A/N Since patapos na yun Traces…
Para sa may favorite ng song na to.
“Edz kilala mo ba yan?”
“Hindi Maya pero ilang gabi na yang umiinom dito. Napansin namin ni Emman ng isang araw kasi kami yun nagserve ng order nya. May kasama siya that time. At girl ang bango bango nya. Type mo ano? Ang cute kaso mukhang lasenggo.”
“Ikaw talaga Edz. Hindi ko type no! Nagtatanong lang ako kasi nakailang bote na yan. Baka mamaya sa sobrang kalasingan makalimutan ng magbayad.”
“Ikaw talaga Maya yan pa talaga naisip mo.”
“Aba siyempre! Ayoko ng mangyari yun dun sa isang customer na ako yun nagbayad ng lahat ng nainom. Nag-iipon ako ng pamasahe pauwi ng San Nicolas Edz. Baka mabawasan pa.”
“Eh hindi ka naman pinapabayad ni Sir James. Inako mo lang naman.”
“Naku Edz kawawa naman sina Sir. Ambait na nga nila sa atin. Atsaka kasalanan ko rin naman kasi nasabihan na ako ni Sir na wag nang bigyan ng orders eh, bigay pa ako ng bigay. Basta ayoko ng maulit yun. Baka yang Chinito na yan ganun din ang gawin.”
“Maya alam ko naibigay na nyan yun card nya bago pa siya mag order kaya safe tayo sa kanya. Bayad na yun lahat ng nainom at maiinom nya.”
“Naninigurado lang Edz.”
“Maiba ako. Uuwi ka ng San Nicolas? Uyyy… siguro nandun si Simon. Bumaba ba ng barko?”
“Wala! Ikaw talaga! Atsaka hindi naman ako uuwi kung si Simon lang naman. Uuwi ako kasi birthday ni Nanay at nagusap kami ni Kute na isorpresa siya ng konting salo-salo.”
“Ganun ba? Eh teka nagkalabuan ba kayo ni Simon? Parang hindi ka man lang excited kapag siya ang pinaguusapan.”
“Ewan ko ba Edz. Wala naman kasi akong nararamdaman ni kahit konting spark sa kanya eh.”
“Spark? Ano ka lucis? Hoy Maya dela Rosa 25 ka na! At si Simon stable na yung tao. Mabait, magalang, gwapo at mahal na mahal ka. Ano pa bang hinahanap mo?”
“Naku Edz ikaw pala ang nakakakita ng lahat ng qualities nya eh ikaw na lang kaya ilakad ko sa kanya.”
“Maya ano ka ba!”
“Naku Edz. Wala sakin yun. Sa totoo lang gusto ko ng makahanap ng iba si Simon para tigilan nya na ako. Naaawa na kasi ako sa kanya eh hindi ko naman matumbasan ang pagtingin nya sa’kin. Sige na Edz ilalakad kita sa kanya.” Maya was feeling giddy at the thought.
Simon Corpuz was her childhood friend in San Nicolas. When they reached college, Simon started courting her and she had always reminded him that she just treats him as a very good friend but Simon was persistent. Since their families were very good friends, Maya didn’t have the heart to completely turn him down.
“Atsaka Edz crush mo rin naman siya di ba? Halata ko kaya. Mas excited ka pa nga tuwing siya ang topic.”
“Maya hindi ah!” Edz vehemently denied but she was already turning red from Maya’s teasing.
“Okay lang sakin yun. Ano ka ba Edz! At syempre naman hindi ako papayag na mapunta kung kanino si Simon. Mahal ko rin kaya yun kahit na kaibigan lang.”
“Oo na Maya, ikaw talaga! Bilisan na natin at end na ng shift natin. Si Emman sasabay din daw sa atin eh.”
“Ay naku Edz nakiusap ako kay Sir James ng overtime ngayon eh. Kaya mamaya pa ako matatapos.”
“Ha! Mag-isa kang uuwi mamaya? Delikado Maya atsaka malakas yun ulan. Dapat umaga ka na lang nagpaschedule ng additional hours mo.”
“Eh Edz mahina sa umaga. Wala ring tips yun customers. Kapag gabi kung minsan nakakaswerte tayo ng isang libo. Naku malaki yun ah!”
“Ewan ko sa’yo Maya. Ikaw na lang kaya magdala ng kotse ko. Tutal madali naman kaming makakasakay ni Emman.”
“Wag na Edz. Marami namang taxi nyan mamaya. Sige na. Maghanda na kayo ni Emman at alam kong pagod na pagod ang isang yun. Ang dami nya kayang niluto sa kitchen. Halos lahat specialty kasi nya yun orders kanina.”
“Sigurado ka Maya?”
“Oo naman ako pa!”
Maya was arranging the wine glasses. She had 30 minutes more before she ends her overtime.
“Maya kaya nyo na ba ni Lino dito? Tumawag na kasi si Ma’m Inah nyo. May lagnat si Lance at kailangan naming dalhin sa hospital. Pwede na rin nating isara kaso may tatlo pang customers. Baka magreklamo ang mga yan.”
“Ay opo Sir James. Kayang kaya na namin. Mukha namang mababait ang mga customers natin. At kung may manggugulo, kaya na yan ni Mang Lem.”
“Ikaw talaga. Tingnan mo nga antok na antok na si Mang Lem. O sige ha. Inayos ko na yun earnings for today so safe kayo. Hindi kayo mahoholdup.”
“Sir James talaga nanakot pa.Sige na po. Kaya na namin dito. At sana okay lang po si Lance.”
Maya, Edz and Emman had been the first employees of James and Inah Ventura’s Cafe-Resto-Bar. James and his wife started their business beside the Time Airways office where his wife used to work as an stewardess, three years ago.
The business had been good but the place they were renting was eventually used for expansion of the Time Airways office. James and his wife decided to transfer to a more busy area in Ortigas where call centers and other offices and condominiums would certainly bring more customers.
Their three very loyal employees, Maya, Emman and Edz stayed with the couple. They were treated so well and they were properly compensated that they never thought of leaving. Now after three years and still going strong, they have added Lino, Ruby, Joshua and Mang Lem in their employ.
The business operates as a restaurant and coffeeshop from 5 am till 8pm then adds drinks from 8 pm til 1 am for those customers who wanted to end the night with a a bottle or beer or glass of wine.
It was a jazz- themed cafe resto-bar so their customers are not those noisy-riotous kind but mostly professionals who just wanted to unwind.
“Maya yun isang customer dun sa may pinto nakikipagdiskusyon kay Mang Lem.” Lino worriedly reported to Maya who was getting her stuff. They were closing for the day.
“Ha! Sino dun? Lumabas na lahat ng customers kanina di ba? May pinapasok ulit si Mang Lem?”
“Kasi Maya nakalimutan ng isang customer yun cellphone nya kaya pinapasok ulit ni Mang Lem.
Mang Lem was their guard. He was a serious looking yet very lovable man in his 60’s and he served the Ventura’s as their driver for many years. He was hired by James as their night guard. Bugoy, the younger guard is incharge during the day.
“Ah teka Lino papakiusapan ko na lang.”
“Maya mahinahon lang dapat ha! Baka magkagulo.” Lino was worried already.
“Ano ka ba Lino! Ako pa! Sige ako ang bahala. Papakiusapan ko lang.”
Maya saw Mang Lem patiently explaining to the Chinese customer whom she and Edz were talking about hours ago.
“Sir, sarado na po kasi kami. Hindi na pwedeng mag-order ng isa pang bote.”
“Pero Manong isa na lang. I just need it to clear my head tonight. Kahit magbayad na lang ako sa abala na madudulot ko.” The guy was also pleading and does not seem to be one who wants trouble.
“Sir, nakarami na po kayo delikado na rin po kung magmamaneho pa kayo.”
“No kaya ko pa!”
This was when Maya interrupted.
“Sir, sarado na po kasi kami and we also need to rest. Kung gusto nyo po ihahatid kayo ni Lino sa sasakyan nyo or ikukuha namin kayo ng taxi. Marami na po kayong nainom Sir.”
He was startled with another voice talking behind him. He was so frustrated and he badly wanted to have another drink as he felt that the previous ones he took didn’t even do its purpose of drowning his consciousness.
As he turned towards where the other voice came from, he was met with pair of doe-shaped eyes, very lovely face and lips, which distractingly, doesn’t stop moving.
He was about to open his mouth to argue some more but the lady beat him to it again.
“Atsaka Sir, dapat hindi kayo naglalalasing. Paano yan kung maaksidente kayo or makaaksidente kayo. Kung ano man ang rason nyo sa pagiinom, hindi yun sapat para ipagwalang bahala ang kapakanan ng ibang tao. Paano kung makasagasa o kaya makabangga kayo ng isang padre de pamilya, asawa o anak? Di nyo man lang naisip yon? Basta gusto nyo lang magpakalasing, ganun lang?
He was already getting dizzy with the alcohol intake he had and now a headache is slowly creeping in with the nonstop blabbering of the lovely lady in front of him. With the desperate need to shut her off, he held her face with both hands and roughly forced his lips onto hers.
“I don’t give a damn if you detain me here the whole night or even the whole week or even the whole year. I don’t have a home to return to anyway. Besides I don’t regret having kissed her. It made me forget all the bad things that happened to me the past weeks. It’s the first time I felt good or rather excited in weeks. So i just don’t care.”
“Maniac! Pervert! Bastos!”