“I might have been in love before but it never felt this strong… Our dreams are young and we both know they’ll take us where we want to go… Nothing’s gonna change my love for you…”
– George Benson
Maya just arrived from her tiring yet productive 12-hour shift in the hospital. Upon entering their house, she went straight to her bedroom to quickly change. She was about to get some late dinner from the kitchen when she heard her phone ring. It was a call from the Philippines. As soon as she answered the phone, all she could hear was the babble of her friends.
“Sis! Seryoso ba ‘yan? Uuwi ka talaga? For real?” One of Maya’s three best friends, Edselyn or Edz for short, asked Maya without a pause.
Emman, her other best friend, joined the conversation. “Uwi na kasi ‘yan oh! Miss na miss ka na namin dito…”
“Bestie, please? Reunion na tayo.” Liza, the closest to her of the three, added.
Maya chuckled from the other line. “Ano ba, dahan-dahan. Mahina ang kalaban. At teka ha…” She looked at the clock displayed on the microwave oven before heating up the food. “Aba, 10pm na dito sa amin. So, it means, 1pm na diyan. Maaga pa ah? Ba’t kayo magkakasama?”
“Iniiba ‘yung topic. Oh sige, nang matahimik ka. Wala kaming work ngayon. Remember, nag-overnight swimming nga kami…” responded Liza. “So, totoo nga ‘yung message mo sa amin? Uuwi ka?”
Maya took out the food from the microwave and placed the food on the kitchen countertop. “Eh, yun ang sabi ng parents ko eh. So most probably, uuwi nga kami.”
Edz, Liza, and Emman weren’t able to contain their emotions. They all squealed in excitement. “Yehey! Finally! After, ano na ba? Ilang taon na ba since last tayo nagkita? Five years?” said Emman.
“Oo, Emman. 5 years na nga.” confirmed Maya.
“Teka, bestie, mag-Skype naman tayo, nang makita ka namin.” requested Liza. She was dying to see her best friend since first year high school.
Maya was hesitant to do so for her parents was sleeping soundly in the masters bedroom just across the kitchen. “Pwedeng next time nalang? Tulog na kasi sila Mama and Papa eh.”
“Okay, then. Pero next time ha?” replied Edz. “Ay, sis, i-a-announce mo na ba sa iba nating mga high school friends na uuwi ka?”
Maya thought for a second. “Hmm, ‘wag muna. Siguro pag-dating ko nalang.” She munched her food before continuing. “Emman, anong plano mo para sa Christmas party natin?”
Emman pursed his lips while thinking. “I’m thinking na of course magkaroon tayo ng gathering, but of course this time will be very, very special dahil andito ka. But it’s all up to you.”
Maya placed the dishes in the sink and went back to her room. She carefully closed the door before sitting on her bed. “The thing is, hindi ako papayagan nila Mama and Papa na gumala ng masyado. Would it be better kung sa mall tayo magkita-kita? You know how strict my parents are. Well, sort of.”
“We understand. Pero sige, I think, that would work. Sa inyo ba guys?” Liza turned to Emman and Edz. The two nodded in agreement.
“Okay, so, settled na tayo diyan ha. Kayo na ang bahala mag-aya at ako na ang bahala sa chibugan.” Maya was starting to feel excited. “Sobrang hindi na ako makapag-intay!”
“Kami din!” exclaimed Edz. “By the way, lahat naman sila gusto mong papuntahin, di ba?”
“Oo naman, lahat.” replied Maya.
“Ay nako. Magugulat ka kapag nakita mo silang lahat. Ang dami nang nagbago, lalo na after college. Once in a while nagkikita kami and lalo na kapag Christmas.” narrated Liza.
Out of nowhere, Emman popped a question. “Of course, bukod sa amin, sino-sino pa ang gusto mong makita?”
“Ano ba namang klaseng tanong ‘yan Emman, siyempre si Richard…” teased Edz.
Maya smiled inwardly. “Nako, kayo talaga. Closed chapter na ‘yan. Naka-move on na ako.”
“Wushu. Ikaw pa? Talaga lang ha.” Liza joined in. “Ang sabihin mo, gustong-gusto mo siya makita. Aminin. Hindi naman kasi talagang sarado na eh.”
“There was never an us–” Maya tried to explain her side when Edz went on to butt in. “Ay nako, Maya. Remember, denial is not just a river in Egypt. Based on our conversation last time, parang you’re still into him pa eh.”
Maya heaved out a deep sigh before responding. “Oh sige na, eto na, surrender na ko sa pang-aasar niyo. Oo na sige na. Nang matahimik kayo. Yes, I want to see him.”
“Edi umamin din.” said Emman. “Alam mo, ‘wag ka nang umasa. Para din ‘yang si Bart.”
Liza’s eyebrows were knitted in disagreement. She slightly slapped Emman’s arms. “Nako naman, kung maka-compare. Milya-milya naman ang layo ni Richard kay Bart ano. Mas matinong lalaki si Richard. He has goals in life, whereas Bart, ay ewan ko nalang mga ‘te.”
“Don’t listen to Emman. Malay mo di ba? May second chances naman eh.” It was evident that Edz was trying to lift Maya’s spirits up.
“Hindi naman ako umaasa, Emman eh. I just want to see him. I see nothing wrong with that.” explained Maya. “Besides, what happened in the past, stays in the past. Like what I was trying to say earlier, there was never an us.”
Liza chimed in. “Pero, walang closure. I mean, you guys were almost there… Right? Sabi nga sa kanta ni Tamia, ‘What happened to us we were almost there? Whoever said it’s impossible to miss when you never had… Never almost had you…’ In fairness ah, napakanta ako dun.”
Maya noticed that it was all ready 11:30 in the evening. She needed to go to bed and she also wanted to evade further interrogations. “Good night best friends. I’ll see you in less than a month. Keep in touch, okay?”
“Good night Maya. We love you!” The three said in chorus.
“I love you guys.” Maya ended the call. She placed the phone beside her pink ruffle lampshade on the side table. Sleep didn’t hit her yet. She tossed and turned while she slipped in reverie. How long has it been since I last saw you? I can’t believe that 5 years went by so fast. You have no idea of how I missed you so dearly, Richard. The day that I have been waiting for is almost here. Nothing has changed with the way I love you.