A/N: This is a continuation to Foolish Hearts – part 19
Chapter 20 – Heart to Heart
Lino and Ysabel’s wedding celebration took most of Richard and Maya’s day. As typical in a provincial setting, a simple wedding turned out a big reunion of families and friends. Everyone had a good time reconnecting and wishing the newly weds good blessings for their new life.
Richard commented to Maya when they were out of earshot of people. “Sweetie, ganito rin kaya karami ang family members and friends mo?” He was smiling when Maya turned to him.
“Ha? Bakit?” She wondered where his question was leading to.
“Wala lang. I’m thinking that when we get married, where will it be. How big will the reception be. Do you want it in China or here? But if you have many relatives, we might have to do it here so they can all attend. What do you think?” His eyes was glassy as if he was thinking of something else as he said those words.
“Ricky, eto na naman tayo. Anyway, kung ikakasal tayo. I want it here in San Nicolas, tapos doon sa Basilica. Doon kinasal yung lola ko at ang nanay ko.” She stated.
“Ha?Maya, yung lang ba ang simbahan dito sa San Nicolas? Parang I’m not comfortable getting married there.” Richard suddenly looked at her and had a serious look in his face.
“Bakit naman? Meron isa pa, mas maliit pero okay din naman doon.” Maya responded.
“Eh kasi, yung mga lola mo at nanay mo, nahiwalay sa asawa nila. I don’t want us to end up like them, that is, magkahiwalay.” He was gazing at her with love in his eyes.
Maya questioning look changed to amusement. Cupping his face with her two hands. “Ayyy, may pagka superstitious pala itong mamang ito. Cute mo ha. We’ll cross the bridge when we get there, Ricky.”
“Maya, mas mabuti ng this early eh mapag-usapan na natin yan. At isa pa, can we go to your most romantic place this afternoon. We haven’t been there and I want us to visit the place before we go back to Manila tomorrow.” It was a request that Maya agreed to.
They were lying on large cloth that Maya brought for their visit in the most romantic place later that afternoon. Enjoying the cool breeze coming from the field opposite the river and listening to the birds chirping, the lovers were holding hands with smiles on their faces.
“Ricky, talaga bang na miss mo ako ng sobra.” She asked him, wanting to hear his confirmation again.
“Maya, we didn’t connect for three weeks and I was so hurt at that time. Did you know that I waited for you almost daily at your building’s parking lot just so I can get a glimpse of you?”
“Hindi.” She was surprised. “Pero, bakit hindi kita nakita? It was unlikely na hindi kita mapansin, ang liit lang naman ng area sa parking.”
“Hindi kaya dahil laging naka-shades ka? Sinasabi ko na lang sa sarili ko na siguro, namamaga ang mata mo kakaiyak. There were times that I wanted to come near you but my pride kept me from doing it. Hindi ko kasi maintindihan why you wouldn’t believe me no matter how many times I told you I love you.” He started explaining.
“Tama ka naman eh. I wasn’t listening to you. I was so engrossed with my own jealousy. I never had a boyfriend before and I didn’t know how to handle that feeling, ‘yung threat that someone may take you away and doubting if you really loved me. How sure I was that you love me, yun ang tanong na hindi ko masagot kasi everything was new to me.”
“And that’s where I had my shortcomings, sweetie. Kasi, I assumed that you would understand and knew the signs. Kinulang ako sa paliwanag.” Richard then moved closer and turned sideways so he could face her. He propped himself using his own hand, elbow on the ground to support him.
“You know what Maya, I’ve never felt the need to be with someone until I met you. When you tripped on that stairs and landed on my shoulder, tumalon ang puso ko. When you kept on answering me during our class, you challenged me. Until I got to know you and confessed to you, I knew ikaw yung babaing mamahalin ko for life. If I am not at work, I want to be with you. Kaya nga I made sure every Sunday nasa bahay mo ako. Akala ko enough na ‘yon.”
“Para naman kasing wala lang sa’yo. Alam mo nga na nagseselos ako pero parang wala lang. You didn’t want to explain.” She pouted as she looked at him. She also turned sideways to face him.
“I didn’t know how to handle that part, I’m sorry. In the past, I’ve encountered that behavior before but they would end up apologizing or coming after me. O, huwag ka na namang magselos ha? Usapan lang ito.” He teased her before continuing.
“But in your case, it turned out differently. We were drifting apart at lumalala ang situation. It was then I learned that you were being swayed by your conversations with Samantha. “ And there, the Samantha name came out again.
“I shouldn’t have listened to her. Dapat hindi ako nagpa-impluwensya sa kanya. I know better now.” She finally admitted to him. Out of her volition, she gave him a peck on the cheek. “Sorry uli, Ricky. Ayoko na s’yang pag-usapan.”
“I thought I was going to lose you. I didn’t know what to do.” He further told her.
“Eh kaya pala, pupunta ka na lang sa China ganoon? Parang kontra naman ‘yung sa sabi mong you love me, pero iiwanan mo lang ako.” She had the sullen look on her face.
Richard smiled apologetically. “Sabi ko lang ‘yun kay Liza. I prayed na sana tumawag ka sa office. I prayed na sundan mo ako after I left PUS. I prayed na sana madiscover mo na I wasn’t really going to proctor the exams and you will call me. Kaya nga ang saya ko ng makita ko ang miss call mo and text messages when I was in Shanghai. I think I lost millions in that dinner meeting because I barely understood what was being offered to me.” He can only chuckle now with the memory of that day.
“Ah, ganoon? Natatawa ka na ngayon. Hindi mo alam kung gaano ang pag panic ko? Halos hindi ako makapag-drive ng maayos sa kakaiyak.” Maya turned teary eyed that Richard felt guiltier.
“Sweetheart, I’m sorry. Sabi ko sa’yo I didn’t know what to do. Kahit tanungin mo pa ang lola Ising mo.” He tried to console her by taking her hands into his and kissing it.
“Paano naman nasama ang Inang Ising sa problema natin?” Maya eyes widened as she realized the connection he and one of her grandmothers have. She sat up but still facing him.
He also shifted his position and sat in front of her. “Okay, don’t get mad ha. Umuwi ako ng San Nicolas two weeks ago. Naka-usap ko si Nanay Teresita and Inang Ising. It was a short visit and I wanted to ask for their help. Si Inang Ising ang may idea na mag-China ako, mag palipas ng problema at saka para daw matauhan ka.” He smiled in amusement as her eyes turned rounder.
“Although you didnt tell them we have a problem, at least two of them know about it because I told them.” Richard finally disclosed.
“Kaya ka pina-uwi ng maaga kasi they wanted to talk to you. Hindi ko lang masabi on the phone baka magalit ka naman. Pero naunahan na natin maayos ang problem before you got back here.”
Maya started to smile as she understood the effort he has done for her. It may not be exactly how she wanted it to be but she felt his sincerity considering he had to ask help from her family. She gazed at him lovingly.
“Alright, all is forgiven, Ricky. Next time, just don’t keep secrets from me. Ngayon, okay na okay na tayo, promise.”
Ricky smiled genuinely and dipped his head to kiss her in the mouth. When his lips touched hers, she spoke again. “Nasa public place po tayo.”
Richard looked around and found no one nearby. “Walang tao at pa kiss lang sandali.” Then, he kissed her passionately.
After their kiss, she saw him take a deep breath. Richard then said, “I know you’ve said so many times that getting married is too early for you…” He pulled her up so they could both stand.
There was something in his eyes that alarmed Maya. The smile on her face changed to apprehension on what he would say next. For some reason, her heart started beating fast in anticipation on what may come next.
“We’re only 4 months into this relationship and we’ve just closed our first and hopefully last major quarrel. But I am sure of how I feel for you from the day I met you, the day I confessed, and until now, I want to marry you Maya.” He wa standing so close to her.
She was getting teary eyed by his declaration. His eyes mirrored his words and was also teary eyed. He took out something from his pocket. Then, he suddenly knelt in front of her.
When he opened his palm, there was an oval shaped diamond ring. “I offer to you my hand and this ring, Maya. Will you take it?” Maya just started at the ring at the center of his palm. She couldn’t respond.
“Ngayon ko na sinabi sa’yo because whether I say it now or next year, it will be the same for me. I want it established now so there is no doubt, sweetheart. I love you and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you please, please marry me?”
Maya’s heart was overwhelmed by her emotions. She felt the same and she couldn’t deny her own feelings. In the end she said “Yes” as her tears finally fell down her face.
Richard’s happiness couldn’t be contained in his smile and gestures. “Yes, thank you.” He stood up and hugged her.
Over dinner, Mamang noticed a different aura with Richard and Maya. She saw how the two were exchaning meaningful looks. More so with Richard, whose smiling face and happy mood was very evident. Finally, she couldn’t help but comment.
“Aba, Richard, parang ang saya-saya mo, ‘nak. Umattend lang kayo ng kasalan kanina eh parang napako na ang ngiti sa labi mo.” Mamang handed Richard’s favorite dish of kare-kare to him.
Then Mamang further commented, “Kaka Ising, ngayon ko lang napansin, nakapag kare-kare ka pa. Talagang malakas itong si Richard sa’yo ah.”
“Syempre naman, minsan lang kung bumisita ang batang ‘yan. Manok ko ‘yan. O ano bata, may progresso ba tayo?” Inang Ising looked at him with squinted eyes.
The others on the table were observing them at the same time eating their dinner.
Maya who was seated beside Richard observed Inang Ising and Richard. She already know they have a secret after Richard disclosed everything to her. She suddenly felt self-conscious when she saw Inang Ising’s eyes focused on her ring finger. Her grandmother noticed her ring which sparkled when the light hit it.
Richard was smiling broadly at Inang Ising as if confirming her discovery.
“Ayy, tinamaan ng magaling! Sa wakas ay may malaking pagtitipon na sa ating pamilya.” She commented as she stood up. She went to Ricky’s side and hug him and then went to Maya to do the same.
“Congratulations, apo.” Inang Ising kissed Maya on the cheek and Maya didn’t need to say anything.
“O kayong mga abuela d’yan, pwede n’yo ng batiin itong dalawang ito dahil pumayag na ang apo natin na magpakasal kay Ricardo.”
It was only then that the others in the dining table understood what was happening. Congratulatory words erupted in Maya’s home. Apparently, all the grandmothers have been waiting for this moment as they have been wanting their youngest grand daughter to settle down. Nanay Teresita watched them with tears in her eyes. She was aware Richard was going to propose anytime that week.
It was then Inang Kosang asked the big date question. “So, kailan ang kasalan mga anak?”
Maya was quick to respond with a smile on her face. “Mga limang taon pa po.”
“Ano ‘ka mo?” Everyone chorused. Richard’s face had the incredolous look.
“Aba, hindi maari ‘yan Maya. Baka kalansay na ako noon” Inang Kosang fanned herself as if her blood pressure went up.
Maya laughed. “Kayo naman, hindi na mabiro. Pag-uusapan pa po namin. Kakapropose lang, gusto nyo naman kasalan agad agad.”
Everyone heaved a sigh of relief.