“I haven’t stopped loving you. I haven’t stopped wanting you. I haven’t stopped hoping that you feel the same way too. I haven’t stopped dreaming. I haven’t stopped wishing. I haven’t stopped thinking that you’re thinking of me too. I haven’t stop loving you…”
– Janno Gibbs
“Maya, I’m sorry. Di ba, I already told you na may aasikasuhin kami ni Lindsay.”
Lino, on the other line, was making his way to Lindsay’s place to pick her up because they have an important meeting with a client. Maya forgot that Lino had already told her that he wouldn’t be able to bring Thea to Lim’s residence. Her forehead was wrinkled upon thinking who could bring Thea to the Lims.
“Sorry din Lino sa istorbo. Sige, di bale nalang. Gagawan ko nalang ng paraan.”
Lino sighed. “Cuz, bakit ba kasi naman hindi nalang ikaw ang mag-dala duon kay Thea? Ihahatid mo lang naman. Yun lang. Pwede mo namang sabihing busy ka para hindi na hahaba pa ang usapan.”
Maya reached over the countertop to hand Sean’s warmed up baby bottle to Doris. “Bahala na. Sige Lino, I have to go. Ingat kayo ni Lindsay. Bye.”
“Ma’am Maya, anong oras daw po pala susunduin ni Sir Lino si Thea? Para po maihanda ko na ‘yung gamit ni Thea.” Doris handed Sean to Maya.
“Hindi maihahatid ni Lino si Thea. Nakalimutan ko na may lakad pala sila ni Lindsay.” Maya said as she was rubbing Sean’s back.
“Ha, naku po. Eh paano na po ‘yon Ma’am? Wala pa naman si Sir Simon at si Mang Lem para mag-drive. Eh, Ma’am, mag-taxi nalang po kaya ni Thea?” Doris suggested although she felt that Maya wouldn’t agree with the idea.
“Hindi na Doris.” It took Maya a while before she spoke again. “Ako nalang ang mag-hahatid sa kanya.”
This surprised Doris. Normally, someone other than Maya and Simon would send Thea to the Lim residence. “Si..sigurado po kayo Ma’am?”
“Eh ano pa nga ba ang magagawa ko? Ang asawa ko wala tapos si Mang Lem naman, napaaga ang day-off. Wala namang pwedeng ibang mag-drive kundi ako.” Maya handed Sean back to Doris while she checked Thea upstairs. “Anak, are you ready?”
Thea was carrying her blue polka dot tote while smiling at Maya. “What do you think Mama?”
Maya giggled upon seeing her daughter all dressed up. “You’re so cute, anak!”
“Thank you Mama. Papunta na po ba si Tito Lino dito, Mama?” The little girl couldn’t hide her excitement.
Maya sat down on Thea’s bed. “Anak, Tito Lino wouldn’t be able to pick you up.” She saw how Thea’s face changed from jolly to gloomy. “But, don’t worry. I’ll bring you kila Granny Esme.”
“Yehey! Thank you Mama!” Thea hugged and kissed Maya on the cheeks. “Akala ko po, hindi mo na ako papasamahin kina Daddy. Excited pa naman po ako mag-swimming.”
“Gano’n ba? Mag-su-swimming daw kayo ng Daddy mo?” Maya felt excited, too.
“Opo Mama.” Thea checked what time it was. “Mama, I think dapat alis na po tayo.”
“Sige, anak. I’ll just quickly change my clothes and then, alis na tayo. Okay?”
Few minutes after, Maya and Thea were all set to leave. As they were pulling out the driveway, Maya’s phone rang so they stopped for a while to check who it was.
“Hi Babe. Kamusta kayo diyan? I miss you all. Si Thea nga pala, umalis na ba siya?” Simon was out-of-town and will be staying there until further notice. He and his other engineer colleagues were working on a huge project.
“Eto, ihahatid ko nga si Thea eh. Hindi kasi pwede si Lino.”
Simon was a bit bothered. “Ha? Ano? Bakit hindi mo nalang pauwin si Mang Lem?”
“Babe, alam mo naman na may emergency sa pamilya ni Mang Lem. Isa pa, kaya ko naman ‘to eh. Ihahatid ko lang naman si Thea. I’ll be alright.” Maya sounded so confident but she was feeling the opposite.
“Are you sure?” Simon didn’t like the idea of Maya driving Thea to the Lims. “Gusto mo, tawagan nalang natin si Emman or Edz. Pakiusapan natin sila na mag-hatid kay Thea.”
“Simon, wag na. Abala pa ‘yon eh. Saka gusto kong makita na safe ang anak ko.” said Maya.
“Sige ha. Mag-ingat kayo. Call me kapag naihatid mo na si Thea or di kaya call me when you get home.”
Maya and Thea arrived at the Lim residence an hour after. As she was walking towards the main entrance, she couldn’t help but to feel nostalgic. It has been quite a while since the last time she has set her foot in the house. To her, the place was so familiar that she still even remembered the sweet aromatic smell that surrounded the area. A vast amount of coconut trees were also seen not far from where the house was.
“Sige anak, you can go inside na. Mama won’t stay that long…” Even before Maya finished instructing Thea, a loud yet another familiar voice was heard metres away from them.
“Maya! Thea!” Even the long, peach flowy blouse and a while slacks that the old woman was wearing was familiar to Maya. “My baby girl Thea!” She exclaimed as she kissed Thea’s cheeks. “How are you, apo?” Then she motioned Thea to go inside.
“Mrs. Lim, good afternoon po. Pasensya na kayo, na-late si Thea.” Maya shook Doña Esmeralda’s hands.
“Hija, that’s nonsense.” Then Doña Esmeralda kissed Maya’s cheeks as well.
Maya thought that she said something wrong. “Po?”
“Walang problema sa akin because you are just in time. At pwede ba, don’t call me Mrs. Lim. Please call me Mama. Just how you used to before. Di ba, Mama na ulit ang tawag mo sa akin sa text?” Doña Esmeralda was very happy to see Maya again for the very first time after years. “Maya, namiss kita! It’s been so long since huli kitang nakita. How have you been, anak?”
Maya was feeling a bit awkward and shy at the same time. “Ah, eto po. Mabuti naman…”
“That’s good. Maigi naman na ikaw ang naghatid kay Thea ngayon. Parati nalang si Lino or di kaya si Teresita.” Doña Esmeralda was hoping that Maya could do it next time.
“Ah, pasensya na po kayo. Kapapanganak ko lang po kasi three months ago and hindi ko po maiwan ‘yung baby.”
“I feel you. Naku, nung maliit pa rin si Ricky ko, hindi ko rin maiwan. Panay ang travel ni Roberto nuon na pilit niya akong sinasama kaso nga hindi ko maiwanan si Ricky.” While reminiscing, Doña Esmeralda sensed that Maya wouldn’t want to talk about Richard or anything that involved him. But, she thought an idea. After all, it wouldn’t hurt to ask. “Ah, Maya, halika sa loob. Why don’t you have your lunch here?”
Maya politely declined the offer. “Pasensya na po kayo Mrs. Lim, ay, Mama pala. Si Doris lang po ang naiwan ko sa bahay kaya kinakailangan ko din pong bumalik agad. Thank you for your invitation though.”
Doña Esmeralda pouted and squeezed Maya’s arms. “Maya, sige na. Ngayon lang naman. Tayo lang.”
“I would really love to join you Mrs. Lim but I’m sorry, I really need to go. Paki-sabi nalang po kay Thea na magpakabait siya.” Maya started walking towards her car.
“Naku, hindi na nga kita mapipigilan. Ilang beses na kitang inaaya, pero parati kang tumatanggi. Di bale, marami pang next time at kukulitin kita. At ‘wag kang mag-alala sa anak mo, mabait ‘yon.” Doña Esmeralda waved goodbye to Maya.
From afar, Richard was vigilantly observing his Mom and his old flame exchange words. Nothing has changed Maya, I still love you no matter what. Our love was right, however, the timing was wrong.
“Daddy!” Thea poked him from behind.
“Nagulat naman ako du’n baby!” Richard grabbed Thea and kissed her forehead.
“You’re looking at Mama po, ano?”
“Ha? Ako? Hindi ah! Hinahanap ko lang kung saan napunta si Gus.” Richard denied because he doesn’t want Thea to be confused.
“Daddy, nasa likod na si Gus. He is eating his merienda.”
“Merienda? Anong merienda? Kumain si Gus ng ice cream?” joked Richard. He was also trying to change the topic.
Thea giggled. “Of course not, Daddy! He is eating cat food po.”
While walking towards the living room, Richard thought of asking Thea questions about her life with Simon and Maya. “Baby, kamusta naman sa bahay niyo?”
“Okay lang naman po Daddy. Masaya po kasi I have a baby brother.”
There was a painful stab on Richard’s heart. “Talaga? What is his name?”
“Sean Gavin po. Sabi ni Papa Simon, sana Sean Marcus nalang po daw sana para letter S and letter M po ‘yung initials. Kaso po sabi naman ni Mama, mas maganda kung isunod nalang sa initials ni Papa.”
Another stab on Richard’s heart. “I see.” He was planning to ask more questions but Thea went to the kitchen to grab something to drink. Simon must have been making you a happy wife, Maya. It was supposed to be me.