Archive for July 13th, 2014

Doors – Chapter 8

Note: Double treat! 🙂

Chapter 8
‘Full circle’

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!”

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Doors – Chapter 7

Chapter 7
‘The day has come’

Richard is already at the cafe, one hour before his and Maya’s agreed upon time. He chose the most secluded part of the cafe. He was too excited and too nervous to concentrate on his job so he decided to leave early after giving his secretary Liza the last contract he managed to review after several tries. He forgot to get Maya or Emman’s mobile number last Monday, but even so, he know deep in his heart that Maya will show up. He has a good feeling that after two years of despair, his life will be full of colors again.

Every time the door opens, Richard looks up, expecting Maya, though he knows he is too early for their meeting! To calm his nerves, he ordered his favorite coffee. But even his favorite brew failed to calm him. He tried distracting himself with the new game on his iPad, but he can’t concentrate on it, either.

The door opened again, and finally, it’s Maya. She is wearing a purple, sleeveless, classically cut, dress. She looks lovelier than the last time I saw her, Richard thought!

“Hi Richard! Have you been waiting long?” She greeted her with a smile that transformed her already lovely and serene face. “Ang aga mo. I thought, maaga na ako. Mas maaga ka pa pala sa akin!”

“Hi, Maya, good to see you! I can’t cocentrate na on work, kaya heto, I am early. Kumusta ka na, nakapagpahinga ka na ba ng maayos?” Richard said, as he stood up with a huge grin on his face. He is just so happy that she is finally here. “What would you like to have, still the same, americano? How about something to go with your coffee?”

“Yes, naku, nagtulog the past two days, iyan ang ginawa ko. Nagbabawi talaga sa pagod and whacked out body clock. And yes, it is still americano, and just that, no pastries, please. Thank you very much.” Maya replied as she tried to overcome her sudden nervousness. This is it, their moment of truth. Good thing the coffee shop is not full and most of the customers are glued to their gadgets as they sipped their favorite brew.

“Have a seat here, please.” Richard said as he pulled the chair opposite his for Maya. “Sandali lang, I will get your coffee, and a new one for me, as well.”

Richard returned after a couple of minutes with their steaming cups of coffee. Maya noticed that like her, his favorite has not changed, still americano. At first, they both quietly sipped their coffee. Richard broke the silence.

“Maya, how have you been the past two years?” He started as he look at her intently. “There was no news about your whereabouts. Even our classmates at the graduate school who also knew you quite well, and your old colleagues, I have talked to in my desperation, had no idea where you have been.”

“I’m okay Richard. I’m good. So much better than that day we last saw each other, and I guess, wiser and more mature. I have been to places I never thought I would see. I experienced things I never thought I would ever experience in my life. These places, and the people I met helped me grow and deal with the fact that you are not mine to have and that I should be thankful instead for the time we have spent together, of the special friendship. Some people never experiene it all. I know that now and I accepted that you belong to Alexandra.” Maya told Richard earnestly while unconsciously touching his arm.

“But Maya, there is something you should now, I’m not married! The wedding didn’t push through!” Richard revealed to Maya. He wanted her to know right away. He had been dying to tell her. “I wanted to tell you at the airport. But I felt that it is not something I should just blurt out, and it requires a lot of explanation. The airport was not the place to do so.”

“W-w-what, you’re not!!!!” Maya blurted out. At first she had hard time processing what Richard said as her heart jumped upon hearing the words that he is not married! “What happened?”

“I cant! After our meeting at the coffee shop, I just can’t go through it. But, you were already miles away when I realized it.” Richard said as he looked at Maya with an expression that made her heart beat faster and made her dizzy with feelings of anticipation she can’t fully described.

“Richard!” Maya said with so much feelings.”Why, what, how, please tell me?”

Richard took a deep breath, sipped his coffee to gather his thoughts while staring at Maya. Maya on the other hand, told Richard to go on and she will listen, unlike the last time they were together in this coffee shop.

“Maya, bear with me on this ha, please, mahaba-haba ito. I think I better start at the beginning and I just hope that you will understand and forgive my actions. First, the fact that I failed to tell you about Alexandra in all the time we have known each other. I did mention her but only in the context of being one of my long time friends. Remember me mentioning Alex and Jeff, one or two times? Well, you see, ‘Alex’ is short for Alexandra!” He continued and started to tell her things she thought she wouldn’t have a chance to hear anymore when they parted two years ago.

“Rafi and I knew Alex and her brother Jeff since we were kids. We were neighbors in Makati. We were inseparable during our childhood. My parents, Rafi’s mom and dad, Tito Patrick and Tita Helen, and the Trinidads were very good friends, and also business partners. As we grew up, us kids, remained the best of friends. We all went to the same grade school and high school. Jeff is same age as me and Rafi and Alex, a year younger than us. After we finished college, Jeff entered the seminary. He always wanted to be a priest and he prevailed over his parents’ objections – him being the only son that will carry the family name and the one who will run their business eventually. Jeff is now a priest, based in Cagayan de Oro City.

During college, Alex and I were thrown together a lot as she and I both went to the same university. Rafi went to a different one since she wanted to take up architecture. Jeff went to a university run by the religious order he wanted to join. Since Alex is a bit younger than me, I also look after her in school. Madalas din, we just carpooled.  She wanted to take up law and took A.B. Political Science as her pre-law. Me, I was still stuck in the business course my father wanted for me. She knew I wanted to go to law school and encouraged me to pursue my dream of being a lawyer din. I did, in the end,, like I told you before. Alex and I developed feelings for each other, which at that time, we thought was romantic love. We have been together since my last year of law school. I thought that she and I are destined to be together. We thought we were in love and ready to settle down as we also have our law careers in common. Life, I thought was perfect, until one afternoon when this beautiful lady approached me and Ryan! And since then, my life shifted to a different, wonderful direction.”

Richard paused and took a sip of his coffee, while gauging Maya’s reaction to his explanation so far. She seems to be taking it well, he observed.

While Richard was saying his piece, Maya was listening intently to what Richard is unraveling to her, her coffee getting cold without her noticing it. For her, the pieces of the puzzle are starting to fit, but still not enough yet to get the whole picture of what really happened after she left to years ago.

“Maya,” Richard continued, “I was drawn to you from the start. You made my heart beat faster from the moment you smiled at me when we met, when you asked if the seat beside me was taken and introduced yourself. Then, when we were at the cafe after class, there were just times, without you noticing, but I think Ryan did, that I just stared at you and watched the emotions fleeting from your very expressive face, as you talked. You were so beautful, full of life, and innocent with your doe-shaped eyes and ready smile that reached your eyes and lit up your face! I didn’t want the day, and the night to end. I didn’t sleep well that night, at hindi dahil sa dami ng kapeng nainom natin!

“My feelings for you grew in the weeks that followed! At first, I tried to ignore it, deny it, and fight it as I know I already had an understanding with someone else, but it was stronger than my will. I found myself thinking about you even when I am busy with work. I looked forward to Saturdays and graduate school. Ryan knew, I think, but even if we are close friends, he didn’t ask me, probably he was waiting for the time I will tell him. Then suddenly, I realized I am in love you, hopelessly in love with you! It hit me when you were telling me a story about your very interesting interview with this old movie queen and the love of her life. Your face was so caught in their extraordinary love story, you glowed, your face animated, and it seemed like you ‘fell in love’ with their story too. I was so captivated by you!”

Maya is getting overwhelmed with emotions as she heard Richard’s confession. Richard loved her too! But she didn’t want to interrupt him. She wants to know eveything. She is also starting to hope that after this, there is a future for them.

“The day we went to the arcade? Remember that? I was struggling with my feelings, confused on what to do, but I just wanted to be with you, so I went to your house out of the blue. And the song I sang, I wanted to convey to you the state of my heart. I was so happy that afternoon with you, and then sa iba pa nating moments together. Iba talaga kapag ikaw ang kasama ko.

You see, even when Alex and I’s relationship is doing good, smooth sailing, there was something missing. It felt like we were the most compatible couple, but there was no spark! It felt like we were the best of friends instead of two people in a romantic relationship. Coupled with this, we got so busy with our successful careers, that we barely see each other. She flew to Mindanao and the Visayas regularly to see clients as her firm has offices there and also to visit Jeff.  And me, I got so engrossed with my cases too. Still, we started planning for our wedding which our families approved of, expected of. For once, I wanted to do something my father will approve of. He is old and I didn’t want to upset the status quo. There were many times, I was really torn. I wanted to tell you but I can’t find the courage and the opportunity. I was also afraid that you might just think of me as a very good friend, anyway! I had those self-doubts! I was afraid to risk and find out if you feel the same for me, and what I can do about the complicated situation I was in. Me, who had taken risks with my professional life, didn’t want to take one with my personal life! I decided to escape my reality, buried myself in the sand, so to speak and just be with you in whatever capacity, sort of a parallel universe with you. I decided to hide my feelings and tried very hard to act as just a very good friend to you. I feel this is the least I could do as I don’t have anything to offer you. I didn’t want to take advantage of you. At the same time, I didn’t to be unfair to Alex too, and then, there’s my family. I just wanted to be with you. I am always very happy when I’m with you, so that’s what I did. I knew that there were moments that my feelings showed and you might have noticed, or maybe the people with us, sometimes, like Emman. I think, like Ryan, he knew what was happening. Please forgive me! I know I have not been fair to you, and to Alex too. I have been selfish and indecisive, and it boomeranged at me in the end.”

Richard stopped for a while, took a sip of his now cold coffee and continued, wanting to finish pouring his heart out to Maya, and hoping that they can still take it from there. Judging by Maya’s bare hands, she seems still unattached, like him. He really, really hope that they can have a future together after this.

“My heart was breaking when I brought you that save the date wedding card, wishing I could talk to you and we can deal with this together and that you can give me signs, answers, whatever that would just end the desolation I was feeling. When I looked at that invitation, I felt hemmed in and I needed to get out while I still can. Of course, you were not in your house, hence my call to you while in Camiguin, and everything went downhill from there.”

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