned in to deepen it but I leaned back more. “Kasama ako nina James papunta rito.”
“W-Why?” He only uttered.
I pinched his nose. “Sira ka ba? Iiwanan mo na lang ako ng gano’n matapos mong ipaalala sa’kin ang lahat? Do you have any idea what I felt when James told me that you already left for New York? Then I watched the CD you gave alone in our house –“
“Tulo uhog ba?” Richard teased.
I laughed and lightly slapped his cheek. “Sira! Teka nga, patapusin mo muna ako!” I said and he laughed.
“I can’t believe you’re really here.” He whispered. “So .. it means that everything I said earlier ..”
“Yep. I heard everything. You’re not dreaming, silly!” I said. “The thing is, after I watched the video, these images in my head started forming. They are all scattered, like an unmade jigsaw puzzle. I spent days with Angela, and then I talked with Doc Jerry and Gina, and to Liza. Then one day, I just woke up remembering everything. But do you know what I remember the most?” I asked.
“What?” Richard asked.
I leaned in until my lips are close to his ear. “I love you.” I whispered. I felt Richard’s arms hugged me tighter and he literally lifted me off the ground and swung me around with him.
“I love you, Maya! I love you I love you I love you!” He kept on yelling. I tightened my arms around his neck, afraid that he’ll lose me. But I know for a fact that he won’t.
“Richard! Ibaba mo nga ako! Nakakahiya! Ang daming tao!” I exclaimed and Richard slowed down and carefully put me down. A small crowd was gathered around us and I buried my head on his chest, feeling completely embarrassed.
I heard Richard chuckle. “Don’t be shy. We’re not really from New York so it’s just okay.” He said making me laugh. I felt him move and I leaned back so that I could stare at him. “You’re really mine now, right?” He asked with a huge smile on his face.
I nodded frantically. “Yes. I’m yours forever, Richard.” I said and he hugged me tightly again.
“Let’s get married, for real this time.” I heard him whisper.
I chuckle. “Magpropose ka muna.” I teased.
He leaned back with his mouth gaped. “I already did! Two years ago! And you said yes. I’m still your fiancé you know.”
I smiled widely. “I doubt it, Mr. Lim. I don’t have a ring on my finger.”
Richard rolled his eyes. “If that’s what my future wife wants, then I would gladly give it to her.” He said. “I love you, Maya.”
“I love you, too Richard.” I said.
“Finally! We’re already at this point!” He exclaimed and leaned in to kiss me. The good people of New York started clapping around us.
Richard’s right. Finally, finally, we’re here. We’re here at this moment where I can’t feel any doubt in my decisions. In all of the hindrances, in the test God has given us, it just made one thing sure – that our love for each other is now stronger than before. And I know that nothing, and I do mean nothing, will ever break us apart.
He’s my clarity after all.
A/N : Finale na po ata ang next.