Note: This is a continuation of The Art of Letting Go 9
Inside the TA cafeteria, Maya is found sitting alone in a table, stirring a cup of coffee, apparently lost in her own reverie. She was still in her deep thoughts when Emman and James approached her. “Roomie!” greeted Emman happily but Maya didn’t seem to have noticed nor heard him. Both he and James noticed that Maya seemed to be lost in her own world so Emman decided to get a closer look and started waving his hand in front of her eyes but Maya wouldn’t even blink. “Tulaley masyado si roomie!” concluded Emman. “Princess!” called James. “Huy Princess!” he said further as he tried to nudge Maya causing her to startle. “Ay Princess!” exclaimed Maya, “James naman eh! Bakit ka ba nanggugulat jan?!” said Maya irritably, pouting her lips. Emman and James could only laugh seeing Maya’s reaction.
Both taking their seats beside Maya, “Eh ano ba naman kasing iniisip mo at mukhang mas malalim pa sa balon?” asked Emman. “Oo nga naman princess. Kulang nalang pati yang teaspoon mahalo narin sa kape mo sa sobrang paghalo mo jan,” teased James. “Kayo talaga! Ako na naman ang nakita niyo!” replied Maya. “Eh kasi naman roomie, obvious na wala ka sa sarili mo kanina pa. Ni hindi mo nga na-sense ang presence namin kanina. Saka, napansin ko lang roomie ha. Ever since nung flight niyo sa London, madalas ka ng wala sa sarili mo. Ano bang nangyari sa London?” inquired Emman. But before Maya could even answer, James answered him first. “Ehem! Parang alam ko na kung bakit. Tingin ko may kinalaman yan kay Richard or should I say Freddie Krueger?” teased James, giving Maya a mischievous look. Emman, confused at what James was saying, “Si Freddie Krueger ano namang –“ stalled for a moment as realization hit him, with eyes wide, “Oh-my-gosh! Roomie don’t tell me??” gasped Emman. “Yes,” answered Maya dryly which earned a giddy shriek from Emman. “Oh my Roomie! Ikaw na! Ikaw na talaga!” said Emman excitedly.
“Anong ako na? At bakit parang kilig na kilig ka pa jan?” asked Maya with a taint of irritation. “Eh kasi naman rommie. Tignan mo ha. Call it coincidence or what. But I’d prefer to call it destiny! Parang pinaglalapit talaga kayo ng tadhana! Eeeeeeeee!” explained an all giddy Emman. James could only smile and shake his head at Emman’s analysis while Maya, on the other hand, obviously unimpressed. “I don’t know if I’d look at it that way Emmy but the thing is they stepped on each other’s toes once more,” said James. Emman, suddenly disappointed, “Ay. Eh bakit? Ano bang nangyari?” asked Emman. Letting out a sigh and with a heavy heart, Maya narrated everything that happened in London, omitting the scene at the café which James has no idea about as well.
“Oh my roomie! Sinabi mo talaga lahat kay Mr. Lim yun?? Nagawa mo talaga sa kanya yun?” gasped Emman, surprised by everything he heard. Maya simply nodded in confirmation. Emman was shocked beyond words. “Eh kasi naman! Siya naman kasi itong nauna eh! Masyado siyang namahiya at nang maliit ng tao! Kala mo kung sino!” said Maya irritably. “But roomie.. Still! Hindi mo parin dapat sinabi sa kanya ang mga yun!” reprimanded Emman. “Hay nako Emmy,” butted James, “Hindi mo na kailangang sermonan yang si princess at na-sermonan ko na siya,” grinned James. “Hindi lang kasi talaga ako makapaniwala na kayang gawin ni roomie ang ganun!” added Emman. “Pero roomie, in fairness! Hanga ako sa tapang mo! Akalain mo yun! Si Mr. Lim, nasabihan mo ng ganun,” said Emman proudly, laughing at the thought. “Ikaw talaga Emman!” said Maya.
Emman and James noticed that Maya’s still bothered over something. “Uy roomie! Why the long face? Di ba sabi nga ni James hindi naman magsusumbong si Mr. Lim sa Management? Besides, sabihin natin na magkita ulit kayo, eh di umiwas ka nalang o kaya mag sorry ka, di ba,” said Emman. Maya still downcast and troubled by her thoughts, simply let out a sigh. “Hey princess. What’s wrong? Kung maka-buntong hininga ka naman jan kala mo pasan mo ang daigdig!” teased James, trying to make Maya laugh. Finally, Maya looked up at them, looking agitated, “Eh kasi! Ganito kasi yun. Nung time na dapat aalis na kami ng London, na-delay yung flight namin. Kaya nag-decide kami ni James na magpalipas ng oras sa isang café sa loob ng airport,” narrated Maya. “Oh yes! I remember that. Hindi nga ako nakasunod sayo non kasi may kinailangan akong sagutin na phone call,” butted James. “Eh yun na nga,” said Maya, “pagpasok ko sa café, nakita ko na naman si Fre- I mean si Mr. Lim sa loob. Lumapit ako sa kanya at humingi ng sorry,” she continued. “And? What happened?” asked Emman. Maya, hesitant to continue and having a hard time finding the right words to say, “He’ll only accept my apology, on one condition,” she said. “And? Anong kondisyon niya?” asked Emman, impatiently. Maya let out a sigh before continuing, “Sabi niya patatawaran lang niya ako if makipag-date ulit ako sa kanya.” “What??!?” said Emman and James in unison, then after a few seconds, James found himself laughing at the whole idea while Emman is still unable to comprehend everything he just heard. “Oh my princess! You really are in big trouble!” laughed James, “Kaya naman pala parang ang laki ng problema mo eh. I think you did make an impression on Richard!” said James, laughing some more. Emman, shaking his head, “Oh my roomie, I think you should prepare yourself for Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2!” warned Emman.
“Next Saturday na ang balik mo ng New York, right?” asked Richard. “Why? Are you going to miss me or are you in a hurry to get rid of me?” teased Rafi. “Silly!” smiled Richard, “Of course I will miss you. I just wanted to confirm so I can clear my schedule and personally bring you to the airport myself. For sure, matagal tagal na naman bago ulit tayo magkita,” explained Richard. “Aww.. That’s really so sweet of you Chard,” said Rafi, “kaya dapat, we should make the most out of the time we have together. Ikaw kasi sobra kang tutok at busy jan sa work mo. Masyado mo ng pinababayaan yang personal life mo eh,” continued Rafi. “Work is my life now Rafi. There’s nothing more left for me to do,” said Richard.
“But Chard. Work is hardly called life at all. You should go out more and get a life! A real one,” explained Rafi, “Which reminds me,” said Rafi, suddenly lost in her thoughts. Richard giving her a quizzical look, asked, “What?” raising his brows. “Since you and Maya had a wonderful time together last time, why don’t you go out on another date again? Wait let me ask for her –“ “Oh c’mon Rafi,” butted Richard, but Rafi managed to continue, “I’ve already asked her before to tell me when she’ll be free again so we can set-up another date for you guys. Besides, there’s nothing wrong about it. You both seemed to have a good time so why not give it a second round?” said Rafi, smiling expectantly at Richard. Richard, shaking his head, “Rafi, I can no loger clear up my schedule just to have another date. I’m very busy and the last thing that I would ever want to do is go out on dates. I have a lot to finish at work,” explained Richard.
“But Chard –“ “Please Rafi,” interjected Richard, raising a hand signalling Rafi to stop, “Please stop insisting. Look, pinagbigyan na kita the first time. We may had a good time but siguro hanggang dun nalang yun,” he said, but Rafi’s still giving him a pleading look. Letting out a sigh, “Ok, perhaps some other time. I cannot promise anything. I will try but don’t expect anything. As I’ve said, I am very busy and these things are least of my priorities right now,” explained Richard. “Fine!” said Rafi, “But I’d still talk you through about it,” she said. “Ang kulit mo talaga!” said Richard, shaking his head at his friend’s persistence.
Friday evening. Maya found herself preparing for her second date with Richard. She still couldn’t believe that she managed to text him two days ago and confirm his availability. After receiving confirmation from him, she then sent the details for their second date, from time to venue. “Naku! Kung bakit ba kasi naisipan ko pa siyang itext! Baka nga mamaya nakalimutan na niya yung nangyari. O baka nga ginu-good time lang ako nun at hindi siputin! Eeeeeeehh!!” thought Maya. “Maya, kalma ka lang ha. Kalma ka lang. Kaya mo ito. Tandaan mo, may nagawa kang pagkakamali kaya mo ginagawa ito. Ginagawa mo ito para magka-ayos na kayo. Nang sa gayon, wala kang kaaway. Pag wala kang kaaway, may peace of mind. Pag may peace of mind, walang bad vibes. Pag walang bad vibes, puro blessings! Tama Maya! Basta think positive ok. Think positive lang!” thought Maya positively.
Maya reached the restaurant at exactly 7PM, the time she and Richard had agreed upon. As soon as she confirmed her reservation to the waiter, she was then ushered to their designated table. She initially ordered iced tea and decided to wait for Richard before ordering anything further. As she waited for Richard, different scenarios started to flood her mind. “Pano kung hindi niya ako siputin at pinapunta lang niya ako dito para gumanti? Pano kung pumunta nga siya pero papahiyain niya lang pala ako? Pano kung pumunta nga siya at pagtangkaan ako ng masama? Pano kung – Ay hindi Maya! Erase erase erase! Kalma ka lang Maya ha. Kung anu-ano yang iniisip mo eh! Relax lang! Kalma lang! Alalahanin mo kung bakit ka pumunta dito at pumayag sa gusto niya. Tama na ang nega. Think positive lang dapat,” thought Maya.
15 minutes had passed and still no signs of Richard. “Hmm. Wala parin ah. Wala rin namang text o tawag. Baka naman na-traffic lang,” she thought.
30 minutes, still no Richard. “Aba!Aba! Aba! 30 minutes na akong nag-iintay dito wala parin?Ni ha ni ho wala? Text o tawag wala?? Ang cellphone hindi sinasagot?? Inuubos talaga ng lalaking ito ang pasensya ko ha!” thought Maya angrily.
Maya waited for another 15 minutes but still found no signs of Richard Lim. She tried calling him several times, all to no avail. She even tried sending him text messages, asking for his whereabouts but got no response at all. “Just as I thought!! Gusto lang makaganti sa akin ng lalaking yun eh! Maya naman kasi kung bakit naman nagpauto ka sa mokong na yun! Ayan tuloy ang napapala mo! Siguro pinagtatawanan na niya ang katangahan mo! Argh! Loko ka talaga Richard Lim!! Kung iniisip mong nanalo ka na, pwes nagkakamali ka!! Humanda kang talaga!! You really are such an arrogant jerk!! Sira ulo ka talagang lalaki ka!!!” Maya thought furiously.
“Ricardo, mukhang kailangan ka na naming dalin sa ospital. Hanggang ngayon hindi parin bumababa ang lagnat mo,” said Manang Fe worriedly. “Oo nga naman Chard. Tama si Manang. Ikaw kasi napaka workaholic mo eh. Ayan tuloy at napapabayaan mo na ang sarili mo. Nagkakasakit ka tuloy,” said Rafi. “But I’m fine,” said Richard weakly. “Anong I’m fine, I’m fine! Ni hindi ka nga makabangon sa kama I’m fine! Hala! Tama na ang diskusyon! Dadalin ka na namin sa ospital!” ordered Manang Fe. “Pero Manang –“ “Ah walang pero pero Ricardo! Sa ayaw mo at sa gusto dadalin ka namin sa ospital!” said Manang Fe with finality.