This is a continuation to I’m sorry, I love you – part 2
On Friday evening, she arrived at the hotel’s restaurant earlier than Richard. She was scheduled to fly back to Manila that same evening so they’ve agreed to have an early dinner.
It’s been a week since she arrived in India. Since her arrival, she has spent most of the time with Richard. They ate breakfasts together, went to the work site together and had dinners together.
As soon as she sat down, a menu was handed to her by the waiter.
She read the menu and looked at the waiter who was standing beside her. She turned to the menu again and then admitted to herself that she couldn’t order anything. She couldn’t choose because it has always been Richard who was ordering food on her behalf. He would only ask her if she liked chicken, beef or seafood. Most of the time, they would share the dishes because she doesn’t eat much. With this realization, she returned the menu to the waiter.
“I’ll have an apple juice first.” She told him.
“Any appetizer Madam?” The waiter asked.
‘I’ll just wait. I have someone who will join me.” She responded politely.
“Ah, yes Madam. You must be waiting for your husband.” He looked around and then said “Oh! There he is, he is coming out of the elevator. I will get your drink Madam.” Before she could correct the waiter, he left. Maya looked around to see who was the husband he was referring to. It saw Richard who was walking towards the restaurant.
She saw the waiter approach Richard and they spoke for a while. Moments later, he joined her in the table.
‘Hi, have you ordered anything?” He asked as soon as he sat down. He opened the menu left by the waiter.
“Nope. It just dawned on me that I can’t order anything because I’ve been so dependent on you when comes to the food here. So, I am waiting for you. I just ordered a drink.” She just looked at him and said, “I’d like chicken for dinner, please.”
The waiter soon returned with two glasses of juice.
“Here’s the apple juice for you Mrs. Lim.. and for your husband, he ordered the same. What would you be having for dinner Sir?”
Richard ordered something that was incomprehensible to her. Other than the food issue, she was looking at the waiter in disbelief when he made an assumption about the two of them. She wasn’t even able to dispute that because he seemed to be more interested on serving Richard than her.
“So, I guess you have made a new friend Mrs. Lim.” He chuckled as he emphasized the words Mrs. Lim.
She felt herself blushing by the reference. She didn’t know how to respond. It was Richard who followed-up his own comment.
“I think that the waiter assumed we are a couple because we are always together. Don’t worry. It’s cultural.”
‘Well, that was very presumptuous of him. Anyway, I can correct it later, right.” She responded.
“Maya, sometimes, you don’t need to correct everything. There are things that can you let go and it will self-correct.” Being years older than her, he’d give her words of wisdom every now and then.
“How did you find the whole week so far?” Richard changed the topic.
“The truth?” She asked, unsure what impression she was giving him. “I’ve had some difficulty following what Indians were saying. They talk so fast and they talk a lot. I could barely keep up with them.”
“Ahh! Yes. That’s normal.”
Maya continued. “One other thing is when they say yes they are shaking their head. It took me a while before I understood that is their sign of confirmation or a Yes.”
When Richard heard this comment from Maya, he couldn’t help but laugh. Her doe eyes were so rounded and animated when she told him the story. He thought that she looked funny and really cute. In his thought, “It’s so easy to be around her. She makes me comfortable just being with her.”
He then placed his hand on top of hers while saying “Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it. I’ve had the same experience in my earlier trips here.”
Maya’s heart skipped a bit when she felt his warm touch. She knew it was nothing. It was just a friendly reassurance that everything will be alright. However, his touch had an effect on her. She tried not to react as his hand stayed there for a while. She wanted to act as if it was just normal.
He removed his hand when the waiter came with their order. After the waiter left, he resumed their conversation,
“By the way Maya, what time do you plan to leave for the airport?” He picked up the serving spoon and started putting some food on her plate.
She was surprised by his effort because it was the first time he has done it.
“I am leaving at 8:00 p.m. I’ve arranged for the hotel car. Eh.. Richard, don’t put so much on my plate. Konti lang kakainin ko.” She was alarmed by the amount of food he was putting on her plate.
He looked at his watch and noted that it was already 7:00 p.m..
“I know. Maya, you eat so little, minsan nga para kang ibon kung kumain.” He laughed . “ You need to eat more tonight. You’ll get hungry because the food on the plane is something you would like. I’m sure of it. Anyway, when are you coming back?” He asked her.
“I’ll be in Manila for only a week and then I am coming back next Sunday.”
“Hmmm, since we need to discuss the site’s assessment, how about we have an audio call on Monday after lunch, Manila time.”
“That’s fine. I’ll block the calendar for that meeting.” She agreed.
While they were eating, Maya would occasionally glance at him as if memorizing his face. She will not see him for a week. She has gotten used to having him around that she wondered how would it feel when she is back in Manila. It seemed that a part of her is staying in India.
Richard caught her several times glancing at him. He smirked. “What?”
“Wala.” She felt her face turning red, worried that he read her mind.
“Know what, I might miss you when you leave. It’s been sometime since I’ve had company during dinners.” He was smiling, showing his be-dimpled cheek.
She couldn’t look at him. In her mind she was thinking “Maya, patay ka. Parang obvious ka na. Akala ko ba itong kaharap mo ang other project mo. Eh bakit di ka makasagot.”
“So, this weekend, I will be alone having coffee sa Coffee Day Café.”
She just smiled and finished the food on her plate.
Moments later, she was checking out of the hotel. Richard was at the concierge section ensuring her car rental would be ready for her departure.
Before boarding her car, they bade goodbye to each other. Richard extended his hand to wish her safe trip. But as Maya extended her hand too, she moved close to him and gave him a kiss on the cheek. It was a spur of the moment for her. She wanted to kick herself right after she kissed him. “Maya, masyado namang halata ka” was her inner conversation.
Richard was momentarily taken aback by her kiss but he was able to manage his surprise. He just stared at her.
“Bye, Richard. See you next week.” She took her seat inside the car and waved goodbye.
He stood still staring at her, amusement slowly showing in his face. He remained there until the car drove away and was nowhere in sight.