dmin Note: *Contributed Story* Please give credit and thanks to princemackaroo. This is a continuation of The Art of Letting Go – part 3.
A/N: Hello! First I’d like to thank everyone who’ve read, continues to read, those who were touched, those who cried, and those who spared their time to leave me some words. Maraming maraming salamat po talaga! You inspire me to continue writing and inspire me to be passionate about it. Now, my passion is no longer just with sports and it’s all because of you guys. We are already nearing the moment we’ve all been waiting for, the meeting of the main characters of this story – Emman & Richard I mean Richard & Maya! Baka sugurin niyo ako, bugbugin, o sabunutan pag sila Emman & Richard ang nag-meet at naging lead characters ng story na ito. So for the meantime, let’s all believe in the saying that patience is a virtue. Haha! God bless everyone! – princemackaroo
“Hello Roomie!!” greeted Emman as Maya entered the condo. “Hi Emman,” replied Maya, smiling back at Emman. “O kumain ka na ba?” she asked. “Syempre hindi pa dahil ni-wait talaga kita para naman sabay tayo mag dinner,” answered Emman. “Ah ganun ba? Sige. Quick shower lang ako then dinner na tayo.” “Ok,” said Emman enthusiastically.
At the dinner table, “O kumusta naman ang pag-review mo sa park? Nakapagreview ka naman ba ng maayos?” asked Emman. “Mmm. Oo. Naka-review naman ako ng maayos. Nakaka-relax ang atmosphere sa park kanina kaya nakapag-concentrate akong maigi sa pag-aaral ko,” Maya answered. “Ikaw? Maghapon ka lang ba dito sa condo? Hindi ka ba lumabas?” asked Maya to Emman. “Hay nako roomie! Gustuhin ko mang lumabas, hindi afford ng beauty ko ngayon. Bukod kasi sa kailangang mag-prepare for finals, may mga requirements pa akong kailangang tapusin. Kaya ayun! Stuck ang pretty face ko sa apat na corners nitong pink walls ko,” explained Emman as he rolled his eyes, Maya could only giggle at Emman’s response.
After dinner, the two proceeded to the living room to relax some more. The clock strike 8. Emman sensing that sleep isn’t invading him anytime soon, decided to ask Maya to join him for a movie. “Roomie, hindi pa kasi ako inaantok at mukhang hindi pa ako aantukin anytime soon. Let’s watch a movie muna. Para naman maka-relax tayo kahit papaano. Maghapon na tayong aral ng aral eh. The whole week puro aral na tayo, tas kanina puro aral parin. Time-out naman muna kahit isa o dalawang oras lang. Tutal wala namang pasok bukas since it’s a Sunday.”
Maya thought for a moment. She too sensed that she may not be retiring to bed anytime soon and since she no longer have anything to do, decided to agree with Emman’s suggestion. Much to Emman’s delight, she asked Maya to choose any movie she feels like watching. “Eh ikaw ang nag-aya tapos ako ang papipiliin mo?” said Maya. Emman smiled, “Eh ok lang yun roomie. Ikaw nalang mamili jan sa mga collection of DVDs ko. Na-watch ko naman na kasi sila lahat kaya wala akong maisip na panoorin ulit. Basta kung ano man ang mapili mo, ok lang sa akin. Besides, puro magaganda ata ang collection ko at di nakakasawang ulit-ulitin! Lahat sila nakaka-in love!” said Emman, clasping both hands showing that he’s already giddy inside. Maya could only laugh seeing Emman act like a love stricken teenage kid. “Ikaw talaga. Hmmm. Teka. Ano ba maganda dito..”
Maya searched the pile of DVDs that Emman has. Like what Emman said, all of his collection composed of romantic movies – from romantic comedies to sad movies. “Teka. The Notebook? Napanood ko na ito eh. P.S. I Love You? Napanood narin. One More Chance? Tatlong beses na naming pinanood ni Kute ito eh. Titanic? Masyadong malungkot. Ano pa bang iba dito? Windstruck.. If Only.. The Proposal.. How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days.. Hmm.” Maya continues to search the pile when Emman asked, “O ano roomie, wala ka paring nasa-sight na gusto mong i-watch?” “Umm. Teka lang Emman ha. Napanood ko narin kasi yung iba dito eh. Teka…” As Maya was rummaging the pile of DVDs, a certain title caught her attention. “Message In A Bottle,” she read. “Hmm. Maganda kaya story nito,” she thought, then checked the back cover and read the short summary of the movie. “Emman, ito nalang panoorin natin. Hindi ko parin kasi napapanood yan eh,” said Maya while handing Emman the disc. When Emman saw what Maya picked, “Sure ka roomie na ito ang gusto mong panoorin?” inquired Emman. “Oo. Hindi ko pa kasi napapanood yan eh. Saka mukha namang maganda yung story. Bakit? Hindi ba siya maganda?” “Hindi naman. Of course maganda din siya. Sabi ko naman lahat ng DVDs ko magaganda. It’s just that. Never mind. Maupo ka nalang jan at ilalagay ko lang ito sa player para makanood na tayo,” said Emman then turned his heel around and walked towards his DVD player. “Nako! Mukhang need ko ng maraming tissue ngayon. hihi” Emman thought to himself.
As the movie finally came to an end, Emman heard soft sobs and sniffing sounds coming from Maya. Just as he foresaw, Maya is crying. Shaking his head, he turned to Maya and said, “Ay nako roomie. Yan na nga ba ang naiisip ko kanina nung makita ko yung pinili mong title.” Sniffing, Maya answered, “Eh ikaw naman Emman **sniff** **sniff** hindi mo manlang sinabi sa akin na malungkot at nakakaiyak pala yang palabas na yan. **sniff** **sniff** Kaya nga hindi yung P.S. I Love You o Windstruck ang pinili ko kasi nakakaiyak mga yun eh. Yun pala heartbreaking din yang Message in a Bottle,” finished Maya as she grabbed a couple of tissues more from the tissue box. “Eh kasi naman sabi mo hindi mo pa napapanood di ba? Ayoko namang maging spoiler at i-say ko nalang agad ang twist ng story,” defended Emman. “Ang lungkot lungkot lang kasi. Kung kailan naman nag-decide na si Garrett to finally mag-move on at mahalin ng buo si Theresa, saka naman siya itong nawala,” said Maya crying out more. Emman could only laugh seeing how sensitive Maya is.
After Maya had finally composed herself, “Alam mo Emman, hanga din naman ako kay Garrett. Talagang ganun kalaki yung pagmamahal niya kay Catherine noh. Nakakatuwa lang yung ginagawa niyang paraan para –“ Maya halted to an abrupt stop as she remembered what she saw at the park earlier. Emman noticed that Maya seemed to be lost in her own world so he asked, “Roomie? Uy roomie! Ok ka lang ba? Rommie!” Maya a bit startled, came back to her senses and assured Emman that she is ok. “Ok lang ako Emman,” she said. “May naalala lang kasi ako. Para kasing. Para kasing kamukha nung nangyari sa movie eh.” “Ha?” asked by a confused Emman. Upon seeing the confused looked on Emman’s face, she decided to narrate everything that happened at the park that afternoon.
Maya took both the balloon and the letter out of her bag and showed them to Emman. Emman took the balloon and started to check it. “Kakaiba naman itong lobo na ito. Pinasadya pa talaga. At talagang airplane ha? Pero in fairness, ang ganda ng pagkaka-design. Kuhang kuha ang itsura ng isang eroplano. Sino kaya nag-design nito?” asked Emman. “Yun din nga iniisip ko eh. Wala naman kasing pangalan o ano mang makakapagsabi kung sino o saan ginawa yan. Ito nga lang nakita ko sa loob niyan eh. Isang sulat,” said Maya, showing Emman the letter that she found inside the balloon. Emman took the letter and started reading its content.
“Oh my roomie!” exclaimed an already teary-eyed Emman. “Na-touch naman ako. Nakakaiyak naman ito. Ramdam ko yung lungkot at pangungulila ni Chard for Alex,” said Emman while dubbing a tissue at the corners of his eyes. “Ganyan din nga ang naramdaman ko ng mabasa ko yan kanina eh. Puno ng lungkot at pangungulila yung nagsulat. Hay. Kawawa naman siya. Nasaan kaya si Alex?” asked Maya. “Well who knows? Baka gaya dun sa Message In A Bottle, wala narin si Alex. Baka nasa langit na siya,” replied Emman. “Baka nga. Kaya siguro ganyan kalungkot yang si Chard ngayon.”
Maya was still in her deep thoughts, relishing the weight of the words on the letter and wondering what could’ve really happened to Alex, when Emman suddenly screamed, causing her to startle. “Ayyyiiiieeee!!!” shrieked Emman. “Roomie! Roomie! Roomieeee!!!” said Emman as he grabbed Maya’s hand and started to jump up and down like crazy. “Ano ka ba Emman! Ano bang nangyayari sa iyo? Aatakihin naman ako sa’yo eh!” said Maya, looking concerned at Emman’s sudden behaviour. “Pasensya ka na roomiee. Eh kasi naisip ko lang. Ayyiiee! Kinikilig ako roomie!” “Teka! Teka ha! Kinikilig? Panong kinikilig? Saan ka kinikilig at bakit?” asked Maya, utterly confused at what Emman is trying to say. “Dito roomie! Dito sa sulat ni Chard for Alex!” said an overly giddy Emman. “Sa sulat? Eh di ba nga nakakalungkot at ang bigat lang sa damdamin? Oo at nakakakilig nga siya pero malungkot eh,” said Maya. “Malungkot nga siya. Pero hindi dahil dun kaya ako kinikilig!” beamed Emman. “Ha? Hindi dahil sa sulat?? Sabi mo dahil sa sulat tas ngayon hindi dahil sa sulat?? Naguguluhan na talaga ako sa iyo Emman ha,” said an almost irritated Maya. “Ganito kasi yun roomie,” started Emman, “Tignan mo, ang sumulat ay si Chard at ang sinulatan niya ay si Alex di ba?” Maya simply nodded in agreement, then Emman continued, “Roomie tignan mo ha, Chard name ng lalaki yun. Alex name din ng lalaki yun. Meaning beki si Chard at sobrang nangungulila siya ngayon kay Alex! Ayyyiiiieee!!! Roomieee!!!!” “Teka lang Emman ha. Hindi tayo sure kung lalaki nga si Alex. Malay mo palayaw lang yun o ano. Isa pa, kung totoong beki nga si Chard, eh bakit kilig na kilig ka jan? Hindi ba dapat maawa ka sa tao dahil sa bigat na nararamdaman niya?” asked Maya, obviously not impressed with her friend’s analysis. “Roomie, naaawa naman ako kay Chard eh. Nakiki sympathize naman ako sa kanya. Ang totoo nga niyan, ngayon palang, kahit hindi ko pa siya nakikilala, gusto ko na siyang yakapin at i-comfort,” said Emman still smiling and evidently giddy.
“Kasi naiisip ko lang roomie, kung talagang wala na si Alex, meaning mag-isa nalang ngayon si Chard, meaning hindi talaga sila destined for one another, meaning.. Oh my pink walls roomie!!! Ayyieeee!!!” Emman shrieking again because of his own thoughts. “Ay nako Emman!” snapped Maya. “Alam ko na yang iniisip mo. Ikaw talaga! Puro ka talaga kalokohan!” said Maya, shaking her head in amusement to what her friend is thinking of right now. “Roomie, wala namang masamang mangarap eh. Malay mo, di ba. Who knows, hindi pala talaga si Papa Wilson ang destiny ko at si Papa Chard pala talaga. O di ba bongga! Tas parang ang sweet sweet pa niya sa sulat niya. Hay,” Emman trailed off as he’s slowly engulfed by his fantasy. “Hay naku Emman! Kung anu-ano na yang pumapasok sa isip mo ha. Hindi mo pa nga nakikita yung tao, Papa na agad? Baka mamaya kung ano pa ang ugali nun noh. Unang-una, hindi natin alam kung patay nga bang talaga si Alex. Malay mo iniwan lang niya si Chard sa sobrang sama ng ugali nito. Tignan mo yung sulat niya o. Maya’t maya ang sabi ng sorry. Baka malaki ang nagawang kasalanan kay Alex kaya hindi na nakatiis pa si Alex at iniwan siya. Tsaka baka mamaya kung ano pa itsura niyan. Malay mo may an-an o buni siya sa buong katawan? O di kaya naman, may anghit siya? O di kaya naman, may alipunga? O di kaya naman, sunog na sunog ang balat o puno ng tigyawat ang mukha? O di –“ Emman placed a finger on Maya’s mouth forcing her to stop. “Roomie, ok na. Na-gets ko na ang gusto mong sabihin. Grabe ha. Kalurky ang description mo! Morbid!” said Emman, rolling his eyes. Maya giggling at her joke and Emman’s reaction, then said “Ang akin lang. Sinasabi ko lang ang mga possibilities para hindi ka masyadong umasa o mag-isip isip ng kung anu-ano jan.” “Ok fine!” said Emman. “Pero hindi mo parin mai-aalis sa akin ang mag-ilusyon!” he further said, smiling. Maya just laughed a little more then said, “Ikaw talaga. O siya bahala ka na nga. Basta pinapaalalahanan lang kita. Tara na nga at matulog na tayo. Paniguradong antok lang yan! Good night Emman!” “Good night roomie! Sana ay ma-sight ko manlang kahit sa panaginip si Papa Chard! Ay wagi!” joked Emman. The two broke into laughter then went to their own rooms.
Try as she may, Maya can’t find a way to sleep. She knows that her body’s already tired and in need of rest but her mind just wouldn’t let her. She already twisted and turned, counted sheep, read stories – all to no avail. She doesn’t know why, but the words of Chard for Alex kept running on her mind like a maniac. “Hay ano ba yan! Hating gabi na hindi parin ako makatulog! Tsk. Hay… Alam ko na. Mainit na gatas lang ang katapat nito,” she thought. So Maya got up, went to the kitchen and prepared herself a glass of warm milk. After finishing her glass of milk, she went back to her bedroom. Lying on her bed, she can’t help but wonder what Chard really is like. “Beki nga kaya yun? Sayang naman kung beki nga siya. Parang ang sweet sweet pa naman niyang tao at mukhang ibang klaseng magmahal. Mukhang mahal na mahal niya si Alex eh. Sayang naman kung.. Erase! Erase! Erase! Maya! Ano ka ba! Tigilan mo na nga yang pag-iisip mo na yan! Kita mo na ngang nalulungkot yung tao at nahihirapan ganyan pa ang iniisip mo. Maganda pa isama mo nalang siya sa prayers mo para maging maayos narin siya at mawala na ang kalungkutan niya. Tama ganun na nga lang ang gagawin ko.” Maya uttered a short prayer for both Alex and Chard even if she doesn’t personally know them or even have a hint who they really were. After praying, Maya was back in her deep thoughts again, “Hmm.. Pang ilang sulat na kaya ito ni Chard for Alex? May nauna pa kaya siyang mga sulat dito? Sino kaya nakakuha? Sana kung maisipan niyang sulatan ulit si Alex, sana ako ulit ang makakuha.” Maya slept that night with these thoughts in mind.
Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months. Finally, came the day of Maya’s graduation. Maya is a candidate for Cum Laude which added to the joy of her whole family. Her whole family, including Jeff and her childhood friend and long-time suitor Simon, flew from San Nicholas simply to attend her graduation. They’re simply proud of her, for all her achievements and accomplishments in life. After graduation, Maya flew with her family back to San Nicholas. Her family prepared a surprise party for her which was attended by everyone in their barangay. Everyone in their barangay is simply proud of her with what she has and will become.
Maya only stayed in San Nicholas for a month as she had to return back to Manila for the start of her training as Flight Attendant at Time Airways. Both Maya and Emman used to be OJTs of Time Airways. Because of their credentials and character, Time Airways decided to absorb them both and hired them immediately after graduation.
Time passed by quickly. Now they are commencing the start of their careers, as full-fledged flight attendants. Maya still cannot comprehend everything that she had to go through to reach her dreams in life. She was overly joyed and glad, that finally, after everything that she and her family had to go through, everything is now falling into place. If only her wish of seeing her tatay again could be granted, she really could no longer ask for anything more.
Maya was initially assigned to local flights only but after 6 months, she was then assigned to International flights enabling her to visit countries that she never thought she’d ever set foot to. But no matter where her career brought her to, she had always remained the same. The Maya that everyone loved and knew.
“Maya!” called Eds, Maya’s co-FA, as they were seated around a table at TA’s cafeteria. “Uy Eds! Tinatawag mo ba ako? Pasensya ka na ha. May iniisip lang kasi ako,” said Maya. “Ano ba kasi yang iniisip mo na yan? Hmm.. Lalaki siguro yan noh.. Uuyy.. Si Maya,” teased Ruby, another co-FA. “Hindi! Kayo talaga! Naisip ko lang nung nag-aaral pa ako. Naaalala ko lang na kung paanong dati ay nangangarap lang akong maging isang flight attendant. Pero eto ako ngayon, isang ganap ng flight attendant,” said Maya. “Hay roomie!” joined Emman. “Alam mo napaka sentimental mo talagang tao. 1 year na nga tayo dito sa work natin, hindi ka parin makapaniwalang flight attendant ka na! Roomie, hindi panaginip ang lahat! Gising na gising ka o!” said Emman as he pokes Maya’s face. The group just laughed at what Emman did to Maya. “Ikaw talaga Emman! Puro ka talaga kalokohan! Syempre minsan hindi mo rin naman maiiwasang mag senti noh!” said Maya. “Asus! Sentimental lady lang ang peg!” added Emman.
It was her day off and Maya found herself wandering at the eco-park. She was invited by her co-FAs for some drinking spree but she declined. She really isn’t much of a drinker nor does she enjoy it much. Furthermore, she just had been to a three consecutive international flights and all she really wanted to do is unwind and relax. For her, the better way to do both is to feel the cool breeze and enjoy nature. True, nothing can beat the fresh cool breeze and natural beauty of her hometown, but this eco-park would suffice. This can still provide her the serene and calm that she badly needs right now after a hectic schedule.
Maya was walking around the park with a cup of coffee at hand, simply savouring the feel of fresh air on her face, listening to the sweet chirping of the birds, laughter of the kids, and relishing the green scenery. She was gazing around when she noticed something stuck on a tree. Her heart skipped a beat upon seeing something that she still doesn’t fully recognize but she’s sure of its color, blue. “Could it be?” she thought. Without wasting another minute, she went to the tree and tried to reach for the object. It was too high for her. She looked around, trying to look for a long stick. She was able to get hold of one and finally reached the object. As she picked it up, she was shocked to see the same balloon she saw on the same park two years ago. She simply cannot believe the coincidence of finding the same object at the same vicinity. “Hindi nga kaya totoo yung sinasabi ni Emman? Destiny kaya..” but Maya chose to suppress her thoughts. Right now, she doesn’t want to think of Emman’s previous analysis. She doesn’t know but she felt glad about finding the balloon. Glad that she was the one in possession of it, out of who knows how many people.
Maya out of instinct let lose the knot that’s locking the air passage of the balloon, carefully took out the letter inside. She doesn’t know what to expect or what to feel. Once again, without wasting any more moment, she started reading the contents of the letter:
My Darling Alex,
Where are you? And why, I wonder as I sit alone in a darkened house, have we been forced apart?
I don’t know the answer to these questions, no matter how hard I try to understand. The reason is plain, but my mind forces me to dismiss it and I am torn by anxiety in all my waking hours. I am lost without you. I am soulless, a drifter without a home, a solitary bird in a flight to nowhere. I am all these things, and I am nothing at all. This, my darling, is my life without you. I long for you to show me how to live again.
I try to remember the way we once were, in the living room, sitting together at the grand piano. Do you recall how we used to play the piano together? How the notes, the melodies unite as we both play at the same time. And the times when we’ll simply sing songs to one another. It was times like those that I understood the meaning of true happiness. At night, we simply go to the garden, under the star-filled sky we lay hand in hand, and I watched as the moonlight reflected your beauty. I would watch you with awe and know in my heart that we’d be together forever. Is it always that way, I wonder, when two people are in love? I don’t know, but if my life since you were taken from me is any indication, then I think I know the answers. From now on, I know I will be alone.
I think of you, I dream of you, I conjure you up when I need you most. This is all I can do, but to me it isn’t enough. It will never be enough, this I know, yet what else is there for me to do? If you were here, you would tell me, but I have been cheated of even that. You always knew the proper words to ease the pain I felt. You always knew how to make me feel good inside.
Is it possible that you know how I feel without you? When I dream, I like to think you do. Before we came together, I moved through life without meaning, without reason. I know that somehow, every step I took since the moment I could walk was a step toward finding you. We were destined to be together.
But now, alone in my house, I have come to realize that destiny can hurt a person as much as it can bless him, and I find myself wondering why—out of all the people in all the world I could ever have loved—I had to fall in love with someone who was taken away from me.
Not only are her eyes crying right now, but her heart is crying as well. As once again, she felt the pain and torment in Chard’s words.
NOTE: The letter of Richard to Alex posted on this chapter is an excerpt from Nicholas Sparks’ novel Message In A Bottle, Garrett’s second letter to Catherine (though a couple of words were edited/omitted to fit the story).