Traces of Love 7
Richard called Maya. He invited her to his home. He said he had some gifts he bought for Sunshine. Actually he did it to be able to see her. He was aware that she will visit Sky and was hopeful that she could spare a few hours with him.
“Sige Chard dadaan ako dyan sainyo pagpunta ko kay Sky this weekend.” She promised him.
Just that mere promise from Maya made him smile already and made him excited.
“I’m looking forward to that Maya. What do you want? Ipaghahanda kita. Do you still love adobo or do you want something else? Yun niluluto kong pasta, naalala ko that you like that one. I remember you love brownies, okay ba yun?” He excitedly asked her.
“Chard ano ka ba? Wag ka nang mag-abala. Ako na lang ang magdadala ng makakain. What do you want?”
“Wala Maya. Just be here. I missed you.”
“Oa naman to. Lagi naman tayong nag-uusap.”
“Bihira Maya. You just call me once a week.”
“Naku nagtampo ka pa. Sige na, I’ll visit you this weekend.”
“Okay Maya. Thank you.”
He ended the call with a beaming smile on his face.
He missed Maya so much.
He’s been longing for her.
She never visited him anymore after he was discharged from the hospital.
They talk on the phone but she’s been distant and she makes sure that their topics would dwell on Sunshine, his recovery and even on Sky.
Now that Maya agreed on visiting him, he won’t waste any chances of telling her what he feels for her.
Sky was in constant communication with Richard without his mother’s knowledge. He would visit his Tito Richard, whose home was near his school. He never stopped calling him by that name even after all these years. That’s how he called him when he still worked with his mom.
Even when he was still young and he would sometimes tag along on his mom’s tapings and shootings, Sky already developed a certain fondness of Richard.
Even when he found out that he was Sunshine’s father, Sky never harbored any hatred or anger towards his Tito Richard.
He was very happy to learn that his mom saw her greatest love on a train when she visited him.
He had been praying that his mom would find someone to take care of her, someone who would share her life with, someone who would love her. When he learned that his Tito Richard was back in her life, he believed that his prayers have been answered.
He thought everything has turned out well especially when Sunshine met her dad.
He was wrong. He wondered why his mom suddenly stopped talking about him. He also noticed that she no longer visits his Tito Richard in the hospital after Sunshine returned to the Philippines.
When his mom asked him to go to his Tito Richard’s place to get the stuff he had for Sunshine, Sky was convincing his mom to go with him but Maya was ready with her excuses.
This morning when Maya told him that she will pick up the stuff he had for Sunshine, he prepared for her visit.
He cooked her favorite pasta and even baked her favorite brownies. He would have cooked adobo if he had time. Maya told him that she can’t stay longer for she has to go back to New York after lunch.
He even fixed himself. With the help of his nurse, he took a longer bath and spent quite a couple of minutes choosing what to wear.
He smiled while infront of the mirror figuring out what to wear and what cologne to use.
He felt like a teenager and he can’t help but feel nervous. He just smiled at the absurdity of what he felt.
The moment a car stopped in front of his house in Boston, Richard already had that expectant happy look on his face.
He was in his wheelchair waiting for her arrival. He had the wide smile on his face which suddenly turned to a disappointed smirk, which he couldn’t help, the moment he realized that it was Sky and not Maya who will be getting the gifts for Sunshine.
He immediately recovered. He didn’t want Sky to feel bad. The boy had been very close to him. But Sky already saw how his Tito Richard’s excited, happy face suddenly turned sad and serious.
“Sky where’s your mom?”
“He sent me po kasi something came up. May important daw siyang gagawin. She will just call you tonight. Here po pala pinabibigay ni mom.” Sky handed him a basket of assorted pastries which Maya bought at a Filipino bakeshop in New York. They were Richard’s favorite when he was confined in the hospital.
“Thanks Sky. Let’s have lunch. I cooked. Maybe you could bring some for your mom. Yun mga gusto nya yun hinanda ko.” He tried to smile.
“You cooked po? Dapat di ka na nag-abala Tito. Napagod ka pa. I know you don’t have helpers here atsaka your nurse, hindi yan marunong magluto.” Sky laughed. He knows how Richard lives after spending most of his weekends visiting him. He also got close to his male nurse and found out that aside from caring for a patient, he doesn’t know any household chores.
“Okay lang. I was happy doing it. Basta dalhan mo ang mom mo so she can taste them too.”
They had lunch together but instead of staying longer, Sky bid goodbye to him. He needs to attend to something very important.
“Tito, I’ll be back po tomorrow. Thank you for these.”
Richard just gave Sky a fatherly hug and asked him to give his greetings to his mom.
He sighed heavily when his nurse closed his gate after Sky left.
Sky hurriedly went to his mom who was fixing his things in his school dorm.
“Oh anak, you saw Tito Richard already? Bakit ganyan ang hitsura mo?”
Sky was upset.
“Mom, prepare ka na. Ihatid kita kay Tito Richard. He was expecting you.”
“Sky I’m busy and we always talk to each other on the phone. I’m sure he understands. Alam naman nya yun eh.”
“Mom, he doesn’t complain but it doesn’t mean he’s not hurt.”
“Anak why would he get hurt naman. Ikaw talaga! Okay kami ni Tito Richard mo. We both know how busy my work is.” Maya was trying to downplay it but Sky was already annoyed.
“Hindi naman ikaw yun nakakita sa kanya mom. You’re not the one who saw him. You’re not the one who saw how excited he was only to be disappointed when he found out that you won’t be able to visit him. You haven’t seen how he prepared for your visit. Nagluto siya mom, despite his condition. He cooked your favorite dishes. Why can’t you even spare him even a couple of hours? That’s not too much to ask for. May ginawa ba siya sa’yo na hindi ko alam because if meron, ako mismo I won’t visit him anymore. I would stop spending my weekends with him.”
Maya was surprised by Sky’s outburst and also surprised to learn that he’s been visiting Richard.
“You visit him?”
“Yes mom. I do. I spend my free time with him. I want to get to know the father of my sister and mas gusto ko siyang makilala now na malaki na ako. He was always my favorite when I was younger and now that I have the opportunity to get closer to him, I don’t want to waste it. He always treated me like a son and I would always be grateful to him for that.”
“Sky he is really a very good person. I’m glad that you agree with me on that.”
“Yun na nga mom. He is a good person but why are you avoiding him?”
“I am not.”
“Mom, di lang ako nagsasalita but I know you are avoiding Tito Richard. I was just wondering why you became distant again all of a sudden when before you had him meet Sunshine, you were always excited to be with him. You even sacrificed your work just to be able to take care of him. Tinulungan mo siya when he was sick and obviously he was inspired and motivated to get well because you and Sunshine were by his side.”
“Sky kailangan kong bumawi sa work ko. You know that. Wala naman kaming problema. I’m just busy with work and besides we do talk on the phone.”
“But you don’t have work now and I am sure that Tito Richard is more important than fixing my room. Kaya if talagang wala kayong problem, prepare ka na mom, ihahatid kita sa kanya.”
“Okay para matahimik ka I’ll visit him. Just give me a few minutes to prepare.”
“Fine. I’ll be waiting outside.”
Maya knows how stubborn her son is. Actually she was surprised to learn how Sky felt towards Richard. She was more surprised to find out that her son had been visiting Richard. It was a gesture that warmed her heart. If only they could be like a real family, everything would have been perfect.
As much as she wanted to distance herself from him, she didn’t want Sky and even Sunshine to notice it. She didn’t want them to change in the way they treat Richard. She needs to visit him and act normal. She shouldn’t let her feelings of hurt or jealousy be evident. She could do it for her children.
Richard was at his backyard garden when Maya arrived. Sky just dropped her off. It was his nurse, who was about to home, who opened the gate.
“Ma’m Maya. Glad you’re here. I need to go home now. Sir Richard is at the garden. Its over there.”
“It’s okay Wilson, I can manage.”
Richard wasn’t aware that Maya was there that’s why he was surprised to hear her voice.
“Chard, pwede pang humabol ng lunch?” She joked but she wasn’t prepared to see the look on his face when he turned and faced her.
Richard’s eyes was so red and he obviously cried. His brows were also furrowed as he stared at her.
“Maya why are you avoiding me? I thought we’re okay.”
“Avoiding you? Hindi naman kita iniiwasan Chard.” She vehemently denied.
“Then why aren’t you visiting me anymore? I bet it was Sky who convinced you to come here. Why don’t you call me like the way you used to?” There was obvious hurt in his tone.
“I’m no longer needed Chard. Magaling ka na rin naman. I need to report to work kasi baka mawalan ako ng trabaho.” She tried to reason out.
He took what she said negatively.
“So I was right all along. Kinaawaan mo lang ako. That’s the only reason why you helped me.” He couldn’t hide what he felt.
“I’m trying to make myself better para hindi ako maging pabigat. I am very much aware that I’m a burden to you. Ginagawa ko naman lahat.”
“Richard don’t say that. Ano ka ba!” She was worried hearing those words from him.
But he just continued…
“I’m even undergoing my therapy now. I want to be able to walk again for you Maya, for the kids, Sunshine and also Sky. Di ba you told me to make you a reason to want to get better. Well i did that. Ikaw ang dahilan. Konting panahon pa Maya. Please wag mo naman akong bitawan.” He could no longer take it that he was now again silently sobbing.
“Why are you saying that Richard. It doesn’t matter to me whether you walk or not. I was there hindi dahil naaawa ako sa’yo. I cared for you.”
Maya was now in front of him while he was avoiding her eyes. He was feeling so vulnerable, so useless and now embarrassed that he seemed so broken crying in front of her. He even seemed begging. She was trying to wipe his tear-stained cheeks.
He still continued despite his tears.
“Well i dont see it that way. Maybe I should make my therapy daily. I just do it thrice a week. Sinabihan ko na yun therapist ko na araw arawin para mas mabilis yun paglakad ko but di siya pumayag. Stephanie is just like her husband, my cardiologist, Dr. Madrid. I requested for an intensive therapy para mas mapadali yun paglakad ko pero hindi daw pwede kasi I just had my bypass. Maybe I should change her. I’ll find another therapist. I want to be able to walk soon so I will be the one to visit you, bring you to and from work. Kakayanin ko naman. Just don’t leave me again.…”
Maya didn’t hear the rest of what Richard has to say. Her heart was now relieved to learn that she was worrying and jealous over nothing. Sinaktan pa nya si Richard with her baseless assumptions.
“I don’t want to waste time. I’ve already done that but Maya habang hnahabol ko ang oras para gumaling agad ako, panay naman ang takbo mo papalayo. I’m already hurt. I thought we had something special. I thought you….”
But before he could say more.. Maya held his face and suddenly kissed him slowly, tenderly as if conveying whatever she wants to tell him. Richard was shocked, pleasantly so. He just closed his eyes while responding to her kiss with equal intensity.