Note: This is a continuation of The Art of Letting Go 22.
A/N: I’d like to dedicate this chapter to my friends Nay Elyn, Mimi, & Marlyn, who requested to have Hard Rock Cafe Glorrietta be included in this series (So guys request granted na kayo ha). And also, special thanks to Klein, one of the readers at EBU, who gave me a suggestion way back (she mentioned it in Chapter 2) about using one of the plots in Message In A Bottle. Since then, I already have this plot brewing in my mind. It’s been lingering in mind for quite some time now so it really is a relief to have it out. Haha! So to the names I’ve mentioned, and to the avid readers of this series, I hope y’all like the twist in this chapter. Once again, please share me your thoughts and predictions for the coming chapters. I totally loved all your reactions and predictions in the previous chapter. Keep ‘em coming! God bless everyone!
It was a fine Tuesday morning. Maya had just woken up. As she was preparing to get out of her bed, she heard her phone beep. She knew someone sent her a text message. She reached for her phone which was on top of her bedside table. As she tried to check the sender, she saw Richard’s name on the screen. She then immediately and excitedly opened the text message. But much to her disappointment, the message didn’t really bring good news to her.
As the message went: Maya, I’ll be gone for a couple of weeks. You won’t be seeing me nor hear from me for the time being. Something came up that needs my full attention. I have some unfinished business to attend to. Thanks.
The message made her feel sad and depressed. Just the mere thought that she won’t be able to talk to Richard nor see him made her heart sank. She tried to call him to ask for further details but all she got is a response from the telecom operator telling her that the subscriber cannot be reached. She then opted to send him text messages but she never got any replies either.
She then became worried and fidgety at the same time. She tried to recall the past weeks they were together. Trying to recall the conversations they shared. Trying to recall so hard if anything went amiss, if anything was wrong that she just missed to notice but she simply can’t think of any. After their major miscommunication they had a couple of weeks back, everything went out smoothly. Everything went back to normal or so she thought.
“Maya, Maya. Nag-a-assume ka na naman eh! Malay mo may pinuntahang business conference abroad. Baka naman talagang magiging busy siya o kailangan talaga niyang mag-focus sa gagawin niya,” she thought. But she simply cannot deny the fact that no matter how busy Richard was or no matter what part of the globe he was, He always made it a point to spare Maya some of his precious time. This is something new for her, something he’s never done before.
Three weeks had passed since she received the text message from Richard. Three weeks and still no word from him. She tried calling his office but all Liza could tell her is that his boss went on an indefinite leave. As much as she wants to know what Richard’s been up to this past 3 weeks and assure his safety, all she could do is utter a prayer for him and wait for his indefinite return.
The past three weeks has never been the same for her. She felt something missing. She felt incomplete. She would always find herself lost in her own thoughts, always thinking of Richard and longing to see him and talk to him. How she longs to be with him, hang out with him, eat with him, or simply hear his voice. At night, she would regularly reminisce the days they had together and try to remember how happy and content they were whenever they’re together. These musings always end with tears rolling down her face. His absence made her realize how important Richard is in her life. His absence made her realize one thing – she’s already in love with her best friend.
“Hmm.. Umiyak ka na naman ano?” asked Emman as Maya got out of her room. Maya simply gave him a weak smile. Emman’s already got used to seeing Maya’s puffy eyes in the morning and knows fairly well the reason behind it all. Heaving out a sigh, “Hindi parin ba siya nagpaparamdam sa’yo? Wala parin bang tawag o text manlang?” he asked. Maya simply shook her head in response. “Hay nako roomie ha! Yang bestfriend mo sobra na ha! Ilang gabi ka na niyang pinapaiyak! Hindi ka manlang ba niya inaalala? Naku! Sasabunutan ko talaga siya ng bonggang bongga!” said Emman out of frustration.
Maya simply let out a soft laugh. “Hay nako roomie! Buti naman at tumawa ka rin kahit papano.” “Salamat Emman ha,” smiled Maya. “Sus! Eto namang si roomie ko! What are friends for di ba? Hmp! Ewan ko ba naman kasi sayo at hindi mo nalang kalimutan yang Richard mo at mukhang nakalimutan ka naman na niya eh,” said Emman. Hearing this from Emman made Maya want to cry once more. Seeing the tears welling up in his friend’s eyes, Emman immediately became startled. “Naku roomie! Wag ka ng umiyak o! Hindi ko sinasadya. Siguro nga busy lang yang si Mr. Lim. Wag ka ng malungkot roomie,” Emman said apologetically.
Maya simply smiled at him once more but the tears started to fall. “Ewan ko nga ba Emman. Hindi ko din maintindihan kung bakit ba kailangan na naging ganun siya ka-importante sa akin. Gustuhin ko man, hindi ko magawang hindi siya isipin at intayin na muling magpakita at bumalik.” Emman simply gathered Maya in his arms and comforted her anyway he can.
Later that day, James visited Emman and Maya in their condo. “Hello Emmy! Hello Princess!” “Hello James! O napasyal ka dito?” asked Emman. “Umm.. May mga pupuntahan ba kayo tonight?” asked James. “Wala naman. Why?” Emman asked. “Invite ko sana kayo. Let’s hang-out. Let’s go to Hard Rock Glorrietta. I think Calla Lily ang naka sched na tumugtog ngayon,” explained James. “Eeeeeeeeiiii!!!!” shrieked Emman, “Oh my pink walls James! Does that mean makikita ko si Papa Keane Cipriano?? Eeeeeiiii!! Excited na ako!” exclaimed an overly giddy Emman.
James simply grinned at him then turned to Maya, “So princess, care to join us?” Maya simply smiled and declined his invitation. “Di na James. Dito nalang siguro ako sa bahay,” she said. “At ano, magmumukmok ka na naman sa kwarto mo at mag-iintay ng update sa bestfriend mo? Ay nako roomie! Hindi pwede! Sasama ka sa amin!” said Emman. “Pero –“ “Princess, tama si Emmy. Hindi naman tama na magmumukmok ka lang jan sa kwarto mo. Sige na. Sumama ka na sa amin and let’s hang out naman. Matagal tagal narin tayong hindi nagha-hang out ah,” said James. Sensing that Maya’s still hesitating, “Princess nakakatampo ka na niyan ha. Parang si Richard nalang ang kaibigan mo. Paano naman kami ni Emmy?” further said James, trying to make Maya guilty.
Heaving out a huge sigh, “Fine! Sige, sasama na ako. Mamaya pati kayo magtampo at pagtaguan narin ako!” chuckled Maya. “Talaga! Pag ako nagtampo sa’yo princess, pagtataguan talaga kita!” teased James. “In that case, halika na roomie at mag prepare na tayo! I need to be extra beautiful para naman mapansin ako ni Papa Kean ko!!!” “Ikaw talaga Emman! O sige halika na. So antayin mo nalang kami dito?” asked Maya to James. “Sige lang. Manonood nalang muna ako ng TV dito habang inaantay ko kayo,” he said. Unknown to Maya, James and Emman had planned bringing her out all along. They simply couldn’t stand at the corner and watch Maya be wallowed by her loneliness.
The three of them arrived at Hard Café by 7PM. They were able to find a good spot as there isn’t much customers yet at the time. As they sat themselves, “Anong oras ba nagstart ang tugtugan James?” asked Emman. “Ah. 8 mag-start pero ang Calla Lily baka mga 9 pa. May front act kasi muna bago sila,” explained James. “Ah. So may 1 hour pa pala.” “Ang mas maganda, umorder muna tayo ng dinner natin,” said James. The three then had their dinner and simply enjoyed each other’s company. James and Emman didn’t fail their mission as they saw Maya enjoying their dinner and having a good time with them as well.
As James said, by 8PM a band had already started playing on stage. As the evening progressed, the three started ordering their drinks. Maya and Emman got themselves a chilled exotic margarita,while James opted for a glass of mojito. As soon as Calla Lily got up on stage, “Eeeeeeiiii!!! Kean my love!!! Ang gwapo mo talaga!!” shrieked Emman which made James and Maya laugh. “Hoy Emman! Grabe kang makatili jan ha! Nakakahiya!” said Maya. “Ay nako roomie! Keribels lang! Inggit lang sila!” grinned Emman.
As the band reached the middle of their setlist, Kean announced something to the audience, “Hello guys! Salamat sa inyong pagpunta dito ngayon. Now, we don’t normally do this but we received a request. May nag-request dito na baka daw pwede kong maka-duet ang isang napaka-especial na babae. So may I please call on Ms. Maya dela Rosa. If you’d may, please come up here on stage.”
Maya was shocked with what she heard. She hadn’t expected any of these. Not even in her wildest dreams. “Rooommmiiieeee!!!” shrieked Emman once again, “Tinatawag ka ni Papa Kean! Dali! Punta ka na doon!! Aaayyyyyiieeee!! Ikaw na roomie! Ikaw na talaga!!” “Ha?? Eh Pero baka nagkakamali lang sila?” replied Maya. “Maya! Ano ka ba! Sigurado akong ikaw yun! Dali na! Punta ka dun sa harap!” insisted James. “Eh pero –“ “Maya c’mon! Inaantay ka na o! Sige na,” said James then chanted, “Maya! Maya! Maya!” having the rest of the crowd chant with him along. Left with no other choice, Maya stood up and proceed to the stage. James gave Emman a high five and simply exchanged knowing smiles.
As Maya went up on stage, she was immediately accommodated by Kean. “So Maya, do you have any song in mind that you would like to sing with me?” he asked. Maya thought for a moment then whispered something to Kean. Kean in return asked his bandmates if they know the song. After getting their approval, he gave Maya a thumb up. Kean then went to the mic and asked Maya if she’d like to dedicate the song to anyone. Maya then got her microphone and said that she’s dedicating the song to a very special person, a very special friend that she hasn’t seen for a while. A couple of seconds later, the two started to sing Maya’s chosen song, “Need You Now” by Lady Antebellum. Unknown to all of them, the very person that Maya dedicated the song to was just sitting at the corner, watching her this whole time from afar.
Tuesday afternoon, 5PM, exactly four weeks after Richard’s last text to Maya. Maya was seated in the sofa having her rest as she just came from a long tiring flight. She decided to watch a movie to help her relax more. While in the middle of the film, she heard her phone ring. Without checking who the caller was, she immediately pressed the answer button. “Hello?” she said. “Hi Angel!” said on the other line. Maya froze hearing the voice on the other end of the line.
After a few seconds, “Angel? Are you still there?” he said. “Ri-Richard? Ikaw ba yan Richard?” she asked then checked her phone’s screen to check if it really was him, and indeed his name showed up on her phone’s screen. As she pressed the phone’s receiver on to her ears, she heard him chuckle on the other end of the line. “Yes Angel it’s me. Your wormy,” he said. Maya didn’t know how to react. She doesn’t know if she’d be glad or if she’d be mad. She missed him terribly but the thought that he made no efforts to reach her makes her furious as well.
“O anong masamang hangin ang dumapo sa’yo at naisipan mong tumawag?” said Maya in a cold tone. “Angel naman. I told you I will be gone for a few weeks to fix something.” “Yun na nga eh! Hindi mo manlang sinabi kung ilang weeks! Basta ka nalang nawawala! Pagtapos non ano? Ni ha ni ho wala na akong nadinig mula sa’yo! Ni hindi ko alam kung makikita pa kita! Kung buhay ka pa o ano! Hindi mo manlang inisip na baka nag-aalala ako sa’yo! Hindi mo manlang inisip yung nararamdaman ko! Sabi mo hindi mo ako iiwan! Pero anong ginawa mo?? 4 weeks Richard! 4 weeks na hindi ko alam kung may bestfriend pa ba ako o wala na! Hindi mo alam kung paano akong nag-alala para sa’yo!” said Maya out of frustration and anger. Before she knew it, tears have already flowed down her cheeks.
“Maya. I’m sorry. I never meant to hurt you. I never meant to leave you,” said Richard in an apologetic tone. Maya tried to compose herself. “Bakit ka ba napatawag?” she asked coldy. Heaving out a sigh, “I wanted to show you something.” “Ano naman yun?” “The reason why I was away for four weeks.” “And? So you’ll drop by to show it to me?” she asked indifferently. “No. I mean, Joma will have to pick you up from your condo and bring you here to me,” he said.
“What?? Hoy Richard! Mawawala ka, ngayon bigla kang magpaparamdam at gusto mo pa na ako ang pumunta sa’yo?? Ikaw ang may kailangang ipakita sa akin at ako ngayon ang aabalahin mo para pumunta sa’yo?? Masyado ka naman yatang sinuswerte!” said Maya angrily. “Ok, ok. Hear me out first ok. First, hindi ko pwedeng dalin jan yung ipapakita ko. It’s too big even for your Condo’s parking lot. Second, I really really need to show you this para mas maunawaan mo why I have to be gone for four weeks. Please Maya. I wouldn’t be asking this if it’s really not important,” explained Richard.
Heaving out a sigh, “Ok fine. Mag-aayos lang ako. Mga what time ba dadaan dito si Kuya Joma?” she asked. “He’ll be there in 5 minutes. And also, please bring some extra clothes,” said Richard. “Extra clothes?? At para saan naman ang extra clothes??” “Please Maya. Just trust me ok?” ‘Hay. Fine!” “Alright. I’ll wait for you here then. See you later,” said Richard. “Ok, bye” replied Maya and hung up the phone.
5 minutes later, Joma had already arrived at the condo and fetched Maya. When Maya asked where she’ll be brought by Joma, the latter answered that Richard instructed him to bring him to the Paranaque hangar. Confused as to why Richard wanted her to be brought at the Paranaque hangar, she asked Joma about it but the latter doesn’t know anything as well. By 6:30, they had finally arrived the said hangar. Maya then alighted the car and proceeded inside the hangar. As she went inside, she found the hangar empty. She tried to look for Richard but he was nowhere in sight. She was about to give him a call when all of a sudden, someone whispered on her ear from behind. “I missed you my angel,” whispered Richard.
Maya almost jump in surprise. She immediately turned around and saw Richard grinning at her. Maya was simply glad to finally see him and hear his voice once again. But she decided not to give in that easily. What he did to her was unacceptable and so she decided to make him pay one way or another. Trying to maintain a serious face, she folded her arms in front of her and simply stared at Richard. Seeing the seriousness on Maya’s face, Richard’s grin slowly wiped off his face.
“Ok angel. I know I owe you a lot of explanation. Please hear me out first ok? It never was my intention to leave you or to not even communicate with you. As I’ve mentioned before, I needed to finish something. Kinailangan kong lumayo para makasiguro ako sa sarili ko. Alam kong nasaktan kita. For that I truly am sorry. Believe it or not, naging sobrang hirap din sa akin na mapalayo sa’yo at tiisin na hindi ka makausap,” explained Richard. “Pero ginawa mo! Tiniis mo ako!” said Maya. “That’s why I’m sorry. I know my sorry wouldn’t be enough for the things I’ve done,” said Richard.
“Sabi mo may ipapakita ka? Ano ba yun?” she said in a cold tone. Managing to smile a bit, “Yes. I wanted to show you the reason why I was gone for four weeks,” said Richard. Richard ushered Maya in front of an elegant 10-seater private plane. “This,” said Richard, pointing at the plane, “This is the reason why I was gone for 4 weeks.” “Ginawa mo yan?” said Maya in astonishment. Richard smiled at Maya’s reaction. “Yes. I started building this 6 years ago. It was almost done back then but I had to stop. But 4 weeks ago, something came and made me decide to finish this plane.”
Maya simply gazed at the plane. She is simply in awe of its beauty and in awe of Richard’s skillful hand for making such masterpiece. “Sabi mo patapos na siya 6 years ago? Pero bakit hindi mo tinapos noon?” Smiling at Maya, “This plane was supposed to be an anniversary gift to Alex. I started building this plane even before we got married. It was almost done before Alex had met an accident. Right after Alex died, I no longer found the inspiration nor the will to finish it up.” Maya trying hard to contain her emotions, “So. So this plane is for Alex?” she asked. “Yes Maya. This plane is for Alex. I named it after her. This plane is Alex.”