This is a continuation to Someone Like You – part 16.
Two Years Later
Richard tossed and turned in his bed, sleep eludes him. It was one of those nights that he needed help to sleep. He wanted a drink; he needed a beer or anything alcoholic. Finally, he got up. He went to the kitchen and opened his refrigerator and found it empty. Except for water, nothing else was there. Even the bottles of wine that he used to keep are all gone. He felt a sense of panic knowing it would take him up to the wee hours of the morning before he’ll be able to sleep.
It’s been two years since Maya broke up with him. Since she’s left, his life has been empty. It was also the start of his insomnia attacks; it’s been intermittent. He went for a therapy while he was in the U.S. for a year but the cause of his sleeplessness is not something he wanted to give up. It was a short-lived relationship and yet he was affected by it so much that he couldn’t move on. He tried to concentrate on his work which has benefitted most of their clients. His track record of won cases was impeccable. However on days and nights that he was alone, he would think about her. He wished that week of Alex’s visit didn’t happen because that ruined everything for him.
Richard was at the Shang supermarket the following day doing his groceries when he thought he caught a glimpse of Maya. He couldn’t see the woman as her back was turned against him but he heard her voice call out the name James. The lady turned right to go to another isle. He wanted to go after her but was blocked by the merchandiser who was busy refilling the shelves. When he finally got to the other isle, it was empty.
He chided himself. He’s been doing a lot of this to himself for many months now. Everywhere he went, he wanted to see her so much to the point he could imagine seeing her in women with similar height and built. He could even hear her voice occasionally. He tried to forget her but he would end up in the same place he started; he would be thinking about her, dreaming about her. He was a fool to have let her slip away. So, he set out a plan to locate her again.
He took out his mobile phone and called a number.
“Mr. Enriquez, kumusta? May resulta na ba ang pinagagawa ko sa inyo?” He asked hoping that there is a positive progress to the assignment he gave him. He hired a private detective to find Maya.
“Atty. Lim, yes, may nakuha na po kami. May report na po, may konting checking na lang.” The man on the other line answered.
“Mr. Enriquez, I don’t need a written report. What I want is an update kung nahanap n’yo na ang pinapahanap ko.” Richard sounded irritated. It has been three months since he re-started the search for her and it’s been taking the agency eternity to give an update. He was worried that nothing may come out again like the first time he tried to find her.
“Ah ganuun po Sir, Sige po. Pwede po ba kayo today? Mamyang hapon po, magkita po tayo.” Mr. Enriquez was being cooperative. He understood the urgency.
“Sige, alas tres. Dito na lang sa EDSA-Shangrila mall. Magkita tayo sa Dome.”
Richard’s face was drained of color as his eyes darted back and forth at the photos spread before him.
“Atty. Lim, okay lang kayo?” Mr. Enriquez sitting on the opposite side of the table asked him.
It took a while before Richard responded. “Yes, I’m fine. I was just surprised.”
Mr. Enriquez saw the color slowly coming back on his face so he continued. “Itong pictures na ‘to Sir, kuha yan last week, Doon sa BGC around lunch time.” He was pointing at the photo of Maya and James smiling at each other while eating at Friday’s. There were several photos of them coming out of the restaurant and boarding James’ car. They looked good and happy together.
The next set of photos were the ones that almost caused him heart attack.
“Sir, ito naman shots kuha sa park sa subdivision nila. Hindi pa po namin kilala itong kasama kasi hindi pa nga po tapos ang checking namin.”
“Mr. Enriquez, don’t check anymore. This is good enough. How much is the contract again? I’d like to settle the bill now.” Richard was still looking at the photos as he spoke.
After a few minutes, Mr. Enriquez had a check in his hand and left Richard still staring at the photo as if he couldn’t believe what was in the prints.
Driving his car out of mall’s parking area, Richard wasn’t sure which place to go first. Either he goes to Bel-air where in parents live or to go to their old house in Valle Verde. In the end, he decided to see his father first. His father have a lot of explaining to do.
His car screeched when it entered their driveway into the garage.
Fortunately, his father was at home. It was a weekend. He began to wonder what his father does during his leisure time when he was not with his mother.
“Dad” He called his father. He then approached his mother who was in the sofa watching TV. “Ma”
“Ricky, what a pleasant surprise. Napadalaw ka anak. Kausap lang kita kahapon.” His mother, Esmeralda, was smiling.
“Dad, I need to speak to you.” His eyes were very angry; his arms akimbo.
“Ay, Bobby… mukhang case na naman yan. Doon kayo sa malayo mag-usap at maiistorbo ang panunuod ko.” She motioned them towards the garden.
As soon as they were out of earshot, Richard dropped the photos on the garden table.
“What’s the meaning of this Dad?” He was shaking with anger; there were many thoughts crossing his mind. He wanted to say them out loud but couldn’t. He was still his father.
Bobby looked at the photos one by one. The first one was him carrying a small child. The other one was Maya handing him the child. There was another one wherein Maya was hugging him with the child in her arms. All photos were taken on the same day. Bobby remembered that day, it was the third visit after Maya moved in to their Valle Verde home.
He looked straight at Richard eyes. “What do you think son?” He deflected the question.
“Ayaw kong mag-misintepret Dad, so you better answer the question.” Richard stared back.
“Richard, you made a mess. I cleaned it up. Was it wrong for a father to do that?” He challenged his son; it was his turn to get angry with his implied accusation.
The facial expression of Richard changed from anger to confusion. He picked up the photos and flicked it several times again. He couldn’t see the face of the child in the photos; all were shot from the back.
Richard couldn’t guess the child’s gender because the child was wearing a hoodie shirt. All he could see were the smiling faces of his father and Maya as if they were enjoying the moment together, like a family being together. His face turned ashen with a newfound realization.
“Dad, I’m sorry if I insinuated something…” He was so ashamed that he almost knelt in front of his dad to ask forgiveness. The elder Lim, held his arm.
“It’s alright son. I understand what you’re going through.” He patted Richard’s back. Bobby is a patient, loving father and never has there been a doubt about his fidelity to his family.
Father and son were quiet for a while; both were pensive. Then, Richard broke the silence.
“Dad, you know how much she means to me. Why didn’t you tell me that you knew where she is?” He asked carefully, not wanting to offend his father.
“It was part of the bargain I have with her. Correction, the bargain involves your mother too.” The elder Lim started to share.
“But, how can you keep such a secret to me. Hindi ito malilit na bagay. I deserved to know about this.” He still couldn’t believe that his parents hid something for two years.
“Ricky, remember when you came back from the U.S. two years ago? It was the time when you found out that Maya resigned?”
“Yes, I remember that clearly.” Richard recalled that on the day he arrived from the U.S., he immediately reported to work so he could talk to Maya. His trip that was just supposed to be one week got extended to three weeks because of the case that BMc gave him to handle. All the time he was in the U.S., he tried to contact her either on phone or email but there was no response. Later on he learned that her phone number has been terminated.
“You were upset at that time. You didn’t tell me about what was going on between the two of you but I was already aware of it. She beg me not to meddle in your affairs. However,I gave you a hint. I told you to find her because she needed you; she needed help.”
“I did try to find her, Dad. Pumunta ako sa bahay nila several times but Mama Teresita didn’t tell me where she was. I thought they were just protecting her. So, I hired someone to find her but she can’t be found.”
“You didn’t tell me you hired someone. No, her mother didn’t hide her. Maya went into hiding. I accidentally saw her in Baguio, in a restaurant where she worked as a cashier. It took her a few months before she returned to Manila. At that time, you were already back in the States on your sabbatical leave. You’ve never shared anything about your personal life before so we thought that you’ve moved on.”
“I needed to go back to the States hoping that I could forget her. After a year there and six months here I am, still struggling.”
Richard’s face look defeated.
Bobby pitied his son who in his eyes has been strong and confident to the point of stubbornness. Richard had carried himself well in and out of the courtroom that no one can detect that there was a broken part of him. It was only two months ago that Richard started opening up about his true feelings for Maya.
“Son, Maya has accepted the help we extended to her. Initially, she refused but then later on she gave in. She’s a smart girl, very level headed. The only condition she stipulated to us was that we keep it a secret until she is ready to meet you. If we break our promise, she will hide herself again. We didn’t want to risk it. She was hurt. She will face you in her own time and terms.”
“Dad, I need to see her. I have to go to there.” Richard spoke as if wanting permission and assurance from his father.
“I can’t stop you, Ricky. You know where to find her. When you see her, you will know what to do. If she takes you back, then you are one lucky guy. If she doesn’t, go on with your life. Just don’t forget your obligation. Legally, I have taken care of your daughter; my granddaughter. She is a Lim.”