Admin Note: *Contributed Story* Please give credit and thanks to princemackaroo. This is a continuation of The Art of Letting Go – part 4.
A/N: Hello everyone! First off, I’d like to share with you the inspiration for this chapter. As I drowned myself in a sea of heartbreaking songs, one of them gave me an idea on how to create this chapter. The song I am referring to is Evanescene’s My Immortal. I think most of you are familiar with the song and its lyrics. The song just gave me a haunting presence which I thought is applicable to our lead actor’s current state. So may I suggest that you spare some time to listen to the song before you start reading this chapter or better yet, listen to it while reading. If you have any comments/violent reaction/suggestions, please, by all means let me know.haha God bless everyone!
It’s already 11PM but Mr. Sandman seemed to have forgotten to give Richard a visit tonight. No matter how hard he tried, sleep doesn’t seem to want to invade him yet. Left with no other choice, he got out of bed and went to the veranda. Unfortunately, even the sky doesn’t seem to side him tonight. The last thing he ever wanted to see is a pitch-dark starless night. Heaving out a sigh of disappointment, he went back inside the house and started wandering around the unlit living room. His gaze finally fell on the majestic grand piano situated elegantly at the corner of his living room.
His feet seemed to have a mind of its own as he now finds himself walking towards it, each step bringing back memories of yesteryears. Memories he’s trying so hard to forget. Memories that haunts his every waking moment. Haunts even his dreams. Memories with Alex are now flooding his mind. Memories of him and Alex playing the piano together, laughing, and singing songs to one another, obviously enjoying one another’s company. If these memories can only be controlled by his mind. If only they’ll simply haunt his mind and be won by logic and rationality. If only. Sadly, it chose to haunt his heart as well. Or perhaps, it is really his heart, in accordance to its own will, chose to be haunted and never let the feelings of yesteryears go.
As he got near the piano, carefully, he placed his hand on top of it, savoring the feel of its front lid under his hand. Slowly, he went to its bench and sat on it comfortably. After a few seconds, he gingerly opened the fallboard. For a couple of minutes, he just stared at the keys that are now bared in front of him. The mere sight of it brings him back to yesteryears, what more if he started to play. These thoughts kept him from even touching the keys. Until…
“How was your day at the hospital? Did you have a lot of emergencies today?” Richard asked, as he reached out his right hand to hold Alex’s left and intertwined it with his. His left hand rested on top of the steering wheel, smoothly maneuvering it as he drives them back home. “It was okay. Not toxic as compared to yesterday. You? How’s office?” Alex asked. “It was fine as well. Relaxed, actually. Just reviewed a couple of documents,” answered Richard, smiling sweetly at her.
Music coming from the radio filled the vehicle. As soon as the next song started, Richard opted to change the station but Alex immediately stopped him from doing so. “What?” he asked, apparently surprised. “I like this song. Don’t change the station just yet,” answered Alex, smiling at him. Astonished at Alex’s response, he smiled teasingly at her and said, “Since when did you start liking this kind of songs? Kala ko ba ayaw mo ng mga malulungkot na kanta ‘cause you feel like your heart is breaking with it too?” Alex simply ignored the teasing tone in Richard’s response then answered, “Let me just remind you Mr. Lim, I never said AYAW ko ng mga MALULUNGKOT na kanta,” giving emphasis to the two words then continued, “I just don’t like listening to them all the time as it affects my mood as well. Besides, I love this one. Heartbreaking and haunting it maybe, I still love it all the same. Basta, iba ang dating niya sa akin.” Richard could only laugh at his wife’s response. “Ok Mrs. Lim. Point well taken. Hindi na ako makikipag-argue pa,” he said, smiling, then kissed her left hand with eyes still focused on the road.
The two remained silent for a while. Alex, fondly listening and pondering every words of the song, spoke, “Siguro ganyan din ang mararamdaman ko pag nawala ka.” “Hmm?” Richard giving her a quick glance, raising a brow, asking if he heard her right. “Siguro pag nawala ka, even time would find it impossible to heal me,” she answered giving him a weak smile. Richard, in response, smiled, without removing his eyes on the road, kissed her hand once more, then said, “That’s one of the reasons why you’re not supposed to listen to heartbreaking songs. Tignan mo? Kung anu-ano na pumapasok sa isip mo.” “Pero hon, we cannot avoid the inevitable. If there’s one thing that we –“ “Ok hon, stop,” Richard said, cutting Alex off while trying to pull the car over. As they stopped at the side of the road, Richard faced his wife and held both her hands. Looking intently at her eyes he said, “I know death is inevitable. I know that’s the only certain thing in this world. I also know that one day, one way or another, we’ll be forced to face it,” Richard paused for a moment, tuck a strand of lose hair behind her ears, smiling sweetly and assuringly at her, continued, “Death maybe certain and constant but it’s one thing that I don’t want haunting you. Not now. Not ever. I know fairly well that I shouldn’t be making promises I couldn’t keep but I just wanted you to know, I’ll never ever leave your side. If I have to battle with death, kill him even, I am more than willing to do so just to make sure that you will never be alone. That no one will ever take me away from you.”
The two remained quiet for a moment, smiling tenderly, hearts speaking to one another. Then Alex suddenly pinched Richard’s nose and said, “Alam mo hon ang drama mo!” She’s laughing at her words when Richard said, “Anong ako? Ikaw kaya ang nagsimula. Ikaw ang nagsasabing pag nawala ako tapos ako ngayon, ako ang ma-drama?” raising his brows in disbelief with the sudden turn of events. Alex laughed even more seeing this kind of reaction from her husband. “Alam mo hon, hindi bagay sa iyo. Hindi bagay sa iyo ang mag drama. Comedy siguro pwede pa,” she said in a teasing tone. Upon hearing this from Alex, “Ah ganon,” he said with a notorious look on his face, then continued, “Hindi pala bagay ha! Etong sayo!” without warning, he started tickling Alex, both laughing at their silliness.
Richard found himself unconsciously playing the song that just occupied his mind a moment ago. Lost in his own world, words are now starting to escape his lips..
I’m so tired of being here
Suppressed by all my childish fears
And if you have to leave
I wish that you would just leave
Cause your presence still lingers here
And it won’t leave me alone
These wounds won’t seem to heal
This pain is just too real
There’s just too much that time cannot erase
His voice starting to crack as the meaning of the song slowly creeps into his system. He felt it coming alive, felt every word coming from his heart.
When you cried I’d wipe away all of your tears
When you’d scream I’d fight away all of your fears
And I held your hand through all of these years
But you still have
All of me
Tears no longer controlled, he continued to sing despite the heavy flow, trying hard not to let the sobs escape his lips.
You used to captivate me
By your resonating light
Now I’m bound by the life you left behind
Your face it haunts
My once pleasant dreams
Your voice it chased away
All the sanity in me
Soft sobs are heard together with the melody coming from the piano. With eyes closed and tears flowing freely down his cheeks, he continued to play but couldn’t find the strength to sing. He then simply continued playing the lyrics on his head, relishing the weight of every word, relishing the surreal meaning of it in his life right now, and questioning rationality. Questioning the truth behind time, behind healing. He cannot be healed right now, not ever. No amount of time can ever heal him. As the song continued to progress, he lost all control of himself. Stopping from playing, he bowed his head down and rested it on his arms, then, started to weep bitterly. For the nth time, he let lose all the emotions he thought are no longer a stranger to him. Unknown to Richard, his eyes and his heart weren’t the only one that’s been crying the whole time.
“O Sabel? Bakit ganyan ang itsura mo? Para kang sinakluban ng langit at lupa?” asked Doris, one of Richard’s house helper. “Wala. Ito talaga,” Sabel, Richard’s cook, answered. “Sus! Wala daw! Eh tignan mo nga yan o. Umagang umaga humahaba na yang nguso mo. Abot na nga hangaang labasan eh. Tsaka tignan mo nga yang mga mata mo. Mugtong mugto o. Binasted ka siguro ng nililigawan mo noh?” asked Doris teasingly. “Hoy Doris! For your information! Kailanman, hindi ko pa nagawang manligaw! Itong ganda kong ito, manliligaw? Itong gandang ito ang nililigawan at hinahabol habol. Sila ang nanliligaw at hindi ako! Hmp! Atsaka kung makapagsalita ka! Ikaw kaya! Tignan mo itsura mo, kala mong isang buwan kang pinakain ng ampalaya sa pait ng itsura mo o! At kung pamugtuan lang naman ng mata ang pag-uusapan, eh di hamak namang mas namumugto at namamaga ang mga mata mo o. Baka ikaw ang nabasted!” countered Sabel, trying to feign a devilish laugh. “Ah ganon?? Ganon Sabel?? Mukha na pala akong ampalaya ngayon,” said a hurt Doris. “Oo! Ganon na nga! Ha!” said Sabel firmly. “Ang sama mo talaga! Concerned lang naman ako sayo tas ganyan ka? Sige! Galit galit na tayo!” countered Doris. The two snubbed and turned their backs against each other.
After a few moments of stealing glances at one another, they finally broke off into laughter after they realized how childish and silly they were. Sabel let out a sigh that Doris immediately took notice, “Ano ba kasi ang problema mo Sabel? Tignan mo, napapabuntong hininga ka agad jan?” “Wala naman talaga akong problema Doris. Naalala ko lang kasi yung kagabi. Nalulungkot lang talaga ako,” Sabel said. “Yung kagabi?” Doris asked, then continued, “wag mong sabihing nadinig mo din yun?” Sabel obviously surprised, “Ikaw din??” “Oo day!” exclaimed Doris. The two started to giggle as realization that they both cried for the same reason hit them. “Hay nako day. Nakakaawa talaga si Sir Richard noh. Biruin mo ilang taon na ang nakakalipas mula ng mawala si Ma’am Alex pero tignan mo, hanggang ngayon, hindi parin niya makalimutan ito,” said Doris in a sad tone. “Oo nga eh. Ilang taon na pero hanggang ngayon makikita at mararamdan mo parin yung sakit, yung bigat at pangungulila niya kay Ma’am,” said Sabel. “Makakalimutan pa kaya ni ser si ma’am? Sana naman ay mag move on na siya ng tuluyan at ng sumaya na talaga siya. Pati tayo nahahawa sa kalungkutan niya eh,” said Doris in a pained tone. “Tama ka jan day! Sana nga lang talaga. Hay. Siguro nga talagang first love never dies,” said Sabel. “Huh? First love never dies? Eh di ba first love ni ser si ma’am?” asked Doris. “Oo,” answered Sabel. “O eh bakit siya namatay agad kung first love never dies?” asked Doris in a serious tone. “Tignan mo tong isang to,” said Sabel irritably. “Puro ka kalokohan eh! Hindi yung tao ang sinasabi kong never dies. Yung feelings Doris! Yung feelings para sa first love ang never dies!” Sabel explained. Doris laughing softly at Sabel’s reaction then said, “Alam ko naman yun Sabel. Ikaw naman di ka mabiro. Umagang umaga kasi nag-e-emo tayo dito.” “Oy Doris! Hindi ako emo! Baka ikaw yun!” accused Sabel. “Tignan mo tong isang to. Mag-ddrama drama tas sa akin ipapasa,” said Doris in her defense while shaking her head.
“Rafi! What’s up?” answered Richard as his bestfriend called him on his phone. “Hello Chard! Mangangamusta lang. It’s been a while,” said Rafi. “I’m fine. Eto at humihinga pa naman if that’s what you’re asking,” answered Richard then managed to chuckle a bit. “Ha! Ha! Very funny Chard! Very funny!” said Rafi sarcastically. “I’m okay. Managing to live,” smiled weakly at the thought, then continued, “You? I think I am the one who’s supposed to ask you that. How’re you really?” “I’m fine Chard. I’ve managed to accept my loss and cope up with it. I’m just glad that Charlie’s with me all throughout.” “Well, that’s good to know.” “Chard, sorry nga pala if I weren’t able to make it at Alex’s funeral or even visit you. I could’ve atleast –“ “No Rafi. Don’t be sorry. I completely understand. You’re grieving as well. You lost your parents. It’s been hard for you too and the last thing that you needed then was to comfort someone else when you yourself needed comforting. No worries Rafi. I understand,” said Richard in an assuring tone. Rafi let out a sigh then said, “Ok Chard. Bago pa tayo magkaiyakan dito sa phone. I’d like to tell you that I’ll be coming back to the Philippines next week. I might stay there for a month.” “Really? Is Charlie coming with you as well?” “No, ako lang mag-isa. May mga kailangan pa kasing asikasuhin si Charlie so hindi niya ako masasamahan. He’s in Germany right now at ako naman, eto at nag side trip dito sa France. By the way Chard, would it be okay if I’ll stay in your house habang anjan ako sa Pinas?” “Of course! You may. You’re always welcome to stay here. Just send me your flight details so I can fetch you from the airport,” said Richard. “Ok! I’ll send them to you. Thanks Chard ha! So I’ll be seeing you next week. Bye Chard.” “Bye.” And with that, both hung up the phone.
“Get your hand off me!” Rafi screamed as a French guy grabs her arm. “Allons donc! Nous allons nous contenter de nous amuser un peu! (Come on! We’re just going to have some fun!) answered the unknown man, grinning mischievously at her. Rafi cannot understand a word the man is saying at her but the mischievous grin on his face is already enough to make her frightened. “Viens avec moi ! Je vous le promets. Vous oublierez votre nom de jouissance ! (Just come with me! I promise. You’ll forget your name in enjoyment!)” said the man laughing devilishly. Rafi, completely frightened was now hysterical.
“Hey you pervert! Take your hand off her!” growled Maya as she approached Rafi and its assailant. “Qui diable êtes-vous?? (Who the hell are you??)” glowered the man at Maya while still grabbing Rafi’s arm, obviously unmoved by Maya’s sudden appearance. Maya tried her best to intimidate the assailant and continued to order him to take his hand off the lady in distress but the man just continuously grin notoriously at her. Totally pissed with the guy, Maya kicked the assailant’s sensitive part, causing him to writhe in pain and fall on the floor, both of his hands holding his middle. “Va te faire foutre! À vos marques … Au diable!” screamed the assailant but Maya ignored him and started shouting for help. A couple of seconds later, they heard police sirens nearing their spot then a police went to them and handcuffed the assailant. Both Rafi and Maya were invited over the police station for their statements.
Rafi can never thank Maya enough for helping her out. She doesn’t know what could’ve possibly happened to her if Maya did not courageously help her. “I really really want to thank you for helping me out. I don’t know what could’ve happened to me if you didn’t come to help,” said a grateful Rafi, as tears start to well in her eyes, still startled by what happened. “It’s okay. I’m glad I was near the vicinity when I heard your screams. It’s a good thing that pervert is already behind bars! Serves him right!” said an angry Maya. Rafi was able to let out a chuckle in between tears. “By the way, I’m Rafaella Alcantara. But you can call me Rafi,” smiled Rafi while reaching out her hand to Maya. “I’m Maya, Maya dela Rosa,” said Maya, smiling back at Rafi while she reached her hand for a handshake.
Note: I don’t normally do sneak peeks, but just to give you an idea what to expect on Chapter 6
RAFI: Chard, look at you? You’re single, young, available, look, there’s nothing wrong sa gagawin mo. Besides, it’s just normal for single people to go out on dates.
RICHARD: It may be normal for other people but not for me Rafi…
RICHARD: How do you do Maya?
MAYA: I’m good. And you?
RICHARD: I’m good as well