The chinito eyes of Sir Dean narrowed after I muttered those words. “Coexistence, Maya?” He repeated, like trying how the word would feel in his tongue.
I nodded my head nervously. “Yes Sir Dean. Coexistence. That whatever is going on between us, we will do everything to coexist, for the sake of saving this friendship.” I quickly said before I could run out of courage.
The man in front of me gave me silence as an answer. His eyes are focused on me and it feels like my body froze in his look. Maybe what I am offering is a bad idea. But I just couldn’t stand being treated as a stranger by someone that I already consider as .. as.. well, a colleague fits, but is the word friend enough?
Ofcourse it is, Maya. Coexistence nga ‘di ba?
“I-It’s just, I .. I find it hard to understand why after that particular happening in Baguio, we suddenly return to being strangers. Don’t you find it absurd Sir –“
“Maya .. “ Sir Dean interrupted. “You do know that it would be hard for me, right?” He said and he shifted in his seat. “Cause clearly, I have feelings for you.” He admitted.
My heart did its thing again. I never thought that he would be this straightforward in his feelings. Yes, I’ve felt it in the way he held my hand and cared for me, but to actually hear it from him? It sent butterflies to my stomach and I could even feel the warmth in my cheeks. I took a deep breath. “Yes, Sir Dean. Alam ko naman po na mahirap not just for you, even for me.” I said. He looked at me again with such hope in his eyes. But I don’t want to lead him on. It’s already bad that I welcomed all of his gestures back in Baguio. “Pero Sir, hindi ba kayo nanghihinayang? Kasi parang ang gulo? I know that what happened in Baguio was .. was out line but for us to be like strangers because of that? I thought we were better than that. And we’re both mature people. I know that I can’t bring back the past but if I could, I would really really –“
“That’s the thing, Maya.” Sir Dean interrupted and my heart just sank. “We can’t bring back the past and pretend there’s nothing wrong with it.” And with that, I know that things are going on a different direction. I started hearing voices inside my head telling me that everything’s will be okay. I bowed my head down so that the tears don’t run down my face. “So I guess we just have to create new memories.”
“P-Po?” I stammered.
Sir Dean shifted in his seat and leaned back on his chair, with a grin on his face. “We’re going to just create new memories. We need to have a clean slate. Coexistence ‘di ba?” I must’ve smiled so wide since I made him chuckle afterwards. “Okay na? Is that what you want to talk about?”
I nodded eagerly. “Okay na po Sir Dean!” I said with a smile.
“Pero bago tayo magsettle dun sa usapan natin. Can I ask for a favor?” He asked.
“Ano po ‘yon Sir Dean?” I replied.
“Can you please drop the ‘po’ and ‘opo’?” He answered. “I know it’s a form of respect since I am your boss and your dean at the same time but I think Sir Dean would be appropriate. Besides, we’re friends, are we not?”
“Okay Sir Dean. And yes, we are friends.” I replied. The food soon arrived and Niccolo sat with us. The food really is good and Niccolo is a really good company. He kept on telling me stories of the young Sir Dean and Sir Ryan.
“Kuya Richard, drinks?” Niccolo offered with a sly smile. “Wag kang mag-alala. Sagot ko na. Ayos lang daw sabi ni Papa.”
“Saka na muna Niccolo. I’ll be driving. Babawi na lang ako sa susunod.” Sir Dean answered. I bet they are talking about beer or something.
“Ha? Magda-drive ka Kuya? Eh sa loob ka lang naman ng campus nakatira.” Niccolo answered. “Ay. Sorry Kuya. Hindi ata alam ni Ma’am Maya.” He quickly said with the sorriest face I’ve seen.
“Ayos lang. She knows.” Sir Dean replied.
“Ofcourse she knows!” Niccolo exclaimed. “Ma’am Maya, wala pa bang pag-asa sa inyo si Kuya Richard? Alam ko po na sobrang masikreto syang tao pero complete package na ‘to!” He continued even though Sir Dean is trying to shush him. “Nakita niyo na po ba ‘yung bahay nila? Ang laki ‘di ba po? Ang damot lang ni Kuya Richard kasi hindi ako pinapasok. Wala raw syang pinapapasok sa loob. Ang arte.”
“Ganon ba?” I replied. “Edi talo pala kita kasi nakapasok na ako sa loob.”
Niccolo’s jaw dropped. “Kuya Richard! Ang unfair mo ha. Sobra. Sobra talaga.”
Sir Dean just laughed. “Maya was there because I thought she was Tita Ched! And I was sick during that time. Wala ako sa wisyo.” He defended.
The boy crossed his arms and nodded to every word that Sir Dean said. “Okay. Sige. I forgive you Kuya. Pero kailangan mong bumawi. Ang dami mo nang utang.”
“Sige. Bukas na bukas. Dun tayo sa bahay.” Sir Dean said. “I don’t know kung anong gagawin mo pero knowing you, alam kong marami kang trip sa buhay eh.”
“Yes!” Niccolo said as he fist pumped. “Sige Kuya. Papasok ako bukas. Magkita na lang tayo sa canteen. Malapit ka naman don ‘di ba?” He asked and Sir Dean just nodded. “Ma’am Maya! Sama ka bukas?”
“Ha? B-Bakit kasama pa ako? Time niyo ‘yang dalawa. Saka may klase kasi ako bukas eh.” I answered. I am certain that I have my master’s class tomorrow.
“Maya, hindi ako magtuturo bukas. I am pretty sure that I’ve announced that in class. I just gave a problem set sa genetics.” Sir Dean answered. “Parang hindi ka nakikinig ah.”
“Nakikinig ako Sir Dean!” I replied immediately. Okay, maybe not. I was so busy thinking what is going to happen in this dinner. I couldn’t even understand the whole topic for today. I don’t even know if I have a copy of that problem set. Knowing that it’s genetics, I already know that I’ll be in trouble.
“Maya, should we go? It’s already nine in the evening.” Sir Dean said, bringing me back from all of my thoughts. “Una na kami, Niccolo. Just text me tomorrow.”
After bidding farewell to Niccolo and his parents, we sat up and left the food joint. I was about to hail a jeepney when Sir Dean stopped me. “It’s late. Ihahatid na kita.” He said.
“Wag na Sir Dean. Inconvenience pa sa inyo. Sa loob na nga kayo nakatira eh.” I replied.
“Maya, you asked for coexistence. I’m giving it to you.” He just said. “Pero seryoso, gabi na. I’ll just get my car. Saglit lang ‘to.” I was about to protest but he still interrupted me. “I have the weekend off remember?”
“Sabi ko nga Sir Dean. O sya tara na. Nang makauwi ka na rin agad.” I said and crossed the street immediately. We arrived shortly back in front of the faculty where his BMW is parked. He opened the passenger’s door for me and I slid in.
“Nakikinig ka ba talaga sa discussion ko kanina? Parang tulala ka lang eh.” Sir Dean asked as he was driving.
“Sir Dean! Nakikining ako. I swear.” I answered. “Ah, kakanan sa susunod na intersection.”
“I already know where you live.” He said. “Okay fine, nakikinig ka. Papasok sa isang tenga, lalabas sa kabila?” He teased.
“Ito talagang si Sir Dean, ang laki ng trust issue.” I said with a laugh. “Nakikinig talaga ako promise.”
“Hm. Nakakuha ka ng copy ng problem set?” He asked. I replied yes right after and he continued, “Nasaan? Patingin nga.”
I narrowed my eyes at him. What is his problem? “Wait ka lang Sir Dean.” I grabbed my binder where I keep all of my papers. There’s no copy of the problem set. I then grabbed my notebook to see if I placed it between the pages, and still, there’s no paper. I don’t even know what I’m looking for. I don’t even know what it looks like.
“Nakikinig pala ha. Maya, I’ve been teaching for years. Alam ko ang itsura ng student ko kapag nakikinig siya o hindi.” He said. I looked at him as words fail to come out of my mouth. “I told you to grab a copy sa table before you leave. I left it on my table before I left since I have to call my Dad. Lumabas ka ata agad eh.”
And I know in my heart that I did just that. “M-May kopya ka pa Sir Dean?” I asked and he just laughed at me. “Oo na! Sige na. Hindi ako masyadong nakikinig. Medyo lutang ako kanina. Mas inaalala ko pa ‘tong dinner na ‘to.” I truthfully said.
Sir Dean stopped laughing and took a glance at me. “Ano namang ikinaalala mo dito?”
I shrugged my shoulders. “Ewan ko. Na baka tanggapin ko na lang ‘yung sitwasyon. Friendship wasted.” I replied.
There was a second of silence before he spoke. “Why do you want to save this friendship?”
It was my turn to be silent. Isn’t that the question of the day? Why? Why Maya? Truth is, I don’t even know why. My instinct just tell me that if I don’t save this friendship, I have something big that I will lose. So I saved it. And I did. At least I hope I really did. “I don’t actually have the answer for your question Sir Dean. Kapag nahanap ko, sasabihin ko agad.” I just said.
“Gusto mo lang i-take advantage ‘yung mga benefits na makukuha mo dahil kaibigan mo ‘yung Dean mo eh.” He said with a smile.
“Malay mo Sir Dean. User pala talaga ako.” I replied. His face became serious all of a sudden then I heard a click in his car. I noticed that it was the lock in the doors.
“Maya, baba.” He said with a smile.
“Alam mo Sir Dean ang corny mo.” I replied and we both laughed.
“Corny daw pero tumawa sya.” He replied while still laughing. “Pero I wanna thank you Maya. Kung hindi mo ako inapproach kanina, maybe I will continue to treat you the same. I guess I am also grateful in what we have.”
“Kasi iba.” I just said and we both enjoyed the silence after that. We arrived shortly at our house. “Sir Dean bago ako bumaba, pahingi muna nung kopya nung problem set.”
Sir Dean just stared at me for a few seconds. It actually made me conscious on what I look like. “Bukas na. Pupunta ka naman sa bahay eh.”
“Sir Dean ngayon na. Para maaral ko na rin.” I argued.
He just shook his head. “It’s genetics, Maya. Alam kong hirap ka. Bukas na para matuturuan kita.”
“Okay Sir Dean.” I just said. “With free tutorial talaga? Hindi ba pwedeng with free answers na?” I teased.
“User. Bumaba ka na nga.” He said, making me laugh. “I had a good time. We should do this coexistence thing more often.” He said.
“Sige lang Sir Dean. Basta ba with free tutorial eh.” I said and opened my door.
“Now I’m really starting to think na user ka talaga.” He said again.
“Ewan ko sa’yo Sir Dean.” I replied. “I also had a good time. Ingat ka pauwi! See you tomorrow!” I said as I stepped out from his car.
“I’ll see you tomorrow. Goodnight.” He said.
“Goodnight din Sir Dean. Bye.” I said and I closed the passenger door. I watched his car fade into view first before I turned around to go inside our house, only to find Kute sitting on the couch with two cups of coffee on the table.
“Mukhang mahaba habang usapan ito bunso.” She said with a smile.
Sobrang late na po huhu. Medyo kinakalawang na po ang inyong writer haha! Kamusta po kayong lahat? Haha. Ayos naman po ako, sa mga nagtatanong po. I’ll be graduating next year po sa pre-med ko. Tas medschool na. Yesssssssss! Haha.
Salamat po sa pagbabasa. Sorry po talaga kung sobrang sobrang sobrang tagal bago po ako nag update. Sobrang daming twists lang po sa buhay ko. But now I’m back. Hopefully, matapos ko na po itong fanfic na ‘to. Thank you po ulit! God bless!