Note: This is a continuation of The Art of Letting Go 20.
After a week of an unforgettable vacation, the time had finally come for Richard’s and Maya’s return to Manila. As expected, their farewell had been flooded with tears. “Nak, mag-iingat kayo sa byahe ha? Tawagan mo kami agad pag nakarating na kayo ng Maynila,” said Nanay Teresita in between tears. “Opo Nay. Wag po kayong mag-alala sa amin. Tatawag po ako sa inyo agad. Kayo Nay ang mag-iingat parati. Wag niyo pong pababayaan ang sarili niyo,” answered Maya as they hugged one another. “Mami-miss kita Nak.” “Mami-miss ko din po kayo Nay.”
Nanay Teresita then turned to Richard and gave him a hug which the latter returned earnestly. “Richard, nak, lagi kang mag-iingat ha. At lagi mong pakakatatandaan ang mga payo ko sa’yo. Sana ay makabalik ka ulit dito sa amin,” she said. “Opo Nay. Pakatatandaan ko po lahat ng mga sinabi niyo. Mami-miss ko po kayong lahat. Salamat sa lahat lahat,” replied Richard.
Mamang then turned to him and also gave him a hug. “Richard, mami-miss kitang talaga. Babalik ka dito sa amin ha?” “Opo Mamang. Babalik po ako,” smiled Richard as he hugged Mamang back. “Tignan mo itong si Mamang! Si Richard na naman ang nakita!” voiced out Kute, “Mamang! Etong si Maya o! Siya ba hindi mo mami-miss?” “Aba’y syempre mami-miss ko ano! Ikaw naman!” answered Mamang then turned to Maya to give her a hug. “Maya apo, mag-iingat ka palagi ha at lagi kang tatawag sa amin. Pagbalik mo dito sa atin isama mo ulit si Richard at lagi mo siyang aalagaan ha?” “Mamang naman!” blurted Maya out of embarrassment. “Basta Mamang mag-iingat din po kayo ha. Wag na wag niyo pong pababayaan ang sarili ninyo,” said Maya.
After they bid their farewells Richard and Maya turned to board the plane. After an hour, they finally reached Manila. They were fetched by Richard’s driver, Joma. As they made their way inside the car, “Angel, sa bahay nalang tayo mag dinner. I already asked Manang Fe to prepare something for us. After dinner, I’ll drive you back to the condo para makapagpahinga ka narin,” said Richard. “Eh pero I’m sure napagod ka rin sa byahe. I know you also want to have your rest.” “But I insist. You know you’re not going to win me over right?” grinned Richard. “Ok fine wormy! Whatever you say,” said Maya making the both of them laugh.
As soon as they reached Richard’s mansion, they were immediately greeted by Manang Fe. As soon as Maya alighted the car, she immediately went to Manang Fe and gave the latter a warm hug. “Kumusta kayo Manang Fe? Na-miss ko po kayo!” “Ok naman ako hija. Kayo kumusta? Kumusta ang bakasyon? Mukhang nag-enjoy kayo ah?” “Opo manang! Sobrang nag-enjoy po kami!” answered Maya. Manang Fe then turned to Richard, “O kumusta Ricardo? Mukhang napabuti sa iyo ang bakasyon niyo ah?” smiled Manang Fe. Smiling back, “Opo Manang. I enjoyed our vacation.” “O mabuti kung ganun. Tara na kayo sa loob at ng makakain na ng hapunan.”
The three then went inside to have their dinner. Richard and Maya filled in Manang Fe about everything that happened in San Nicholas. They shared everything to her including their apparent terms of endearment for one another. “Wormy?? Bakit naman ganun ang tawag mo kay Ricardo?” asked by a bewildered Manang Fe. Laughing at the thought, Maya explained how she came up with the said endearment. “Eh kasi po manang. Diring diri po siya sa mga bulate. Halos himatayin na nga po eh!”
“Of course not! I didn’t faint! Yes they’re disgusting but I’ve learned to overcome my disgust of them!” said Richard defiantly. Maya laughed some more, “Ay nako wormy! Kung nakita mo lang sana ang itsura mo noon!” Richard already felt embarrassed by Maya’s stories. He simply shook his head but seeing Maya’s happiness infected him and in return, made him laugh with her as well. Manang Fe was thoroughly amused by what she is seeing. Her heart was filled with so much joy and gladness, seeing Richard happy once again.
Little did they know, two pairs of eyes were observing them from the kitchen. “Day! Tingin mo? Silang dalawa na ano?” asked Sabel. “Tingin ko nga Sabel. Tignan mo naman o. Ang saya saya ni ser. At isa pa may tawagan na sila sa isa’t-isa. Si Maya Angel. Si ser wormy!” laughed Doris. “Oo nga eh! Pero day ha! Kahit ganun ang tawag ni Maya sa kanya, keri lang ni ser! Game na game!” chuckled Sabel. “Oo nga day. Ibang iba na talaga si Ser Richard. Si Maya lang pala ang sagot sa ating mga dalangin!” “Tama ka jan day! Hay bongga! Kelan kaya ang kasal nila?” The two shrieked over the idea, overly giddy with the thought.
“Oy oy! Kayong dalawa jan! Nagchichismisan na naman kayo ano! Kayo talaga!” reprimanded Joma. “Hoy Jomarie! For your information, hindi kami nagchichismisan dito ni Doris noh! Natutuwa lang kami para kay Ser Richard!” answered Sabel defiantly. “Oo nga naman Joma! Sobra kang maka-akusa sa amin ha! Natutuwa lang naman kami para sa amo natin!” added Doris. “O sige na sige na. Sorry na. Pero tama kayo. Masaya ngang makita na masaya ulit si Ser Richard. Matagal na panahon narin,” said Joma.
Shortly after dinner, Richard brought Maya back to Emman’s condo. By the time she reached their unit, she immediately went to her room, freshen up a little then proceeded to bed to have her sleep. It was already 9AM when she woke up the next day. As she went out of her room to have her breakfast, she was greeted by Emman. “Good morning Roomie!!” “Good morning Emman! Mukhang maganda ang gising natin ah!” replied Maya. “Well, oo! At syempre, excited narin kasi akong madinig ang mga kwento mo!” “Ikaw talaga!” Emman simply chuckled and said, “So. Ano na ang balita? Kumusta naman ang naging bakasyon niyo? At kumusta naman ang meet with your family?” “Ok naman. Masaya naman ang bakasyon. Kung anu-anong ginawa namin. Nag-enjoy kami ng sobra!”
“Hmm.. Well, I can tell na mukhang nag-enjoy ka nga ng husto roomie! O eh magkwento ka pa!” “Umm. Ano pa ba ang iku-kwento ko sa’yo? Ayun, namasyal lang kami. Tapos, nangisda sa may ilog, tas nagcamping. Yun!” “Huh?? Puro outdoor activities ang ginawa niyo?” Maya simply laughed at Emman’s reaction, “Eh ano pa ba naman ang gagawin namin don? Alam mo naman sa probinsya namin.” “Kung sa bagay. So ano, eh di nakilala na nila Nanay Teresita, Mamang at Kute si Mr. Lim? Ano naman ang sabi nila?” “Wala naman,” replied Maya casually.
“Wala?? Panong wala? Wala manlang kahit anong impression o ano man??” asked Emman, dubious about Maya’s answer. “Sa impression, natutuwa sila kay Richard. Parang kapamilya na nga ang turing nila eh. Kilala mo naman sila Nanay at Mamang, basta kaibigan ko parang anak narin ang turing nila. Lalo si Mamang! Giliw na giliw siya kay Richard!” “So ibig sabihin naging close narin siya sa pamilya mo??” “Umm.. Parang ganon na nga,” replied Maya which earned a shriek from an obviously giddy Emman. “Oh my pink walls roomie!! So does this mean na sa susunod na magpunta ulit si Mr. Lim sa San Nicholas is para maging official part of the family dela Rosa narin siya??” “Ha?” asked Maya in bewilderment.
“Next time na pupunta siya sa inyo, hihingin na niya ang kamay mo sa Nanay mo! Eeeeeiii!!!” shrieked Emman some more. “Oy ano ka ba Emman! Anong hihingin ang kamay na sinasabi mo? Unang-una, wala kaming relasyon ni Richard noh! Bestfriends lang kami ng tao! Ano k aba! Naging close lang siya sa pamilya ko, kami na agad? Kayo din naman ah. Naging close din naman kayo ni James sa pamilya ko ah,” explained Maya. “Whatever roomie! Kahit ano pang i-say mo! Iba parin ang nase-sense ko sa closeness niyo ng sinasabi mong BESTFRIEND mo lang!” said Emman. Shaking her head, “Ikaw talaga Emman,” said Maya.
Because of Richard’s weeklong absence, he had to catch up on office works that had apparently piled up. “Sir here are the documents that needed to be reviewed and signed. You also have an investor’s meeting today by 1pm. Tomorrow, a client from Japan would like to check on the new hangar that we have in Clark and also sir, just to remind you about the three-day business conference to be held in Singapore on Thursday. I’ve already made the necessary arrangements, flight bookings and hotel accommodations,” said Liza as she went in Richard’s office. “Ok Liza. Make some arrangements for Sonny as well. I plan to bring him along in Singapore as well,” replied Richard. “Ok sir. I’ll take note of that. Would there be anything else?” “Nothing more Liza. Thank you,” he said, smiling warmly at Liza. She then simply smiled back and returned back to her post.
Richard had been thoroughly busy with his work. Meetings left and right, regular site inspections, business conferences here and abroad. But no matter how busy his schedule is, he still finds time to communicate with Maya, either by text messaging or phone calls, everyday. They kept in touch with one another whenever their time permitted. Two months had passed since the last time they saw each other.
It was already 5PM. Maya is once again reading the letters that Chard had sent to Alex. “Ibang-iba na talaga si Richard ngayon kung ikukumpara sa mga sulat na ito. Parang ang hirap paniwalaan na ang masayahing Richard na kaibigan ko ngayon ay ang Chard na masyadong nagdadalamhati sa mga sulat na ito.” Maya reminisced the days that she and Richard spent together. Though they have been communicating regularly thru phone, she cannot deny the fact that she’s been missing him terribly. She was disrupted in her musing by the knocks on their front door. “Sino kaya yun? Baka naman si Emman at may naiwan,” she thought. She then placed the balloons and letters on top of her bedside table and went outside to see who the visitor was.
As she opened the door, “Surprise!” “Wormy!!” exclaimed Maya as she immediately engulfed Richard in a hug, which the latter returned eagerly. “I miss you too my angel!” said Richard hugging Maya tighter. As they broke off from the embrace a couple of minutes later, “Bakit di mo sinabing pupunta ka dito? Kelan ka pa nakauwi from London?” she asked. Grinning at her, “Well, ngayon lang ako nakauwi from London. From the airport, dumiretso na agad ako dito. I wanted to surprise you! I missed you so much my angel!” replied Richard, hugging Maya once more. “I missed you too wormy!” said Maya, hugging Richard back.
They then went to the living room and sat on the sofa. “By the way, I have something for you. Here,” handing Maya a bagful of goodies. “Wow! Thanks wormy! Alam mo dapat talaga nagsabi ka na pupunta ka. I could’ve prepared something for you!” said Maya. Richard simply chuckled and said, “It’s ok my angel. Besides, we can simply have something delivered here in your condo.” “Ikaw talaga! Pero talagang na-surprise ako ha!” “You liked my surprise?” “Sobra! Ang tagal din kaya nating di nagkita! Di ko akalaing nakaka-miss ka din pala!” teased Maya. The two just laughed at the latter’s banters. A few moments later, Richard decided to call a nearby Restaurant to have their dinner delivered.
As they had their dinner, the two tried to catch up with one another’s stories that happened the past two months. The two were so engrossed with their talk that they didn’t take notice of the time. Maya made two cups of coffee as they made their way back to the sofa. By the time Richard checked his watch, it is already 11PM. “Gabi na pala,” he said. Maya then checked the time and was surprised to see that it’s already 11PM. “Hala! Oo nga! Gabing gabi na pala! Nalibang kasi tayo sa kwentuha natin eh. Hindi tuloy natin namalayan ang oras,” chuckled Maya.
“We had so much to catch up on kasi. Sa tagal ba naman nating hindi nagkita,” smiled Richard. “Baka gusto mo ng umuwi? Galing ka pa niyan sa flight mo. Baka pagod ka na at gusto mo ng magpahinga?” she asked in a concerned tone. “Pinapaalis mo na ako?” “Hindi naman sa ganun. Baka lang kasi gusto mo ng magpahinga,” explained Maya. “Hindi. Pinapaalis mo na talaga ako eh,” said Richard in a sad tone. “Nagd-drama na naman ang wormy ko!” said Maya as she playfully pinch Richard’s cheek. Richard simply grinned at her.
“Ok sige uuwi na ako. By the way angel, can I use your bathroom first?” he asked. “Sige. Gamitin mo nalang muna yung sa kwarto ko. Out of order kasi yang sa labas eh.” “Ok. I’ll be back in a minute.” Richard then proceed to Maya’s room and went to the bathroom. As he stepped out of the bathroom, he took a minute first to look around Maya’s room. He took note how neat and organized the room looked. As he looked around, his gaze fell on the bedside table. He noticed the object on top of it. Like a gravitational pull, he felt gravity pull him closer and check the object on top of the table. As he picked up the blue balloon and the letters, he was instantly at shock as recognition of the two objects sank in. “This can’t be.. How did she..” He was utterly lost for words. He cannot fully understand why the letters addressed to his late wife is in Maya’s room. Thoughts running aimlessly and wild, he just remained glued on the spot, unable to move, hands still clutching the letters and the balloons.
Outside the bedroom, Maya is already starting to wonder why Richard’s taking so long. 10 minutes had already passed but he still hasn’t gone out of her room. She then decided to proceed to her room and check on him. As she opened the door, she saw Richard’s back against him, standing in front of her bedside table. “O wormy. Anong ginagawa mo jan? Kanina pa ako nag-aantay sa labas. Sabi mo sandali ka lang,” she said. Richard then slowly turned around. His face expressionless. “Wormy ok ka lang ba?” she asked in a concerned tone as she was trying to walk near Richard. “May prob..” Maya trailed off, as she saw the objects that Richard was holding which also made her halt. Maya felt her heart race. She also lost the ability to move or think. She was too shocked to see Richard’s discovery. “Ri-Richard..” was all she could mutter.