Note: This is a continuation of The Art of Letting Go 13
“Hello Manang Fe!” greeted Maya as she gave the former a hug. “Kumusta ka hija?” greeted Manang Fe back while returning Maya’s hug. “Ok lang naman po ako. Wala po akong flight ngayon kaya naisipan ko pong puntahan si Richard. Sabi naman po niya dito lang siya sa bahay ngayon eh,” explained Maya. “Ah oo. Andun siya sa loob, nasa kwarto niya. Tara pasok na tayo sa loob,” invited Manang Fe. As they entered the house, Manang Fe proceeded to Richard’s room to inform him about Maya’s arrival. Maya, wandering around the living room, saw the grand piano at the corner. She went to it and started to play a song.
“I didn’t know you can play the piano,” said Richard as he got near to where Maya was. Maya, startled by Richard’s presence, “Kanina ka pa?” she asked. “Not really,” said Richard as he got near Maya and sat beside her, “So, marunong ka palang tumugtog,” smiled Richard. Maya, smiling back, “Hindi masyado. Actually, si James lang ang nagturo sa aking tumugtog,” she said. Richard can’t help but frown at the thought. For some reason he cannot explain, he somewhat resent the idea that James had known Maya first and got the chance to teach her a couple of things like teaching her how to speak German and French, and now, how to play the piano. Managing to smile and hide what he truly feels, “Do you know a lot of songs?” he asked. “Umm.. Konti lang. Bukod sa ilang classical music na tinuturo sa akin ni James, itong kanta lang na ito ang alam ko,” explained Maya. “He taught you how to play that too?” asked Richard. “Nope! Self study. After ko kasing madinig itong kantang ito sa broadway, nagustuhan ko siya ng husto. Kaya ayun. Pinagtiyagaan kong aralin,” said Maya proudly.
“Do you still remember nung hinatid kita sa inyo from the Summit?” grinned Richard. Maya, shaking her head at the recollection, “Eh sino ba namang makakalimot nun? Sabihan ka ba naman ng kung ano na hindi mo maintindihan,” said Maya. Laughing at Maya’s response, “Ok so you still haven’t forgotten about it,” he said. “Tawa tawa ka pa jan,” replied Maya, trying to sound hurt, “Eh ano nga ba kasing sinabi mo noon?” she asked. Richard simply grinned at her in response. “Ano?” she asked but Richard still gave her the same response. “Ang daya mo! Hindi mo sasabihin?” Richard simply shook his head. “Sige ganyan ka, magtatampo talaga ako sayo!” snubbed Maya. Richard laughed some more, “Inaasar ka lang naman eh. Ok. That time, I told you that you should learn Mandarin as well. That’s it,” he said simply. “Mandarin? Aanhin ko naman yun? Bakit ko naman kailangang aralin yun?” she asked, confused at why Richard wanted her to learn the said language. “The same reason why you studied German and French. Bakit mo nga ba inaral yung dalawang language na yun?” he asked. “Well, si James ang nag suggest. Magagamit ko daw yung mga yun saka siya naman ang magtuturo kaya libre,” smiled Maya.
“At dahil ba sa hindi ka tuturuan ni James hindi ka na mag-aaral?” asked Richard, giving Maya an incredulous look. Maya giggling at Richard’s reaction, “That’s not what I meant. Ang akin lang, kung may magtuturo ba sa akin ng libre eh why not di ba? Bakit? Tuturuan mo ba ako?” asked Maya, looking expectantly at Richard. Richard, trying to look hurt, “Hindi na. I’ve changed my mind,” he said, trying to look away. “Alam mo Richard ang drama mo,” chuckled Maya, “Sige na, turuan mo na ako, please?” pleaded Maya but Richard still continued to pretend to ignore her. Maya sensing that Richard’s just teasing her more, “Fine! Kay James nalang ako magpapaturo!” she said. Richard then immediately turned to her and said, “I’m pretty sure mas matututo ka sa akin kesa sa kanya. Sige start na tayo,” he said. Laughing at Richard’s reaction, “Yes sir!” said Maya, giving him a salute.
Richard and Maya had grown comfortably close to one another through the course of time. They were able to build a strong bond of friendship. They frequently hang out together, whether be it going to parks, movie houses, dining together, or simply hang out at Richard’s house or at Emman’s place. Richard would also regularly bring Maya to work and even fetch her from the airport whenever his time permitted. Maya, on the other hand, occasionally gives Richard a visit in his office when the latter cannot go out to meet her. Everyone around them noticed their closeness and the effect this has on Richard. From the time that Richard became friends with Maya, he’s now frequently seen smiling, laughing, patient, less grumpy and less irritable, much to the delight of everyone close to him.
They were frequently mistaken as being romantically linked as well which made them feel awkward at first but soon learned to simply laugh it off and not affect the special bond that they have. Maya would occasionally receive a tease or two from her colleagues, not to mention, her friends Emman and James.
“So Maya, aamin ka na ba about the real score between you and Mr. Lim?” asked Emman one time while waiting for their flight. “Oo nga naman princess! Ooops! Baka magalit sa akin si Richard ha, sa katatawag ko sa iyo ng princess,” teased James. “Kayo talaga! Ako na naman ang nakita niyo! Super close friends lang kami ni Richard noh!” replied Maya. “Asus! Super close friends! Talaga lang ha!” pried Emman further. “Princess, tayo-tayo lang naman eh. Umamin ka na,” teased James further. “Kayo ha. Kaibigan ko lang yung tao. Bestfriend. Yun lang. Wala ng iba pa,” Maya said. “Weh? Hindi nga roomie? Cause my pink walls says otherwise,” said Emman, rolling his eyes. “Alam niyo kayong dalawa pag hindi pa kayo tumigil, mapipikon na talaga ako sa inyo,” threatened Maya. The two finally stopped prying Maya for more and simply surrendered.
Richard and Maya were once again hanging out at the formers house. They were at the veranda catching up on the day’s events over a cup of coffee. “By the way Richard, 1 week din akong mawawala. Uuwi kasi ako sa amin sa San Nicholas. Matagal tagal narin kasi akong di nauuwi sa amin. Nami-miss ko na ang pamilya ko,” said Maya, smiling at the thought that she’ll be seeing her family again. “When will that be?” asked Richard. “Week after next. Excited na nga akong makita sila eh. Alam mo ba, maganda dun sa lugar namin. Sobrang nakaka relax ang atmosphere at payapa talaga ang lugar. Saka lahat ng tao nagbabatian at nagtutulungan,” said Maya. “Hmm. Sounds like a nice place,” smiled Richard. “Sinabi mo pa!” beamed Maya, “Naisama ko na nga dati doon sila James at Emman eh. Birthday kasi noon ni Mamang. Nangulit yung dalawa at gusto daw nilang sumama. Ayun. Sinama ko narin. Nag-enjoy nga sila sa amin eh,” giggled Maya, euphoric with the idea.
Richard, enticed with Maya’s stories about her hometown, “Can I also come?” he asked. “Ha?” asked Maya, trying to clarify if she heard him right. “I want to come with you sa San Nicholas. I want to see your hometown and know your family, personally,” smiled Richard. Maya, a bit hesitant about the idea, “Sigurado ka? 1 week din kasing bakasyon yun?” she said. “So? I can finish everything that needs to be finished before I leave. Saka, my staff can always call me for any emergency. Besides, that’ll be another opportunity for me to relax and appreciate the beauty of nature more,” explained Richard. Scratching her head, “Eh kaso, ano kasi, maliit lang ang bahay namin. Hindi kasing laki o kasing ganda man nitong bahay mo,” reasoned Maya. “I can stay in a hotel if that’s what you want,” said Richard. “Eh. Hindi. Kasi,” “Ayaw mo lang yata akong isama eh. Sige hindi na ako magpupumilit pa,” said Richard, trying to sound hurt. “Hindi naman sa ayaw. Kaya lang kasi, nakakahiya kasi sayo,” explained Maya but Richard still remained silent and not looking at her. “Uy Richard! Ito naman! Richard,” said Maya as she tries to make Richard talk to her. Sensing that Richard is really ignoring her, she heaved out a sigh, “Sige na. Sama ka na,” she said. Richard faced her, “Napipilitan ka lang ata eh. Sige di bale na,” he said sadly. “Eto naman! Alam mo ang drama mo talaga!” giggled Maya, “Sige na, sama ka na,” smiled reassuringly by Maya. Richard grinned from ear to ear and said, “Wala ng bawian yan ha!”