Note: This is a continuation of The Art of Letting Go 18.
It was 9 in the morning and Richard was found talking on his phone. He’s been on the phone for about half an hour. After he hung up, he went back inside the house and saw Maya resting in the living room. “May problema ba?” asked Maya as soon as she saw Richard enter the living room. “Ah wala naman. I just gave Liza some further instructions,” he said, smiling reassuringly at her. “So, what are your plans for today?” he asked. “Umm.. Ikaw? May gusto ka bang gawin?” “Well.. I can’t think of any at the moment,” replied Richard. They were thinking of an itinerary for the day when Jeff came in. “Pare may gagawin ka ba?” asked Jeff. “Wala naman. Why?” “Ayun! Tamang tama! Maglalaro kasi kami ng basketball baka gusto mong sumali?” Richard looked at Maya first before answering. Maya gave him a nod. “Ok sure. Sino ba ibang kalaro natin?” “Apat lang naman tayo. Ako, ikaw, si Lino at si Simon. Two against two,” explained Jeff. “I see. Sige I’ll just change my clothes then sunod nalang ako sa inyo sa baba.”
Richard then went to his room and changed his attire. He immediately went outside and met up with Jeff and the rest of the team downstairs. As they reached the basketball court, “So sino magkakampi?” asked Jeff. “Eh insan, ganito nalang. Kayo nalang ang kampi niyang si Richard at kami nalang nitong si Simon ang magkakampi,” said Lino. “Pero insan, sigurado ka ba jan?” asked Jeff worriedly. “Insan, parang wala ka namang bilib sa amin eh. Minamaliit mo naman yata kami eh,” replied Lino conceitedly. “Hindi naman sa ganon insan. Ang akin lang, baka madehado kayo.” Lino smirked and said, “Insan baka gusto mo magpustahan pa tayo eh. Ano?” challenged Lino. “Sige ba! Tayo pustahan, tapos si Richard at Simon! Ano?” “Game! O ano pusta mo?” asked Lino. “Dahil pinsan naman kita, 500 lang. Ano deal?” challenged Jeff. “Ha! Minamaliit mo talaga ako insan! Pero sige pagbibigyan kita jan sa 500. Deal.” Lino and Jeff shook hands to seal their deal.
“O kayong dalawa naman jan. Mag-isip na kayo ng pusta niyo sa isa’t isa!” said Lino. “Do we really have to?” asked Richard. “Oo naman! Para naman mas maganda ang laban! Natatakot ka lang yata eh,” laughed Lino. Richard simply shook his head with Lino’s accusations. “So anong pusta mo Simon?” he asked. “Ah eh, wala pa kasi akong maisip eh,” answered Simon while caressing his nape, “ikaw baka may naisip ka na?” “You’ll stop courting Maya,” Richard said casually. “Ha?”clarified Simon. “If Jeff and I win, ititigil mo na ang panliligaw mo kay Maya,” Richard said in a serious tone. Simon was taken aback by what he just heard. He doesn’t know how or what to respond. Richard saw that Simon was caught off-guard by his statement. “I’m just kidding,” smirked Richard “Pero kung gusto mong totohanin I’d be more than glad about it,” he thought to himself. Simon let out a sigh of relief. “Kala ko seryoso ka eh!” he said, chuckling at the idea. Richard simply smiled back at him. “Sige ganito nalang, para hindi narin tayo mahirapan sa pag-iisip, gayahin nalang natin yung pusta nila Jeff at Lino. Deal?” suggested Simon. “Deal,” then they shook hands as well to seal their agreement.
The game ended as Jeff predicted. “O pano ba yan insan? So may utang ka sa aking 500?” grinned Jeff. Lino tried to feign a loud laugh, “Insan! Insan! Alam ko namang mabait kang tao eh. Biruan lang naman yung pustahan natin kanina di ba?” Jeff shaking his head, “Insan, matinong usapan yung ginawa natin kanina. Ang pusta ay pusta,” he said firmly. “Insan naman! Ikaw naman o. Binibiro lang naman kita kanina eh,” said Lino apologetically which made the others laugh. “Ikaw talaga pinsan! Ayan kasi, puro ka kasi yabang eh!” chuckled Jeff. “Kaw naman pinsan! Para lang magka challenge yung laro! Pero yung pusta pusta, biro lang talaga yun!” laughed Lino.
“Ah Richard, eto nga pala yung talo ko sa pusta,” said Simon as he was handing Richard 500 pesos. “No need Simon. Ok lang.” “Pero natalo ako sa pusta. So tama lang na bayaran kita,” insisted Simon. “I insist. Besides, sabi naman ni Lino biro lang daw yung pustahan kanina. Ok lang talaga. Just keep it,” said Richard. “Oo nga naman Simon,” butted Lino, “Kung gusto mo pre sa akin mo nalang ibigay yung talo mo,” grinned Lino. “Ayun ayun! Alam mo insan ibang klase ka din eh! Tara na nga! Makauwi na at baka gutom lang yang sa iyo na yan!” quipped Jeff. “Ikaw naman insan! Masyado ka ng nakaka hurt ng damdamin ha. Hali na nga kayo at nagugutom na ngang talaga ako!” declared Lino which made all of them laugh.
As they reached the house, Richard went straight upstairs to have a shower and change his clothes. “O kumusta yung basketball game niyo? Nag-enjoy ka naman ba?” asked Maya. “Yeah, it was fun. Nanalo nga kami ni Jeff eh,” grinned Richard. “Kayo ni Jeff ang kampi?” asked Maya in disbelief. Richard laughed at Maya’s reaction. “Much to the insistence of Lino,” he said. Maya simply shook her head. “Eh magbihis ka na at ng makakain na kayo.” “Ok. I’ll just take a shower then sunod na ako sa baba,” said Richard. He then proceeded to the bathroom to take his shower. After taking a shower, he immediately went downstairs to join the others for lunch.
“O eto na pala si Richard eh. Umayos na kayo jan at ng makakain na kayo. Ipaghahain ko lang kayo,” said Maya. “Ah Maya tulungan na kita,” offered Simon but the former declined, “wag na Simon. Umupo ka nalang jan.” As Maya turned around to proceed to the kitchen, she didn’t notice that Richard followed her. “O bakit andito ka? Dun ka nalang sa may mesa. Umupo ka nalang dun. Ako na ang bahala dito.” Richard simply smiled at her and said, “I want to help.” “Pero Richard –“ “No buts my angel. Hayaan mo ng tulungan kita,” he said, smiling sweetly at her. “Fine! Ikaw ang bahala wormy,” said Maya which made the both of them laugh.
As they went back to the table with food in their hands, Simon easily noticed the sweetness and extra attention that they have for each other. He cannot help but feel jealous towards Richard but decided to keep it all to himself. “O Angel, this is for you. Kumain ka ng mabuti,” said Richard, as he placed an ample amount of beef tapa on Maya’s plate. “Ang dami naman! Saka ok lang ako. I can manage.” Richard simply smiled at her.
“Angel?” asked Jeff. “Ah eh,” started Maya. “That’s what I call her. Para ko na kasing guardian angel itong bestfriend ko eh,” explained Richard. “Yun o!” butted Lino. “Eh di Maya, kung ikaw ang angel nitong bestfriend Richard mo, ano naman ang tawag mo sa kanya? Angel din?” Maya gave them a mischievous smile. “Hindi! Ang tawag ko sa kanya –“ she was not able to finish what she was saying as Richard immediately covered her mouth using both of his hands, one arm wrapped around her head as support. “Nag-iisip pa siya ng magandang endearment niya for me,” he said. Maya was struggling to remove Richard’s hands from her face but the latter wouldn’t even budge. He was just grinning all along.
“May tawag na kaya –“ said Maya as she was able to find an opening but Richard was fast enough to cover her mouth again. “Just be quiet my angel! Admit it! You’re still trying to figure out a proper endearment for me,” chuckled Richard. “Naku kayong dalawa ha! Masyado na kayong nang-iinggit!” teased Lino which made everyone laugh. They were all having a good laugh when Kute suddenly entered the Chibugan.
“Pards!” called Jeff. “O Pards! May kailangan ka ba?” she asked. “Pards ano kasi eh. Sila Richard at Maya may endearment na for one another. Tayo ba wala?” smiling widely at Kute. “Eto gusto mo!” answered Kute showing Jeff a fist. “Si Pards naman! Binibiro ka lang naman eh!” “Che!” snubbed Kute which made everyone laugh once again.
It was already 8 in the evening. The Chibugan is filled with only a couple of customers giving Kute, Jeff, Maya, Richard, and Lino some breather. Left with nothing else to do, Kute suggested to have a little jamming session. She also decided to invite Simon over, as she say, the more the merrier. She then went up to her room and got her guitar. A couple of minutes later, Simon arrived at the foot of their house bringing a guitar of his own. They set up a long bench in front of the chibugan and started playing some music and singing songs.
While in the middle of their session, Richard’s phone rang. He excused himself from the group to answer the call. “Mukhang masaya ka ah?” greeted Simon as he took the chance of sitting beside Maya after Richard left. “Huh?” replied Maya, apparently surprised by Simon’s observation of her. “Lagi naman akong masaya ah!” “Oo nga. Pero iba ang saya mo ngayon eh. Mukhang may nagpapasaya na sayo,” said Simon. “Ikaw talaga Simon! Kung anu-ano yang iniisip mo!” “Nakakainggit naman siya. Buti pa siya at napapasaya ka niya,” said Simon further giving her a weak smile. “Alam mo Simon, ang OA mo! At kung may nagpapasaya man sa akin, siyempre ang pamilya ko yun. Sila Nanay, Mamang, Kute, at Cho. At syempre kasama narin doon kayong mga kaibigan ko!” said Maya cheerfully.
“Oy! Oy! Kayong dalawa jan! Mukhang nag-mo-moment na kayo jan ah! Uuuuy!” teased Kute. Simon simply smiled and shook his head. “Ikaw talaga kute! Hindi kami nagmo-moment nitong si Simon ano. Eh ito kasing si Simon. Kung anu-anong napapansin eh,” explained Maya. “O, ano naman ba ang napapansin mo pareng Simon?” asked Kute. “Wala naman Kute. Nasabi ko lang naman kay Maya na parang iba ang saya niya ngayon. Parang may nagpapasaya na sa kanya,” he said. “Sus! At selos ka naman!” replied Kute. “Oy Kute wag kang ganyan ha!” answered Maya. “Sus ito namang si bunso! Niloloko ko lang naman yang si pareng Simon. Pero tama si pareng Simon eh. Mukhang iba nga ang saya mo ngayon. Mukha ngang may nagpapasaya na sayo,” she said, giving Maya a knowing look. “Kute!! Pati ba naman ikaw! Walang nagpapasaya sa akin. Masayahin lang talaga akong tao!” answered Maya defensively as she feels blood rushing on to her face, feeling awkward as she was being placed on the hot seat.
“O eh eto na pala ang nagpapasaya sayo eh!” quipped Kute as soon as she saw Richard coming back to his seat. “Kute!!!” exclaimed Maya which made the others laugh. “Did I miss anything?” asked Richard, oblivious about everything that’s happening. “Wala naman. Wag mo nalang silang pansinin. Nang-aasar lang mga yan,” answered Maya. “Asus! Denial pa itong si bunso o!” laughed Kute. “Pards! Baka naman naiinggit ka lang kay Maya kasi may nagpapasaya na sa kanya. Andito naman ako eh. Pwede naman na ako ang magpapasaya sayo,” winked Jeff. “Alam mo pards, mga banat mo talaga eh! Kilabutan ka nga jan sa mga sinasabi mo!” answered Kute irritably, making everyone laugh. “Teka teka. Bago pa tayo magkapikunan dito, magtugtugan nalang ulit tayo ok?” said Simon. “Mabuti pa nga!” replied Kute. With that, they resumed their jamming session once again.