A/N: This is a continuation to Foolish Hearts – part 4
Two weeks prior to the end of the semester, Maya learned that she was being sent to Thailand to attend their company’s 3rd quarter regional business conference and co-deliver a training there. She will be away for 9 days starting on a Friday and returning the following Saturday. It meant that she will be missing 2 Saturday classes. It would also mean that she wouldn’t be seeing Richard anymore until the semester ends.
She had mixed emotion over her planned travel. Although she was excited to go to Thailand as it would be her first trip there, she felt bad that the semester was ending for her prematurely. She was in pensive mood trying to figure out what was causing her more sadness, was it the prospect of not seeing Richard again or using her 2 absences might affect her grade.
She then remembered the previous Saturday’s session. Richard was his usual strict demeanor but that day, she found him always glancing or staring at her. She noticed him doing that a lot of times because she too had her eyes searching for him whenever there was opportunity. But whenever their eyes meet, both of them would quickly look away.
At that point, Maya thought he might have a crush on her. But she quickly argued with herself. Other than his kindness when she bumped his car, the one time table sharing during lunch, one time conversation at the parking area and his occasional stares during class, there are no signs that could support her theory. In fact, he was even nicer to her other classmates especially those girls who obviously fancied him. She felt tiny stabs in her heart when she recalled the times she caught him joking with his other female students.
Suddenly, it dawned on her, it was she who has a crush on her professor.
She was using projection as a defense mechanism when in fact she was the one who likes him. The way her heart lurches when she sees him, the extra efforts she puts in class were not just for the grades but was impress him and her hate towards her flirty classmates confirmed everything for her.
With the new realization, her mood became gloomier. Had she known that the previous week was the last day of her attending his class, maybe she could have acted differently? She could have taken more mental images of him. But then again, they are in a teacher-student situation and therefore, she knew nothing will come of it. Is he even single?
Later that morning, Maya wrote an email message to Richard advising him of her forthcoming trip.
Attached is my report for our topic this week. I would like to advise you that I will not be able to attend the last two sessions of the class. My employer is sending me to Thailand to be part of a business meeting and also deliver a training. I will be travelling this Fiday and coming back the following weekend. I will miss being in your class but my work priorities demands that I use my 2 absences until the end of semester. Rest assured, I will contribute to my group for our final group report.
It took her several revisions before she sent out her email. She wanted her message to be written short but professional. For almost the whole day, she waited for his response and when she did, she was crushed.
“Ms. Dela Rosa, thanks for the advise. This is duly noted. Richard Lim.”It was a curt, formal response.
She wished his reply was longer and with a hint of disappointment that he wouldn’t be seeing her again. She wished that he too had a crush on her.
By the 2nd week of October, Maya’s grades were already available. She excitedly went to PUS to retrieve her class card to see how she performed in her subjects. As she expected, she got a 1.0 in Ms. Coriandez’s class but she bit her lip and her nose flared when she saw her grade in Richard’s class. It was a 2.0.
Maya was ballistic as she was talking with Ysa at the cafeteria.
“Ysa, grabe talaga si Richard Lim. I got a 2.0. Biruin mo, sa lahat ng efforts ko. Ito lang ang nakuha ko. At saka mataas naman ang individual reports ko, class participation ko is okay naman. Bakit ganito? Kaiinis talaga.”
“Girl, bakit hindi s’ya ang tanungin mo? Kasi kahit maglupasay ka d’yan ngayon, eh wala naman akong magagawa. So, I suggest that you call your professor. Hmmm, talaga bang inis ka dyan or gusto mo lang ma-sight yang si Mr. Chinito mo? Isang buwan mo ng na mi-miss yon di ba?”
“Ysabel, ayaw ko ng ganyang biro. Separate yon dito sa grade ko.” Although Maya had not categorically admitted anything to Ysa, she knew her friend had notion that she has a crush on him. Richard would always be a topic of their conversation in the past several weeks.
So, Maya decided to go to the coordinator’s office to ask for Richard’s phone number. She wanted to speak to him directly. It was there she learned that Richard didn’t give the permission for his cellphone number to be shared to anyone. She explained to the secretary that she just wanted to clarify something about her final grade. She was promptly advised that there were other students who have already tried but were not granted their request.
What stuck in Maya’s mind was the last statement from the secretary. “Ms. Dela Rosa, as early as start of the semester, marami ng girls ang nagtanong ng number n’ya pero hindi namin talaga binibigay. Napaka-popular kasi nitong si Mr. Lim.”
With her final grade of 2.0 and upset over girls running after her crush, she had no recourse but to send him an email. As soon as she got home, she opened her laptop and sent him a message.
Good afternoon. I got my class card today and was surprised to find that I got a 2.0 in your class. Appreciate if you could share with me how my grades were calculated. I am looking forward to being enlightened.
Maya Dela Rosa”
She didn’t review her email anymore but it was the most emotionally controlled email that she could create. She didn’t turn off her computer and hoped he would respond to her email right away. The waiting for his response was giving her stress.
Then, she heard a beep sound from her phone indicating she had an incoming message. She checked on it and read a message from unknown number.
“If you are free, how about we go for coffee this afternoon? RL”
She didn’t know who RL is and the number is not in her contact list. So, she replied. “You have erroneously sent this message to my number, FYI.”
There was an immediate response to her message. “No, it’s for you Ms. Dela Rosa. Thought you wanted to discuss your grade?”
When she read the message again, her heart thumped loudly. She hesitated. How did he know her phone number? Will she accept the invitation and meet him? How will she manage her emotion facing him to discuss her grade when she had already admitted to herself that she has a crush on him. She was beginning to regret sending him an email.
Richard waited for Maya’s response which seemed to be like hours but in reality were only a few minutes. He was on a luncheon date with his friends when he saw Maya’s email questioning her grade. He couldn’t help but laugh after reading her note. He could imagine her facial expression.
“Ricky, anu ‘yan ha? Who is causing that smile on your face?” Ryan, who was with the rest of their friends, asked Richard. He could sense it was a girl.
“Just someone.” Richard looked up after he sent her a message. His smile was ear to ear.
“Uyyy, talagang may bago na. Guys… moved on na talaga ang friend natin dito.” Ryan announced to their friends. Richard was teased by his group for several minutes but they eventually stopped as he didn’t spill any information about who he was exchanging text messages with.
Richard again checked on his phone if there was a reply from her. It has been 15 minutes since he asked her out for a coffee but there was no message from her yet. Was he too brazen with that move?
He decided to call her up. It only took two rings for her to pick up the call. “Good afternoon Ms. Dela Rosa”
“Hi Sir, Paano n’yo nalaman ang phone number ko?”
“Ms. Dela Rosa, it was in your email. In case you have forgotten, your signature in your company email address has your name, title, phone number, fax number and office address.” He was grinning. He was beginning to suspect that she is distracted.
There was silence on the other end of the line that he wondered if she was still there. “Ms. Dela Rosa?” He checked.
“Huh… Eh Sir, sandali lang” She was actually kicking herself for asking him a silly question. Of course, he was right. In her haste to send him an email, she used her company email instead of her personal account which she usually do whenever she submits her assignments to him online.
“Let’s meet for coffee Ms. Dela Rosa. Are you in your office? I will pick you up in 30 minutes.” It sounded like an order instead of an invitation.
Maya trying to recover herself replied. “Nasa office po ako sir. Pero sir, bakit parang may pressure ang invitation n’yo.” When she uttered her next statement, she tried to put it lightly. “Eh, sir, hindi n’yo na ako student dahil tapos na ang semester.”
“Very good point Maya, you are no longer my student so I can now invite you for coffee. So, will you be ready in 30 minutes?” This time, his tone was gentler that she could visualize his lopsided smile.