Archive for July 23rd, 2014

Doors – Chapter 14

Chapter 14
‘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.


September 2012

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.

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