This is a continuation to Someone Like You – part 21.
While Maya was at the kitchen preparing coffee, Richard waited at the lanai. He was glad she invited him for a coffee. However while waiting for her and looking around, a wave of sadness engulfed him. For many months now loneliness had kept him company. And, he is at his loneliest when he has to leave Maya and Abby in the house. If only he could change their circumstances.
His mood at the lanai was pensive when Maya joined him few minutes later. With the tone of their conversation earlier, the place offered a conducive setting for a heart to heart talk. The strong rains have stopped and were replaced by drizzles. The whole household was asleep. They were in the mood of being with each other’s company. It was the time to listen to what each one has to say.
Richard spoke after sipping his coffee. “Maya, what happened to us two years ago? Didn’t you say you loved me?” He asked in a reflective mode. They sat opposite each other in the sofa set at the lanai.
“Yes, I did but I also discovered that it was one sided. I proved it the week when your Alex came back.” She responded in a matter of fact tone. She said this to herself so many times in the past that she has lost the emotions attached to it. She was looking at him, trying to read his thoughts.
Richard’s eyes shifted and looked at her directly. There was pain in his eyes. It took him a few seconds before he said, “Maya, you were wrong. I loved you.”
Maya just stared at him blankly but her heart skipped a beat. He continued.
“I’m sorry if I didn’t say that to you then. During that short period, I have been trying to figure out what I was feeling for you. Alam kong mahirap paniwalaan, but my feelings for you were totally new to me. Right from the start when we first met, I felt something different. It was staring at me in the face but I didn’t recognize it. I didn’t know how to call it. When you said you love me, I was surprised. It dawned on me what I have been trying to figure out.”
Maya took a deep breath after listening to his declaration. “Tama ka Richard, mahirap paniwalaan ‘yang sinasabi mo.” Maya opined.
“I understand Maya. At higit sa pa sa hindi ko agad nasabi sa’yo na mahal kita, my major shortcoming was that I was not able to build a foundation for you to feel secure in our relationship. At dahil weak ang foundation natin, it was easily broken. From the first time we met and up to the time I lost you, everything was so fast.”
“Richard, it was because you were not over with Alex at that time. You can’t make others feel secure if deep within your heart there is another occupying that space.” Maya reminded him.
Hearing Alex name being brought up in the discussion prompted Richard to ask . “Why did you assume that she had my heart? I was trying to explain the circumstances about her but you didn’t want to listen then.” His tone was sad.
Maya sighed as she is being forced to recall all those scenes she has tried to forget so she could move on. “Well, isn’t she the love of your life? How did she end up in your condo unit? How about the closed door meeting. And why is your password her birtdate numbers? She told me those herself.”
It was then Richard realized that there were many details that needed clarification that he wasn’t given the chance to explain at that time. “Oh god, who said she’s the love of my life? It must be Ryan because he is the only one calls her that. If I was allowed to explain, then I could have told that she is not the love of my life. Yes, I admit I was with her for two years but it wasn’t that serious.”
Maya thought that Richard was denying the extent of his relationship with Alex. “Huh? not serious? Weren’t you upset when she married your friend. Ikaw rin ang nagsabi na there was somebody you liked and she married your friend.”
Richard sighed again. The issues about Alex were deeply rooted. In the end, he had to disclose about Alex from the beginning. He shared that she was his girlfriend for two years while he was in the States. She wanted them to get married but he declined and actually broke up with her before he went back to Philippines. During his vacation in Manila, he was informed that she decided she will marry one of their common friends who is also a lawyer and a known womanizer. Out of concern and guilt, he returned to the U.S. to talk her out of it. He advised her marrying out of spiting someone is not going to do them good. Alex still proceeded. He was proven correct when after five years, Alex wanted to separate from her husband. She came back to Phils. to ask for his help and intention to reconcile with him. He told her that he has a girlfriend and he is not interested in her anymore.
“So, why was she in your condo unit the night after I said I love you?” Maya was listening intently that she wanted details.
“She slept there. You are aware she knows the password. If you ask me why I didn’t change the password, I have no other reason other than the numbers were inconsequential to me. They were just numbers. But I already changed it the day the two of you met.”
He run this fingers this hair. “Anyway, I wasn’t at the condo that night. She slept at the guest room. I stayed at Ryan’s. We drank until morning. I was sick the following day with flu and hangover. After I brought you home that night and realizing I wasn’t able to respond to you, I went to Ryan to get advise. Honestly, I didn’t see Alex until I opened that door and the two of you were staring at me.” Richard further explained.
“I got the impression that you and Alex slept together that night.” She thought out loud.
“Yes, you did and you didn’t want to give me a chance to explain. Instead, you went emotional and asked me again if I ever loved you. I was so stupid not to just shout back to you that I love you. But at that time, I wanted to explain and talk it out with you. When I heard you ask me that, I had mixed emotions of fear, loss and anger. Again, I’ve never had that kind of experience before. I’m used to having discussions based on merits of issues but never at the emotional level. I’ve had women getting mad at me but I never cared. However in your case, you’ve always managed to disarm me. I wanted us to talk, I’ve always wanted to explain. Sana maalala mo ‘yung lahat ng instances that I told you we should talk.” Richard realized that he underestimated the difficulty of explaining events that happened two years ago. He knew it was going to be difficult but going thru scene by scene, detail by detail was too much. It was like reliving all the pain they had years ago.
As Maya listened to Richard, she was also thinking her part to their break-up was. She did recognize that she didn’t give him the chance to explain. But still, there was one more big item that was hanging and that was seeing him kissing Alex.
“Richard, you said, Alex was just a friend and a client. So, why did I catch you kissing?” She eyed him carefully, she is watching out if he would lie.
“Maya, I admit the part that I did kiss her. I was so frustrated with you that day. Again, remember in the that morning you told me it was over between us. I’ve been trying to reach out to you but you repeatedly told me we’re done. The truth was I wanted to get over you as soon as possible because you brought me too much pain. You didn’t want to listen to me. Alex has been wanting to reconcile with me, she was trying everything . When we kissed, she started removing her blouse and that’s when you came into the room. I had a short argument with her after that. When I ran after you, you were already in James’ arms crying. What do you think I felt that time?”
She didn’t respond but continued staring in his eyes. The raw emotions were evident in his eyes. He told everything that was in his heart.
“I don’t know Richard. But at that time, I was hurting too much. You hurt me so much that I decided that I don’t want you to be in my life again. Yung ang reason why I resigned. Yung din ang isa sa dahilan kung bakit sinarili ko na lang ang pregnancy ko.”
The heavy down pour was starting again yet they remained seated at the lanai area. They both wanted the lengthen the time with each other so each one could open up more, to answer the questions hanging for the past two years.
“Maya, I’m so sorry for everything that happened to us. I take all the responsibilities for my actions and inactions. I hope that you just find it in your heart to forgive me.” His voices quivered as he finally apologized to her. It didn’t matter that he practically took all the blame.
“Richard, it’s in the past. As I said, let’s move on.” She didn’t know what else to say. She was still processing everything she found out that evening.
Richard was mum for a while. It hurt again when she mentioned the words move on. It was easy for her to say because she had done it while he was still hanging on and wanting her back.
Although with sadness in his heart, he still appreciated being able to finally explain his side of his story. “Anyway, thank you for hearing me out.”
She smiled with calmness in her tone. “Thank you din. You were right, we needed to talk about this. For the sake of Abby, at least, whatever unanswered questions we have, we’ve cleared it.”
Hearing Maya say those words meant the partial closure of the past for Richard. Although she didn’t say he was forgiven, it was enough that he was given the chance to air his side. The evening might have been overwhelming for her and so he didn’t want to push too much. A few minutes later, he decided to leave as it was already past midnight.
As he was standing by the door and Maya was seeing him out, he had one last piece to say.
“Maya, uulitin ko lang ang sinabi ko kanina, I’m very sorry for all the pain I caused you.” His eyes very apologetic.
She half-smiled. and nodded to acknowledging his apology. At that moment, Richard felt it also meant that everything was going to be fine between the two of them.
He gazed her with such tenderness; his heart was bursting with the love for her. He took a step closer to her. It was unexpected, a spur of the moment caused by his intense emotions.
She couldn’t move as if time slowed down for her.
Richard, unable to control himself, confessed his innermost feelings for her. In almost a whisper, he said “I love you, Maya. I always have and will always will.”
Maya saw a glimmer of tears in his eyes that quickly faded as she instinctively closed her eyes when his face moved closer to hers. She felt his lips touched lightly her lips. When she opened her eyes, he was already few inches away from her.
Maya’s mind was blank. She was dumbfounded and didn’t even hear him say goodbye. As she stared at his back as he walked away, she was unaware of the silent tears rolling down her face.