“Ricardo bakit naman madalian ang alis mo? Di man lang tuloy kami nakapaghanda.”
A very upset and annoyed Manang Fe was fixing Richard’s clothes.
“Manang emergency po kasi. Kailangan ko talagang makabalik doon at makausap si Father Santi.”
“Hindi ba pwedeng ipagpaliban yan?”
“Hindi na po Manang. Mas makakabalik ako agad dito kapag naasikaso ko lahat sa Rome. Kailangan ko na talagang makausap si Father Santi.”
“Makakabalik dito? Babalik ka pa?”
A hopeful smile was seen in Manang Fe’s face. This stopped her from ranting.
Richard hugged her from behind. Nilambing nya si Manang Fe coz he knows how sad she felt when she knew about his flight tomorrow.
“Opo Manang babalik ako kaya wag ka ng magalit. Dito na ulit ako. Makikita nyo na ako palagi.”
He was on an early flight to Manila and since there’s only one flight from San Nicolas, he was sure that James will be on the same flight. He wanted to talk to him and fix things asap.
True enough James was there.
When they landed in Manila, they spent an hour discussing about the possible annulment and what both their plans for Maya and Luke are.
It was decided that Richard will fix everything in Rome first. He will resign too from his teaching jobs and turnover all his unfinished projects.
James needs to go back to his work as well but he promised to come home if he will be needed by both Maya and Richard.
“Hi Luke. How are you? How’s mom?”
He called Luke the moment he arrived in Rome.
“Tito Ricky! Okay naman po kami ni mom. She’s cooking spaghetti. I requested it kasi.”
The little boy chuckled. He teared up just hearing his son laugh. He gripped his phone tightly trying to control his tears from falling and trying to control his voice from breaking.
“Asan ka po Tito Ricky? Punta ka dito sa bahay. Eat tayo ng niluluto ni mom.”
That did it. He could no longer control himself that he allowed his tears to flow. He was trying so hard to normalize his voice and stop sniffling but the boy already heard it.
“Tito Ricky, okay ka lang po? You sound like may sipon ka po. Wait I’ll call mom.”
Before he could stop Luke, he already left the phone to call his mom.
“Chard you’re sick daw sabi ni Luke.”
“Hindi naman Maya. Sipon lang.” He lied.
“Naku uminom ka ng maraming tubig at magpahinga ka agad. Papuntahin mo dito si Joma. Nagluto kasi ako ng spaghetti kasi Luke topped his class. Padalhan kita.”
“Maya wala ako jan. Nakabalik na ako dito sa Rome.”
“Ha! Okay. Akala ko kasi dadaan ka pa do to bago ka umalis.”
Her voice turned sad.
“Babalik naman ako. May kailangan lang asikasuhin. O sige Maya. Congrats kay Luke. Hug him for me. You guys take care.”
He abruptly ended the call for he can’t control his emotions anymore.
It’s been a month after Richard left.
“Tito Ricky!” Luke hurriedly met him by their gate.
The boy leaped in his arms. He carried Luke and he hugged the boy tightly.
They were on the phone daily when he was still in Rome.
Richard makes is a point to call his son. They talk about piano, school, toys, Maya and anything they could think of. Maya never suspected anything. She was beyond happy that Luke is in constant communication with his dad.
Maya was surprised to see him.
“Hi Luke! I got some goodies for you. Go inside na muna and ask yaya Leah to prepare it.”
When Luke left to go find his yaya Leah, Richard approached a dumbfounded Maya who was glued to where she was standing.
He stared at her and with all the love he was feeling, he gave her a very tight hug.
He had tears in his eyes when he disengaged from the hug. He stared at her eyes…
“Why didn’t you tell me Maya?”
“Why didn’t you tell me about Luke?”
Then she bowed her head, her misty eyes avoiding his gaze.
He held her face gently and wiped the tears in her eyes.
“I’m sorry Chard. I’m very sorry. Gusto ko namang sabihin pero… pero…”
Then she cried.
He gathered her in his arms.
“It’s okay Maya. Nandito na ako. I won’t leave you and Luke.”
In between sobs, she asked.
“Pano mo nalaman?”
“James. He went to my place before he left. He gave me your box.”
She was surprised and embarrassed as well. She knows then contents of the box bared her life to him.
He noticed it.
“Thank you Maya. Thank you for Luke. Thank you for those letters. Thank you for all the memories you had in that box. I could relive the early years of our son which I missed with that.”
Then she slowly gazed at him with her doe-shaped eyes brimming with happy tears.
Both of them with eyes welling with tears, he slowly claimed her lips and kissed her with the longing, love he felt for her. He hopes for the wonderful future together.
Preview of the Next Chapter:
“Mom you’re kissing Tito Ricky?”
A bewildered boy witnessed his mom kissing his Tito Ricky, the person he is so fond of.
The boy alternately stared at them with confusion.
Richard held Maya’s hand tightly as they both faced the most important person to them, their son Luke.