Note: This is a continuation of The Art of Letting Go 17.
Maya hardly slept that night. She kept on thinking about the right endearment she could use for Richard. She knew that Richard is serious about the whole endearment thing and wouldn’t stop at nothing until he got what he wants. She tried to think of different names but each one is either too cheesy or inappropriate for him. “Prince? Eh Prince na tawag ko kay James eh. Bessy for bestfriend? Para namang pambabae at baka naman mag-tunog bading pag sa kanya. Mainam pa nga yata Freddie Krueger nalang itawag ko sa kanya eh! Argh! Richard!! Ano naman ba kasi pumasok sa isip mo at naisipan mong magkaroon ng terms of endearment!!” she thought desperately.
The next morning, Cho doesn’t have any classes, so he decided to ask Kute and Jeff to go fishing at the river. “Papa Pards! Nay! Eh dahil wala naman po akong pasok ngayon, baka naman po pwede tayong mangisda sa ilog? Matagal tagal narin po nating hindi nagagawa yun eh!” said Cho cheerfully. “Ah Junior Pards, hindi kasi ako pwede eh. Ako kasi ang bantay ngayon sa Chibugan. Wala ang Tito Lino mo kaya walang pwedeng pumalit sa akin,” explained Jeff apologetically. Turning to Kute, “Naku Nak,” said Kute while scratching her head, “hindi rin kasi ako pwede ngayon eh. May kailangan kasi akong puntahan. Importante talaga. Kung gusto mo sa ibang araw nalang,” explained Kute.
Hearing these from his parents, Cho couldn’t help but get disappointed about the whole thing. “Ok po,” he said sadly. Richard overheard their conversation, saw the disappointment in Cho’s face and the helplessness of Jeff and Kute. He knew that if the both of them can really come with Cho, they would without second thoughts but the current circumstances aren’t on their side right now. “Cho gusto mo ako nalang sumama sayo?” asked Richard expectantly. Cho’s face immediately lit up at what he just heard. “Talaga po Tito Richard? Sasamahan niyo po ako sa ilog para mangisda?” asked Cho happily. “Oo naman!” answered Richard, reassuringly.
“Naku teka Richard, sigurado ka ba jan? Hindi ba parang nakakahiya naman sayo? Kahapon tumulong ka na sa Chibugan. Ngayon naman sasamahan mo sa pangingisda si Cho. Parang sobrang nakakaabala na sa iyo eh,” explained Kute, obviously hesitant about the whole idea. Richard smiled reassuringly at her and said, “It’s ok. Besides, I don’t have any plans naman for today kaya samahan ko nalang si Cho.” “Pero –“ “It’s really fine Cris. Hindi siya abala. Besides, it sounds fun! Di ba Cho?” he said, turning to Cho. “Opo Tito Richard! Masaya po talaga yun!” replied Cho happily. Kute letting out a sigh, “Ok sige sige. Kung yan ang gusto niyo. Salamat Richard ah,” smiled Kute. “No problem!” assured Richard. With that, Jeff and Kute went their ways, leaving Cho and Richard in the living room.
“Ah Cho. Maganda siguro kung isama natin si Tita Ninang mo. What do you think?” asked Richard. “Maganda nga pong ideya yan Tito Richard! Tara po puntahan po natin si Tita Ninang sa kwarto. Ayain po natin siya!” invited Cho. The two then proceeded to the room where Maya was and found her in deep slumber still. “Rise and shine my angel!” said Richard as he tried to wake up Maya. Still half-asleep, “Ano ba Richard.. Masyado pang maaga.. Inaantok pa ako..” said Maya in a dreamy state. “Tita Ninang! Tanghali na po! Bangon ka na po! Pupunta pa po tayo ng ilog!” said Cho. Upon hearing this from Cho, Maya tried to sit upright on her bed. “Sa ilog Cho? Ano namang gagawin natin sa ilog?” asked Maya, rubbing her eyes and yawning still. “Mangingisda po! Kasama po si Tito Richard!” answered Cho proudly. “Ha?” replied Maya, surprised by what she heard then turned to Richard. “You heard him right!” grinned Richard. “Marunong ka naman bang mangisda?” she inquired. Richard, moving his shoulders up, “How hard can it possibly be?” he said, no denying that he has no idea what he’s getting himself into.
Seeing that Richard had no experience with this stuff before, “Na-try mo na bang mangisda before?” grinned Maya. “Well no. But I saw them on TV a couple of times. It seems pretty easy and fun too,” answered Richard. “Ah,” replied Maya, mischievous look forming on her face, “So ok lang sayo ang humawak ng bulate?” she asked. “Bulate?? And why do I need to hold it??” he asked, oblivious and disgusted about the whole idea. Before Maya could even answer, Cho got to him first, “Eh Tito Richard! Yun kasi ang ginagamit na pamain para sa mga isda. Kailangan natin ng bulate para makahuli tayo ng isda,” explained Cho. “Do we really need those? Hindi ba pwedeng iba?” asked Richard, disgust still evident. “Eh Tito Richard, wala eh. Yun lang talaga ang pwedeng gamitin,” said Cho apologetically.
Maya was just observing him the whole time. She cannot help but giggle at Richard’s reaction and his obvious disgust over the idea of holding earthworms. “So ano? Do you still find it easy and fun?” teased Maya. Richard sensing that Maya’s teasing him and also not wanting to disappoint Cho, “Ye-yes! Of course!I already gave my word to Cho. Besides, it’s just a worm,” said Richard, trying to be brave. “Ok. Sabi mo eh,” grinned Maya. She then got out of bed, took her breakfast and had her shower. The three of them prepared for their fishing activity that day. They brought three fishing rods, a sack, a canister, a trowel and a good amount of food for their lunch and snacks for the rest of the day.
As they went out of the house, Cho brought them first to a place where a lot of earthworms are to be found. “Dito tayo maghuhukay ng mga bulate??” asked by a bewildered Richard as soon as they reached a water sewerage. “Opo Tito Richard! Marami po tayong mahuhukay na mga bulate dito!” said Cho proudly. “Pero.. Are you really sure about it Cho?” asked Richard, evidently hesitant and queasy about the whole thing, the look and smell of the canal added to his disgust some more. Maya saw the uneasiness in Richard. “Bakit? Takot ka ba sa bulate?” teased Maya. “No!” defended Richard firmly, “It’s just that..” expression full of disgust, “Look at this! It’s so dirty at ang baho! Baka kung anu-ano ng dumi ang nandyan. Then hahawakan natin yung mga bulate na galing diyan??” he said. Maya simply laughed seeing the disgust on his face. “Eh saan mo naman naisip kumuha ng mga bulate? Sa isang malinis na lote?” teased Maya.
Maya was busy teasing Richard when Cho started digging for worms. True to his experience, just a couple of inches deep, a couple of earthworms are bared in front of him, trying to move deeper down the ground, as if trying to find refuge. Using his bare hand, Cho picked up the worms and placed them on the canister. He dug some more and collected a bountiful amount. Maya saw the earthworms that Cho had dug. Smiling mischievously, she picked one and started showing it straight on Richard’s face which made the latter move a step back. Maya just laughed at his reaction. “What do you think you’re doing??!” asked Richard irritably, uneasiness and disgust written all over his face.
“Sabi mo hindi ka naman takot sa bulate di ba? O eto hawakan mo na!” grinned Maya. “Bakit ko naman hahawakan yan? Kadiri kaya! Tignan mo nga kung saan nanggaling yan o!” said Richard hotly, trying to move away from Maya as the latter was still shoving the earthworm on his face. “Kung talagang hindi ka takot sa bulate, dali hawakan mo na ito!” teased Maya. “Hindi nga ako takot. There’s no sense proving it,” defended Richard but Maya wouldn’t give in to his reasoning. She still continued to tease him by shoving the earthworm on his face. “Angel ko please stop it,” pleaded Richard. Maya then stopped momentarily, “Patunayan mo munang hindi ka talaga takot sa bulate,” grinned Maya. Still uneasy, “Mamaya. Pag nasa ilog na tayo, I’ll prove to you that I’m not afraid of earthworms,” he said but failed to cover the uneasiness in his voice. “Ok sige. Papalampasin ko ito. Pero mamaya sa ilog ha? Hahawak ka ng bulate!” grinned Maya. Richard simply nodded his head but deep inside, he dreaded the idea for he knows so well, one way or another, he’ll be forced to touch the slimy disgusting creatures. Just the thought makes him want to squirm.
After Cho had filled the canister with earthworms, the three then proceeded to the river where they’ll be catching some fish. They looked for a perfect spot for them to stay. A couple of seconds later, they found a shaded area under the tree. The three proceeded to the spot and started placing their belongings at the foot of the tree. Cho immediately got hold of his fishing rod and started placing an earthworm on its hook. “Ninang! Mauna na po akong mamingwit ha!” said Cho cheerfully. “Ok sige. Ingat lang at baka madulas ka,” reminded Maya.
As the two were left behind, Richard just watched Maya. “Hmm. Di ka marunong noh?” asked Maya. Richard simply shook his head. “Ok sige. Turuan kita,” smiled Maya. She got hold of her fishing rod and got an earthworm. She patiently showed and explained to Richard how to place an earthworm on the hook. Once she’s done, “Ayan! Ganyan lang siya kadali! Madali lang naman di ba?” said Maya proudly. “Oo nga! Mukhang madali lang! Ang galing talaga ng angel ko!” replied Richard then tried to get Maya’s fishing rod but Maya was fast enough to hand it away. “Hep! Hep! Hep! Ano sa tingin mo ang ginagawa mo??” asked Maya, brow raised. “Di ba you did that for me?” asked Richard in a hopeful tone. “Yun ang akala mo! Gagawa ka ng sa iyo. Eto,” handing Richard the remaining fishing rod, “lagyan mo na siya ng bulate at ng makapagsimula ka narin,” grinned Maya. “Do I really have to? Hindi ba pwedeng ito nalang ang iyo?” pleaded Richard. “Hindi!” said Maya firmly. “Ang mabuti pa, lagyan mo na ng bulate yang pamingwit mo. Puntahan ko na si Cho. Sundan mo nalang kami don pag tapos ka na,” said Maya. “But –“ Richard tried to protest some more but Maya already had her back against him as she made her way to Cho.
Richard could only look helplessly at the pile of earthworms inside the canister. Richard mustered all willpower to have him hold an earthworm but every time he see them move, his courage crumbles. Unknown to him, Maya and Cho have been observing him all along and were laughing at him the whole time. “Ok Richard, man up! They’re just worms for pete’s sake! You won’t die by touching them!” he thought to himself. Letting out a huge sigh and calming down his nerves, “Ok. Here goes nothing,” he thought as he bent down to get hold of a worm. As he picked a worm, he can’t help but mutter curses under his breath and close his eyes in disgust. “Oh shit! Oh shit! Stop squirming! These stupid worms! Why don’t they stop squirming! Oh shit! They’re making it hard for me!” he uttered in frustration which just made Maya and Cho laugh even more. After a couple of gruelling minutes, Richard finally managed to place a worm on his hook and proceeded to were Cho and Maya where.
“O bakit parang natagalan ka yata? Sabi mo kanina madali lang,” said Maya casually which made Cho giggle. Richard simply ignored her and started fishing. Heaven seemed to be generous to them that day as a couple of minutes later, “Tito Richard! Mukhang may huli na po kayo!” exclaimed Cho as soon as he saw the nylon thread of Richard’s fishing rod moving. Richard noticed it as well and felt something tugging his fishing rod. Not knowing what to do, he got a little panicky. “So what should I do?? Do I immediately lift it up? Hayaan ko parin ba? Hihilahin ko na?” he asked all at once. “Relax lang relax,” said Maya, then guided Richard with the process. A few seconds later, she signalled Richard to pull his rod up. “I got one! I got one!” he exclaimed joyfully as he caught a tilapia. Maya and Cho just chuckled at Richard’s reaction. Maya helped Richard unhook the fish and place it inside their sack.
“O ano? Isa pa?” asked Maya. “Definitely!” grinned Richard. With that, as if he was never disgusted with worms, he immediately got hold of another one and started placing it on his hook and went back fishing. One after the other, they were all able to catch their own fish, much to everyone’s delight. They stopped for a while to have their lunch but went back fishing immediately after. “This indeed is so much fun!” said Richard. Maya could only smile seeing the happiness in Richard’s face. Moments later, Maya felt a tug on her fishing rod. She tried to pull it up but felt the fish is too heavy for her so Richard tried to help her pull the rod up. As Maya was taking a step back, her foot accidentally slipped causing her to slump on mud.
“Ay!” exclaimed Maya. Maya’s facial expression showed that she really got hurt. “Tita Ninang! Tita Ninang! Ok ka lang ba?” asked worriedly by Cho. “Ok lang ako Cho pero ang sakit ng pwet ko,” said Maya as she try to stand up while caressing her right butt which is now covered in mud. Instead of helping out Maya, Richard couldn’t help himself but laugh seeing Maya’s misfortune. Seeing Richard laugh instead of trying to help her out, “At talagang tumatawa ka pa jan! Nasaktan na nga ako’t lahat tatawanan mo lang ako!” said Maya irritably. Richard finding it hard to speak, “Eh kasi naman nakakatawa kang talaga!” he said as he continued to laugh. “Ah ganon,” said Maya as she sensed that Richard was not bothered by her irritation towards him. She then decided to get a handful of mud and started spreading it all over Richard’s face.
“Aaaaahh! What was that all about??” asked by a surprised Richard. “Ngayon ka tumawa-tawa!” said Maya proudly. Richard, recovering from shock, “Ah ganon ha,” he said as a mischievous smile formed in his face. He then got a handful of mud as well and spread them on Maya’s face. “Aaah! Richard! Humanda ka talaga sa akin! Makikita mo!” shouted Maya in frustration. “Richard pala ha!” said Richard then started to spread some more mud on Maya’s arms. “Ang daya mo talaga!” said Maya. “Serves you right! Didn’t I ask you to think of an endearment for me my sweet angel?” grinned Richard. “Eh nag-iisip pa nga ako noh!” said Maya. “Well, kailangan mong mag-isip ng mas mabilis angel ko!” grinned Richard and without warning, scooped some water and started throwing it at Maya. “Ah Richard! Tama na! Ano ka ba!” said Maya, as she helplessly cover her face.
“I won’t stop until you already have a special name for me,” said Richard and continued to throw water at Maya. “Tama na yan! Ok na ok na! Wormy tama na!” shouted Maya. Richard stopped for a moment, brows raised, “Wormy???” he asked. “Ikaw. From now on, yun na ang itatawag ko sa iyo!” grinned Maya. “I don’t like it,” replied Richard. “Ha? Eh bakit naman?” asked Maya, trying to feign confusion. “You’re just making fun of me!” he said with a hint of frustration and irritation. “Oy! Wag kang madaya ha!” grinned Maya as she enjoy Richard’s reaction about her apparent endearment for him. “Kahit na! Ako nga nag-isip ng magandang itatawag ko sa’yo tapos ikaw?? Wormy ang itatawag mo sa akin??” explained by a disappointed Richard. Maya could only laugh seeing Richard’s frustration and disappointment. “Wala ka namang ini-specify na criteria for our term of endearment di ba? Kaya kahit anong maisip ko, pwede na yun! Kaya wormy na ang itatawag ko sayo!” teased Maya as she laughed some more.
Richard, seeing that Maya is enjoying herself making fun of him, “Ah ganon pala ha! Wormy pala ha! Etong sayo!” without warning, he scooped an ample amount of water and shoved it on Maya’s face. Maya, taken aback by Richard’s actions, was not able to immediately react which made the latter laugh hard. “Ah ganon ha,” warned Maya. Richard simply ran away from her. “Kung mahahabol mo ako!” shouted Richard. “Lagot ka sa akin wormy pag naabutan kita!” shouted Maya as the both of them are laughing at their silliness.
Cho was simply watching and laughing with them when all of a sudden, “Aaaah! Tito Richard! Bakit pati ako!” exclaimed Cho. “Kala mo ligtas ka na ha! Hindi!” said Richard as he went back to running. All three running towards one another, throwing mud and water at each other, and laughing their hearts out, obviously enjoying each other’s company.
“Richard! Maya! Cho! Anong nangyari sa inyo?? Bakit ganyan mga itsura niyo??” asked by a surprised Nanay Teresita. All three were not able to answer her but simply smiled at her. “Bakit puno ng putik ang katawan niyo? Akala ko ba ay mangingisda kayo? Eh bakit parang gumulong kayo sa putikan?” inquired Nanay Teresita. Hearing Nanay Teresita’s interrogation, Kute and Mamang got out of the chibugan and went were Nanay Teresita was. “Wow! May pa-contest ba ng habulan ng biik?” quipped Kute upon seeing the three. The three only answered her with a grin.
Nanay Teresita, giving them a sharp look, “Ano ba nangyari sa inyo ha? Sino nagpasimuno nito?” she asked. Surprised by her question, the three immediately started pointing finger at each other which made Kute chuckle. “Nako! Lagot kayo kay Nanay! May palo kayo sa pwet!” she said, then laughed. “Sinong papaluin? Si Richard? Hala sige! Tanggalin na ang short at ako na mismo ang papalo!” butted Mamang. “Nay!” reprimanded Nanay Teresita which made everyone laugh.
“Maya, nak, ano ba talagang nangyari sa inyo?” Nanay Teresita asked. Scratching her head in embarrassment, “Eh nay. Medyo nagkatuwaan lang naman po kami. Yun lang naman po,” explained Maya sheepishly. Shaking her head, “Kayo talaga. Pati itong apo ko dinamay niyo pa,” smiled Nanay Teresita. “Don’t worry Nay. We brought dinner!” said Richard proudly, showing them the sack filled with a couple of tilapias. “Aba! Mukhang madami dami kayong nahuli ah!” praised Kute. “O siya! Sige na. Maligo na kayo at pamaya-maya lang ay maghahapunan na tayo,” said Nanay Teresita as she took the sack from Richard.