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My Safe Refuge 7
“Yan pa lang naman ang trait na napapansin ko eh. Ay wait…dagdagan ko.. matapang, maalalahanin, responsible na daddy… Yun! Marami na yan ha!” Then she giggled.
Inside that building, in the small kitchen, while the angry winds were roaring outside, a raging turmoil was also felt by the suddenly restless hearts of Richard Lim and Maya dela Rosa.
Maya and Richard stayed a couple of minutes in that kitchen.
They spent their time talking about the kids, his business and her online jobs. They learned many things about each other.
Richard found out that Maya is really a hands-on mom to Luke.
She proudly talked about her son, how responsible her son is even at a very young age, how her son acts like her mini-bodyguard, how they review for Luke’s lessons every night and how she teaches Luke how to sing and even dance because those were the talents she was good at.
The kids had a recent ‘show your talent’ assignment in school and while Nikki also sang, Luke did a One Direction song and dance number which he practiced with his mom.
Richard couldn’t stop laughing at how Maya animatedly demonstrated some of the dance moves she taught Luke.
“I bet the teachers enjoyed Luke’s dancing.” He was still laughing.
“Oo ata kasi they asked Luke to join their dance club. Pressure to Richard. Mapapasubo ang dance moves ko nito. Sabagay kailangan ko na rin naman. Exercise din to. At least hindi na ako kailangang pumunta ng gym.” She was laughing while talking about her son. She was so proud of Luke and he is the best thing that happened to her despite what happened to her and Luke’s dad.
“Siguro I’ll send Nikki to your house para maturuan mo din ng dance moves mo Maya. She also loves dancing kaso si Mama lang naman ang mahilig sa bahay and she dances yun mga pang ballroom.” He laughed.
“Alam mo magaling sumayaw si Nikki kasi when she stayed with us, I saw her dancing with Luke. Ginagaya lang nila yun mga choreography sa mga music videos on TV. She’s really good. I’m sure magaling ka ring sumayaw. Nahihiya ka lang aminin.” She teased him.
“Ah not me but her mom. Si Alex kasi magaling yun sumayaw at kumanta. She was more hands on kay Nikki then.” He sadly smiled as he suddenly remembered his late wife.
Richard also talked about how he raised his kids after his wife died. Maya on the other hand never discussed James and Richard never pried.
They couldn’t sleep. The storm was raging above their province but a brewing storm have been silently creating a turmoil in their once-calm hearts.
Both were already affected by each other’s presence. But both were trying their best to act unaffected and normal.
Maya could now notice Richard Lim’s handsome features- his thin lips, his chinky eyes which would even get chinkier when he laughs, his dimple, the way he smiles, the way he carries himself, his voice. He seemed perfect, like a guy any woman would be proud and happy to have. Maybe she was already aware that he is handsome even during their first few encounters but just dismissed it because of the situation she was in.
She’s been guarding her heart and made sure that she won’t entertain any feeling of fondness or attraction towards anyone.
She’s been through so much pain with her marriage with James which she doesn’t even know how to put a closure to for them to move on.
She doesn’t need any complications right now. Luke is her life now and whatever longing she feels to have someone to be with doesn’t deserve to be entertained.
“Ah Richard pasok na ako sa kwarto. Baka kasi magising si Luke. Salamat ulit ha.”
“You’ve been thanking me too much already. We are friends Maya. I’m sure if baliktad yun situation natin, you would have done the same. Sige na rest ka na coz I’m sure tomorrow’s going to be a busy day for all of us.”
“Sige Richard goodnight.”
Richard Lim left the building in his pick-up truck as soon as the howling winds stopped. It was still very early but he needs to check their house to ensure that looters won’t be able to enter in case the house wasn’t able to withstand the strong winds.
Together with Simon, Joma, Lino and Bugoy, they were busy surveying the damage done by the typhoon.
It was massive.
The big trees in front of their building were uprooted. Even the steel bars of the constructed auditorium just near the municipal hall were twisted beyond recognition.
Felled electric posts lined up the streets and in the eerie silence, cries for help by some victims could be heard.
Many houses lost their roofs and walls and many people were walking the streets with disbelief on their faces.
There were flashfloods in nearby towns and barangays. Many people lost their homes and some even lost their lives.
“Sir grabe pala yun pinsala. Hindi natin naririnig sa loob ng building pero malala pala.” It was Simon who voiced out his observation.
“Mga ilang buwan kaya mawawalan ng kuryente at tubig. Dito pa lang sa mga dinaraanan natin sobra na yun pinsala. Ang sabi sa radyo mas malakas yun bagyo sa karatig lugar natin.” Joma added.
“Sir kumusta kaya yun bahay ni Mrs. dela Rosa? Narinig ko may flashflood daw doon at maraming napinsala.” It was Lino.
“We will check it later after we’re done with the house. Yun building did you survey for damages Joma?”
“Yes Sir. Wala namang damage Sir maliban doon sa bahaging nalipad yun bubong ng bodega ng mga plasticwares. Di kasi yun naipasok kahapon.”
“Okay lang as long as everyone is safe.”
“Ay oo naman po Sir. Safe naman lahat yun mga sumilong sa building. Kagabi nagdagdag ng ilang pamilya kasi lumabas pa si Don Roberto at nakita nya yun ibang pamilya dyan may creek. Mabuti nga at pinatuloy nya kasi nawash out daw po yun mga bahay doon.”
“Ah yes. Mga kilala naman ni papa yun mga pamilya doon. May food supplies na ba sila? Baka magutom yun mga bata at yun mga lolo at lola.”
“Ah hindi po Sir kasi inasikaso na yun ng mama nyo.”
“Ah good. Simon later remind Doris to give them clothes and ask them their needs. Then ask Liza to just get it from the store. Alam na nyan yun. I guess those families would have to stay a longer with us.”
“Sige po Sir.”
After checking on their house and the nearby streets, Richard and Maya together with Joma, Bugoy and Lino were now on their way to San Nicolas to check Maya’s house. They left Simon as he also needs to check on the needs of those who took shelter at the Lim building.
As they traveled to San Nicolas,they witnessed how strong the typhoon have been as evidenced by the damage to infrastructures, trees, houses, buildings, roads, bridge, properties and even lives of people as well. There was confusion and chaos from groups of people on the streets.
Good thing that Richard used his pickup truck which made it easier for them to maneuver the roads which were still blocked by uprooted trees and electric posts.
They also had a chainsaw with them which they could easily use if ever big logs or trees block their way.
Some areas were still flooded.
As they were nearing San Nicolas, Maya already had an idea on what their house could have experienced.
They have talked to some people they passed by and they have been informed that the storm surge reached the residential areas of San Nicolas which momentarily created a flashflood in the area.
They also saw the muddied concrete houses which even reached the upper level of the houses they passed by. It meant that the water level could have reached the second floor of most houses. The water have subsided but it left mud and a mixture of trash and anything the flood was able to wash out from different houses.
As soon as the pickup truck stopped in front of Maya’s property, she immediately hopped down the very big and tall car, not waiting for Richard to assist her. Maya came prepared as she donned rubber boots, a working jeans, plain dark shirt and a cap as well.
The house was badly damaged. The steel gate was nowhere to be found. The fence though, was able to hold up but it needs to be repaired badly. Maya’s main door was safe. The pieces of wood Joma and Simon used to secure the main door served its purpose.
The windows though were broken as the floods could have forced its way in the house. All the furnitures were in shambles and a mixture of mud and trash were able to enter Maya’s house.
It was depressing to see her newly-repaired house in this state. All the furnitures, appliances she invested in were rendered useless.
Maya was staring blankly at the sight before her. Mixed emotions of frustration, anger, fear, helplessness were beginning to engulf her. The repairs alone would need a big amount and she was afraid that their savings might be depleted. She wanted to cry and let out what she’s feeling but she vowed to herself that she shouldn’t be weak. She has Luke and Manang Fe and Leah with her. They will be okay, she convinced herself.
Richard, who was busy removing the pieces of wood and branches of trees which entered Maya’s house, saw her and immediately went to her side.
“Hey, everything will be okay. What’s important is that you and Luke are safe.”
She got back to her senses when she heard his voice. She nodded her head and smiled at him.”Hindi ko maisip kung anong nangyari samin kung hindi nyo kami kinuha Richard. Siguro takot na takot si Luke. Salamat talaga.” She couldn’t imagine the trauma had they been here the night of the typhoon.
“Ayan ka na naman. Di ba sabi ko stop mentioning it.”
“Kahit na. Thank you pa rin.”
He smiled and shook his head. “Syanga pala, you don’t have to worry of the repairs kasi insured naman yun bahay nyo.”
“Ay hindi siya insured Richard. Dapat pala ginawa ko yun.”
“Yes it is kasi lahat ng projects ni Ryan, he applies for insurance.” He needed to lie. He will just talk to Ryan. He wanted to help her badly and this is the only way he could think of that she won’t decline.
“Pero wala naman siyang nabanggit at wala rin naman akong napirmahan.”
“Hindi ko alam yun setup ni Ryan. Maybe yun firm nya and all his projects regardless of who owns it is automatically insured. Ganun siguro.”
“Naku sana! At least di na mababawasan savings ko para kay Luke.” She was elated with the information Richard shared.
They spent a couple of hours cleaning up. Since they had Joma, Lino and Bugoy with them, the place had been cleaned in no time. After securing the locks and installing a temporary gate out of the GI sheets they brought with them, they were now on their way back to the Lim building.
Richard’s admiration of Maya was heightened when he saw her cleaning and scrubbing walls and floors unmindful if she looked dirty and sweaty. She seemed like a very industrious woman. Hindi maarte, he thought. He also witnessed how she tried to keep up a brave front despite what happened to her house. He badly wanted to protect her and her son. They deserve someone who could take care of them.
He hopes to be that person.
“Brod, hindi naman pwede yun. Malulugi naman ako nyan. Hindi naman insured yun mga itinayo kong bahay dyan. Atsaka hindi ko naman kasalanan yun bagyo.”
“But Ryan, you should have seen the damage. Di ba tatlo yun nagpagawa sa’yo ng bahay dito. Baka naman for humanitarian reasons pwede mong irepair for free. I could provide all the materials for free as well.”
“Teka brod, may sakit ka ba at kailangan mong gumawa ng kabutihan? May taning ang bahay mo?”
“Sira! Wala! I’m just concerned of the people here. Grabe yun damage and destruction brod.”
“Baka naman ok yun mga itinayo kong bahay.”
“Sana nga okay but I saw yun karamihan kasi and even concrete houses grabe yun mga sira. Just check on your clients if i were you, especially your friend, the person you were mentioning, yun may anak.” Richard couldn’t admit to Ryan that he and Maya were past the introduction phase.
“Ah oo brod si Maya and Luke. Sige tatawagan ko nga. Kawawa naman yun. Sige kumusta na lang sa lahat dyan.”
After they ended the call, Ryan immediately called Maya.
“Maya, okay lang kayo dyan? I heard matindi yung naging pinsala ng bagyo sa inyo.”
“Ryan! Okay naman kami. Salamat naman at napatawag ka.”
“I was worried kasi nabalitaan ko yun flashflood dyan sa inyo. How are you? Si Luke? Si Lola Fe and Leah?” He sounded really concerned and worried. Maya is after all, his friend already.
“Okay kami at sobrang salamat Ryan ha. Natouch naman ako sayo. Ibinilin mo pa talaga kami ni Luke kay Richard. Nandito kami sa building nila ngayon. Dito kami nagpalipas ng gabi ng bagyo. Hindi ko alam ang gagawin ko kung hindi nya kami sinundo. Sabi mo raw kasi sa kanya asikasuhin nya kami. Salamat sa inyong dalawa ha.” She was thanking him profusely.
Ryan was surprised.
“Kilala mo na si Richard Lim? Bakit wala man lang siyang nabanggit sa’kin?”
Maya was surprised as well. All the while she knew that Richard was giving them extra attention because she was a friend of Ryan.
Ryan hid his smile. He gathered that his friend had been making progress with Maya and was making him as an excuse to be near her. Even that call about the house insurance was definitely a move of his best friend.
He was planning on introducing the two but was pleasantly surprised to learn that they’ve already met.
He needs to see Richard Lim. He is looking forward to teasing his friend.