Here is letter no. 11, Richard Lim’s third letter in the Letters series. This letter is inspired by the events that transpired in the July 29, 30, 31 and August 1, 2, 5 and 6, 2013 episodes of the TV show, Be Careful with My Heart.
Just when exactly will you budge, Don Roberto? We beg you not to give our dear Richard and Maya a difficult time. They have gone through so much already. Let them be, Don Roberto. They LOVE each other!
Why did you reserve only 6 seats for lunch, Don Roberto? I hope today’s episode (August 7) will finally surprise us with your sudden change of heart, Don Roberto!
FROM RICKY WITH LOVE
Before I proceed to Richard’s letter to his father, Don Roberto Lim, allow me to quote verbatim the emotion-filled car convo between Richard and Maya in the August 1, 2013 episode of BCWMH. (It’s Richard Yap’s shining moment! He truly delivered! He was absolutely brilliant. He owned that scene. We all felt Sir Chief’s pain over his current predicament, his disappointment with his Dad, and his immense love for his Maya!)
Richard: I’m sorry.
Maya: Sabi ko na nga ba, eh. Hindi lang negosyo yung pinagtatalunan niyo. Bakit hindi mo sinabi sa kin?
Richard: I didn’t want you to worry.
Maya: Kaya hindi mo sinabi sa kin?
Richard: I was just trying to protect you.
Maya: Hindi na ko bata na kelangan ng proteksyon.
Richard: No! You’re with me and…
Maya: Kaya nga, eh. Diba lalo mas dapat na walang sikreto sa ‘ting dalawa?
Richard: Haven’t you ever lied to protect the people you love?
Maya: (in tears) Iba naman yun, eh. Kasi ikaw boyfriend kita. Tsaka yung nilihim mo, involved ako.
Richard: (face creased with worry) Can we stop this? (…Long pause. Reaches for Maya’s hand and kisses it…) I’m sorry (touches Maya’s face, wipes her tears with his thumb, sweeps her hair and kisses her hand…) Maya, hindi ko sinabi sa yo dahil nahihiya ako sa yo. Ilang beses mo nang pinagdadaanan ito with my family (…wipes her tears again). Ayoko lang mahirapan ka.
Maya: Pero hindi ba mas mahirap sa kin yon na hindi ko alam kung anong tingin nila sa kin. Pano ko babaguhin yung tingin nila sa kin kung hindi ko alam kung pano nila ko tingnan.
Richard: Maya, iba si Papa kesa kay Mama or kay Nikki. I know him. He can ne very stubborn.
Maya: Mas matigas pa sa ulo ko?
Richard: (looks away)
Maya: Ser Chief… (Reaches for his arm)
Richard: You know, it’s just… I really hate this…
Maya: Hmmm. Tayo na lang ang umintindi sa Papa mo. Siyempre, iba yinh pinaniniwalaan niya, eh. Diba sabi nila, iba-iba ang tao. Halika na. Umakyat na muna tayo. Magkape tayo. Dun natin ‘to pag-usapan.
Richard: (shakes his head) No… I’m okay.
Maya: Sir Chief, mahal kita. At kahit ano pa sabihin ng Papa mo, hindi mawawala yung pagmamahal na yun.
Richard: Maya, but all these, my parents… What they think of you, lahat yun importante para sa yo.
Maya: Sa kin lang ba?
Richard: I know him, Maya! He won’t budge.
Maya: Kaya nga tayo ang iintindi, diba? Wag natin siyang madaliin. May mga bagay na nangangailangan talaga ng panahon.
Richard: (shakes his head in disbelief) Hmmm.
Maya: O, bakit ka nailing?
Richard: Because your solution just means that ikaw na naman ang magtitiyaga. Ikaw na naman ang mahihirapan.
Maya: Wag mo na isipin yun. Okay lang yun. Ang importante sa kin, maging okay kayo ng Papa mo. At kayang-kaya natin ‘to. Ano? Gusto mong mag-kape?
Richard: (shakes his head) Sige na. Umakyat ka na.
Maya: (raises his hand to stop her…) Ser Chief, alam ko nahihirapan ka…
Richard: Let’s just not talk about this, okay? Is that okay?
Richard: I’m sorry. Let’s just talk about this tomorrow.
Maya: (nods) Okay. Good night.
Richard: Good night.
Maya leans in to kiss him. He kisses her back…
This is perhaps the most difficult letter I have had to write in all my 45 years. I have been looking forward to your homecoming with Mama for the longest time, excited for you to meet Maya, my girlfriend– the love of my life, the only woman whom I hope to spend forever with.
I was glad to have heard you praise Maya twice that first day you and Mama came, Pa. I felt that it was your way of letting me know that you accept Maya as the woman in my life. You just don’t know how happy I was when I heard you compliment Maya. I trusted my guts, too, and thought that this time around I wouldn’t have a difficult time with you. As it turns out, I thought wrong again. Ikaw pala ang dapat katakutan ni Maya, Pa.
I still can’t believe that you said all those things against Maya yesterday, Papa. You don’t know her the way I do. You don’t know her the way everyone who knows her, does. She’s a wonderful woman, Pa! Your gut feel was right. Sabi mo, Maya is sentimental and she is a good influence. You are right on both accounts. I know I should not even feel this way, but I want to be honest with you. To say I am disappointed with you and I am embarrassed to even face Maya would be an understatement. I am sorry if I seem to be seething. I just can’t help it, Pa. Maya is an admirable woman. She does not deserve any of these.
Why do you even have to question Maya’s integrity now? You don’t even know her and you’re already so quick to judge that she could be after my money. And I can’t believe that you really think that if I do marry her (which I definitely intend to do, Pa!!!), she’ll eventually demand her share. Maya is nothing like anyone you’ve ever known. She’s the most honest and most selfless person I know. The way you talk about marriage, parang it’s like a contract. It’s like a business venture to you na kelangan di dapat malugi. All these accusations you are hurling against Maya infuriates me, Pa! Maya couldn’t care less about my money. Ayaw nga niyang magpatulong nung time na kailangang-kailangan niya. And she even paid me back dun sa hiniram niya sa kin, even now that she’s my girlfriend. Mama is right. Maya is a decent woman. It’s so unfair na mag assume ka na Maya is after my money. Believe me. She’s not. She never will.
Maya is the nicest, kindest, sweetest, most selfless and most loving woman I know. I don’t get it, Pa. Why do you always have to contradict my decisions? Why do you always think you’re right? Why do you always have to stand in the way of my happiness and my dreams? You’re doing it again… Dati sa choice of course ko. Tapos kay Alex. Tapos ngayon kay Maya naman, Pa? Don’t you know me at all, Pa? Don’t you trust me?
Athough Mama gave Maya a difficult time right after you guys arrived, I had faith that she would eventually see Maya for the person that she is, and eventually accept her. Maybe, even, fall in love with her. I was the happiest man alive when, after just several days, Maya finally gained Mama’s acceptance. Coming home last night to see them smiling at each other, talking, laughing … and knowing that they had a blast preparing kare-kare for dinner, was a scene to behold. Listening to Mama share with us and the kids how much she loved Maya’s gift for her truly warmed my heart, yet I couldn’t even offer them both a genuine smile. I was still furious about our exchange earlier in the day, and over dinner, too. I did not even feel like eating, laughing and talking during dinner last night. I hated myself for doing so, but I just could’t help it. I was so irked by what happened between us. What could’ve been a happy and memorable occasion turned sour because we could not agree on that one issue.
When I took Maya home to her condo last night, she was beyond herself with worry. Maya knows me all too well. She told me that though you and I seem to be arguing about business, she felt we were fighting about something else. She reminded me to try to understand you. Baka daw kasi may punto ka na di ko nakikita. Don’t you see it, Pa? Maya is a sensitive, caring soul. She cares about me and everyone else I care about. If she only knew what we were arguing about, Pa. I didn’t have the heart to tell her. Instead, I promised her that I’ll try to work things out with you.
And for Maya, I did try, Pa. You already know where your pride and my pride have taken us many times before. Both of us can be very stubborn, Pa. For Maya, I tried to swallow my pride. This morning, even if you tried to avoid me during breakfast, I offered to drive for you, but you declined my offer. Your rejection only meant one thing. You are not about to have a change of heart. When Mama reminded me earlier to let go of my issues about business against you, I had to be honest with her, too. So I told her about your issues against Maya. To say Mama was shocked would be an understatement, too.
Why can’t you see Maya with your heart of love, Pa? I know you are capable of loving. You and Mama must really love each other to have been married for decades now. I may never have witnessed your love for each other, but I have seen how much Mama cares for you, how she cooks meals for you and attends to your needs, and how she always accompanies you in all your travels. As a young boy, I also dreamt of finding a woman whom I will marry and will love for the rest of my life. Although I have never seen you demonstrate your love for Mama, I felt that deep down, you love Mama and Mama loves you. Pa, I know you have a heart. Can you, in this, one instance, look at Maya with your heart?
Growing up, I saw how focused you were in expanding your numerous businesses. Pero may I be honest, Pa? You can be so insensitive sometimes. You spend all your time in your businesses, meeting people and trying to get on their good side so you can get better deals. Pero the people outside your business, you just seem to take them forgranted. Even si Mama. As father and son, we may not have been given enough time to bond, but I never complained. Alam ko, you will tell me that you have been getting into all this business ventures for the longest time for the family and to secure our future… Pero alam mo, Pa, now that I look back, money was not always the answer to all the needs I had growing up. I sometimes wonder what we will be like now had we spent more time with each other when I was growing up. Would you understand me better and question my decisions and my choices less? Would you trust me more? Manang Fe and even Mama (when she’s not busy attending to your needs or accompanying you wherever) were always around me naman to shower me with love and care, so okay na din. I kept reminding myself that you love me, too. Busy ka lang. Pero you love me. But still, back then, there were days I craved your attention and your time, Pa. I guess, it’s simply not enough that I know you love me. I longed to experience it, too, somehow.
When Maya and I met last year, I was at my absolute worst. No one wanted to be around me. I must have instilled fear in everyone. I was an angry, lonely man. I was as good as dead, Pa. It had been five years since Alex. Clearly devastated, I was still grieving for the wife I lost much too soon. I lost my will to live and all desire to smile, laugh, hope and love. There were nights I would lock myself up in my home office and just watch all our old family videos. Sadly, Alex’s death also alienated me from Luke, Nikki and Abby. I focused my time and energy at work because that was the only way I thought I could cope with her loss. I could not even help the kids get over their loss as I also had difficulty dealing with mine. LAS grew in leaps and bounds, but I lost my kids, too. You should have seen how the children and I were, Pa. We were all broken souls. I hardly had time to spend with them. And whenever there was time to spend, things always turned out bad. Luke and I fought all the time. Nikki was always too afraid to talk to me, let alone, face me. Because no nanny could withstand her tantrums and stay long enough, Abby and I were together most of the time. But she was also a temperamental, lonely child, as well. Our house was no longer a home. It was devoid of life. It had become a mausoleum.
Things changed the day Maya came. I thought I would never be able to fix my strained relationship with the kids, and that, they would all grow up estranged from me. I thank God for Maya. The initial animosity I felt towards her was gradually replaced with gratitude, respect and admiration (and love, I guess) as I witnessed our once lonely home come to life with her presence and her immense love and care for me and my children. You all know how she worked wonders with Abby. She’s the best thing that could ever happen to me and my three children, Pa. Maya is truly heaven sent. She is indeed an angel, my very own earth angel.
Maya made an effort to understand me when no one else did. She made an effort to make me smile and laugh just when almost everyone else was simply too scared to even come near me. She looked beyond all my anger and saw a lonely, broken man who needed a friend and a confidant. Even before I fell for her and she became my girlfriend, Maya and I became a team when it came to attending to the needs of the kids and our home. You should have seen how lost and lonely I felt after she transferred to her friend’s condo. It was then that I realized that Maya has become so much a part of me and my home. It was when she was no longer here when I finally realized how much she matters to me and how deeply I love her. She is the only woman I wish to end up with, Pa.
You love the kids and you worry about the share of inheritance they’ll get from me. Pa, I wish I can make you see how much Maya loves my kids and treats them like her own. Had you seen how Maya’s relationship with the kids evolved, you would have witnessed true love at its finest. Nobody can ever question Maya’s love and devotion to my kids. She has been a mommy and a friend to them for the longest time. I would not have loved Maya if I didn’t see how much she loves Luke, Nikki and Abby. I wish I can make you understand that had it not been for Maya, I would have lost my kids completely. I always thought that as long as I worked hard and provided for their needs, they’ll be just fine. Maya made me realize that the best things in life are free… that there are even more important things in this world than growing one’s finances. For Maya, family matters most.
My love, my time and my presence were what my children truly needed. Luke and I are okay now. We are no longer fighting. He can even confide in me about his joys, his dreams, his fears, his concerns and his heartaches. I have started treating him as an equal whose thoughts I may not always necessarily agree with, but whose opinions I have learned to respect. Thanks to Maya, I have learned to listen to Luke, too. Nikki is no longer the insecure teenage girl who was perennially worried about not being able to keep the family close enough the way Alex did. Gone is the insecure child. Nikki is back to being such a sweet daughter! She is no longer afraid to ask me if I’m okay whenever she senses that something is bothering me. She is now bursting with so much life, love, joy and energy. She’s even starting to have crushes, which she won’t even share with me. We’re closer than ever. We can even humor and sometimes make fun of each other. I’m glad she has learned to confide in Maya regarding girl issues. Maya is a very sensible woman and a good role model for Nikki. In Maya, I am glad Nikki has found a bestfriend. As for Abby, she is indeed our Little Maya. Alex may be her biological mom, but she takes after Maya. Makulit, masayahin, madaldal, at sobrang sweet. My kids are once again happy, hopeful and whole, no longer lonely and unafraid, because I have become a better father to them. My relationship with Luke, Abby and Nikki have evolved because I took the time and effort to get to know them more. And I learned to listen to them, too. Isn’t Maya amazing, Pa?
You don’t have to worry about whatever share of inheritance you fear Maya might one day take from the kids. She’s not like that at all. She loves the kids so much. I wish I can have you see how she has always made time for them, how she’s always been with them whenever they needed a listening ear, how she worries about them whenever she senses they have problems. She loves them, Papa. For Maya, it has always been the kids’ happiness first before hers. You know, Pa, she was even willing to sacrifice her own happiness just so to make the kids happy. Even before I wooed her and she became my girlfriend, she has already been a mom to Abby and a friend to both Luke and Nikki. Maya has so much love to give. She is such a rare find… beautiful inside and out.
Pa, I am sorry if I raised my voice at you earlier in the office. I am just so disappointed with the way things have turned out for us. Don’t you know me by now, Pa? I have never been one to play with women’s emotions. I am not someone who enters a relationship just for the sake of having one. I never enter anything for all the wrong reasons. After Alex, I never thought I still had what it takes to fall in love again.
But I fell in love Maya. I love Maya! Maya came as a wonderful, unexpected surprise in my life. I am never letting her go. She is now the air I breathe. I love her with all my heart. At this point in my life, she is the only one I can imagine ending up with. I don’t want to put an expiration date to our relationship. I do not want her to just be my girlfriend forever. If I had a choice, I would marry her in a heartbeat. But she’s still young and has dreams to accomplish. I want her to be all that she can be! Truthfully, Pa, she’s the only one I can imagine marrying. And when I do marry Maya, I want the whole package! Marriage. More kids. A lifetime of love, laughter and happiness together. You should have been here last weekend, Pa, when Luke had boys night out with his friends and Nikki had a slumber party with Maya and her friend. We were a picture of one big, happy family. Manang even told me that the kids’ thought na it’s fun pala to have a big family.
When I came home earlier tonight, Mama apologized for accidentally telling Maya about the real reason behind our argument. Maya seems to have been so affected by Mama’s news. She was angry at me for not telling her the truth. I felt her pain. But she did feel my pain, too. She remained selfless despite her pain. Before long, the tables have turned. She was even more worried for me and for you than for herself. Ayaw niyang magkaproblema tayong dalawa. Pa, hindi ko sinabi kay Maya yung cause ng argument natin kasi nahihiya na ko sa kanya. Ilang beses na niya pinagdaanan ito with our family. First kay Nikki then kay Mama. You know, Pa, Maya is not only patient, she is also oozing with positive energy. She reminded me na intindihin ka na lang daw namin kasi iba-iba naman daw paniniwala ng mga tao. Wag ka daw naming madaliin. Maghintay daw kami hanggang matanggap mo yung relasyon namin. Siya na lang lagi nagbibigay, Pa. Her solution only means na siya na naman ang magtitiyaga. Siya na naman ang mahihirapan. Pero wag ko na daw isipin yon. She told me na mahal niya ako and hinding-hindi magbabago yun. What’s most important to her is maging okay tayo. Maya doesn’t only love me. She loves everyone around me– my kids, even you and Mama, even sina Manang Fe… She is an amazing woman, indeed. I am so lucky to have her! You and Mama should also meet Maya’s family, too. Sina Mamang, Nanay Teresita, Kute and Cho. They’re wonderful, hardworking, very decent people who have so much love and care to give. I love them! Even my kids love them already.
How do I make you see what I see in my dear Maya, Pa? How do I make you understand the depth and gravity of the love and affection I feel for her? She’s the most amazing woman I have ever met, Papa. She is the reason for my being, the reason for my smiles, the reason why I have become fully alive once again. Please open your heart just a little and look at Maya with your heart, Papa, and discover for yourself the wonderful, admirable woman that she is.
It’s almost midnight. I’ll just finish writing this letter tomorrow. Good night, Pa!
Good evening, Pa. What a day we had, indeed! I am glad we both attempted to reach out to each other today even if I think we were still unable to accomplish anything. You know how I am, how I’ve always been. If it were solely up to me, I would not even attempt to reach out to you nor perhaps invite you to lunch. We’re the same, diba? We’re both stubborn and so full of pride. (I guess, it’s all thanks to Maya and Mama. Alam ko kinulit ka ni Mama to try to fix our misunderstanding. Pa, mukhang magkakasundo talaga si Maya and Mama kasi pareho silang makulit. Ha!)
You continue to say you like Maya for me and it has nothing to do with what we argued about. Just the same, you still have your reservations about her. You have not accepted her completely. Pa, all these, what you think of Maya, lahat yun importante sa kanya. Maya knows me so well. I guess, she’s right. Even if I keep saying that your opinion of her won’t change the way I feel about her, iba pa rin if I can get your acceptance. Because I love and respect you, your acceptance matters, too.
During my date with Maya tonight, I gave her sunflowers. We had shabu-shabu. I cooked for her, Pa. I love doing things for her. I like to make her happy all the time. She makes me do things I don’t usually do. And she must really love me so much to say na masarap yung niluto ko for her kahit hindi. Haha! I just love the person I have become because she came into my life. I have been in the dark for so long! Maya is my sunshine. I’m so happy, Pa. She makes me happy! Maya is the one, the only one, I would want to spend forever with. I can already picture a happy life with Maya, our children–Luke, Nikki, Abby and our future babies! I’m looking forward to a lifetime of happiness and togetherness with Maya and all our children…
Over dinner, Maya kept reminding me to try to understand you. She told me that sometimes, the people we love tend to do things that may hurt us without their meaning to. Baka yun lang daw ang alam mong way to protect the family. Pa, Maya’s already making a grand effort for you and me. I hope we can fix this… Please understand. Maya is important to me, Pa.
I’m glad you liked the ‘steak’ Maya cooked for you. I told her you enjoyed her ‘adobo’. You should have seen how her face lit up when I told her that. Sabi niya, at least tinikman mo daw. Wag daw ako mag-alala. She will try to win your favor daw kahit daw magluto pa siya araw-araw ng steak na lasang adobo. She’s a funny woman, too, Pa. I hope you can take time to know her more.
Thank you for saying that you no longer want to argue with me and for your offer to treat the whole family to lunch tomorrow. I look forward to an enjoyable lunch with you, Mama, the kids and Maya. I can’t wait to tell Maya.
It’s almost midnight, Pa. This whole ordeal has been keeping me awake for the past three nights now. I guess it’s time for me to get some sleep. I am still hopeful that you will eventually see Maya for the woman that she is and accept her as your future daughter-in-law without any reservations at all. That’s the very best birthday gift you can ever give me, Pa!
(written: early morning, August 7, 2013)