Paranoia. That’s the thing. I know I’m not a doctor but I guess if I were one, I will diagnose myself as a person with paranoia. Ever since we got back from Baguio, everything is different, and it’s killing me. Have you ever experienced an event in your life where you just want to stop and scream at the top of your lungs that something is wrong and you want to bring back the past? Then you’re not alone. But the thing is, we can’t do that.
It was because of that stupid night. I should’ve seen it coming. I should’ve expected that after all of that kilig stuff, something opposite will happen, and that it will be worse. I could still remember everything like yesterday. I could still remember the feeling that I had when Sir Dean first entwined his hand with mine. I could also feel the pain that happened after it. I could still see the pain in Sir Dean’s eyes. I could remember that night when he looked so lost and I could remember waking up the morning after to find his bed empty. And now that I’m back in PUS, Sir Dean and I were also back from being what we used to be – strangers.
He’s seldom in his office, he doesn’t talk to me, there were no more calls from him and it’s killing me. Majority of his classes now are handled by Ma’am Ched. She explained that Sir Dean is now busier in med school but I couldn’t help but wonder if it’s really true or if he is avoiding me.
“Wag mo na kasing masyadong isipin ‘yon.” I heard a voice said beside me. I was startled when I noticed that it was Sir Ryan. “Si Lim na naman ‘yang iniisip mo ano?” He continued.
“Hindi naman Sir.” I lied.
Sir Ryan raised both of his hands like he’s admitting defeat. “Alright. If that’s what you want to say. Pero I believe you are lying. You have that certain look on your face kapag si Lim ang iniisip mo.” He said and I just sighed. “See? I’m right. Hindi lang kayong mga babae ang laging tama.” He said with a smile. “Pero anyway, stop stressing yourself. He’ll get over it.”
“Oo Sir Ryan pero .. pero bakit ganon? Alam ko naman na mali, alam ko naman na nadala lang ng bugso ng damdamin pero bakit kailangang humantong sa ganto? Na hindi na kami nag-uusap, hindi na siya nagpapakita. Nawala lahat.” I reacted. I was surprised by my outburst. I guess I couldn’t keep it in anymore. I’ve been stuck in this thing for a month and it really is killing me. I don’t even know what to do.
Sir Ryan leaned back on my table and crossed his arms. “I honestly don’t know what happened to him. I’ve known him as a guy na sinisigurado muna lahat ng option bago sya umaksyon. But with you, it’s just different.” He said. “Hindi ko pa ulit sya nakakausap eh. I guess he’s burying himself with his studies. And I guess you should do the same.”
I just nodded. I’ve been receving the same words from Kute. I’ve told her everything. She got mad at first since it’s already a form of dishonesty with Simon but eventually, she forgave me and said that I should just shake it off. I was lonely that time since Simon doesn’t really have time for me, and apparently, Sir Dean was too. We both found each others company and resulted to that night. But before that night could even end, reality hit us. That’s what Kute said. And yes, it made sense.
But why am I hurting?
“Can I ask you something though, Maya?” Sir Ryan said and I nodded. “I’m trying to figure out kung bakit ganyan kalaki ang impact ng pangyayari sa’yo. Dahil ba nag-expect ka? Or are you afraid that time will come when Lim has finally moved on and he will not see you as the woman he saw that night?”
That last statement made my heart feel like it fell in a deep hole. Is it really the reason why? Am I afraid that Sir Dean will not be interested in me? But why would I?
Before I could even answer, I heard the bell rang. It’s time for my class. I thanked Sir Ryan for his time and gathered my things. My head is still floating as I walked through the corridor. I was lost in those words. So Sir Dean is not the one who has a problem? That it was me after all?
I suddenly bumped into someone, and I could feel that we collided hard. The notes I was holding fell and I quickly kneeled to gather everything. The person I bumped into did the same. Then on the floor, I saw the very same bar pin. The one with the very same name. I reached for it and the image of the person in front of me became clearer. It is Sir Dean.
“Are you okay?” He asked. I could feel my heart beating loud as I hear his familiar voice. He offered me a hand to help me up. His eyes were focused on mine and I could see the tension in his clenched jaw.
I nodded my head. And I lifted my hand holding his bar pin. “B-Baka mawala ulit.” I said.
Sir Dean nodded as he reached for it and said, “I guess that’s the thing sa mga iniingatan natin.” And then he looked back at me. “Nawawala agad.”
My heart hammered so loud. I know that he is talking about his bar pin but there’s something else, like he is talking to my soul. “I should go.” He said and started to walk past me.
“R-Richard.” I muttered his name. When I turned around, his back was facing me and it seems like he was paralyzed. I should’ve called him Sir Dean or maybe a Sir before his name but I am aware of the students around us, and I know that he wants to keep his low profile. “Can we talk?” I asked.
Sir Dean slighty turned. He paused a bit before he nodded. “Okay. After class. Let’s go grab some dinner.” He said with a sad smile.
I nodded and he started walking again. I let out a deep breath. I have no idea where I got my courage but I guess that what I did was a start. I may not be able to scream what I want to say but by approaching it like this, I guess, I have a shot at bringing everything back.
The day went on fast. Sir Dean was the one who taught us during class. He seemed tired but still eager to teach us everything he knows. After class, I went back inside the faculty and saw Sir Dean sitting on my table. He glanced at me when he heard the door open and gave me a small smile. “I was waiting for you. Shall we go?” He said.
I raised my brows. “Where are we off to Sir?” I asked.
“You wanted to talk right?” He asked. “It’s Friday and I have the weekend off. I need to take a break sa mga surgery na inobserve ko.” He said.
That was when I saw the true Sir Dean. He looks so tired. The bags under his eyes seems to say that he hasn’t slept for a couple of days. I guess he was busy after all. “Sir? Maybe we should postpone this .. this talk. Mukhang pagod na pagod po kayo eh.” I said.
“It’s okay.” He said and took a glance at his watch. “Let’s go. Para hindi ka na rin gabihin. I’ll be at the car. Nasa tapat lang.” He said and left. I just grabbed my things and texted Kute. I told her that I’ll be home late.
I saw Sir Dean leaning back on his car with his arms crossed. I felt my heart skip a beat for some unknown reason. “Ah, Ms. Dela Rosa, I kind of changed my mind.” He said. “Okay lang ba sa’yo kung sa tapat tayo ng campus kumain? I know a good place. Nag-crave lang talaga ako.”
“Okay lang Sir Dean.” I said with a smile. We walked in silence as we reached a certain food joint in front of the campus that is famous for its sizzling dishes. The place doesn’t have that much people. Maybe because it’s already around seven and it’s close to calling it a day.
“Kuya Richard!” A person called the Dean that was sitting in front of me when we settled in our seats. “Ang tagal ko na po kayong di nakikita dito ah!” The boy continued.
“Niccolo!” Sir Dean replied. He stood up and gave the boy a hug. “Sorry. Naging busy lang kasi ako.” Sir Dean continued. “Kamusta ka? You’re in college na rin ‘di ba?”
“Opo. Bio rin po yung course ko. Balak ko rin po sanang mag-doktor.” Niccolo said.
“That’s good to hear!” Sir Dean replied. “Ah, where are my manners. Ms. Dela Rosa, this is Niccolo. Nakilala ko siya nung bata pa sya, nung nag-aaral pa lang ako ng masters ko.” Sir Dean said. “Niccolo this is –“
“Ahh! Si Ms. Dela Rosa po!” Niccolo exclaimed. I was actually surprised that he knows me since I’ve never seen him. “Kayo po yung Prof ng mga first year ‘di ba po? Sayang lang po at 2nd year na po ako. Hindi ko po kayo naabutan.” He said as he occupied the seat beside Sir Dean.
“Ay, oo, ako nga.” I replied with a smile. “Kaya pala hindi kita masyadong nakikita. Pero paano mo ako nakilala?”
“Ay Ma’am, kung hindi niyo na po itatanong eh marami pong estudyante na nagkakagusto sa inyo. Ang ganda nyo raw po kasi.” Niccolo said with a smile so proud that it made me chuckle. “Buti na lang po, si Kuya Richard ang boyfriend niyo Ma’am, kundi, liligawan ko na rin po sana kayo eh.” He continued, making me paralyzed. One look at Sir Dean and I knew that he wasn’t expecting Niccolo’s remark.
“Uhm, Niccolo. W-We’re not together.” Sir Dean said.
Niccolo’s mouth dropped. “What?” He exclaimed. At first I was nervous on how he’s going to take the embarrassment “Kuya Richard! Bat ‘di mo sinasabi? Edi dapat kanina ko pa napormahan ‘tong si Ma’am Maya!” He said with a huge shocked on his face. He got up from his seat and transferred to the seat beside me. “Hi Miss. I’m Niccolo nga pala. Anong name mo?” He said and offered his hand for a shake.
I laughed and I accepted his handshake. “Hello Niccolo. I’m taken.” I answered. Again, the boy’s jaw dropped and I couldn’t help but laugh. I could see Sir Dean smiling as well.
“Wait lang po. Ma’am Maya, taken ka pero hindi kayo ni Kuya Richard ko?” He asked.
I nodded at him. “Oo eh. Ibang lalaki. Papakilala ko sa’yo minsan.” I answered.
Niccolo stood up and shook his head. “Ay, ayos lang po Ma’am Maya. Saka ko na lang po siya imi-meet. Kapag si Kuya Richard na po ‘yung ipapakilala niyong boyfriend niyo.” He said.
My eyes fell to Sir Dean and I saw him roll his making me chuckle. Whoever this kid is a blessing in disguise. A couple of minutes ago, we were going to explode from too much tension yet everything feels so light right now. “Niccolo, kumalma ka muna. Can we take our order first? Ikaw na ang bahala kay Maya. Give her something na alam mong babalikan niya. Yung order ko, ‘yung usual.” Sir Dean said.
“Right away Kuya Richard!” Niccolo said and disappeared into the kitchen.
“Strange kid.” I heard Sir Dean muttered. “Kahit nung bata siya, ganyan na ‘yan kakulit. He’s the brother I never had. I’m sorry if he offended you in someway, Ms. Dela Rosa.”
“Ayos lang po Sir Dean.” I replied. “Ginawa nga po niyang light ‘yung atmosphere natin eh.”
Sir Dean nodded. “He did.” He said. “He has this way of making things light. Kaya nung nakilala ko siya dito, I already knew that I like him.”
“Paano niyo po siya nakilala Sir Dean?” I dared to ask.
Sir Dean smirked and shifted in his seat. “Molina brought me here one time kasi pareho kaming nagccrave sa sisig. Apparently, it’s good. Bata yung nagtake ng order namin. Niccolo. And after his father served the food, nakipagkwentuhan na lang samin si Niccolo. Dun na nagstart.” He said and I smiled. He really does have a kind heart beneath that façade of his. And then after a few beats, he added, “So … what do you want to talk about?”
I took a deep breath and released it. “Sir Dean, I want co-existence between us.”
Oh yes, I am back. Haha. Sana po maging consistent po ako this time. After ko pong mag adik ulit sa bcwmh at sa hype ko sa bagong movie ng Jochard, I found the inspiration and guts to write again. Ang dami ko na pong utang sa inyo. Babawi po ako. Chap 21 later. Hihi.