Archive for July, 2014
1+1 = 2 + 2 = 4
One year later
Maya is lying in a hammock, relaxing, reading a novel, or trying to read one! Sharing the hammock with her is Richard, who is cuddling her tight, as he tried several times to distract her from reading, with little touches here and there, and kisses everywhere, until finally, she gave up. She just can’t concentrate anymore. His touches generated the reaction he wanted. She had been reading the same page several times now and still, can’t remember a word she had read. Earlier, Richard and she made a bet – that he can distract her from her book, and that he can do it within 10 minutes. Maya bet that he can’t. She told him she had been looking forward to reading this novel and this is her first opportunity to do so.
“Ricky, naman eh, you don’t fight fair! “Maya good-naturedly complained as she pouted at her husband and pinched him in the cheek!
“Sweetheart, I warned you that I will use everything in my arsenal to distract you and win that bet! All’s fair in war and love!” Richard said with a big grin. “Now that I won, hmmm, I will think about my prize later, for now, I want my wife’s full and undivided attention. I just want to cuddle with you in the hammock for a while. Would that be okay, my dearest wife?”
“Of course, husband dear.” Maya setttled comfortable on Richard’s chest as she pushed to make the hammock sway with the wind. With the magnificent view infront of them and the peace and quiet of the place, they rested and enjoy each other’s company on their very special day. Today is their first wedding anniversary. Maya thought, life could have not been better. Richard thought and feel the same. He is, indeed, the luckiest guy in the world. Both can’t help but remember their first wonderful year together as husband and wife.
One year ago
Maya woke up before Richard did the morning after their wedding, and their first night at the Guevarra mansion. She stared at the guy sharing the bed with her, the face on the other pillow on her bed that she wouldn’t get tired of seeing for the rest of her life. Her husband. It has a wonderful ring to it. She touched his beloved face, marvelling how gentle he was with her, when he made her his, and the passion that they elicited from each other all night long. While Maya was doing that, Richard opened his eyes and look at his beloved wife. He looked at her with so much love, and started kissing her, touching her, and that led to a bout of morning lovemaking.
They stayed in San Nicolas several more days, arranged for Mang Manuel and Aling Isidra to continue taking care of their house, spent time with the Dela Rosas. They went back to Manila, and from there made ther trip to Europe, another of Richard’s presents to Maya. He knew Maya has been to some places there, but that was work-related. He wanted her to see the old world in a relax way. Their first stop was Barcelona, then off to Rome, Paris, Holland, and the last stop was London. Richard took Maya to West End and they watched her favorite musical. Maya and Richard’s days were spent seeing the sights, resting at cafes, eating at restaurants, and the nights were spent making passionate love. Their passion not abating, but getting more and more intense as they got more familiar and attuned with their bodies wants and desires.
Maya and Richard returned to the Philippines, a month after. Instead of settling in the village where Don Roberto and Donya Esmeralda live, they opted to stay at the penthouse of one of the upscale high-rises owned by Lim Properties. Both like the unencumbered view of the city. Their evenings were spent cuddling, drinking wine sometimes, chatting about their day, as they looked at the city at night from their window seat before they to go sleep. Maya and Richard decided they will just move to a house when they have kids. They talked about it, but decided that they will just take it in stride, no pressure, depending on God’s will. In the meantime, they strengthened their foundation as a couple – from compromises, to keeping their lines of communication open, to spending quality time with each other, and loving each other in all the ways they can do or show.
Maya liked her work with WHO, and Richard supported her career 100 percent even if it means getting separated from her from time to to time as her work requires traveling a lot. Richard knew that Maya’s career is part of who is. Maya is the same to Richard. She knew she married a busy man, and one with a lot of responsibiities. She made their home a haven where he could relax and forget the stress of the day. When they have time, they travelled, mostly locally, to all the places they talk about visiting or seeing during the long phone calls they had, when they were just friends. They also spent time at their house in San Nicolas.
Now, after a year, Maya and Richard are at their vacation house in Siargao Island to celebrate their first anniversary. They just fell in love with this secluded place when they saw it several months ago. Luckily, the owner of the beach property agreed to sell and they built this two-storey house with an open lay out. The big veranda on the second floor offers a wonderful view of the vast sea. The place is also blessed with a white, sandy beach, and the waves are not too big, as compared to other parts of Siargao, as their beach property is a bit on the inland side. It is a bit far from Manila, but Richard and Maya consider the travel here part of the adventure.
Maya heard Richard’s light snoring, and realized that her husband fell asleep while she was reminiscing, while they were reminiscing. She noticed that it is already late afternoon so she gently untangled herself from Richard’s embrace, and slowly got out of the hammock, trying hard not to wake him. Richard, in his sleep, protested, but settled back in the hammock. Maya thought her husband must really be tired from their trip, and the last minute work he attended to before their vacation. When they got here yesterday, they didn’t exactly sleep right away. Maya went downstairs to start preparing her treat for her husband on their anniversary. She cooked his favorite food, set the table, and chilled a bottle of champagne. She then went to their bedroom to shower, and to prepare the second part of her surprise. Maya, surveyed everything one more time, and waited for her husband in the day bed downstairs, passing the time with the book she was not able to read earlier.
Richard woke from his nap, two hours after Maya left him. He must really be tired to just conked out like that, he mused. He decided to take a shower before he look for his wife. Judging by the smell coming from downstairs, Maya had prepared his favorite food. When he entered their bedroom, he noticed the bed decorated with rose petals, and the candles perched on the side table and the windows, and got an idea that he is in for a treat from his wonderful wife. Well, this was the prize he was planning to tease her from their bet earlier, he mused. Good thing, they were of the same mind! Wearing a soft, loose white shirt, unbuttoned halfway, and dark blue loose cotton pants, Richard went downstairs and saw Maya engrossed in her book. What he saw was just too tempting to resist. Richard tiptoed to where Maya is, and kissed her on her bare shoulder. Her thin halter maxi dress, exposing most of her back to his heated gaze.
“Sweetheart, gising ka na!” Maya greeted and gave Ricky a radiant smile.”Halika na dinner is ready. Gutom ka na ba?”
She held Richard’s hand and let him to the dining area. The table is elegantly set, with tall candles in the center and scattered petals adding accent to the violet and yellow table cloth. Richard held out the seat for Maya and took the seat on her left side. Maya started serving Richard the appetizer, gambas al jillo, his favorite, as soon as they got settled on their seats. Richard, opened the bottle of champagne, but when he was about to pour her a glass, Maya stopped Richard by touching his arm.
“Only water for me, please, sweetheart .” She said simply.
“But why sweetheart? Di ba, you like champagne?“ Richard asked, puzzled. “Saka anniversary dinner natin ito, isn’t it?”
“Errr, kasi sweetheart, hindi ako pwedeng uminom ng anything with alcohol for the next seven months, or baka beyond pa.” Maya said, looking at her husband and checking if he got what she is trying to say to him.
“Bakit seven months…..? Oh you mean…?….Sweetheart???” He asked, turning inarticulate with the realization.
“Yes, Mr. Lim, magiging daddy ka na in seven months. I’m two months pregnant. I just confirmed it the other day! Kaya pala I was feeling nauseous. Then I realized I haven’t had my period in a while, kasi, di ba, irregular kasi ako!” Maya said happily. “I decided to wait for this anniversary vacation to tell you.”
“Maya, sweetheart, magiging parents na tayo!!! Magkaka-baby na tayo? How are you? Are you feeling okay?” Richard asked one after the other as he went to Maya’s side, hugged her and kissed her on the lips and touched her tummy reverently. “How are you there, my little angel?”
“Yes, I am okay, Ricky. Minsan lang I feel very sleepy lately, and nauseous. Pero, don’t worry, healthy na healthy kami nitong little girl natin.” Maya said as she cuddled to Ricky.
“Little girl? Hindi pwedeng little boy muna, sweetheart.” Richard teased his wife. “Seriously, sweetheart, whether our baby is a boy or a girl, I will be the happiest dad and husband in the world, as long as you and our baby are okay.”
Richard got his glass of champagne, and gave Maya her glass of water and offered a toast. “To us, sweetheart, happy anniversary, and to our baby, and all the kids we will have. I can’t thank you enough for making my life richer and full of colors. I love you very much.”
“Ricky, to us, happy anniversary, and to our baby. Thank you for being the best husband a girl can have. I am thankful for you coming to my life, and for our wonderful life together. I love you very much.” Maya replied as she gave her husband a lingering kiss. However, her grumbling stomach interrupted their passionate interlude.
They had a leisurely dinner, marked by loving gazes, light kisses, and comfortable chatter. After dinner, they decided to take a walk. Hands intertwined, punctuated by little kisses, they walked along the beach. When it got a bit chilly, they returned to the house where Richard carried Maya up to their bedroom, reminiscent of their wedding night.
Maya stood before Richard. She looked so beautiful to him. Maya is equally admiring her husband. Richard started caressing Maya’s face, then touching her lips, which she opened, and for Richard, it is his invitation to kiss her deeper, passionately. They touched everywhere, with Richard, at the same time, untying Maya’s halter dress until it pooled on the floor. Richard looked at Maya with so much love, imagining her getting more beautiful, as she gets bigger and rounder, with their precious baby. They spent most of the night, and their whole vacation, affirming their love for each other.
Seven months later
The hospital room is filled with flowers and balloons. Maya is resting on the bed, while Richard caressed her face, her hair and held her hand. She just been wheeled into the room from the recovery room. Giving birth took quite a long time. In the end, her OB recommended a caesarian operation.
“How are you sweetheart?” Richard asked his wife. He knew it has not been easy for her giving birth to their twins, a son and a daughter. He almost fainted in the delivery room. If only he can take Maya’s pain away. But his wife assured him all the time that she is okay, and what she is experiencing is part of the miracle of giving birth.
“Okay lang naman ako sweetheart. Natanggal ang lahat ng pain ko ng makita ko ang mga baby natin.” Maya looked at her husband with love. “I love you, Daddy.”
“I love you too, Mommy.” Richard said with so much emotion as he held his wife’s hand and interwined it with his.
In the afternoon, the twins were brought to Maya’s room. Both husband and wife were teary-eyed when they held their babies. They named the twins, Sky and Sunshine. Sky, because they both like the color blue and Sunshine, to represent Maya’s favorite flower. These are also the colors that best represent their world – tranquil and vibrant.
They moved to a house with a large yard soon after. The laughter and shrieks of children having fun as they climbed trees, rode the tire swings with their dad and mom pushing, played in their tree house, became familiar sounds in the lot where the Lims live, in the years that followed. Life couldn’t be better or richer, Maya and Richard thought, with the miracles in their lives, their Sky and Sunshine.
Note: Thank you for reading. 🙂
‘I thee wed’
Three months later
The bridal car stopped infront of the well-lit Guevarra mansion. Maya looked out and noticed where they are. She thought they will go back to her family home after their reception earlier that lasted until late at night. She untangled herself from Richard’s embrace.
“Ricky, sweetheart what are we doing here?” She asked Richard, surprised. “Bakit tayo nandito.”
“Hmmm, come, Mrs. Lim.” Richard said simply, as he got off the car, went to Maya’s side and helped her out, taking extra care with her wedding dress. “Here we are, where we are supposed to be!”
Maya got off the car and they said good bye to Tatay Lem, who congratulated them again before leaving them at the gate. She looked at the house and she now she noticed that it looked all spruced up, well-lit, the front door decorated with flowers of all kinds. Richard held Maya’s hand, opened the front door, they went inside, up to the intricately-designed staircase filled with a profusion of flowers, mostly sunflowers. Richard like before, supported Maya on the back as he assisted her in going up. When they reached the top of the stairs, Maya was surprised when Richard carried her up to the living room of the house, where a cooling bottle of champagne is waiting for them.
Richard popped the cork and poured a glass each for Maya and him.
“To us, Mrs. Lim, for the happiest day of my life. Finally you are mine.” Richard toasted, looking at Maya, with his lopsided smile, and with so much love. “I love you very much.”
“To us, Mr. Lim. Today is the start of our forever and ever, together! I never thought I could be this happy and I am happy to belong to you, and you to me. Here’s to us.” Maya gazed with Richard with so much love in her heart. “I love you more than life itself.”
Richard and Maya clinked their glasses, drank the champagne, and kissed sweetly, then passionately, pouring out the love they feel for each other in those kisses.
Richard kissed Maya lingeringly one more time, then went to the corner, switched on the turntable, then the melody of ‘As Time Goes By’, started filling the air.
“May I have this dance, my beautiful bride?” Richard asked Maya, as he bowed and held out his hand to her.
“Yes, of course, my handsome groom.” Maya went to Richard’s embrace and they swayed to the music, another favorite of Maya’s. She is really amazed how much Richard remembered her favorite music and movies. She really had chosen the best husband in the world. Richard, on the other hand, was thinking that he is the luckiest guy in the world, and anything to make his bride happy, he will do.
The aisle of San Nicolas Church was bedecked with a profusion of sunflowers, interpersed with Malaysian mums, and roses of different colors. The orchestra started playing the Mendelssohn’s Wedding March, and everyone looked at the door, which was slowly opening, and then there’s Maya, radiant in her long-sleeved wedding dress made of vintage lace, holding a bouquet of white roses with a big sunflower in the center. She started walking, and her gaze sought Richard, who was waiting at the altar with Don Roberto and Donya Esmeralda, and Ryan, his bestman. When their eyes connected, Richard was hit with intense emotions and got teary-eyed, seeing his beautiful Maya, walking to him, to be with him. Midway, Maya was joined by her Mom and Cristina Rose. Mommy Tessie was crying when she gave Maya to Richard, asked him to promise once more that he will take care of her bunso. Richard assured his future mother-in-law that would be his number one priority. He kissed her Mommy Tessie’s hand, shook Cristina Rose’s hand, while Maya kissed Richard’s mom’s cheek and hugged Don Roberto.
The ceremony went like a dream. Most of the time, Maya felt she was floating, with all the happiness and other emotions she is feeling at the moment. Richard was feeling the same. Then, it was time for their wedding vows.
– ‘Four years ago, one ordinary afternoon, I never thought my life would take a complete shift, because of a girl who was looking for a vacant seat. The moment she smiled at me, I was captivated. Maya, sweetheart, of all the moments in my life, I was so very thankful for that one. I thought I was settled, that I was complete, that the color I have in my world then was enough, but I was mistaken. It was just an existence, and I only completely lived since I met you. You didn’t only bring colors to my life, you brought a rainbow of it. I promise to love and honor you until the day I die, and when I do, when we do, I will still look for you and would still choose to be with you, in our next lifetimes. I love you very much, more than I can say. I am going to show how big my love is for you for the rest of our lives.’
– ‘Richard, I have been everywhere the past two years, but everywhere I go, there was only you. It has been like that since I met you. Sometimes, I asked myself, if I had not taken that class, would we still met and ended up together? I would still think so. Kasi, ikaw lang ang para sa akin. You are my destiny and my other half. Hindi man naging madali ang lahat for us, but here we are. I promised to love and honor you. Kaagapay mo ako sa hirap man at ginhawa. Sa lungkot man at saya. Mahal na mahal kita. I will be your partner hanggang sa pagtanda natin. I am so thankful for your love. I’m overwhelmed and sometimes, naiisiip ko I must have done something good, for God to give you to me. I feel so cherished. I love you very much too and it will not change, anuman ang dumating sa buhay natin. Kahit makailang lifetimes pa tayo, ikaw pa rin ang nandito sa puso ko. Saka promise pala, sweetheart, bukod sa puso ko, pwede mong i-safe keep ang passport ko.’
Maya’s last line elicited laughs as they were aware of what happened before she and Richard finally ended up together. Everyone was so happy for them, especially Richard’s parents, Rafi, Mommy Tessie, Mamang, Cristina Rose, Ryan, Emman, and Alexandra, who attended the wedding in her habit.
Then it was time to kiss the bride.
Richard looked at Maya lovingly. At last she is his, he mused. Maya on the other hand, thought, that this is it, we are finally joined by God. Then Richard kissed Maya with all the love he was feeling and she reciprocated with all the emotions in her. They forgot where they were, and all the people watching them, so lost they were in their feelings, until the teasings of their wedding guests, penetrated the universe they were in. Maya and Richard looked at each other sheepishly, kissed chastely one more time, and smiled at their family and friends.
The wedding was followed by a reception at Casa Cielo, the restaurant that Richard mentioned to Maya before he proposed. Like the wedding, it was a night to remember. Instead of a sit down dinner, the place was set up in such a way that all guests can mingle and chat with each other freely. Maya and Richard didn’t want their wedding too formal and full of ceremonies. When Maya and Richard did their wedding dance, everyone present felt the love they have for each other. Don Roberto and Donya Esmeralda remembered their moment like this. Mommy Tessie remembered Daddy Arturo, while all the single ones wish they could find a love like this. Alexandra was just happy to see Richard happy, and wished him and Maya a long and happy life together. There was so much laughter, dancing, and love flowing that night to celebrate Maya and Richard’s marriage.
Maya and Richard were brought back to the present when the music stopped.
“I love you, Mrs. Lim!” Richard said while caressing Maya’s face with the back of his hand.
“I love you more, Mr. Lim!” Maya hugged Richard and planted a soft kiss on his lips. “Pero, sweetheart, hindi mo pa sinasagot ang tanong ko. Why are we here?”
“Sweetheart, I have something to show you.” Richard got something from the table in the corner. He handed Maya a beautifully-decorated flat box, which he asked her to open.
Maya was nervous, and at the same time excited to find what is in the box. She slowly opened it. Inside was a long brown envelope which contained several documents. She started checking and reading the papers.
“Ricky, sweetheart, is this true? Paano? Kailan? Mabuti pumayag sila?” Maya asked one after the other, so overwhelmed with what she is seeing on the documents. One of them is a deed of sale for the Guevarra mansion, then another document transferring the ownership of the place to her.
“Sweetheart, slowly lang. Yes it is true. This house is yours, my wedding gift to you!” Richard said as he held Maya’s hand and brought it to his lips. ”I know how much you love this house. We have started our memories here too when I proposed to you in the azotea. This will be our home here in San Nicolas. It didn’t take much to convince Don Ramon and Donya Margarita when I met with them as soon as I returned to Manila the first time we where here when they found out that it would be my wedding gift to you. They told me na since wala silang mga anak, and pumanaw na rin ang nag-iisang kapatid ni Don Ramon, iyong pamangkin na lang niya ang magmamana and they feared that he will just sell the land to a developer and the house, gets sold piece by piece doon sa mga naghahanap ng parts of old houses bilang part ng mga pinapatayo nilang house! They know how much you love this place and that you, and me also, will take good care of it.”
“Sweetheart!” Then Maya started crying.
“Maya, sweetheart, why are you crying?” Richard asked worriedly. “Is this not okay? Sabihin mo lang, please.”
“Ricky, I’m crying because I am so happy! Sobra-sobra mo na akong pinasasaya.” Maya said in between sniffled. “Maraming-maraming salamat. I love you very very much.”
Maya touched both of Richard’s cheeks with her hands, and then kissed him on the lips. Richard responded and deepened the kiss. They started caressing each other, and it led to an exchange of heated kisses.
Richard kissed Maya one more time, then carried her to the master’s bedroom of the house, with a big antique four-poster bed in the center. The room is lit in soft light, and also decorated with Maya’s favorite flowers. Richard put down Maya on the edge of the bed and kissed her again.
“Maya, sweetheart, I love you very much. I can’t get enough of doing this, of being with you, and expressing what we feel like this.” He said as he kissed Maya on the lips, on her neck, and started caressing her back.
“Ricky, I feel the same. I love you, and I want to show it to you in every way I can!” Maya, so ovewhelmed with her feelings, and responding to Richard’s caressed, did her own caressing, touching Richard’s nape, his back, his face, and kissing him with abandon as well.
“Maya, sweeatheart, are you sure?” Richard asked, and when she nodded, he kissed her again, and started unbuttoning her wedding gown. He tried to curve his impatience and carefully opened the pearl buttons at the back of Maya’s gown one by one. He gave her a tender kiss in the back for each button he opened.
Finally, Richard managed to go all the buttons opened, and Maya’s gown fell on the floor. Maya stood before him in her camisole, looking so beautiful, so innocent, but with passion evident in her eyes and in her body. Maya can also see the passsion Ricky is trying to control in deference to her innocence. But she didn’t want control nor caution as she want to belong to him completely. She started unbuttoning Richard’s shirt, him having discarded his coat in the sala earlier. While at it, she planted heated kisses on his chest. Rchard responded with shortness of breath, and swallowing hard to hold on to some semblance of control, until he can’t take it anymore, and took things further.
Richard and Maya, passion unleashed, touched each other everywhere they could, exchanged passionate kisses in between, as if they can’t get enough of each other. All throughout the night, they repeatedly expressed their love for each other. Passion banked for the moment and from sheer exhaustion, they fell asleep in each other arms at dawn, as close as a man and a woman could be.
Note: Maraming-maraming salamat sa lahat ng nagbasa ng aking kwento na ito. Like I have mentioned in Chapter 1, this is my first attempt at writing fiction. For all of you who commented, who liked my blog, and who read, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I hope naaliw ko and napasaya ko kayo. This is the last chapter of Doors, baka lang I will write an epilogue. 🙂 Then off to another story.
Swaying to the music of their own making, with nary a space between them, Maya and Richard gazed lovingly at each other. Richard felt so complete with Maya in his arms. Maya, on the other hand, wanted to pinch herself to find out if she is really awake or just dreaming. She had thought of a moment like this when she was a teenager and having the usual crushes, but her youthful imaginings were nothing compared to the reality of being in Richard’s arms and being loved by him.
“Maya, sweetheart, are you hungry? Let’s have dinner na.” Richard said after a while. “Manang Fe’s niece prepared a lot of food. She also did all the arrangements here.”
“Really, sinong pamangkin ni Manang? Si Grace, iyong may events planning business diyan sa may plaza?” Maya asked, suddenly taking a closer look at everything around her, and the now vacant piano in the corner. Hindi na nga niya namalayan na umalis ang pianist and the singer.
“Yes, and we have Emman to thank for everything. I asked for his help. Lahat ng ito siya ang nag-coordinate kay Manang Fe for her pamangkin, the caretakers and the owners who graciously allowed us to use this azotea when they found out that it was you I was going to propose to! I just described to him what I wanted for you.” Richard explained as he pulled the chair for Maya. He sat down on her left side so they they could sit closer, and started serving her the mouthwatering appetizer Grace chose for this occasion, Maya’s favorite, so were the other dishes. Richard really wanted to make this night extra special for Maya, for them.
“Thank you very much, sweetheart, for all of this.” Maya said, with a sweeping gesture. She is just so happy and so overwhelmed by Richard’s gesture. “I love you very much.”
“I love you too, so very, very much. And only the best for you, my love. I had helped. You can thank Emman later, and Manang Fe when she returns. Emman is at your house now. And by the way, your mom and Mamang know I will propose. After you left my room last night, I went out again, and talked to them about this. Prior to that, as soon as we arrived, I also asked for your mom’s permission to propose to you.” Richard informed Maya.
“Kaya pala, you two were having a serious talk ha, when I returned to the sala yesterday.” Maya said, as she took a closer look at the ring he gave her. It is a very beautiful ring and she likes it very much.
Richard noticed Maya admiring her ring.
“Sweetheart, do you like it? We can have another one done for you, if you want?” Richard offered, wanting to know what Maya think of the ring.
“No, Ricky, I love this one. The ring is so beautiful. It also fits me perfectly.” Maya said as she puts her hand on top of Ricky’s.
“The ring was my mom’s. She gave it to me six months after you went away. She wanted me to give it to you, when the time comes. It has been in her family for generations and was handed down to the female line of the family. “Richard explained. “She said as she does not have a daughter, she wanted you to have it.”
“Sweetheart, please thank your mom for me. I will be honored to be the custodian of this ring for our daughter.” Maya blushed when she realized what she said. “I mean, errr, when we….you know…ah basta!”
“Why are you blushing sweetheart. It will happen. Hmmmm, let’s see, we will have a daughter, then a son, then a daughter, a son, and a daughter…” Richard told Maya teasingly. “I hope we will have half a dozen kids. I want a big family, being an only child! Kaya dapat we should have an early start, di na ako bumabata!”
“Ricky!” Maya blushed anew, and lovingly hit Richard in the arm. “Ikaw talaga!”
Richard gave Maya a glass of wine, and poured one for himself as well.
“To us, my Mrs. Lim-to-be! I love you very much.” Ricky toasted.
“To us, Mr. Lim ko. Mahal na mahal din kita! Thank you very much for loving me and giving me the most memorable proposal ever!” Maya replied.
Maya and Richad shared another sweet kiss after their toast. They alternately chatted, made loving looks at each other, held hands, while having a leisurely dinner in the azotea.
Several hours later, which they have not noticed passing by,as they were so focused on each other, they are still at the azotea. The decided to walk a bit and found themselves standing near the edge of the azotea, gazing at the flickering light from the lake beyond the house, with Richard backhugging Maya, his chin on Maya’s shoulder.
“I can stay like this forever, with you.” Richard whispered. “I feel so complete. This is the happiest day of my life.”
“I never thought I could be this happy, us getting engaged, here in my favorite place.” Maya said, her heart feels like bursting from sheer happiness.
“Now, I understand why you love this place very much. It does a evoke a romantic feeling for bygone times when you are here.” Richard said. “I am glad the owner is still maintaining the house in pristine condition.”
“Yes, it has been with the Guevarras, for generations. The current owner is the only grandson of Don Fernando and Donya Angela. I wonder what will happen to the house after them. They are old and don’t have kids. They stay more nga in Manila than here. I wish their relatives who would have this house in the future will continue to love and keep it the way it is.” Maya said passionately.
Richard can hear the love and the worry for this place in Maya’s voice. An idea started germinating in his head, but he decided he will explore it further another time. He just wanted to continue enjoying this special moment with Maya.
Richard and Maya returned to the house close to midnight. They thought, it would just be them, as it was already late. But they were surprised when they ascended the stairs. The sala is still well-lit, and found Mommy Tessie, Mamang, Cristina Rose, and Emman chatting.
“Congratulations, Richard and Maya!” They chorused when they saw them entered the sala, hands still intertwined. Then they all stood up, hugged and kissed Richard and Maya, one after the other.
“Thank you, thank you!” Maya said with a huge smile and showed them her beautiful ring which elicited a round of ‘ohh’, and ‘ahh”.
“Maya, anak, masayang-masaya ako.” Mommy Tessie said emotionally. “Welcome to our family, Richard. And call me Mom na rin, hijo!”
“Thank you very much po Tita, errr, Mom!” Richard said. Then he proceeded to kiss Maya’s mom’ hands as a sign of respect for his future mother-in-law. He did the same to Mamang, and shook Cristina Rose’s hands. “Ipinapangako ko po na I will love Maya until we are old and gray and hinding-hindi ko siya paiiyakin. She will always be my number one priority, and the kids we will have in the future!”
“Tama, madaliin na iyang mga apo ko sa tuhod nang maabutan ko pa!” Mamang jested. “Sana, boy ang una dahil walang boy sa ating pamilya.”
“Bakit, ‘Mang, boy naman ako ah!” Cristina Rose interjected teasingly, which earned her a pinch in the ear from Mamang. “Bunso, Richard, congratulations. Ang pamangkin kong una, dapat honeymoon baby ha!”
“Kuteeee!” Maya said.”Grabe ka, wala pa ngang date ang wedding. Honeymoon na agad.”
“Maraming salamat, Ricky. I know my bunso is in good hands.” Mommy Tessie said simply, as she hugged Richard again.
Richard and Maya both hugged Emman too and thanked him for all he did for their most memorable night ever.
“Naku, bessie, Atty. Richard, basta para sa inyo. Eh, number one fan kaya ako ng love team niyo!” Emman told the couple. “Basta ako ang fairy godmother ng first born niyo ha!”
Richard and Maya, looked lovingly at each other and promised Emman that he will be.
Like the previous evening, the whole family, plus Emman, ended up chatting until past midnight.
Richard escorted Maya to her room, kissed her chastely, and then went to his room to spend another night in the bed he wish he can share now with Maya.
– Sweet dreams to the most beautiful fiancee in the world. You don’t know, and I can’t even measure, how happy you are making me! This bed would have been heaven if you are sharing this with me, but I can wait! 🙂 I love you very much.
Maya smiled as she read Ricky’s text message.
– Ikaw talaga, one track mind na naman, hahahahaha. Good night to the handsomest fiance in the world. I can’t ask for anything anymore. My heart is overflowing with joy and love for you. Good night. I love you.
Richard stayed three more days in San Nicolas. He needed to go back for work, while Maya has more than a week left before she starts work. They agreed that Maya will spent several more days with her family, and return to Manila at a later date. Richard and Maya spent the days going around the places with special significant to Maya, and having their ‘you and me’ moments. They also made plans for his parents’ visit to her family for the pamamanhikan and to set the date of their wedding. Both can’t wait for that day to come so they can be together everyday of their lives, for always.
‘Will you marry me?’
Richard was up bright and early. At first, he had to orient himself where he was when he woke up in an unfamiliar bed. Then he realized he is at Maya’s house, and today is the day! He retrieved a velvet box from his overnight bag, opened it, and looked at the beautiful, elegantly and intricately-designed antique ring inside. It was his mom’s ring, and it had been with her family for several generations, passed down to the oldest daughter. He remembered the day she gave him the ring for keeps.
Richard was quietly sipping a glass of wine at his parents’ garden, one Sunday evening, after a family dinner, when he heard his mother calling him. Before he can stand up and go inside, Donya Esmeralda was there, holding a glass of wine.
“Hijo, how are you? Still no news on Maya?” She asked as she put her glass of wine on the table between her and Richard. “Can you imagine, di ba, in days and age, parang napakaimposible naman that she disappeared like that, without a trace!”
“ Wala pa po, Ma. Pero I am still hoping that one day I will see her again and I can tell her how much I love her and that I want to spend the rest of my life with her.” Richard said sadly, earnestly, as he sipped his wine. “Basta, Ma, I am not going to give up. Siya lang ang babae para sa akin.”
Donya Esmeralda looked at her son and wished she can ease his sadness or that she can do something to help him find Maya. Then, she remembered why she was there.
“Son, come upstairs with me, please, I need to give you something.” She asked Richard as she stood up and waited for him to follow her.
Inside Richard’s parents’ room is a safe and his mom opened it to get a velvet pouch and handed it over to Richard. She asked him to loosen the strings of the pouch and get the small velvet box inside and open it.
“Ma, what is this, isn’t this…..?” Richard looked at his mom in surprise. He has not seen this ring in a while since it does not fit his mom anymore.
“Yes, that is the ring that has been passed down to the female line of my family for generations. I want you to have it, give it to Maya when you finally see her. I have a feeling, hijo, that she is your destiny. Someday, you will have that opportunity!” Donya Esmeralda said to Richard. “I think, son, you found your other half in her, base sa mga kwento mo sa akin.”
“But Ma, isn’t it supposed to belong to your family?” Richard asked his mom. “Wala bang magmamana nito na iba?”
“No, wala, it supposed to belong to a daughter of mine but I don’t have one dahil isa ka lang na naging anak namin ng papa mo. Besides, it is mine to do what I want do with it.” Donya Esmeralda stressed as she pressed the ring on Richard’s hand. “I want you to give it to the woman you love and the one woman who will make you happy. Parang magiging anak ko na rin na babae si Maya kapag nakasal kayo in the future, di ba!”
“Ma thank you very much for this. I love you and papa. Maraming salamat for everything.” Richard embraced his mom and kissed her on the forehand. “One day, you wil see this on Maya’s hand, and I will be the luckiest guy in the world.”
He accepted the ring and left his parents’ house. Richard did wonder how come his mom didn’t give it to him when he was about to get engage to Alex before. He never gotten around to asking her. Ah, maybe, he mused, it was a sign that Alex and him were really not meant to be, and his mom knew or sensed it even then.
Richard was brought to the present by a knock on his bedroom door. He hurriedly put the ring in his overnight bag and opened the door to his lovely fiancee-to-be.
“Good morning sweetheart.” Maya greeted Richard brightly with a kiss on the lips and handed him a steaming up of coffee. “Nakatulog ka ba ng maayos? Maaga ka nagising? Iba dito talaga sa probinsya, di ba? Tahimik.”
“Thank you sweetheart. Yes, I woke up early for some reason, pero I am well-rested naman. Siguro excited lang ako siguro sa araw na ito.” He said meaningfully as he sipped his coffee. He liked the fact that he is sharing a cup of coffee with Maya as soon as he woke up.
“Talaga, bakit ka naman excited na excited ka diyan? Ah dahil, first time kang makakapasyal dito sa amin! O dahil kasama mo ako!” Maya teased him.
“ Eh, errrrr, yes, that it. Sweetheart, basta, whole day tayong magkasama ngayon at pati na rin mamayang gabi ha!” Richard tried to gather his thoughts, chose his words carefully, baka kasi madulas siya. “Mamayang gabi pala, can we go out for dinner, just the two of us? Let’s dress up for a change. I heard there is this famous restaurant sa kabilang bayan na talagag dinadayo ng mga tourist, and very exclusive! Isa raw sa mga old mansions na converted into a fine dining restaurant!”
“Hmmm, haven’t heard of that! Ah, baka nagbukas iyan noong wala na ako rito. Sige. I will tell Mom not to expect us for dinner.” Maya said and Richard heaved a sigh of relief when she didn’t ask anymore questions. Mabuti, she didn’t ask how he managed a reservation if it is very exclusive or bakit hindi man lang invited ang family niya.
“Ricky, let’s get out of the room na, and have breakfast with my family. Saka baka akalain na naman ni Kute, anong ginagawa nating dalawa here in the room!” Maya said innocently.
“Hmmm, you are giving me ideas! Ano nga ba ang pwede nating gawin ngayon!” Ricky said in a naughty voice just to tease Maya, who prompty hit him with a pillow. “Sweetheart, naman, biro lang, hayan, kamuntik na akong matapunan nitong masarap mong kape!”
“Kasi, naman, Ricky, ang aga-aga, one track mind ka!” Maya pouted prettily. “Halika na nga, labas na tayo!”
Mommy Tessie and Mamang, wth Doris, prepared a sumptuous breakfast. The breakfast table was filled with chatter and laughter of the Dela Rosa women. Parang hindi sila nauubusan ng pag-uusapan. Richard observed their interaction and dynamics. It offered him another beautiful glimpse of what shaped Maya as a person. Mealtimes must have been twice as festive and happy when Maya’s dad was alive. Maya mentioned to him one time that her dad died of stroke when she was in her teens. Without visible signs, it just hit her dad one day, and the following day, he was dead. His death hit her mom hard as they were inseparable as a couple, but she has always been a strong person so she bounced back and put her energies in her art and her two girls. Maya also told him how wonderful her father was to her and Cristina Rose, also to her Mamang.
“Richard, more food?” Mamang offered. “Kain lang ng kain. Feel at home ha. Huwag ka ng mahiya, saka pasensya ka na sa gulo namin, ganyan talaga kaming magkakapamilya kapag nagkakasama-sama.”
“Thank you po Mamang, I’m good. Busog na busog na nga po ako. Now , I now know kung saan namana ni Maya ang sarap sa pagluluto.” Richard told Mamang.”Natutuwa nga po akong pakinggan kayong lahat, ang saya-saya ninyo. Kami po kasi sa house namin, tatlo lang kami ng Mama and Papa ko usually during our Sunday dinner kaya medyo tahimik!”
Maya and Richard decided to explore the poblacion after breakfast. While Kute and Mommy Tessie went down to the cafe. Doris opened the shop very early as they have regular breakfast customers. Maya and Richard went inside the San Nicolas Church and marvelled at the beautiful centuries-old interiors, imagining generations of people celebrating life and love there through all the baptisms, weddings, and Sunday masses held there, and at the same time, taking comfort and finally saying goodbye, when a loved one died.
Maya told Richard that even if she had seen more beautiful churches in Europe, for her this church holds a special place for her. She said it is becase the church is ‘alive’ with people making sure it is, unlike the empty old churches she had been to. Maya has been drawn to anything old – classics, films , buildings, museum, and old churches so when she had time, in between doing presentations for her NGO’s aid work in Afghanistan, she visited those.
Richard and Maya returned to the house late afternoon to prepare for their dinner together. They informed the family at breakfast that they will go out this evening. They were not even surprised and didn’t ask for detalls. Good thing, Maya didn’t notice or find it strange that the family was not even invited to go with them, or that they didn’t react much to her and Richard going out to dinner.
Early evening, Richard was ready and waiting for Maya in the sala, while Mamang and Mommy Tessie waited with him. He seemed nervous and his future mother-in-law and future grandmother-in-law tried to distract him to no avail. Minutes later, they heard footsteps on the hardwood floor and then, there’s Maya, taking his breath away in a simple cut, purple lace dress with a fitted top, cinched with a thin belt, and with a flared a-line cut skirt designed. Her hair is in a bun and she is wearing very light make-up that enhances her beautiful, expressive eyes and pouty lips. Richard was speechless.
“Do I pass muster?” Maya asked as she playfully executed a pirouette infront of Richard, her mom and hey grandmother. “Ricky, Ricky, sweetheart, hey, Atty. Richard Lim, anong nangyari sa iyo. Say something please!”
“M-m-Maya, you look so beautiful, sweetheart. You blew me away!” He said after swallowing hard, and forgetting the other people in the room, he touched Maya’s cheek lovingly with the back of his hand. “Akala ko nga si Audrey Hepburn ang nasa harap ko!”
“Ikaw talaga, sweetheart. Thank you!” Maya said as she held Richard’s hand on her cheek. He looked so handsome in his dark coat, pale blue shirt and tie, with his face freshly-shaven, and him smelling so nice. “Mom, Mamang, aalis na po kami.”
“Sige, enjoy the night mga anak. Huwag niyo kaming alalahanin dito!” Mommy Tessie said as she hold to Mamang and tried to stop her tears. Her daughter is so beautiful and she glow with love. Mamang on the other hand, is very happy that her apo found her prince. Both mother and daughter were so happy seeing them so in love.
Maya and Richard went down the front stairs, on to the cafe, on the way out, where people took a second look at the beautiful couple passing by. Some even took photos. Instead of going out of the gate where Maya thought Tatay Lem is waiting, Richard held her hand and led her towards the back of the house, into another gate.
Beyond Maya’s family home is another Spanish-era house, empty, but well-maintained. This is one is much bigger and can be considered as a big mansion in present times. Maya told Richard before that she loved this house and has been drawn to it. She ‘fell in love’ with the place since the time Manang Fe told her when she was a little girl of the extraordinary love that was celebrated in that place, between Don Fenando Guevarra and the love of his life, his wife, Donya Angela. Her family knows the present owners, and the caretakers, Mang Manuel and Aling Isidra allowed Maya a free run on the property when she was growing up. She liked holing up in the azotea of the house when she wanted to be alone and wanted to daydream.
“Ricky, why are we here at the Guevarra mansion?” Maya stopped from walking and looked at Richard in puzzlement.
“Hmmm, basta, come with me na lang, sweetheart.” He said and assisted her up the stairs that led to the azotea, the place she told him she loved the most.
Maya got the surprise of her life when they reached the azotea, as it was filled with beautifully-arranged flowers, and the table in the middle, elegantly set for two and decorated with her favorite sunflowers. The whole place is lit with candles inside gas lamps, reminiscent of the ones used during the Spanish times. As soon as she stepped into the azotea, a familiar tune from the piano in the corner, which she didn’t notice at first, began filling the air, and a melodic voice started singing her favorite song, from the most romantic movie ever for her.
“Miss Maya Dela Rosa, may I have this dance!” Richard bowed at Maya, proffered his hand to her, while looking at her with all the love in his eyes.
Maya, seemingly in a trance, hold on to Richard, and they danced to the song that speaks of timeless love, amid all the vibrant flowers, with the candles gently flickering in the wind, and the moonlight peeping through the trees that, sort of, enclosed the azotea in a world of its own. They were both lost in the intense emotions they are feeling at the moment.
Somewhere in time
We met on timeless hills
And in the evening mist we kissed
And time stood still
Before the dawn, we found forever
Moments are timeless when I feel your caress
You’ll always be inside of me
And I know when love is true
It’s always with you
Somewhere in time
I came to realize
Love never goes
Love never goes
Once it has touched your heart
Just like the strength of wine that’s left
As two lips part
A taste of love will linger after
I know the meaning of all that I see
You’ll always be inside of me
And I know when love is true
It’s always with you
Somewhere in time
I came to realize
Love never goes
When the last strains of the music faded into the night, Richard let go of Maya, a bit, to get something from his pocket, and kneeled on one knee infront of her.
“Maya, I love you very much! Will you marry me.” Richard said with all the love he feels and offered to Maya the beautful, old ring he holds.
“R-r-Richard…” was all Maya managed to say, while Richard waited, and waited, getting nervous.
“Say something please, sweetheart.” Richard said, starting to sweat.
“Y-yes…..YES, YES, YES!!!” Maya finally said , then she kneeled infront of Richard and embraced him tight as if she will never let go. “Yes, I will marry you! I love you very much too!”
Richard touched Maya’s hair genty, caressed her beautiful face, and dried her tears with the caress of his thumb.
“Maya, I love you more than life itself. I will be yours until my last breath and I promise to make you happy the rest of our lives!” He said with all the love he is feeling. Then he put the ring on Maya’s finger. The ring fitted perfectly as if she was specifically made for her.
“Richard, tanging ikaw lang ang nasa puso ko, wala na akong ibang pinatuloy. I love you very much and kahit ilang lifetimes pa, ikaw lang ang magiging laman nito. I promise to love you and be your love, for always.” Maya replied, her voice breaking as she looked at Richard and the beautiful ring on her finger that is symbolic of the love binding them.
In the place where another couple from a bygone era professed their love for one another and spent many evenings, loving each other, and where Maya used to dream about that someday, when her great love will come, sweep her off her feet, and declare undying love to her, Richard and Maya sealed their promise of forever to one another with a passionate kiss, full of all the love overflowing from their hearts.
Note: The song is from the movie ‘Somewhere In Time’, starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour.
The atmosphere at the Dela Rosas sala that evening was festive, marked by laughter and happy chatter. Cristina Rose and Mamang arrived one after the other, early evening, and that led to more kumustahan for the Dela Rosas, and introducing Richard to the rest of the family. Like Mommy Tessie, Cristina Rose remembered Richard from the last time he was in San Nicolas. She also had a feeling then that he was the guy that made Maya run. She didn’t probe much when Maya mentioned wanting to mend her broken heart. She felt that if her sister wanted to talk, then she would have done so, and she would have been there for her, no matter what. Observing Richard and Maya now, and during the course of the famiy chatter and dinner earlier, she noticed how they looked at each other, those little touches in the hand, in the arms, and the way they sometimes finished each other’s sentence. Cristina Rose thought to herself that these two are really so in love. She is glad that her sister is so much happier now than the last time she was home.
Mamang naman was very curious about Richard and his family. She likes Maya’s young man and he is easy on the eyes too, even to an old lady like her. Que guapo na bata, she mused. Richard answered all of Mamang’s questions, even the very personal ones, patiently, respectfully, and gamely when Mamang’s questions bordered on the edge of embarassing and not. Mamang liked that about Maya’s young man. Seeing how he is with Maya and how he interacted with her family so far, and after her initial surprise at seeing him in the house, Cristina Rose warmed up to Richard too. Of course, she would really like to find out from Maya what happened and how come they are now in a relationship, if she is inclined to tell her. She respected Maya’s privacy too and doesn’t want to pry. As long as Maya is happy, then she is happy too. Ever since their father died when Maya was 15 and Cristina Rose was 17, she became the ‘man of the house’.” She looked after her family.
“Naku, lumalalim na pala ang gabi.” Mommy Tessie remarked. “Baka mas mabuting magpahinga na tayo, lalo na kayo Maya and Richard, galing pa kayo sa biyahe. Bukas na lang natin ituloy ang ating kwentuhan.”
“Sige po, magpapaalam na rin po ako.” Richard said as he stood up to say good night to the Dela Rosas. “Hanggang bukas na lang po.”
“Bakit hijo, saan ka pupunta?” Mamang asked. “Huwag mong sabihing magho-hotel ka pa. Aba eh bisita ka namin, dumito ka na. Marami namang kwarto rito.”
“Oo nga naman, Richard. Huwag ka ng mahiya, hijo. Magkakapamilya na tayo rito.” Mommy Tessie said meaningfully.
“Thank you very much po Mamang, Tita Tessie.” Richard said as he looked at Maya warmly. “I will not say no. Your house is beautiful and ngayon pa lang ako makakatulog sa ganitong Spanish-era house. Kukunin ko lang po ang mga gamit ko sa kotse!”
Richard also thought to himself, that at least, he and Maya will be sleeping under one roof tonight, even if separately! He proceeded to do that and returned to the house with his overnight bag.
“O Maya, ihatid mo na si Richard sa kwarto sa may dulo. Pina-ready ko na kanina kay Doris ang room. Then, you can stay in the room beside mine.” Maya’s mom added.
Maya and Richard proceeded to the room at the end of the long corridor from the sala, hands interwined, walking closely.
“Here you are, sweetheart. Let me know if you need anything.” Maya told Richard as she plumped up the pillows on the bed. “Good night. See you tomorrow.”
“Hey, hey, not so fast, sweetheart.” Richard said as he grabbed Maya’s arm before she can go to the door. She got surprised and lost her balance and ended up on Richard’s lap. “Where is my good night kiss?”
He proceeded to give Maya a kiss before she can even fully react. Like the previous meeting of their lips, this one started tamely and innocently, but turned much, much more. Richard started moving his hands, caressing Maya’s back and Maya doing her own caressing as their lips fused hotly.
“Maya, sweetheart, I love you, I can’t get enough of doing this.” Richard told Maya, in between kisses, with passion evident in his voice.
“Ricky, I feel the same. I can’t still believe that we are now together.” Maya said as she matched the passion of Richard’s kisses with the strength of hers. She is really getting into this, and the wonderful feeling it evoked in her.
“Ooops, sorry.” Cristina Rose said contritely as the couple broke apart from their very tight embrace and passionate kiss. “I didn’t know that Mom put you in this room, Richard. Kukunin ko lang sana iyong gitara na naiwan ko dito when one of my friends visited. May nanghihiram kasi sa akin, early tomorrow!”
Cristina Rose proceeded to get her guitar, looked at Maya with a teasing smile, saluted Richard, before she left the room. Maya, on the other hand, blushed and hid her face on Richard’s chest.
“Ikaw kasi, hayan, I will never hear the end of this from Kute.” She said to Richard as she lovingly tweaked his nose lightly and got up from his lap.
“Ha, bakit ako. Good night kiss lang naman ang hiningi ko ah.” Richard countered, pretending to be innocent, but the huge smile on his face betrayed him. He hugged Maya. “I love very much. O sige, good night na nga. Bukas na tayo magplano ng mga gagawin natin while in San Nicolas.”
“Good night, sweetheart. Sweet dreams. I love you.” Maya gave Richard a light kiss on the lips and then left the room.
Before Maya reached her room, Cristina Rose ambushed her and dragged her to her room.
“Bunso, ha, dalaga ka na, hahahahaha.” She teased Maya. She also made a juvenile and exaggerated kissing gesture.
“Kute, ha, nakakainis ka!” Maya tried to pinch Cristina Rose in the arm. “Talagang dalaga na ako. I’m almost 29 years old. Iyong iba ko nga friends, married with kids na!”
“So, ganoon, gusto mo na ring magpakasal diyan kay ‘Richard sweetheart’ mo. Di nga bunso, is he the one? Mula kasi noong nagdalaga ka, wala ka namang ibang ipinakilala sa amin nina Mom and Mamang.” Cristina Rose turned serious when she asked her sister.
“Yes, Kute, he is the one I want to spend the rest of my life with. He is the face I want to see every morning, lying on the other pillow on my bed. The one I want to grow old with. As to when, I don’t know yet. I am just enjoying what we have at the moment. We have been through a lot the past two years and I want to catch up on the lost moments.” Maya said heartfully. “Yes, kailan lang kami mag-boyfriend and girlfriend, in fact, ilang araw pa lang literally. Pero in my heart, I am bound to him since I fell in love with him just after we met. I know what my answer will be if or when he asks me. Pero, di pa nga siguro iyan ngayon. One day at a time muna kasi bago pa lang naman kami!”
“Maya, I am really happy for you, hindi ko man alam ang buong kwento, I can see how happy you are, kumpara noong last time ka nandito! Ngayon lang rin kita nakitang ganito kasaya, and iba ang aura mo, parang sobrang blooming ah.” Cristina Rose said as she embraced her sister. “Saka, ang gwapo ng ‘sweetheart’ mo ah. Kung naging totoong babae lang ako, may kalaban ka…..”
“Kuttteee, tumigil ka na nga. Tulog na tayo.” Maya said grinning as she exited Kute’s room.
Maya’s phoned beeped as she lay down on her bed. She opened a text message from Richard.
– Good night sweetheart, my angel, and the love of my life. I can’t wait until you are mine and see you beside me when I go to sleep and the face I will see first thing in the morning. I love you.
Maya felt giddy with Richard’s message. Hmmm, what does he meant by ‘can’t wait until you are mine’, she mused.
– I love you too. I can’t imagine loving anyone, being with anyone, but you. Good night. Tulog na tayo at baka hindi na tayo magising sa sobrang saya natin, hahahaha.
Richard grinned while he settled more comfortably on the big bed that would have been so much nicer if Maya is sharing it. Ah, but he can wait, soon it will happen, he mused. Maya on the other hand feels so happy, giddy, excited, and has this feeling of anticipation she can’t explain. Ricky, here in her family home, wth her, who would have thought! Richard and Maya went to bed with smiles on their faces, both looking forward to tomorrow and being with each other again.
Maya and Richard arrived at a beautiful Spanish-era house at the San Nicolas town proper, early afternoon. It has a well-tended garden, fenced with different varieties of bougainvillea. Like most big houses built during the Spanish colonial times in the Philippines, the living area of this one is on the second floor, and the ground floor is being used as a cafe and a display area of Teresita Dela Rosa’s potteries. Richard looked at the house in amazement. It is a truly beautiful house. He didn’t pay much attention to where he was the last time he was here. Before Maya can press the bell, someone came running from the side of the house.
“Maya, anak, good to see you! Bakit hindi ka man lang tumawag na ngayon ang uwi mo. Kung hindi pa nag-text si Simon kani-kanina at sinabing nakita ka sa airport, hindi ko pa malalaman na nandito ka na! Hindi ka tuloy nasundo ni Tatay Lem!” The lady opened the gate hurriedly and hugged Maya tight. “I missed you so much, Maya ‘nak. Hindi talaga enough para sa akin iyang Skype at Facetime na iyan!”
“Mom, pasensya na po kayo, I wanted to suprise you all, eh. Saka di ba ilang beses nang na-postpone ang pag-uwi ko kaya siniguro ko na. Then, iniayos ko na muna ang mga dapat kong ayusin sa Maynila, para diretso ang bakasyon ko dito sa atin bago ako magtrabaho ulit!” Maya kissed her mom’s hand. She really missed her, Kute and Mamang so much.
Mommy Tessie then noticed that Maya is not alone. She looked closely at the good-looking, chinito guy holding Maya’s bag and staying in the background while she have her reunion with her daughter. He walked forward when he saw that she is looking at him. He does look familiar. Then as he approached, it dawned on her that it was the guy who came looking for Maya two years ago!
“Magandang hapon po, Mrs. Dela Rosa, Richard Lim po, we have met before!” Richard politely introduced himself to his future mother-in-law. Yes, he has plans of asking for her permission to marry Maya. Maya doesn’t know it yet, but he is going to propose to her at the place she always raved about, and hope she will say yes!
“Good afternoon din, welcome to our house, Richard. Of course, I remember you from last time.” Mommy Tessie was a bit puzzled why Richard is with Maya, but she has a very good inkling why. “Pasok na nga tayo sa loob. Bakit ba rito pa tayo sa gate nagkukumustahan.”
“Mom, nasaan si Kute? Si Mamang? Si Manang Fe?” Maya asked as she climbed the intricately-designed stairs with steps made of hardwood, leading to their sala. The fact that Richard was assisting Maya solicitously while going up didn’t escape Mommy Tessie’s eyes. Hmmm, parang may boyfriend na nga talaga itong anak ko ah, she thought.
“Si Kute, bumili ng supplies for the cafe. We need to replenish our supplies eh, medyo maraming tourists dahil bakasyon. Then ang Mamang mo, hayun, kasama ang mga amiga niya, nagma-madjong kina Tita Sylvia mo. Si Manang Fe naman, umalis kanina, dinalaw iyong pamangkin niyang si Fely sa Batangas, nanganak kasi.” Mommy Tessie told Maya and Richard to make themselves comfortable and called on Doris, another long time kasambahay to serve them her special pandan juice and carrot cake.
Maya excused herself to go to the restroom and to help Doris get the food from the cafe, leaving her mom and Richard alone. Richard took it as an opportunity to talk to Maya’s mom about his intention. He is very much aware that they just arrived, but he may not get the opportunity to be alone with Maya’s mom again.
“Mrs. Dela Rosa, may I speak with you?” He asked Maya’s mother politely. “May gusto lang po sana akong sabihin sa inyo, if you will allow me?”
“Of course, Richard, and please call me Tita Tessie! Ano ba iyon hijo?” Mommy Tessie asked as she settled comfortably on the seat facing Richard.
“Maya and I are in a relationship.” He said straightforward.”Alam ko po na parang ang bilis naman ng mga pangyayari considering that Maya just got back and probably she hasn’t mentioned me at all, and I think wala rin po siya nababanggit na boyfriend in your phone conversations? Added to that, our strange first meeting here in San Nicolas two years ago. I love your daughter very much, and it will be my goal in life to make her happy for the rest of our lives!”
“‘For the rest of your lives’, you mean……?” Mommy Tessie asked with raised eyebrows, surprised that things have progressed this far, at the same time, very happy that Maya found a guy who truly love her. She sensed this in Richard the first time she met him. The way he appealed to them to let him know where Maya was, saying he loved her very much and would like to patch things up. The problem was her hands were tied then, as she didn’t know really where Maya went, the one and only time she let her as she sensed her daughter needed that at that time. Her Maya is sensible and she trusted her to know what is right and wrong. Ganito niya pinalaki ang mga anak niya. Maya, also, didn’t mention Richard at all to them! But she believed her daughter was broken hearted at that time, and with Richard coming after her, she had put two and two together. Maya is like a Dela Rosa when comes to love, falling hard and loving intensely, completely. Mommy Tessie was brought out of her thoughts with Richard’s reply.
“Opo, I would like to propose to her while we are here, I want to marry her soon, kung mamarapatin niyo, and if she would have me!” Richard has decided on this as soon as he and Maya became ‘official’. “Maya and I have waited long enough na po to be with each other. Okay lang po, Tita Tessie?”
“Hijo, of course, basta ba sasagutin ka ng ‘yes’ ng anak ko, wala akong tutol. Kasi, pagdating doon, hindi ko na saklaw iyon.” Mommy Tessie said lightly Richard because he looked too tense and too serious.”Basta Richard, anak, hindi ko man alam ang lahat ng detalye ng nangyari sa inyo ng bunso ko two years ago, huwag na lang sana siyang masaktan ulit. Masakit for a mom like me na makita siyang nasasaktan at sobrang lungkot ko ng lumayo siya para lang makalimot!”
“Pangako po, Tita Tessie, hinding-hindi na po mauulit iyon. Maya is my life now and not everyone gets a second chance like this, hinding-hindi ko po sasayangin ang lahat!” Richard’s assurance and sincerity assured Maya’s mom that her daughter will be with a man who would love and take care of her, and she is very happy for her bunso.
“Tita Tessie, request ko lang po sana na huwag niyong banggitin muna kay Maya itong conversation natin. I want to surprise her.”
“Oo naman, huwag kang mag-aalala. Welcome to our family, Richard! Kung kailangan mo ng help to set it up, sabihin mo lang.” Maya’s mom graciously offered Richard.
“Maraming-maraming salamat po sa pagtanggap, and also for the offer of help. Naiayos ko na po lahat, of course, depende pa rin po iyon sa paalam ko sa inyo.” Richard said grinning, seemingly relieved that everything is going smoothly when it comes to his plan to have his lady with him, always.
When Maya returned to the sala, with Doris, she saw her mom and Richard seemingly engaged in a serious discussion and then her mom smiled at Richard and hugged him.
“O Mom, mukhang seryoso ang pinag-uusapan niyo ni Ricky ah.” She commented as she sat beside Richard. Ricky held her hand tightly.
Mommy Tessie looked at Maya meaningfully, stood up, hugged her and kissed her on the forehead. “I love you anak. I am glad you are back. Be happy!”
Whatever Maya wanted to ask her mom was interrupted by Doris bringing in snacks. Mommy Tessie, Maya and Richard thanked her. While eating, the three chatted, with Maya telling her memorable experiences abroad. Mommy Teresita then asked Maya and Richard how they met and it started a whole round of kwentuhan.
“Ito pong anak niyo, ginayuma yata ako sa kape kasi mula ng makilala ko, hindi na ako makatulog ng maayos!” Richard said in jest as he looked at Maya lovingly.
“Cheesyyyy, Ricky! Sus, ikaw nga, pang-hearthrob kaya ang smile mo sa akin, eh para nagtatanong lang ako kung bakante ang seat sa tabi mo!” Maya retorted while lovingly pinching Richard on the side.
Mommy Tessie happily looked at her daughter and her future son-in-law as they bantered, teased each other a lot, and gazed lovingly at each other. Sa palagay niya, these two, lost in their own world without intending to, forgot she is with them. She doesn’t mind as she also knew how it felt to be in love. She remembered hers and Arturo’s moments like this. Arturo, she silently mused, wherever you are, I know you will be happy too with our daughter’s choice. She found herself a good man like you.
Note: Hope everyone in PH is okay after ‘Glenda’ and have power na! Sorry for the delayed post. Got busy, hindi masyadong nakapag-fan ghel!:-)
Maya woke up early. This is it. This is the weekend she and Richard are going home to San Nicolas! Finally, she will be home after two years. She can’t wait to see fer family. She is packed and ready to go. She also made breakfast and coffee for Richard. While she putting the finishing touches to the table setting, the doorbell rang. Maya opened the door to Richard, who looked so handsome in light blue shirt. He kissed her on the cheek and handed her a huge bouquet of sunflowers, her favorite.
“Hi Ricky, thank you for this.” Maya greeted back as she looked at the beautiful floral arrangement. “You’re just in time. Katatapos ko lang magluto ng breakfast. Coffee?”
“Yes please, tamang-tama. I badly need a cup. Hindi na ako nakapag-coffee sa house before I left for Dangwa.” Richard said. “Better go there early so I can pick the best sunflowers for you.”
Maya led Richard to the dining room where she had prepared bacon, mushroom and cheese omelette, with freshly baked bread she got from the bakery downstairs, fresh fruits, an assortment of jams, and cold cuts.
“Wow, ang dami naman nito. Looks delicious. I love omelette and you remembered me telling you one time the way I want it. Thank you for this, sweetheart. And of course, hindi ko talaga palalampasin ang masarap mong kape na sobra kong na-miss!” Richard pulled Maya’s chair before sitting down.
Maya is stil getting used to Richard calling her ‘sweetheart’. Every time she hears it from Richard, there is a warm, thrilled feeling in her heart. He started calling her that the following morning after they became boyfriend and girlfriend. She, on the other hand, teased him that she does not have a term of endearment for him. He complained good-naturedly. She likes calling him Atty Lim, Ricky and, of course, sweetheart is fine.
They have been inseparable since the day after they became ‘official’. Richard drove her to her new office to accomplish the paperworks, then they had a romantic dinner afterwards in one of the ‘best kept secret’ restaurants in Manila. Yesterday naman, they spent the day in the mall, reliving their arcade moment, capped by a movie. Maya wanted to see a romantic film and Richard humored her. Afterwards, Richard teased her for being such a cry baby, when he heard her sniffled at a very touching part of the film.
Maya and Richard chatted like an old married couple while enjoying their breakfast. Richard thought that he wants this, everyday of his life. Maya, on the other hand, marvelled how at ease she and Richard are with each other, considering that their relationship is just several days old.
“Thank you for the wonderful breakfast, Maya. I’m stuffed! ” Richard said after he cleaned his plate. “I will take care of the dishes.”
“Sus, marunong ka bang maghugas, baka makabasag ka ulit. Di ba sabi mo, ilang plates na ang nababasag mo kapag off ng cleaning lady mo.” Maya teased Richard.
“Hmmmp, Ms. Dela Rosa, wala ka bang tiwala sa boyfriend mo. Kaya ko ito.” Richard retorted. “Maya, since you cooked breakfast, let me do it, please.
In the end, Maya won. She did the dishes while Richard helped her cleaned the table and put away everything. Since they still have time, they went to the living room, sat on the sofa and continued their coffee moment.
“Nasaan nga pala si Emman?” Richard asked while sipping his second cup of coffee.
“Naku, he went to visit his mom. Naglalambing kay Emman, nagpapasama sa kanya si Tita Maggie sa Ayala Museum. May bago kasing exhibit doon that she is very much interested in.” Maya explained.
“Did Emman mention to you na several months after you left, I bumped into him in a bar and we ended up drinking together? Oh well, I ended up drinking a lot and Emman just listened to me pouring my heart out!” Richard remembered that night so well. He was just very lonely that evening, missing Maya a lot and he wanted to forget for a while that she was not by his side.
“No, wala siyang nabanggit, pero noong na-realized niya na hindi ko alam na hindi ka married, he told me na ikaw na raw ang bahalang magsabi sa akin! That marami akong hindi alam since I left the country.” Emman’s cryptic statement on the way home from the airport made sense to Maya now. “Busy rin kasi siya the past two days kaya hindi pa kami masyadong nakakapagkwentuhan.”
“He is a good listener, and you have a very good friend in him, Maya.” Richard said. He knew that Emman is like a brother, or a sister, to Maya as he preferred it to be! Maya told him before that she and Emman have been friends since they met while doing their internship in a travel magazine, then ended working together after graduation.
“Pinalakas niya ang loob ko, comforted me, and told me that the kind of love you have for me, hindi nawawala! He also told me, knowing you, for sure when you return, you still love me raw. Inihatid pa nga niya ako kasi I was in no condition to drive.”
“Ricky, if you hadn’t suprised me with that save the date wedding invite, I was finally going to tell you how I feel about you after that trip to Camiguin. Emman encouraged me to do so, kasi nga raw para hindi na ako wonder ng wonder if you feel the same. He told me to be brave and that knowing is better than living in a limbo.” Maya remembered that day so well, but without even a tinge of the intense pain that she felt at that time. “Well, I did tell you in the end, di ba! Iyon nga lang, iba ang naging outcome for both of us!”
Ricky upon hearing this felt so overwhelmed again, and really grafetul for Maya’s love for him that endured the two years they have been apart.
“Maya, sweetheart, I promise, I really will make it up to you. I will love and cherish you always!” Richard held Maya’s face as he looked deeply into her expressive eyes. And in the early morning quiet of Emman’s apartment Richard kissed Maya gently to seal his promise anew. Maya responded and this ignited something in Richard, he deepened the kiss. Maya matched his passion by opening her lips to accept more from him, and before the two of them realized, they were kissing with all the emotions they were feeling. Now, there was no Emman to stop them. Breaths mixing, hands caressing each other, they translated their feelings to the physical level. Things got so heated that Richard almost lost total control. He just realized it in time, before things got realy out hand. Richard thought, he should know better since between the two of them, he was the experienced one. Richard fought his body’s heated response to Maya’s caress and innocent response to his kisses and touch. And Maya is so unaware of the power she has over him by her mere touch! Both of them were very flushed when they broke apart. They smiled lovingly at each other. Richard gently touched Maya’s lips one more time before hugging her tight and gently caressing her back.
“Sweetheart, are you okay? Sorry, I got carried away.” Richard gave Maya an apologetic smile while gently cupping Maya’s chin, and banking his passion for her.
“Ricky, ano ka ba, dalawa naman tayo doon,” Maya said with a blush. She is still not used to getting kissed senselessly, and much more. But she can’t helped but respond to Richard kisses and touch and forgot everything around her. She likes the physical expression of their love too. She maybe innocent, but with Richard, she is not afraid to go where he leads her. She trust Richard with all of her. “Tara na nga baka ma-late pa tayo sa flight natin.”
They left the condo hand and hand for their flight to San Nicolas. Both excited on two different levels. Maya is looking forward to seeing her mom, sister and grandmother and introducing Richard to them as her boyfriend, while Richard is looking forward to taking their relationship to the next level and Maya’s hometown, with her family there, is the perfect place and time for it.
Maya and Richard, hands still interwined, decided to take a walk along the bay after they got out of the cafe. Maya felt her heart jumped at the contact, felt the kilig, when Richard interwined their hands earlier! She felt so connected to him.
“So what are your plans now that you’re back?” Richard asked while he continues to hold Maya’s hand tight as if letting go would mean Maya puffing up in thin air.
“Well, I am planning to go home first, see Mom, Kute and Mamang, then back here in Manila to work. I already have a job lined up. I will work for the WHO here!” Maya excitedly told him.
“Wow, that’s good! Congratulations. I’m sure your aid work in Afghanistan will be of good use, after the calamities we had last year, also with all the health concerns and issues facing us!” Richard is proud of Maya and so happy that she is staying for good.
“Oo nga eh. I’m also excited to be working here again and somewhat in the field that I have grown to love. I have taken some correspondence courses on the side while working abroad, para mas marami akong knowledge na ma-apply sa line of work na ito!” Maya told Richard as they reached the end of the bay.
“Where are you going to live pala? May nakatira pa bang iba doon sa townhouse mo?” Richard asked. “Saka, di ba that’s a bit far to the WHO office?”
“The tenant will move out na rin next month. Nagkataon na she is migrating na to Canada.” Maya explained. “So, I will just wait until she leaves, have some renovations done and in the meantime, stay with Emman. He offered naman.”
“Okay, but if you need a place to stay, you can also stay with me or my cousin Rafi. I’m sure she would love to have you.” Richard offered. “Pero for sure, she will grill you about us if you stay with her.”
Since it is now cooler and the view is lovely, with the sun setting, Maya and Richard decided to sit by the seawall and chatted some more while eating street food that Maya missed a lot while working abroad.
“Maya, may I go with you to Mindoro? That is, if is okay. I know that this is the first time you will see your family after two years.” Richard asked after a while, not really sure if Maya will agree or if it really a good idea since this is the first time Maya is going home. But, he wants to go with her, very much.
“Ha, eh, of course, but why?” Maya knows she, kind of, not making sense with that statement, but she was surprised by Richard’s request.
“Well, I want to formally introduce myself to your family as your boyfriend and for them to get to know me better, much better than the last time I was there, acting like a lovesick fool!”
“Boyfriend agad, ang bilis naman yata Atty. Richard Lim, we just saw each other again ah!” Maya teasingly told Richard.
“Eh di ba tayo na, tayo na di ba? Maya naman I have been telling you I love you the whole afternoon and you told me you love me always, tapos heto holding hands na nga tayo!” Richard asked, not noticing that Maya is just teasing him, and instead tried pa to marshall his arguments to make her say a definite yes and confirm their status. “We have wasted so much time na. Isn’t two years apart not enough?”
“Ikaw naman, Atty. Lim, asus, di na mabiro. Kalma lang. Oo, Ricky, tayo na, kanina pa di ba? I love you very much kaya!” Maya said as she looked lovingly at Richard.
“Ha, so ganito na ito. You will tease your poor boyfriend mercilessly from now on.” He said, happy seeing his teasing, very playful Maya again. Then, he turned serious.
“Maya, I love so you very much too. Promise, I will spend my life making so happy.” He pledged earnestly. The moment is just too perfect for Richard to pass, and with the famous Manila Bay sunset as the backdrop, he kissed Maya tenderly.
Their moment together was interrupted by hoots and good-natured catcalls of those who witnessed their tender moment. Someone even teased them na parang sa movie lang ang scene. Another said parang sina Ser Chief at Maya lang sa Be Careful ah. Richard and Maya slowly broke apart, with huge, loving smiles on their faces. And still holding hands, they smiled at their audience, just so very happy to be in love.
“Come on, I will take you home! Doon tayo sa mas private, so I can kiss you properly!” Richard teased Maya as they slowly walk back to the parking lot where he parked his car.
“Ha, Mr. Lawyer, hindi pa ba proper iyon!” Maya protested good-naturedly, but got tickled-pink with the thought.
“Hmmm, tell me the next time I kiss you.” He said in jest, which earned him a pinch in the nose from Maya. “By the way, I like you calling me Ricky, bakit iba kapag ikaw ang tumatawag sa akin ng nickname ko. My heart beats faster!”
Maya just smiled sweetly at Richard.
On the way to Emman’s condo, Richard and Maya talked non-stop, trying to make up for lost time. Richard told Maya that he is now working at his family’s company as the CEO. His father retired so he took over. He left his active law career behind and went back to his business roots. He said he didn’t regret his decision as it made his dad happy and he still practices law, only for Lim Properties. Maya told Richard her experience as an aid worker, the adjustments she made, the people she met and made friends with, the other countries she visited aside from Afghanistan because of her work.
“So, wala naman akong naging karibal doon?” Richard asked teasingly, but meaningfully. Suddenly, he is curious!
“Marami, Atty. Lim, pila sila. Sa ganda ko ba namang ito!” Maya teased back and struck a haughty beauty queen pose. “But, seriously, there were some, the most persistent was this British military officer. But sadly, he is not you!”
“I’m glad to know, Maya”. Richard grinned, relieved, and put his hand on top of Maya’s. He just needed the contact.
Richard parked his car at the entrance of Emman’s condo and insisted on taking Maya to his unit on the sixth floor.
“Thank you Ricky, I never expected that I would be this happy. I really thought I would just meet you to have a closure at least, if we can’t be friends anymore. I love you with all my heart!” Maya said as she looked at Richard lovingly.
“I should be the one thanking God, thanking you. I never thought this moment will come. It was the longest two years of my life, waiting, hoping, despairing and in the end, hoping against hope that my love for you will bring you back to me. Now, here we are, together. I love you more than life itself, Maya. And even with several lifetimes together, it will not change!” Richard said tenderly as he cupped Maya’s face. He kissed her tenderly at first, but it turned out differently, hungrily, passionately. They were so into their passionate kiss that at first, they didn’t hear it.
“Ehemmm, ehemmm again, ten times na ang ehemmm ehemmm ko! Mayabels, Atty. Richard, baka gusto niyo pumasok at sa loob na ituloy iyan. Kasi baka makita kayo ng neighbors ko, eh mamatay pa sila sa inggit.” Emman said in jest.
Maya and Richard looked at each other sheepishly and smiled at Emman. Emman thought these two are so in love that their faces lit up with their smiles.
“Maya, I will go ahead. Let me know when are we leaving for Mindoro. Bye, Emman.” Richard then took his leave.
“Mindoro! Kasama mo si Richard na uuwi sa inyo! Ibang level na ito, bessie ah”. Emman remarked as he opened the door, though not so surprised at the quick turn of events.
“Yes, Emman, gusto niya kasi makilala ng husto sina Mom, Kute and Mamang. Saka para raw maipakilala na niya ang sarili niya bilang boyfriend ko” Maya said happily. “Sama ka rin!”
“Wow, boyfriend na talaga bessie ha! Congratulatons, and I am not surprised. Sabi na nga ba eh. Nakaligtas na sa blue paint makeover itong pink walls ko.” Emman said in his distinct Emman way that never failed to make Maya laugh. “Thanks for asking me, pero next time na lang siguro, moment mo iyan with Atty. Richard and your family, saka may deadline kasi ako. Eh alam mo naman si Ms. Belmonte, may pagka-slave driver na editor! I’m so happy for you bessie. O di ba sabi ko marami kang hindi alam! Kwento-kwento tayo pag may time, pero right now, magpapalit lang ako, nasa baba si Belle, may lakad kami. Iwan muna kita dito ha!”
That evening, Maya can’t sleep, remembering her wonderful afternoon with Richard, remembering the feel of his kisses. “So, that’s how it feels!” Maya mused as she hugged her pillow tightly and let out her kilig.
Richard also had difficulty sleeping. He was too wired up, too happy, too in love. He never thought that this day would turned out to be the best day of his life. He can’t wait for morning to come, so he can see Maya again.
Maya sniffled quietly as she sipped the water Richard got from the barista for her. He also offered her his freshly laundered hanky, instead of the table napkin at the cafe.
“O, Maya enough na please, baka akala nila, masyado na kitang inaapi!” Richard teased her, when he returned to their table with the fresh cups of coffee and some pastries he ordered when he got her the glass of water.
“Ikaw kasi eh. Here I was, thinking na strong na ako for a closure with you, tapos heto, hindi pala kaya ng powers ko ang mga sasabihin mo. Hayan, lumabas na ang balde-balde kong luha!” Maya good-naturedly bantered, like they used to. “I’m just so happy, Richard. Tears of joy naman ito!”
“Me too, Maya. I feel so complete right at this moment, with you here, us talking, clearing the air, and knowing that we still love each other after all this time.” Richard said. He feels his heart will burst from sheer happiness.
Maya looked at him with love in her eyes as she sipped her coffee , and Richard was doing the same. They were lost in a world of their own in a busy coffee shop.
“Where did you go in all the time that I was trying to find you?” Richard asked after a while, still holding Maya’s hand, while they sit side by side on the sofa of the cafe. They moved there so they can be more comfortable and so that they sit closer.
Now, it’s Maya’s turn to gather her thoughts and tell Richard her journey.
“When I boarded that taxi, I felt like my heart would literally stop. It hurt so much. I managed to get home without really realizing how I got there. Manang Fe saw me in a very sad state and helped me get to bed, without asking questions. My system just shutdown and before I realized it, it was already morning.
The next day, it felt like something was propelling me to make all the decisions I have made on that day, fast! I just needed to get away as far as I could. Yes, you could say it was my way of coping, maybe a coward’s way out, but I needed to do that at that time. I talked to my boss and appealed to her to allow me to leave the company without serving the 30-day notice. Despite the fact that she is a slave driver and a perfectionist when it comes to work, she turned out to be a very compassionate person and she allowed me to apply my unused leaves as my terminal leave.
The following day, I packed my bags, closed the house, arranged for it to be rented through a friend. Manang Fe and I went to San Nicolas, me to say goodbye to Kute, my mom, and Mamang, my grandmother. I told them I will go away and would just let them know where I am as soon as I am settled. Mom objected, as she has always been very protective, especially after we lost Dad. But surprisingly Mamang and Kute supported me. I told Kute afterwards I needed to get away to heal my broken heart. She didn’t ask much. She is like that, but I knew had I asked, she would have been there for me. Had I wanted to talk, she would have listened and comforted me afterwards. When I thanked Mamang naman for supporting me, she told me, she understands and that she will pray that I get pass whatever I am going through. Manang Fe, on the other hand, told me to be strong and magdasal parati. I think, she had an idea that the whole situation is about you.
The fifth day, I was out of the country. I have some money of my own. When my dad died, he left us comfortably off. He also had separate savings accounts made for me and Kute which we were allowed to access since we turned 25. So, it was okay if I don’t work for a while. First, I decided to go to Singapore for several days. It was the first country I thought of as I had enjoyed my stay there before. But of course, every where I went, I see you, especially when I am in cafe, watching people streaked by, seemingly so sure of where they are going. Me, I am just lost, thinking of you, what couldn’t be, and what will I do to pick up the pieces.
While going about my routine of going to the Botanics Garden and then to the coffee shop I frequented, I bumped into someone I was so happy to see, my friend Megan whom I have not seen since our university days but have stayed in touch from time to time through e-mails. It turned out she is on vacation, first in Malaysia to see her sister who works there, and then Singapore for some alone time before she head to India and then back to Aghanistan where she is a working with one of the non-governmental organizations doing work for children affected by the unstable situation there. I was so surprised to see her as I know it was not easy to go and get out of Afghanistan at that time.
We talked and talked and I confided to her why I was in Singapore. Megan was a very good listener and despite the years and the distance, a very dear friend. Do you believe in that Richard, that friendship does not end with the physical distance or the years apart between true friends? It is like that with me and Megan, as if it was only yesterday when we last saw each other! There was no awkward moments. She said if I am open to working in Afghanistan, they can use someone like me in their team. I said yes promptly since I was at a loose end and I needed to do something to forget you. But taking the job also started my journey into I guess, growing up some more, maturing up, healing and finally accepting that you are with someone else.” Maya sipped her coffee, resting a bit from her narrative.
“Hindi ba dangerous doon, Maya?” Richard asked as he recalled news about Afghanistan, and all those times, Maya was there!
“It is really a completely different world than I was used to, what we are used to. But I like the fact that I could be of help there in my own little way. Seeing the situation there and the way people were coping, my situation seemed so light compared to theirs. And slowly, I have learned to accept that you are with Alex. And that I was lucky we even met and shared what we shared! I threw myself into working for the group, went everywhere they sent me, working long hours to keep myself busy and not miss you too much. Megan was very passionate about the things we do and it rubbed off me in a big way. She love the people we assisted unconditionally and wholeheartedly. Then, it ended six months ago, when she became a victim of the violence there.” Maya tried to stop her tears, but though she had accepted what happened she still feel very sad remembering her vibrant friend.
“What happened to her?” Richard asked, though he knew it was something bad for Maya to look so sad.
“I was supposed to be with her, but I got sick, so she went without me to the village where we set up a temporary school. The village was attacked by a militant group and she tried saving some of the children she has come to love by shielding them. Help arrived but Megan was already badly hit. She was airlifted to Kabul and died several hours after. I was with Megan when she was dying. Even on her last breath, she thought of me. Told me to be happy. She also told me not to be sad at her passing as she had lived her life, however short it was, the way she wanted and that I should do the same! She said life is meant to be lived!” Maya wiped the tears from her eyes, as she took another sip of water.
“Oh God, Maya, I could have lost you there. Gone forever, without you knowing how I feel about you.” Richard said with his voice cracking.He embraced Maya tightly and kissed her on the forehead. “Maya, I love you. I am so thankful for this moment that I can still say that to you.”
“Richard, I love you too. I really never thought I would hear those words ever, and say it back to you! And I would never get tired of hearing you saying you love me. When Megan died, I felt very sad and lost. I wish you were there to comfort me, to talk to. But it was also the moment I have completely accepted that you don’t belong to me in a way I want and the way you will be, always in my heart. Megan taught me that it is possible to love someone without expecting to be loved back, and that if you are loved back, then you are the luckiest person in the world. It just don’t happen always. At that moment, I just wish to see you, talk to you and probably see if we can still be friends. I was given another chance by not dying there. I decided that it was time to go back to the Philippines to see my loved ones, to see you. On the way home, my topmost plan was really to look you up and talk to you. So, here I am. Here we are!” Maya said as she touched Richard’s face and leaned her head on his shoulder. She thought she will never have the chance to do or experience this.
They stayed like that for several more minutes, just savoring the moment, unmindful of the other patrons who started looking at them curiously.
“I guess, we should get going na.” Maya told Richard as she extricated herself from his embrace. “Kanina pa tayo dito. Parang iyong nangyari sa atin noong una tayong nag-coffee.”
“Oo nga, tayo na yata ang nagsara ng coffee shop dati! Sige, I will take you home na, but first let’s go for a walk. I don’t want our day to end yet.” Richard suggested as he helped Maya up. He didn’t want his day with her to end. If he had a choice in the matter and if it is possible at the moment, he does not want her to be out of his sight ever. He does not want to lose her again.
They left the cafe with their hands intertwined.
Note: Double treat! 🙂
Maya’s heart went out to Richard. If only she had listened to him before. But, one thing she had learned the past two years, you can’t undo the past and nothing good comes out of indulging in ‘what ifs’ and ‘if onlys’. The past is the past and she can’t do anything about it anymore. The only thing to do is to learn from the lessons of it and move on. What she and Richard can do is to take it from here. Hearing Richard’s confession lifted her spirits in a way she can’t fully described at the moment. She knows he has a lot to tell, but Maya is very happy to know that he loved her! Yes, maybe, it was wrong of him not to be completely honest with her, but to his credit, he was a complete gentleman, didn’t take advantage her, and a very good friend to her all the time they were together. If not for this confession, she wouldn’t completely know that he felt the same way as she did, she still does. He hid his feelings well. Though she did wonder from time to time, because of his actions and especially when he sang that song in the videoke booth. And of course, there was Emman who kept saying that there was something going on beyond friendship between her and Richard.
“What happened after we parted ways?” Maya asked Richard as she looked deep into his troubled eyes, and touched his arm again, as if to comfort him and to let him know that she is there, that she understands.
“I was lost for several days. I just stayed at home, didn’t want to talk to anyone. Took several days of leave, turned off my phone, and tried to drown my sorrows with alcohol at some point – when I can’t take it anymore seeing your sad face, in my head, as you said you love me, then running away from me. I was like a zombie, until one day, Alex surprised me with a visit. She found me so miserable and asked why. She told me she had been worried since I was not replying to her text messages and that my phone was unattended every time she called. She also said that my parents, and Rafi, are also trying to reach me since I didn’t make it to our Sunday dinner at the family home.
In my still drunken state, I blurted to her that the only girl I will ever love in my life has left me and that I had hurt her by not being completely honest and courageous enough to tell her the truth. I kept saying to her that I love this girl with all my heart. That I can’t can go on and marry someone else when I love her. Then I even said that maybe it is not to late to rectify my mistake and fight for her – and that I will tell Alex about Maya and hopes that she understands that it is Maya I love very much. Then, I realized that I don’t have to tell Alex, as this is Alex, my fiancee, infront of me and I was already telling her I was in love with someone else, with you! I thought she would get mad, you know like the scenes you see in teleseryes, but no, the opposite happened. Really, Maya, sometimes, life has a way of heaping you the most surprising thing when you least expect it and that was what happened!
Instead of getting mad, Alex hugged me tight and thanked me profusely for making things easy for her. At first, I was puzzled. She told me to sober up, take a bath, shave and do what i have to do to make myself look like a human being again while she makes coffee, and we will have our long overdue talk. She also said it is about time that we get completely honest with each other anyway. And talked we did.
You see, Maya, like me, Alex came to a point where she felt that we were the best of friends and not two people in love. She also called our relationship comfortable! Like me, she let things slide since she was going through a personal crisis, something that she was trying hard to deal with on her own. In recent years, Alex felt that her calling is getting stronger, but didn’t want to upset the status quo too, with me and with our families. It turned out she wanted to be a nun. She was afraid to tell me for fear of hurting me, and she didn’t know how to tell her parents, for fear of disappointing them as they wanted to have grandchildren and she was the only one left, Jeff having entered the priesthood.
In one of her flights to Cagayan de Oro, she ending up sitting with a nun. She and the nun ended up chatting and just before the plane landed, Alex told her about wanting to be a nun. They continued talking until they reached the city as they found out they are both going to Jeff’s mission house. The sister advised her to discern, that she should be sure that is what she really wanted to do. She also advised Alex to talk to me when she has made up her mind to enter a convent. This was the reason why Alex was looking for me.
She urged me to find you after we have spent half of the evening talking about you and my feelings for you. Alex said that I must have loved you very much as I looked and sounded different when I talked about you. She also assured me that she is happy for me, for us, Maya. Before we parted, we agreed to invite the parents to dinner the following evening and let them know that we are not getting married. I went to sleep that night so happy. I felt like I was flying. But the morning after, plummeted to the lowest level of hell when I can’t find you. I went to your townhouse and not only you where gone, Manang Fe too. There was a for rent sign on the gate. I called your phone but it is already disconnected. I went to your office but they told me you resigned. Emman didn’t know where you were. But he mentioned that you might be in Mindoro. I decided to go there the following morning. I wanted to go after you that same day, sana, but there is that dinner with my parents and Alex’s.
Like Alex and I agreed on, that evening, we told our parents that we will not get married. Alex’s parents, at first, appealed to her to reconsider her decision to be a nun, but she stood firm, and appealed to her parents to understand, that this is really what she wanted. They eventually relented. I, on the other hand, told my parents and hers about you. Dad was very surprised, but Mom was not. She said she had noticed a change with me the past year or so. I seemed to be happier, she said, as if there is something that makes me happier and that I was keeping it to myself. They told me that you must be a very exceptional girl to turn me upside down, tied me in knots. They wanted to meet you right away.” Richard smiled as he paused from his narrative to drink the water he didn’t notice Maya asked from the barista.
“Of course, I told them the complications of my own making, and that I vowed that will find you, no matter what. I arrived at your family home in Mindoro the following afternoon but your mother and sister refused to tell me where you were. Manang Fe was there. She called me when I was about to leave. She brought me to a shaded area at the back of your house, the one that borders the white and empty Spanish house beside yours. The one you told me before. We talked and I told her about my feelings for you, about Alex. But, she regretfully told me she does not know where you are also, only that you went away. She just told me to have faith and that if we are destined to be together, then fate will find a way for us. Alex, then Rafi whom I have told about you, told me the same thing as days, weeks and months passed by without me knowing where you were and if you are okay. I buried myself in work, hoping that one day, in a crowd, I will see you and that we will have that moment, like this, where I will be able to explain everything and finally tell you that I love you, that you are my life! I love you Maya, I never stopped and I will continue loving you, no matter what the outcome of this talk would be!” Richard said earnestly as he held both of Maya’s hands.
“Richard!” Maya said his name, so full of love in her voice as tears streamed down her face. Hindi na niya talaga napigilan. She should have opted for a more private place for this, but she does not care anyway. Richard’s words were music to her ears. He still loves her and they can really be together! “I love you too. I never stopped loving you too. Kahit kung saan-saan ako naratating, ikaw pa rin ang laman ng puso ko. Yes, natanggap ko na hindi ka para akin, pero tanging ikaw lang talaga ang nandito eh.” Maya pointed at her heart.
“Maya, I love you, more than you will ever know! Thank you!” Richard said as he moved to Maya’s side and hugged her tight while caressing her hair, as if trying to comfort her. “Tahan na please, I don’t like seeing you crying. I promised this would be the last time you will cry because of me! I vowed to make you very happy from now on!”