I have a bad feeling about this. Simon and I are now inside the chibugan. Simon is seated opposite of me and is barely touching his food. And we’re sitting in silence. Whenever I took a glance at Nanay, she would smile proudly at me, I could even see the tears forming in her eyes. But with Kute, it’s different – she looks worried.
“Simon?” I called but he didn’t seem to notice. “Simon.” I called again and this time, he looked up. “Ayos ka lang? May nangyari ba sa school mo? May tulog ka ba?”
He gave a small smile and shifted on his seat. “I’m okay. Saka sanay na kong kulang ang tulog ko.” He replied.
“Ahh.” I replied. “Ano bang ‘yung .. ano ba ‘yung gusto mong pag-usapan?” I asked.
Simon took a deep breath. “Maya, there is no easy way to say this.” He said and I got nervous all of a sudden. He reached something in his pocket and placed it on a table. It’s a small violet velvet box.
“S-Simon? A-Anong .. A-anong-“ I stammered. My heart beats so fast, my mind couldn’t think straight. What is going on?
“Wait. Maya, please calm down. Wag ka munang mag-conclude, okay?” He said as he raised both of his hands. “Yes, it is a ring.” He said and all of my blood just felt like it was drained. “But I am not proposing.” He continued as he opened the velvet box. Inside was a ring with a small diamond at the middle. “This is a promise ring, Maya.”
My brows furrowed. “A promise ring?” I muttered.
Simon nodded. “Yes. A promise ring for my promise that after med school, I promise that I will marry you. That I would spend my whole life to only you.” He said. He held both of my hands in his and I could feel the ring being placed on my palm. “I want you to keep it. As a sign of my promise, Maya.”
I was stunned for a bit. I was trying to absorb what is happening. Then when it finally hit me, I was surprised to discover that I am confused instead of being happy. I should be smiling yet my brows are still furrowed. I pulled my hand away from his and the ring dropped on the table.
“What is it Maya?” He nervously asked.
“S-Simon, may mali eh.” I truthfully said. “Bakit bigla kang .. bakit biglang may ganto?”
“What do you mean –“
“Please answer me.” I interrupted. “Honestly. Please Simon.” I pleaded. I just have a feeling that his intentions are not about marriage. I just think there’s something more.
“Maya, I just want to marry you. But not right now. Alam kong pareho tayong busy sa kanya-kanyang career.” Simon answered. He was trying to hold my hands but I pulled them back at me.
I sighed. “Simon, alam kong lahat ng relasyon, doon ang punta pero .. pero bakit kailangan mo pa ng promise ring? Hindi sa hindi ko sya naappreciate, pero pwede naman kasi na wala.” I explained.
“Alam ko, Maya.” Simon said. “But .. but I don’t want to lose you.”
“A-ayaw mong mawala ako?” I asked slowly. There’s just something about that statement.
“Yes, I don’t want to lose you, Maya.” He said. He took a deep sigh and shuffled on his seat again. “I’ve been so busy that I don’t have time for you. I badly want to be with you pero hindi ko magawa. I keep reminding myself that I would call or even text you then when I have the time to do so, it will be a day or two after. I just can’t lose you, Maya. So I want to give you this ring. As a promise that I will never be gone. That –“
“Simon.” I interrupted. “Naiintindihan ko ‘yung intension mo. I really do. Pero .. pero iba kasi ‘yung dating eh.” I said. He was silence so I continued. “Ang dating kasi sa’kin, nilalagyan mo na ako ng bakod. Na kahit anong gawin mo, nandito pa rin ako. N-nage-gets mo ba?” I asked and he still doesn’t say a word. “Ayokong maging fall back mo Simon. Alam ko na nasa relasyon tayo, na may tiwala tayo sa isa’t-isa pero ayokong magsettle ka sa’kin dahil ako ‘yung safe na desisyon. I want us to settle down kasi tama, kasi mahal natin ang isa’t-isa. Hindi dahil sa isang pangako na walang kasiguraduhan.”
“Maya, ayaw mo ba akong pakasalan?” Simon asked.
Gusto. Gusto kitang pakasalan. My mind said but my mouth couldn’t utter. There’s another voice that was coming from my heart. And that’s the one that my mouth chose to follow. “Simon, sigurado ako dati na ikaw na ‘yung taong papakasalan ko, na ikaw na ‘yung taong makakasama ko hanggang tumanda. You were the one.” I said and he winced at the word ‘were’. “All I asked from you was time. Oras. Para makasama ako, para maipadama sa’kin na hindi ako nag-iisa, para ipadama sa’kin na may nagmamahal sa’kin pabalik. Kasi sa totoo lang, sa mga nakaraang linggo, hindi ko na alam kung kaya ko pang i-konsidera ‘tong relasyon na ‘to. Kasi hindi ko na alam kung ano ‘yung pinanghahawakan ko, hindi ko na kilala ‘yung taong mahal ko.”
Simon sighed and gave me a small smile. His eyes showing how hurt he is from what I just said. “I already lost you didn’t I?” He asked. I couldn’t utter a word even though I already know the answer to his question. “Hay, I’m sorry, Maya. I really do.”
“Ano ka ba, Simon? Wala kang dapat ika-sorry. It was both our fault.” I said and I could feel the tears welling up my eyes.
“No. It’s mine.” He said and he looked straight into my eyes. “You’ve done nothing but support me. And .. and I failed to meet you halfway.” He explained. “Funny thing is, I came here for two reasons. First is because of that ring. And if that did not work out, then I know this would be the right thing to do.” He stopped reached for my hands. This time, I let him. “I’ve come to set you free.” He said with the same sad smile. “I’m being unfair to you. At alam ko rin na long term ‘yung hinihingi ko sa’yo through that ring. Hindi kita sinisisi na hindi mo tinanggap ‘yung promise ko. I want to set you free. Not because there are other people involved, but it’s just the right thing to do.” He explained and the tears came running down my face. “I’ve come to accept that the two of us grew. But we just grew apart. I need to set you free so that other people will know how capable you are of loving. Ayokong ipagdamot ka sa mundo. I’m not capable of being with you. I failed And I hope and pray that someone will do a better job of loving you than me.”
Simon bid his farewell shortly after that. We made it clear to each other that there are no hard feelings. That it just didn’t work out. But even though everything was clear, I couldn’t help but feel like my heart’s been ripped apart. We agreed that the two of us should still keep in touch. I bid him good luck in his studies and that I know, he will get those two letters at the end of his surname. I gave the ring back to him and told him that he should give it to the right woman for him. We hugged for the last time before Simon left with the words, ‘Don’t be a stranger’.
People would often cry after a breakup but I don’t feel like it. I am hurt, yes, but not to the extent that I need to cry. I am not exactly happy either. Just .. just glad that things turned out the way it has to be.
“Kape, nak?” A voice brought me back from my thoughts. I went straight in my room after Simon left. Nanay came in followed by Kute. “Nako naman ang anak ko.” Nay said as she sat down on my bed and placed the cup of coffee on my bedside table. “Aba, Cristina Rose, tignan mo ‘to.” She said. “Hindi umiiyak ang kapatid mo. Bagong record ata ‘to!”
“Talaga Nay? Patingin nga bunso.” Kute said and her face popped in front of me.
“Nay! Si Kute oh!” I said as I pushed her face away from me. “Kayo talagang dalawa. Magdadala pa ng kape, gusto lang naman makiusyoso kung anong nangyari kanina.” I said.
“Eh kasi naman, Nak, bigla ka na lang umakyat eh.” Nanay said. “Ano bang nangyari?”
I took a deep sigh. “Break na po kami ni Simon.” I said.
“Yes!” Kute exclaimed while Nanay exclaimed the opposite.
“Anong yes ka dyan Cristina Rose?” Nanay said. “Break na sila nung manok natin, tapos yes pa?”
“Eh Nay,” Kute said as she scratched the back of her head. “May iba na po akong manok eh.” She said.
“Nay, saka na natin pag-usapan. Ang intindihin natin, itong bunso mo.” Kute interrupted. “Ayos ka lang ba bunso? Bakit nga hindi ka umiiyak?”
“H-Hindi ko feel eh.” I replied.
“Wow.” Kute quickly said. “Nay, gusto ko ‘yang linya ni bunso. ‘Hindi ko feel’.” She teased.
“Eh Kute, hindi ko naman talaga feel eh.” I replied with a smile. Both of them stopped talking and I bet they are waiting for my explanation. I just took a deep sigh and said, “Ewan ko, parang nasanay na rin kasi ako na ganito ang set-up namin ni Simon. Kaya nga lang, ngayon, official na. Pero, nakaya ko na kasi na wala siya. Ngayon pa ba ako mag-iiiyak?” I said.
My mother and Kute looked at each other with a smile and then they hugged me so tight. “Bunso, proud kami ni Nanay sa’yo.” Kute said.
“Yung ginawa niyong dalwa ni Simon, Nak? Napaka-mature na bagay.” Nanay said. “Hayaan mo na, may darating pa naman diyan, sure ako. Sa ganda ng lahi ng Dela Rosa, imposible.”
“May nakaabang na nga ho eh.” Kute muttered.
“Ha?” Nanay reacted. “Meron na agad? Nako, Nak, pahipahinga muna ang puso ha? Baka sumabak ka agad eh kakagaling mo lang sa sakit ng puso. Ang sakin lang naman –“
“Nay, Nay! Time out muna!” I interrupted. “Ito kasing si Kute eh.”
“Eh kasi naman –“ Kute started but I glared at her so she would stop. I know that she’s going to keep on pushing me to Sir Dean but like what my mother told me, I just want to take a break. “Alam niyo, bumaba muna tayo. Bumili ako ng cake at ice cream. Akala ko kasi nagwawala na ‘tong si Maya eh.”
“Kute talaga.” I said. “Sige na. Una na kayo ni Nanay sa baba. Susunod ako, promise.” Both of them gave me a final hug before they left my room. I just need a second alone with myself. I grabbed my phone and two texts.
One was from Simon saying, ‘Good luck in everything, Maya. Kung kailangan mo man ako, I’m a text away. Kahit na late akong mag-reply.’
I smiled as I read it. Absolutely. There are no hard feelings.
The other one was from Ricky.
Are you okay?
I hit the reply button immediately but words fail to meet me. I don’t want to give him the news that we broke up. It’s one of those things that you need to tell personally. So I thought I will just type whatever I am feeling right now.
Never been better 🙂