Admin Note: *Contributed Story* Please give credit and thanks to princemackaroo. This is a continuation of The Art of Letting Go – part 5.
A/N: Ok, I know I prolonged the agony of waiting for Richard & Maya to finally meet. It may have been long overdue as well. Finally, we have reached the part in Richard’s journey where he’ll now start a new chapter in his life and be able to find true happiness and true love. I’m not sure how you’d find the twist in this chapter regarding the first meeting of the two. My apologies if some may get disappointed with the turn of events. Once again, just drop some comments, suggestions, violent reactions if you have any, and I will try to address them any way I can. God bless everyone!Ü
The Art of Letting Go 6
“Rafi, no matter what you tell me, the answer is still no,” said Richard firmly. “But Chard! Everything’s already set. I’ve already called Aubergine to make the reservation. Please Chard. Minsan lang naman ito. Besides, you need to go out from time to time,” pleaded Rafi. “Rafi, hindi lang ito minsan. Which makes me think, Mama asked you to do this didn’t she?” he asked. “Well, she did mention something to me,” Rafi admitted guiltily which made Richard sigh in disbelief. “Pero Chard, wala naman sigurong masama. Besides, your mom simply wants to help. I want to help kaya nga I agreed agad agad. 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,” argued Rafi. “It may be normal for other people but not for me Rafi and you clearly know why,” said Richard in a serious tone. “Ok. I know that it is because of Alex. But Chard, Alex isn’t coming back anymore. No matter how hard you try to preserve her memories or your love for her, she isn’t coming back. Nothing can ever bring her back,” said Rafi.
Richard was taken aback by Rafi’s words. He couldn’t believe that he’ll be hearing these words from her. He knows the truth behind every words but hearing them felt like his heart is being stabbed. Rafi saw the effect of her words on Richard but she could no longer take those words back. She already hurt him. “I’m sorry Chard. I didn’t mean to hurt you,” said Rafi in an apologetic look. Richard wasn’t able to respond right away which made her worry. “Chard.. Sorry na o. I really didn’t mean to. Alam mo naman minsan may pagka tactless ako. Sorry na please..” pleaded Rafi as she went in front of Richard with hands clasped and a sorry look on her face. Richard let out a sigh then finally said, “kung hindi lang kita bestfriend.” “Yes!” exclaimed Rafi. “So does this mean na payag ka na?” she said grinning playfully at him. “No,” he said firmly. “No parin? C’mon Chard. What should I do just to have you agree? She’s a nice person and not to mention, very attractive. I’m pretty sure you’ll like her as well,” said Rafi. “But you hardly know the person. God knows baka mamaya she’s a lunatic or a psycho even!” blurted out Richard in frustration. “Chard! Grabe ka naman!” said Rafi, laughing at Richard’s response, then said, “I’m pretty sure na hindi siya lunatic nor is she a psycho. She’s a kind hearted person. Remember, she saved my life when we’re in France. I think that’s already enough proof how good and kind she is. I mean, how many people would dare risk their life just to save someone they don’t even know from the hands of a psycho?” said Rafi. “Exactly my point! I don’t think she’s simply kind hearted. She doesn’t know you nor that psycho and yet bigla nalang siyang susugod basta basta? She must really be out of her mind. She must be insane,” countered Richard. “Are you telling me that you’re not happy that someone saved me from the hands of a psycho??” said Rafi, giving Richard an incredulous look. “That’s not what I mean. I am glad na walang masamang nangyari sa iyo. Glad that someone stopped to help you. But this is different. You’re asking me to date someone we both hardly know – “ “Which is exactly the point Chard,” snapped Rafi, cutting Richard off, then continued, “kaya ka nga makikipag date. To get to know the person better. It’s not like you’ll be marching on the aisle and marry someone you don’t know. Now THAT is what you call ridiculous,” said Rafi, matter-of-factly.
Richard feeling that he is already near his defeat, “You just don’t know what I have to go through when I agreed kay Mama na makipag-date sa mga nireto niya. First, Stephanie who turned out to be a vein, self-centered, spoiled-brat! Then there’s this Ghie who’s an obsessive-compulsive paranoid!” recalling the said disaster dates that he had, Richard could only shake his head in disappointment, then said, “hindi mo alam kung anong klaseng torture ang pinagdaanan ko.” Rafi, smiling at her friend, got near him, placed a hand on his shoulder, and said, “Don’t worry Chard. I know this date wouldn’t be a disaster coz she’s none of those you just described. So am I hearing a yes now?” looking expectantly. Richard heaved out a sigh of defeat then gave his approval to Rafi. “Yes!” exclaimed Rafi. Richard simply shook his head seeing Rafi’s reaction then retired to his room.
Rafi knew that Maya doesn’t normally go out on dates, especially not blind dates. She learned from the latter that she only goes out on group dates or friendly dates. So she came up with a plan. “Hi Maya!” greeted Rafi as she called Maya on the phone. “O Rafi! Napatawag ka?” “Umm. I need to ask a favor sana from you if it’s ok?” “Kung makakaya ko ba, why not? Ano ba yun?” “Are you free tomorrow night? I just want to invite you over dinner sana. Well, sort of parang thank you ko narin sayo for saving my life back when we’re in France.” “Ha? Na naman? Eh di ba nga inaya mo na nga ako ng nasa France palang tayo bilang pasasalamat. Tas nung nakabalik tayo dito sa Pilipinas. Tas bukas ulit? Parang sobra sobra naman na Rafi,” said Maya, chuckling. “Ay nako Maya. Kahit ilang dinner pa yan. You saved my life kaya! I can never thank you enough.” “Pero sabi ko naman sayo, ok lang yun. Masaya akong makatulong.” “But still, I insist. Please Maya. Pumayag ka na. Saka, I also want you to meet my besfriend.” “Bestfriend? Yung sinasabi mong tinutuluyan mo ngayon? Naku Rafi! Di ba parang nakakahiya?” Rafi simply laughed at Maya’s concern, then said, “Don’t worry Maya. Mabait ang bestfriend ko. Lahat ng friends ko mababait. Gaya mo. Kaya nga friend kita eh, dahil mabait ka.” Maya giggled at Rafi’s compliments about her. “So pano? Payag ka na?” “Eh pero..” hesitated Maya. “Please??” Maya sighed, then said “Sige na nga! Kung hindi lang talaga kita kaibigan!” “Yes! Thanks Maya! I’ll just text you the details ok? By the way, do you want me to fetch you nalang?” Rafi asked. “Naku wag na! Magpapahatid nalang ako sa kaibigan ko,” answered Maya. “Ok then. See you tomorrow. Bye” “Bye”
All along, Maya thought that Rafi’s bestfriend is a woman. What she didn’t know, aside from the fact that Rafi’s bestfriend is a dashing eligible bachelor, she was also being set-up for a blind date.
Maya arrived Aubergine 5 minutes after Rafi and Richard’s arrival. She opted to wear a simple sleeveless cocktail dress and wore only light make-up. Simple she may be, but her job taught her how to exude confidence and sophistication which she’s able to carry all the time, whatever clothing she may have on. As soon as the waiter checked the book list, Maya was immediately ushered to the table were Richard and Rafi are seated. Seeing Rafi’s companion surprised her. “Hi Maya!” greeted Rafi, as she stood up to approach Maya and gave the latter a beso.”Glad you made it!” she further said. “Kanina pa ba kayo?” asked Maya. “No. Not really. Kararating lang din naman namin. By the way, I’d like you to meet my bestfriend, Richard. Richard meet my newfound bestfriend, Maya.” Richard reached out his hand to Maya for a handshake which Maya took earnestly.
The mere touch of his hand sent electric currents to Maya’s whole system until she heard him speak, “How do you do Maya?” “I’m good. And you?” “I’m good as well,” he said smiling his ever so famous smile. “Immaculate looking, sobrang bango, ang lambot ng kamay, soothing voice, and his smile! Oh my! Naku Maya! Kalma lang! Kung anu-ano yang iniisip mo!” As these thoughts circled around her head, she managed to keep her composure and all three took their seats. “By the way Maya, I’m sorry to tell you that I can’t accompany you for dinner tonight,” said Rafi in an apologetic tone. “Ha? Eh pero bakit?” said Maya in a concerned tone, while Richard’s just intently watching and listening to the two ladies. “I have an appointment kasi. A doctor’s appointment that is,” lied Rafi. “Doctor’s appointment? At this time of the night?” asked Maya, apparently not buying Rafi’s excuse. “Ah ganito kasi, busy talaga kasi yung doctor and now lang siya merong available schedule kaya kinuha ko na,” lied further by Rafi. Richard could only shake his head in disbelief, hearing how lame his bestfriend’s excuse was. “Pero sigurado ka? Hindi ba pwedeng ipa-reset mo nalang yang appointment mo na yan?” asked Maya. The mere thought that she’ll be left alone with this gorgeous looking guy in front of him sends her to panic mode. “Sorry talaga Maya. Don’t worry, babawi ako next time. And you don’t have to worry. Richard will be your company for the night. He’s harmless naman don’t worry,” Rafi shooting teasing looks at Richard, then said, “saka mabait. As I’ve said, lahat ng friends ko mababait. Sige na. I better get going at baka mahuli pa ako sa appointment ko. You two enjoy your dinner ok? Bye guys,” retired Rafi before Maya could even argue with her.
Maya left with no other choice, tried so hard to calm herself. “So,” she started. “So, let’s call the waiter to have our orders taken?” asked Richard politely. Maya simply gave him a nod, smiling at him the whole time. A female waiter with a strong French accent went to them and got their orders. Richard and Maya gave their orders, respectively, Richard adding a bottle of wine. While waiting for their orders to come, the two sat quietly at the table facing one another. Maya would occasionally look around while Richard looking out, obviously looking bored and pall. Maya noticed this. Thinking that she’s boring Richard, she tried to lighten up the mood and decided to engage in a conversation. “So Richard, matagal mo na bang bestfriend si Rafi?” she started. “Yes. Since we’re kids,” he said. “Ah. She failed to mention to me na lalaki pala ang bestfriend niya,” Maya continued. “Ah,” answered simply by Richard. “Have you been to this place before? Ang ganda noh?” Maya asked. “Uhuh,” managed Richard, still not looking directly at Maya. Finally, their orders arrived. “Wow! Looks appetizing!” said Maya. “Uhuh,” another short answer from Richard. Maya was already getting irritated by Richard’s behavior and his obvious lack of interest but she decided to remain composed and not show him what she really feels inside.
During the course of their dinner, Maya would always ask questions, trying to engage Richard in a friendly conversation but all she got are one liner answers, a nod or a grunt. She also noticed that Richard kept glancing at his wristwatch to check the time and heave out a sigh everytime. “Nakakapikon na itong lalaking ito ha! Hay nako Rafi! Sabi mo mabait at matino ito! What have you gotten me into!” Maya thought to herself. Over to Richard’s side, “I wanna go home and rest. Hay. She talks too much! Doesn’t she run out of anything to say? Is she that insensitive? God I wish this be over!” Richard thought to himself.
As the two finished eating, the waiter who served them approached their table while Richard is pouring their glasses some more wine, finishing the whole bottle. “Did you enjoy your dinner?” asked the waiter as she smiled warmly at them. “Yes. The food is fantastic!” said Maya, smiling back at the waiter then looked expectantly at Richard, then the latter said, “Yes. Food is great,” and took a sip of wine. “Would you like to order anything else?” the waiter asked. Maya simply smiled then Richard spoke, “Le vin est délicieux. Une autre bouteille, s’il vous plaît. (The wine is delicious. Another bottle, please.)” Richard paused for a moment, then continued, “En fait, comme de nombreux comme il prendra pour moi à disparaître. (As a matter of fact, as many as it will take for me to disappear.)” Hearing this from Richard utterly surprised the waiter. With a surprised and confused look on her face, she glanced momentarily at Maya then turned to Richard asking, “Pouvez-vous disparaître ? (Make you disappear?)” Richard simply answered her, “Oui vous m’avez entendu juste. (Yes you heard me right.)” Maya was just listening to their exchange, smiling the whole time. Finally she stood up and said, “Ah, would you excuse me for a moment. And you two can chat while I go use the ladies’ room.”
Maya left the table and proceeded to the ladies room. As soon as she reached the ladies room, she immediately took out her phone and called Emman. As soon as Emman answered on the other end, she immediately cut him off, “This is a nightmare!!” growled Maya in frustration. “Ha? Anong nightmare?” he inquired. “This dinner Emman. It’s a nightmare!” said Maya obviously angry. “Teka teka roomie ha. Kala ko ba si Rafi ang kasama mo sa dinner saka yung bestfriend niya? Anong nangyari?” asked Emman in a confused tone. “Hay nako Emman. Mahabang story. But to cut it short, sinet-up ako ni Rafi for a blind date with her bestfriend!” “What??!?!? So you’re in a blind date right now?” said by a surprised Emman. “Ganun na nga!” Maya heard Emman laugh on the other end of the line which irritated her more. “Emman naman eh! Naiinis na nga ako dito tapos tumatawa ka lang jan!” “Eh kasi naman roomie. Hindi ko ma-imagine na ikaw ay nakikipag blind date,” teased Emman. “Eh na-set up nga ako ni Rafi. Hindi ko naman alam,” said Maya helplessly. “Ok, ok. So what’s wrong? Panong nightmare?” further inquired Emman. “Yung date ko! Ugh!” said an irritated Maya. “Oh c’mon, it can’t really be that bad?” asked Emman, trying to look at things positively. “He’s really speaking to me,” said Maya in a sarcastic tone. “Baka naman nahihiya lang siya,” defended Emman. “Hay Emman. Kung anu-ano ng topic ang in-open ko at kung anu-ano ng tinanong ko para magsalita or mag warm up naman siya and all I’m getting from him are one word answers or grunt! Ugh! Hindi yata niya alam ang concept ng date eh. And I barely understand the concept of this guy!” explained Maya. “Eh roomie, what does he look like ba?” asked Emman. “Nothing that makes up for his behavior,” answered Maya. “Eh yun naman pala roomie. Kung ganyan talaga kasama ang date mo, bakit di mo nalang iwan at umuwi? Umuwi ka nalang dito at ikwento mo sa akin ang lahat,” said Emman. Maya heaving out a sigh, finally said “Ok. Salamat Emman. Kita nalang tayo mamaya.” Then hung up the phone.
After Maya’s conversation with Emman, she forced herself to relax and regained composure. After she made sure that she had already calmed her nerves down, she went back to their table. As soon as she reached the table, she saw Richard taking a sip of the wine. She stood across him, looked at him then said, “Écouter.. (Listen)” waited for Richard to look at her then said, “Je n’ai jamais été une si mauvaise date. Jamais. (I have never been on such a bad date. Never.)” With that, she stormed out of the restaurant leaving Richard utterly speechless and dumbfounded.
Note: The idea of this blind date (and some of the lines used) came from the American TV series Felicity.