Chapter 1 – Murphy’s Law
“If anything can go wrong, it will.”
The bright rays of sun were already peeping thru the wooden blinds of her window when Maya woke up that Saturday morning. She couldn’t help but squint with the sunlight hitting directly her eyes. But the moment she got up, she had a feeling that something wrong was going to happen to her that day.
“Argggh” Her hands were on her head as she felt it throbbing with pain. She has hangover.
She remembered the previous day. “Kung di lang kasi nag-imbita itong si Ysabel na ‘to, di sana ako napainom kagabi. Masaya kagabi pero, ka-inis talaga… may klase pa naman ako ngayon.” It was then it dawned on her it was her first day of class of the 1st semester. She’s on her third year of Masters in HRD course at PUS.
“Aw shucks!!” She immediately jumped out of her bed and ran towards the bathroom for a quick shower. Within 20 minutes, she was out of her rented condo unit in Ortigas area and was on her way to the university.
As she drove along C-5 going to Katipunan Avenue, her fear that day was happening. There was heavy traffic that morning.
“Ano ba ‘to, sabadong sabado, puno na kaagad ang kalye. Alas-nueve lang naman. Naku naman sana may parking space pa. Kung wala, malaking problema ‘to.” She was talking to herself.
Actually, Maya’s real problem was not the traffic jam because she has gotten used to it since she moved to Manila five years ago. After graduating from college in her home province, San Nicolas, she tried her luck in Manila.
Maya’s real problem is the parking space in PUS. It is one of the top universities in the Philippines and it is common knowledge that parking in that school is very limited. Her problem is compounded by the fact that she is a new driver and is still learning how to park properly especially parking in between two vehicles. As such, it was really important for her to come to school early to get the space she needed.
She pounded on her streering wheel in frustration. “Ayyyy, naku naman. Late na ako, sana may parking space pa.” She absent mindedly pressed the horn of her car.
As expected, the school’s parking lot was full when she arrived. It was already 9:45 a.m., fifteen minutes before the start of her first subject. She drove around the area trying to locate a space where she could leave her car. After circling the area, she found a spot at the farthest end beside a tree.
She thought to herself, “Okay, pwede na ‘to. Kasya ‘tong Jazz ko at maliit lang naman kailangan ko. At isa lang ang kalaban, one car on the left. I just need to avoid the acasia tree on the right.”
She maneuvered her car and positioned it for a reverse drive. She checked her right side mirror to see if she might hit the tree. It was clear. However, she wasn’t able to check her left side mirror and rear view mirror before she stepped on the gas. As she reversed, she heard a loud sound and felt a jolt.
“Oh my gee!!! Naka bunggo ako!” She panicked. Instead of changing to drive mode, she stayed on reverse and so when she pressed on the gas pedal, she rammed on the vehicle again.
“Awww shucks!!” She finally stopped the car to check on the damages to both vehicles.
Her car’s tail bumper and lights were damaged and when she checked on the car she hit, she got more worried. She hit a BMW car and she dented its front bumper and broke its right side lights.
She looked around to check if there was someone she can ask for help but the parking area was empty of people. So, she decided to tear a page from her notebook, wrote something, and inserted it to the car’s wiper. Her message was, “I’m sorry. My phone number is 0918 xxxx,I will pay for the damages.”
Then, Maya walked fast going to the building where she would have her first class.
As soon as she entered her Org. Behavior class, she heaved a sigh of relief since the session has just started. She saw familiar faces in the room, some of them were her classmates from previous semester.
“Ms. Maya Dela Rosa” Her teacher professor called her out. When she raised her hand, she was asked to something about herself.
“Good morning everyone.” She smiled and waved at her classmates. “I’m Maya dela Rosa. This is my third year in my MA for HRD. I am currently working at MCFI as a training lead.” Since her mind was preoccupied with the car that she just hit, she then asked her classmates. “Tanong ko lang guys, does anyone of you here happen to own a black BMW na nasa parking lot today?”
She looked around and no one from her classmates raised their hand. “Ahh, okay. Thank you. Nagtatanong lang.” She returned to her seat.
Another classmate was called to introduce herself. However, Maya wasn’t able to listen to her since her seatmate on her right side whispered in her ear. “Yung bang black BMW na sinasabi mo ‘yung plate number is WAS888?”
Maya nodded as she turned to face the speaker. It was Rina, her classmate last semester.
“Bakit mo tinatanong?” Rina asked Maya. There was curiosity in her eyes.
“Eh, kasi nabangga ko pag park ko kanina. So, gusto ko sanang kausapin ang may-ari.” She responded in a low voice.
“Aiyeee! Girl, that car is owned by one of the professors here, Mr. Richard Lim. He is quite popular, hindi mo s’ya naging professor?”
“Hindi, last semester lang akong nag-trasfer dito eh.”
“Oh well. Anyway, now you’ll surely meet him. Tell me how your meeting with him goes, ha.” Rina gave her a meaningful smile. Then, she shifted her position so she can focus her attention to the class.
“Rina, bakit ganyan ang smile mo?” She asked in low voice, careful not disrupt their professor who was speaking in class. Her curiosity was triggered.
“Well, he is not popular for nothing. Medyo mahirap maging student n’ya pero masarap naman s’ya sa mata.” Rina replied.
“Huh? Anu ‘yun?” Maya was confused by her last statement.
“Girl, naging prof. ko s’ya last semester, sa Ethics class ko. Sheetzz, ang gwapo, kaya lang ang kuripot sa grade.”
She just looked at Rina in amusement. In her mind, she doesn’t have to worry about that because she has taken Ethics in her previous school and it has been credited when she moved to PUS. He wouldn’t be her professor but she needs to see him so she could settle the damage she caused his car. She was more worried with the amount she has to pay because his car is quite expensive. Hopefully, the insurance can cover most of it.
Maya’s morning class was three hours and the next one was another three hours starting at 2:00 p.m.
By 1:00 p.m., she was hungry and decided to take her lunch at the cafeteria located at the ground floor of the same building where she was at. She decided to take the shortcut by taking the stairs going to the cafeteria then via the faculty hall. She also planned on checking if Mr. Lim was in the faculty room.
As she was going down the staircase, she noticed that steps were slippery and so, she held on to the handrail for safety. As she finished the first flight of steps of the L-shaped stairways, she noticed man was at the foot of the staircase. When he looked up, their eyes met and locked.
For unknown reason, Maya held his gaze as he did the same. He didn’t move but his chinky eyes remained focused on her as Maya glided down the stairs. There was something in his gaze that made her keep her eyes locked in his. Unfortunately, on the second to the last step, Maya tripped.
“Ayyy,” She exclaimed while losing her balance. She realized that she was about to fall flat on her face.
There was a quick response from the man now in front of her. She ended up on his chest with her lips smearing lipstick on his white polo shirt. She was very embarrassed.
Still disoriented, she apologized and thanked him profusely while blotting the lipstick on his chest with handkerchief from her bag. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry po. Thank you po.” She then noticed that his hands were around her as he caught her falling forward. Her heart thumped loudly.
Maya immediately disengaged from the man’s hold. “Sir, excuse me. Salamat po sa tulong.” She suddenly felt self-conscious with him standing so close to her. He smelled so nice, very manly.
“You’re welcome. Next time, you be careful and focus on the steps.” He smirked and started climbing the stairs.
It took a while before Maya finally recovered. She was thinking of the man who just saved her. There was something in his eyes, in his voice that intrigued her. He’s not even handsome by her standards. Then, she thought, is he a student or a professor here? In graduate school, it’s hard to guess because the students are usually professionals pursing higher education.