This is a continuation to I’m sorry, I love you – part 12
Chapter – 13
“I’ve accepted another assignment. I’m going to China next week.” She told him but was unprepared for his reaction.
“WHAAT?” His voice reverberated in the room.
“Richard , nakanerb’yos naman ang reaksyon mo.” Maya didn’t expect he would be that surprised.
“So, why did you take that assignment? Can you speak Chinese? Which part of China, do you know how big China is?” He asked questions one after the other.
Maya didn’t know which question to answer first. She sat up and turned to face him.
“When the job was offered, I thought I was moving on with my life. As in, move on with my life. So, I thought a change in the environment would do me good. I might be able to forget you when I am there.” She justified her plan.
He felt a tinge of pain when she mentioned about moving on. “So, while I was going crazy pursuing you across countries, you were busy finding ways to forget me?”
She held his hands. “Richard naman… what did you expect me to do? I swallowed all my pride when I went to Singapore to see you but you practically turned me down.” She was looking at him intently, seeing that he was not happy with her news.
He fell silent, contemplating on what to say next. “So, which part of China are you going? Beijing? Shanghai?”
“I’ll be in Zhengzhou, it’s in Henan Province. I’m going to help set-up the management structure for Xinpian Company, I’ll be with another Filipino colleague and will work with Chinese partners.”
“The place you’re going to is in Central China. It’s a big city but different from Shanghai and Beijing. Anyway, is this work something that you really want to do?” He was still pondering on the turn of events.
“Hmm, Yes. I’d like to do this project. Richard.” She confirmed.
“Would my opinion count in your decision?” He asked.
“Richard, you don’t want me to take up this project? I’ve always wanted to work in China, to experience the culture. We can make things work for us right?” She gave him a sweet smile in a further attempt to convince him.
Finally, Richard said, “Alright, I think you’ve made up your mind. My concern is more on our relationship. We just started. I’ve said this before, a lot can happen when someone is away too long or travel too much.”
“But I have faith we could make this work.” Maya was back in her positive mode as she hugged him. She was glad that he agreed in the end.
It’s been a month since they started their relationship and three weeks since Maya worked in China. Other than the week where they spent time several days in San Nicolas, the two were communicating just by phone and via facetime. Maya was quite busy with her China assignment. Richard on the other hand had to return to India to oversee the Chennai project as a result of Maya’s resignation.
While in India, he misses her terribly and wondered if she was feeling the same. He had a good time in San Nicolas with the tranquility of provincial atmosphere such that he hoped that he could go there once again. He remembers with fondness how he first met her family, her mother.
Richard and Maya travelled together to San Nicolas upon the insistence of Richard. He wanted to meet her mother and pay respects to her. Maya is an only child and her mother is widowed. On the flight going there, it was Maya who was more nervous than Richard. She told her mother that she was returning to San Nicolas with a friend. She didn’t tell her yet about Richard and her break-up with James. Maya planned to tell her face to face versus doing it on the phone.
The couple arrived San Nicolas mid-morning. Richard immediately commented about the town as the car drove to Maya’s house.
“It’s been sometime that I have been in a province. This place seems to be peaceful.” He looked around appreciating the big trees and the rice paddies that they passed by.
“I didn’t know that you’ll like this type of place.” She looked at him with amusement.
“I’ve been living in a city all my life but I’ve always wanted a country life. I hope I could live in a farm or maybe have a farm when I retire.” He continued.
“Retire? Eh… it’s still too early to think of retirement.” Maya responded.
“Maya, remember, I’m not in your age bracket. When you reach my current age, I’m already a senior citizen.” Richard’s mention of his own age made him a bit self-conscious of their age difference.
“Hey, the age difference doesn’t matter.” She moved closer to him. “’Chard, I love you.” She whispered to him. His heart fluttered.
After twenty minutes, they arrived at Maya’s house. It’s a simple 2 story residence with a small eatery at the first floor. The place wasn’t busy at the time of their arrival. As they were going up the staircase, they met Teresita, Maya’s mother.
“Maya, dumating ka na pala anak.” She immediately noticed that Maya was with someone who was holding her daughter’s hand.
“Ma, mano po.” Maya greeted her mother. Then, she turned to Richard, to introduce him. “Ma, si Richard po.”
“Good morning po.” Richard greeted and took Mama Teresita’s hand too for the customary greeting.
Although surprised, Mama Teresita, managed to respond. “Good morning sa inyong dalawa. Sige pasok na kayo. Teka at i-ready ko lang ang table para maka pag-breakfast kayo. Nakapaghanda naman ako.” She ushered them to the living room. As Mama Teresita proceeded to the kitchen, she was thinking, “bakit magka holding hands yon?In fairness, ang gwapo ng kasama, may dating. Parang may kakaiba sa anak ko. Hindi kaya…”
At this point Maya entered the kitchen to talk to her mother.
“Ma, may sasabihin sana ako sa’yo.” She started to speak as she sat down on the chair.
“Anak, ‘wag mo sabihin sa akin na buntis ka.” Mama Teresita exclaimed.
“What? Hindi ah! Ano ba ‘yan Ma? Baka madinig tayo sa labas.” Maya sounded upset by her mother’s thoughts.
“Ay, sorry anak. Kaya lang kasi parang kakaiba ang dating n’yong dalawa sa akin. Una pa eh, bigla kang napauwi noong isang lingo na parang problemado ka. Tapos, umalis ka, tapos bumalik ka na kasama ‘yang lalaking ‘yan so akala ko may problema.” Mama Teresita explained.
“Ma, si Richard po ay boyfriend ko. Kaya kami umuwi dito ay para makilala ka n’ya. Gustong-gusto ka n’yang ma-meet at saka makapunta dito sa atin.”
“Ah ganoon ba? Boyfriend lang pala.” Her mother was smiling from ear to ear. Then asked, “Eh anong nangyari kay James?”
“Ma, break na kami, ilang buwan na.” Maya didn’t expound anymore.
Unknown to the two ladies, Richard could hear them from outside. He was looking at the photos of younger Maya that were on display at the living room and could hear their voices. He could only smile when he heard Maya’s declaration of their relationship and confirmation that she has indeed broken up with James.
Later that day, Richard spoke to Mama Teresita while they were at the verandah.
“Ahh.. Mrs. Dela Rosa”. He started tentatively.
“Richard, Mama na rin ang tawag mo sa akin. Nasabi na ni Maya na boyfriend ka n’ya.”
“Thank you po, Ma.” He smiled shyly. “Pasensya na po, medyo awkward. Parang ang bata n’yo pa para tawagin kong Mama.”
“Richard, eh anong gusto mong itawag sa akin, Mrs. Dela Rosa o Tessie? Parang mas awkward ‘yon. Anyway, talagang Mama naman ako.”
“Sige po Ma. Anyway, eventually naman po, I hope we could formalize our tie-up.” Richard started to convey the message the wanted to tell her.
“Ha? Anong ibig mong sabihin?” Mama Teresita had an inkling of his intention but wanted to be sure.
“Hopefully po, I could marry her. I’m not sure though if she is ready because she seems to be focused on work at this time. Alam n’yo naman na may work pa s’ya sa China.”
“Ahh, tama ka Richard. Sa ngayon, parang gusto muna n’ya tapusin yung mga projects at travels na pinangarap n’ya. So, ibig sabihin n’yan, eh, baka maghintay ka sa kanya. Yun eh, kung willing kang maghintay. Baka kailangan mo ring mag-isip kung serious ka na ba sa kanya. S’yempre concerned ako sa anak ko.” Mama Teresita shared all her thoughts.
“Ma, sa age ko ngayon, I’m very sure about what I feel for her. I am divorced and my kids are now both teenagers in Australia. I’ve learned a lot about family life. Pinag-isipan kong mabuti bago kami naging kami ni Maya. I’m not getting any younger and I’d really want her to be part of my life. This is why I really wanted to meet you, I wanted to let you know that my intentions for her are sincere.”
The conversation of the two continued for the rest of the afternoon. When Maya went upstairs to check on Richard, she saw him and her mother getting along very well.
Ring.. Ring.. Ring..
Maya, in China, picking up the call.
It was Richard’s face flashing on her phone.
“Hi, ‘Chard? How are you today?”
“Hi, I’m going to Shanghai today. Are you available to meet me tonight?”
“Ha? As in today? My schedule is open for this weekend pero I need to get a ticket first before I can confirm.” Maya reason out.
“Don’t worry about the ticket, Lisa will send it to you via email. Then, please check-in at Marriot Hotel, I’ll meet you there at 6:00 p.m. See you.” He ended the call.