“Maya, are you okay?” Jeremy asked Maya as they sat on two big boulders before the majestic Katibawasan Falls. They have been gazing at the waterfalls for the past several minutes or so, both lost in thoughts. But Maya’s was punctuated by sighs so Jeremy found himself asking after a while. He had an inkling earlier that Maya was not completely with him. She seemed to be mulling over something. He kept his counsel and opted to just cheer her up. He thought he managed to do so as she would smile at him or laughed at his silly anecdotes.
The 250 meters high waterfalls was their last stop before heading back to the resort. The places where they have been were all beautiful and breathtaking, but for Maya, this waterfalls will be a favorite. She is in awe of nature’s display here. So, very beautiful and she felt peace taking over her soul by just gazing at the majesty before her.
“Yes, Jeremy, I’m okay!” Maya replied, taking her gaze away from watching the hypnotic falling water, hitting the lake below with force. “Why do you ask?” She asked inquiringly.
“Well, you seemed a bit distracted and if I may say, listless. Are you still feeling the effects of all the alcohol you drank? You should have told me if you are not feeling well. We could have done this excursion tomorrow.” Jeremy looked at Maya worriedly.
“Thank you for the concern, Jeremy. I’m sorry, I’m not very good company at the moment. There is just something in my mind at the moment.” Maya said.
“Maya, I’m not usually a meddlesome person, but I just want you to know if you need someone to talk to, I’m just here. I know we just met, but I felt like I have known you a long time. I like you. I like you a lot. I like to be more than your friend….”
“Jeremy….” Maya blurted out, getting uncomfortable.
“Wait, let me finish please.” Jeremy gestured for Maya to let him continue by raising his hand in a stop gesture. “But I have a feeling that your heart is engaged somewhere. So, can I just be your friend?” He asked charmingly.
“Thank you, Jeremy. I would be happy to have you as a friend. I’m sorry it can’t be more than that.” Maya said apologetically.
“No worries, Maya. My heart will recover.” Jeremy said, grinning. “Now, spill it out to good ‘ol Uncle Jeremy. I will hazard I guess, a good-looking Filipino-Chinese guy is making you ‘hot and bothered’, quote unquote!”
Maya smiled at Jeremy’s choice of words. “Hot and bothered! Really, ‘Uncle Jeremy’! It sounded like something out of the pages of a Mills and Boon/Harlequin romance novel.”
“Yes, I finally see a smile!” Jeremy teased Maya. “ I have two sisters who are romance novels addicts to thank for, for being able to make you smile. But seriously, if you want to talk about it, I’m just here, if not, then it’s okay.”
“Thank you.” Maya took a deep breath, then started talking. “Okay, I do have a question for you? Have you been in love? What’s really feel like? How do you know if it will last? Have you had your heart-broken before? If yes, do you want to, or have you tried risking it again? How would you know if it will not happen again!”
“Whoa, that was not ‘a question’! Jeremy said, smiling. “But okay, if it will help you, I’ll try to answer your questions as much as I could, if it will help you a bit. First, yes, sort of, I have been when I was in the uni. But it was not meant to be. She and I, we have different things we wanted out of life. It hurt for a while, but the heart recovered in time. If I am willing to risk my heart again? Then I would say yes to that, Maya, with the right person, I will. I don’t know if I will have my forever with that person, but if she is worth risking it, I will. I will work for our forever, with her. If we didn’t end up together, at least I have tried. I would have not been ruled by my fear of getting hurt again.
You see my friend, nothing is guaranteed in life, except dying. We live in uncertainties, in challenges and in changes. But that what makes life worth living, being alive. And being alive means, feeling emotions – sadness, happiness, love and lost. At the end our journey in this world, we should be able to say that we have lived. Take a risk, that is part of life. Making mistakes and rising from and learning from those are part of us being human.
You should ask yourself, if that other person is worth putting your heart on the line. Listen to your heart. But do it slowly. Don’t hurry, you will find the answer from deep within. Sometimes, things happened in our lives for a reason. It is up to us to find out and realize eventually.”
“That was very deep, profound and very wise, Jeremy. And thank you. Are you sure you are not a psychologist, masquerading as a bum resort owner? “ Maya asked, smiling. She was feeling so much better. “Seriously, Jeremy, thank you for those very moving words.”
“Well, close. I was a Philosophy major at the uni. I thought I would enter the priesthood. Yes, my family is among the minority where I came from. I’m a Catholic. But along the way, love happened and diverted my tracks. But in hindsight, I know I was not destined for the religious life.”
“Really! But I think you would have been a good priest.”
“Well, water under the bridge. I like the life I’m living now. I hope I have helped you think better. But in the end, Maya, it is you, and you alone can decide on your next course of action.”
“I know. But you have helped me put things into some form of perspective.” Maya said. “Shall we get back? I have a dinner date.”
“Ouch, my heart!” Jeremy said, exaggerating, teasing Maya. “I think I know with whom.”
Maya just smiled at him, flushing a bit. Truth to tell, she is excited with her dinner with Richard. She and Jeremy climbed up to the entrance of waterfalls where they have parked the scooters. She texted Richard and informed him that she and Jeremy were on their way back. Richard just said okay. Maya was a bit puzzled with the shortness of his reply.
More than an hour later, they were back in the resort. Maya and Jeremy parted at the restaurant. His friends immediately hailed Jeremy and invited Maya as well to have dinner with them. But Maya declined. She went back to her bungalow to freshen up. She saw a piece of paper with her name on it pinned on her door. She opened it after placing her stuffs on the table inside.
Hi Maya! When you are ready, please proceed to the part of the beach where there is a big driftwood. I’ll be waiting. I’m very much looking forward to our ‘first dinner’!
Maya felt like she can literally hear the beating of her heart after reading Richard’s note, especially the way he had signed it. ‘Yours’! Why does the word make her very giddy! She knows the place Richard is referring to, as it is her favorite spot also by the beach, especially during her sunset watching moments. Maya found herself humming a love song as she took a quick shower and get ready for her dinner with Richard.
Half an hour later, Maya was dressed in a floral skirt that reached mid-thigh and a white plain sleeveless blouse paired with flat sandals. Good thing she had brought some nice clothes. One never knows when one needs it so she always make it a point to be ready for any eventuality. She wore her hair in a bun to protect it from the wind. She walked slowly towards the place where Richard was, a bit breathlessly and yes, excited, of course.
When Maya reached the place, she saw Richard standing, gazing at the sea. He was wearing loose dark pants and white shirt that billowed in the wind. He looked so handsome in silhouette. She caught her breath. Then as if sensing her presence, he turned, gave her a bone-melting lopsided smile and a big wave. He walked towards her to guide her across the sand with a very intense expression on his handsome face.
Maya felt that she can’t breath anymore. She was so overwhelmed with emotions. She likes this guy. She likes this guy a lot. Maybe, it is really about time to take the leap. To stay out of the shadows and embrace the sun and all its brilliance. Maybe, with this guy who have known love and hurt, she can finally do it. They say that love is a gamble. Maybe, it is not so bad to bet again, to take a chance again.
“Hi Maya,” Richard greeted Maya softly when he reached her side. She gave him a sweet, tremulous smile. She looks very lovely in her simple and yet elegant clothes. She took his breath away. He was glad that he really gave in to his impulse and made this trip. He wouldn’t exchange this moment for the world.
“Hi Ricky! Were you waiting long? Sorry, it took me a while to get back.” Maya said as Richard held her elbow and guided her towards to where he was before.
“That’s okay, Maya.” Richard assured her. “It took a while also for Marina and me to set this up.”
“Oh.” Maya then finally took a closer look at the set-up up the beach. There was a table with a dainty white lace table-cloth on, near ‘her drift wood’, strewn with rose petals, two hurricane lanterns providing a soft-yellow glow and it was set for a dinner for two.
“Do you like it?” Richard asked anxiously. He wished he has more resources or more time to plan this.
“Of course, Ricky. This is so beautiful and you went to too much effort, and on such a short notice! You worked miracles.” Maya said happily, touched at his effort.
“For you, Maya and for having a memorable time with you, I’ll do everything I could.” Richard said seriously.
“Thank you Ricky.” Maya said softly.
Richard bestowed Maya a brilliant, happy smile. Then he pulled the chair for her. Soon after, Marina and her nephew Mario arrived with their dinner.
“Wine, Maya?” Richard asked Maya, gesturing towards the bucket cooling on the table. “I took the liberty of ordering white, but if you prefer red, I’ll just go and tell Marina.”
“No need to do that, Ricky. I prefer white actually. Thanks a lot.”
Richard poured them a glass each. He handed hers to Maya. “To us, and beginnings!” He toasted.
“To us, and beginnings!” Maya echoed. “Thank you again for this, Ricky. For everything!” Maya added, without putting much into words her gratefulness in Richard not pressing her. For just being there with her in that wonderful moment!
Richard gave Maya another of his beautiful lopsided smiles, tilted his head in acknowledgment and to let Maya know that he understood completely. “Thank you, very much also, Maya for this unforgettable moment.” He said simply.
The two of them enjoyed their sumptuous dinner amid the quiet of the night, with a gentle breeze blowing and the lapping of waves. They laughed heartily, shared smiles, and just got lost in each other’s company, enjoying the moment. They also talked deep into the night, as if they are in a hurry to find everything they could about each other. Maya was very happy. So was, Richard. He can’t remember a time he felt this contented.
“Do you want go for a walk, Maya, before we turn in?” Richard asked after he and Maya finished their second cup of coffee.
“Sure, Ricky! It is a nice night to walk along the beach.” Maya said.
Richard stood up and guided Maya out of her chair. He took hold of her hand, and they started walking along the beach. Maya gazed at the stars above, and sighed contentedly! It was really a wonderful night for a walk, a romantic night for a walk like this. She could have not asked for another person to share this moment.
“Maya…..” Richard started. He just can’t take it anymore. He needed to say this.
Maya looked at Richard, waiting for him to continue.
“Maya, I would just like to thank you again for accepting my dinner invitation. For allowing me to barge in on your vacation. For this moment! There is no place I would rather be, than this place with you, sharing this with you.” Richard said.
“Ricky, thank you too! I feel the same.” Then facing Richard, Maya decided to verbalize what she had decided on while having dinner with Richard. “Ricky, about what you said this afternoon, about us….”
Richard waited for what she was going to say with bated breath, hoping that it is what he wanted to her, had been wishing for her to say soon, since he returned to his bungalow that afternoon, waiting for Maya to come back from her trip with Jeremy, trying not to think of her enjoying the company of another man, no matter how innocent it was.
“I have made up my mind,” Maya continued, then said simply. “I would like to take those baby steps with you, one day at a time.”
“Maya….” Richard said, surprised at very happy at what he was hearing, his heart beating so loud! Then he gave her a smile that lit up his whole face, showing Maya how happy he was with her decision.
“Just be patient with me, please.” Maya implored, looking at Richard with her very expressive eyes.
“Of course, Maya. We are in this together.” Richard assured, Maya. Then taking her hand, he raised it gently to his lips. “Thank you, Maya. You don’t know how happy you’ve made me.”
Maya smiled at Richard. She felt she was at the top of the world at that moment.
The two of them gazed at each and they stayed like that until a strong wind blew, making Maya shivered. Richard warmed his hands and put them Maya’s to give her warm. They continued walking for several more minutes, then call it a night.
Hand in hand, sharing happy smiles, they walked back towards their bungalows, hearts so full.
Note: I may disappear for long periods of time, (really hoping/trying for shorter periods) but I am just here. 🙂 Sometimes, I just need to regroup, take a short break, or attend to stuffs. Thank you very much for the support, as always! ❤