This is a continuation to Someone Like You – part 17.
Richard could hardly concentrate on his driving from Makati to Pasig City. A lot of things were going through his head. His emotions were in turmoil.
Although he was initially shocked to discover he has a daughter with Maya, it was quickly replaced with joy. He was ecstatic to know they have a daughter. He wondered who did she take after, does she look like him or her mother. Her mother has a lovely face. She the lips that smile so sweetly and those expressive eyes that could make you lose yourself in them. He began to blame himself again. He shouldn’t have been slow, doubtful and coward. Now, he has a lot of catching up to do. He was hopeful knowing there is one little girl that still binds them.
Buzz. Buzz. Buzz.
It has been more than twenty years since he last came to visit this house. His family stayed in this place for many years until his parents moved to Bel-Air to be nearer to the then L.O.E law office in Ayala Avenue. It was supposed to be his house but he opted to be in a condominium unit. So, it has been rented out for many years.
A woman in a nanny uniform opened the main door. She looked pleasantly surprised to find Richard standing outside the door.
“Ayyy, Ate, Ate. ‘Andito si Kuya. Naku Kuya Richard, tuloy po kayo.” She opened the door wide to allow a puzzled Richard enter the house.
Richard wondered why the nanny knows his name.
As soon as he was inside, it felt like he was coming home. The atmosphere of the place gave him that feeling. He grew up in this house. Although the furniture and decors have changed, the whole structure is the same. He knew every crook and cranny of the place. It brought back good memories of the time he spent in the house.
“Kuya, sandali lang po. Tatawagin ko si Ate Maya. Anong gusto n’yo? Naghapunan na ba kayo? Dito ba kayo matutulog?” The nanny asked questions one after the other. He was amused by the assumptions she was making.
Maya was in the nursery when she heard Doris’s voice, she sounded excited. However, she ignored her. She continued folding the clothes of Abby while the little girl was sleeping soundly in the bed. She would be waking up anytime soon. Then, she heard her name again. So, putting back the bed rails, she left Abby.
“Doris, bakit ka ba tawag ng tawag?” She asked while closing the door. When she turned around, she was shocked to find Richard standing a few meters away from her.
Their eyes met and locked. The world seems to have stopped for the two.
Maya quickly recovered. She turned to Doris, “Doris, pumasok ka muna sa kwarto, magbantay ka doon.” She pointed at the nursery room without taking her eyes off Richard.
Maya’s heart was beating fast. She knew that one of these days she will see Richard again but not that particular day. She wasn’t ready to see him yet. Something flipped in her heart but she dismissed it.
Richard’s heart beats were pounding. In the two agonizing years he had not seen her, he didn’t know how much he missed her until then. She looked so beautiful au naturel. He walked fast towards her and hugged her.
“Maya, kumusta? I missed you.” Was all he could say. He held her tightly closed. However, Maya pushed him away. She took few steps away from him.
“Richard, bakit nandito ka? Pinapunta ka ba ng daddy mo dito? You’re not supposed to be here.” She asked ; devoid of emotions. Richard felt awkward with the situation. Obviously, she wasn’t happy to see him. It hurt knowing he was not wanted.
“No, no Maya. Matagal na kitang hinahanap. But, I didn’t even know that you are here until these.” Richard showed her the pictures of her with his father. Her brows furrowed.
“So, pina imbestigahan mo ako? Gano’n? Are you stalking me? Has it ever occurred to you that maybe, I never wanted to see you again?” Emotions started to build up in her.
“Yes, it did especially under the circumstances of our breakup. But I think you also know that eventually we will meet again.” He looked straight in her eyes. He realized he couldn’t get into her heart. He didn’t see the tenderness that used to be there. Her eyes were cold as ice.
“Can I see her?” He then asked about their daughter. The little girl still connects them. She is also his hope.
Maya didn’t respond. Instead, she went to the living room and sat on the sofa. Richard followed her and waited for her response.
She didn’t say anything. She was assessing the whole situation now that Richard has appeared. She was totally unprepared for this meeting. She thought it would be her who would eventually tell him about the existence of Abby.
“Maya, I have to see her.” It was no longer a request but a statement.
Maya remained unresponsive. Just as when her life has started to get better, Richard had to reappear. She reminded herself that she has moved on. She has just started dating someone who accepted her and Abby in his life. With Richard, the only connection with him is Abby. It is only Abby.
Finally, she spoke,“Natutulog si Abby. She can’t disturbed. She doesn’t like strangers.”
Hearing that he is a stranger to his daughter pierced through his heart.
So, her name is Abby. “Maya, please , kahit pasilip lang sa bata.” He pleaded.
Maya stared at him and saw the eagerness and sincerity in his pleadings. She may regret later on what she is about to do but it was inevitable that the father and daughter will meet, she thought.
“Alright, sandali lang. I will check on her.” Maya walked towards the nursery. However, Richard couldn’t just wait in the middle of the living room so he followed her.
When she opened the nursery room, Maya felt Richard head just above hers trying to get a glimpse of their daughter. She sighed in resignation and opened the door widely for them to enter.
“Doris, Pwede ka na sa kwarto mo muna. Kami na bahala dito.” She told the nanny who seems to be excited seeing them together.
“Ate, nagising na si Abby ngayon ngayon lang. Pero as usual, tumaob uli. Pagising na ‘yan” Doris reminded.
A recollection flashed in Richard’s mind. He remembered their morning after in Tuguegarao. When he woke up Maya, she just opened her eyes slightly and turned around again and went back to sleep. It was the reason why they took land trip going back to Manila because she woke up late. So, their daughter has a similarity to her mother.
Richard stood closer to the bed, unsure what to do while Maya just looked on.
The child might have felt she was being observed that she began to stir and wake up. Slowly, she sat up.
Maya immediately picked her up. “Hi Baby.. gising na ang baby namin?” The little girl wrapped her small hands around her mother’s neck.
Richard remained standing as he watched in marvel at the mother and daughter. When Maya adjusted the girl’s position so he could see her face, his heart flipped. He felt the instant connection with her who had his chinky eyes. She is his daughter. He quickly took her from Maya and held her closely but carefully.
“Hi Baby… I’m your..” He was almost choking with emotion.
Maya supplied the term for him. “Daddy. She’s been trained to say Dad.”
“I’m your Daddy.” Richard felt good saying that. The feeling was so great, so ethereal.
The girl has fully woken up and stared at Richard whose eyes were misty. She poked on his eyeglasses as if wanting to play with it. Then her fingers traced his mouth and nose. Richard was smiling ear to ear as he held his daughter.
Maya watched them teary eyed herself. She knew this day would come. Even if she doesn’t care about Richard anymore, Abby needs to meet her father. She left them in the room to give them time to bond with each other.
It was almost midnight when Richard planned on leaving them. He waited until Abby went back to sleep.
At the living room, Richard spoke to Maya. “Maya, about us?” He started the conversation.
“Us? Anong us?” Maya looked at him quizzically.
“I mean us, ikaw at ako. We have Abby so, what about us?” He suddenly couldn’t say he wanted her back in his life.
“Richard, there is no us. We were together for only a month and it was over two years ago, remember? The only reason were here facing each other like this is because of Abby. Kahit anong gawin ko, you will remain to be her biological father.” She was back in her cold stance; gone was the tenderness in her eyes as she watched the father and daughter meet for the first time.
“Maya, I know I’ve hurt you in the past. There is too much to explain if you would only give me a chance.” He longed to explain and let her know what happened two years ago. Maya was not allowing him to do so.
“Richard, there is no need for explanation. Past is past. I’ve moved on. Ayoko ng pag-usapan ang nakalipas. Okay na ako, okay kami ni Abby. Your dad has done a lot for me and her. Tama na ‘yon.” She was not interested in hearing him out. He thought that he would need time before she can open up to listen to him. It will take time to open her heart again.
Then he thought about Abby. In Abby’s case, he wouldn’t want to wait. He had lost two years of her life.
“Maya, I will not insist on discussing about us now. Pero yung kay Abby, I hope you’d allow joint custody of her.”
“What? You don’t need to Richard. I can take care of her. This house is more than enough help for us.” She was livid. Meeting Richard as a father was one thing and a joint custody is another thing. It never crossed her mind that he would be interested to have custody of her.
“I want to be part of her life Maya. I want a joint custody.” Richard restated his intention.
“Honestly, I don’t think it is necessary. You can go on with your life. Anyway, I will consult my lawyer about this. You know your way out.” She stood up and went to the nursery room to join Abby. For that particular night, she needed to hold her daughter close to her.