After five days, Tatay Anastacio was finally laid to rest.
Carlo needed to stay a little longer for his Nanay. He needs to help her adjust without his Tatay Anastacio. Maybe he could even convince her to come with him to Punta Verde.
Amor wanted stay longer but she was needed at Punta Verde the soonest time possible.
The governor would be attending a conference abroad and she needs to meet with him before he leaves.
Besides she could feel a sense of animosity from Carlo’s mother.
For her five days stay, she was able to talk to Carlo’s Nanay Fe once.
She wanted to talk to her to at least learn about their ancestors.
She was sure that whatever mystery the portrait of the man named Richard Lim, who looks exactly like Carlo has, Nanay Fe may have the answers.
She badly needed to find out.
But now is not the proper time. Nanay Fe was avoiding her.
She may be overcome with grief and she wanted to be left alone that’s why Amor didn’t insist on talking to her.
She also probably wasn’t used to meeting women his son brings home.
Well she had been informed by the neighbors that she was the first woman whom Carlo brought home to meet his mother. They even thought that she was his girlfriend.
They were surprised to learn that they were just friends, as Carlo claimed to his Nanay and to his neighbors.
“Thank you Amor for being here. It meant a lot.”
“I’m the one who’s supposed to thank you for welcoming me despite my sudden intrusion. I loved it here. People are warm. It’s far from our busy life in Punta Verde.”
“I’m glad you loved it here. I hope I could bring you here next time on a happier circumstance, Amor.”
“I would love to Carlo. I’ll look forward to that.”
The two bid each other goodbye but not before exchanging phone numbers.
Since Amor wasn’t so fond of riding a chopper especially without Carlo with her, she decided to have her driver fetch her from Benguet.
She went home to Punta Verde bringing with her the happiness and contentment she found at the mountains of Benguet.
Even though she wasn’t able to find the answers she was searching for, the five days she spent with Carlo made her appreciate him more.
She can’t explain it but the few days spent with the man she barely knew seemed to be the happiest for her, it seemed familiar like it already happened in the past.
She could feel that certain connection and vowed to herself that she will do her best to find out what this connection is all about.
“Ang tagal mo na dyan di ka pa ba uuwi? Aba Carlo hindi ka man lang tumawag. Anong gusto mong palabasin?”
“Cecilia please, I am tired. If you will call to rant, I’d rather end this.”
“Aba at ikaw pa ang pagod pagkatapos mong magbakasyon.”
“Hindi ako nagbakasyon. Namatay si Tatay.”
He ended the call without even waiting for a response from his girlfriend.
Cecilia felt guilty all of a sudden.
The past days that Carlo didn’t contact her,
all she thought of was that he was having a good time, maybe enjoying with other girls.
She didn’t even notice how sad he was the last time they talked.
She wasn’t sensitive enough to know what he feels. She had been so selfish.
Cecilia met Carlo in one of the business summits in Punta Verde.
She needed a loan to put up her restaurant business and Carlo’s bank provided it.
The relationship was smooth sailing but she wanted more.
She wanted commitment but Carlo seem uninterested in bringing what they have to a higher level.
That’s when she started having doubts on his feelings for her.
“Anak saan mo nakilala si Amor? Bakit kasama mo siya dito?”
“Nay, kliyente po namin siya sa banko.”
“Matagal mo na siyang kakilala?”
“Hindi po Nay. Humigit kumulang isang linggo pa lang.”
“Nobya mo ba siya?”
“Nay hindi po. Pero nagugustuhan ko siya. Sobrang yaman at sikat nya pero kita nyo naman, mapagkumbaba, nakibagay siya sa mga kasamahan natin dito. Sobrang laki ng pangalan nya sa Punta Verde.”
“Kung hindi mo nobya at magiisang linggo pa lang kayong magkakilala bakit sumama sya sayo dito?”
“Nakasabay ko siya sa eroplano tapos nakita nya siguro yun lungkot ko. Hindi ko rin alam Nay. Nagulat din ako pero nagpapasalamat sa malasakit nya. Likas na mabait lang talaga ata siya. At Nay hindi ko maipaliwanag ngunit mukhang kilala ko na siya noon pa. Kamukha siya ng napapanaginipan ko.”
“Naku Carlo kung ano-ano na ang naiisip mo. Magapahinga na tayo.”
“Sige Nay. Goodnight po.”
As Nanay Fe retired to her room, memories of the past came back.
She remembered the day she and her husband found Carlo wrapped in a thick cloth, inside a basket as they were walking near the rice paddies of Itogon.
“What is Amor’s connection to him. Why does she look exactly like the woman in the picture, the woman who lived in 1890 as her picture stated.” Nanay Fe had these questions as well.
She and Anastacio found Carlo in 1968. She and her husband had been wondering about the significance of the pictures found with him inside the basket. They couldn’t be his parents because they lived almost a century before Carlo was born.
As he grew up and they saw the semblance he has with the man in the picture, she and Anastacio decided to just keep the past a secret.
Until she met Amor.
“How are you Ms. Powers? Have you returned to Punta Verde? I miss having you around here.”
He sent her a message but instead of replying with a text, Amor called him.
“Hello Carlo. Yes I’m in Punta Verde now. How’s everything there? How’s Nanay Fe? How are you?”
“It’s sad here now. But we’ll get used to it. I’ll try to convince Nanay to come with me to Punta Verde. How about you Amor? How are you? I’m looking forward to seeing you.”
“Grabe ka Carlo, isang araw pa lang naman tayong di nagkikita miss mo na agad ako?”
“Of course, I miss the woman who made me smile ng mga panahon na sobrang lungkot ko.”
“Well thank you and I miss you too. I also miss the man who made me feel at peace, and made me appreciate the beauty of life.”
“Really? I did that?”
“Yes. Masaya dyan sa inyo. I love your place.”
“Yun place lang?”
“Seriously, I would see you when I return to Punta Verde. Let’s have dinner or something.”
“What do you have in mind?”
“Ewan, ikaw ano bang naiisip mo?”
He smiled on the other end, getting giddy with their conversation.
“I don’t know if you will agree with what I have in mind.”
“We’ll see when you get back here. Goodnight Carlo. It was nice talking to you.”
“Goodnight Amor. Dream of me.” He joked.
Then barely a whisper she replied…
“I always do.”