“Reunited and it feels so good…”
– Peaches and Herb
“It’s nice to finally meet you in person, Engineer Corpuz. At least hindi na tayo puro video calls ngayon.” A man in his mid-4os shook hands with Simon. He is an engineer based in Singapore and he had flown to Manila to do a special project.
“My pleasure, Engineer Molina. I guess we will be working on this big project in the next couple of weeks, so please just call me Simon.” He gave Engineer Molina a cup of hot coffee.
“Thank you, Simon. Well, let’s drop formalities. Please call me Ryan.” The two men started sorting the files and blueprints they needed to work on.
“Ang laki pala ng hangar na gagawin natin. I didn’t expect that this project would be this huge. I bet the owner of this company is a multimillionaire.” Simon remarked.
Ryan took a sip of his freshly brewed kapeng barako. “Uy, ang sarap pala ng kapeng ‘to! Anyway, I have to agree with you. You know, kilala ko ang nagpapa-gawa ng hangar. He was working as an aircraft maintenance engineer in Dubai before he moved to Singapore, siguro mga more or less five years ago. I guess he and his co-investors and other board members found a good business opportunity here in the Philippines kaya ayan, nag-patayo sila ng hangar dito.”
Simon was amazed. “You must have been very close sa taong ito ah. I am very eager to meet whoever this person is.”
Ryan was very careful not to disclose the identity of his friend. “Ah, well, I just do business with him.” He closed the folder and handed it to Simon. “Welcome to our team, Engineer Corpuz. I am very happy na nai-recommend ka ni Engineer Reyes to help us with this project. I know I can’t do these things alone.”
With a huge grin on Simon’s face, he said, “You don’t know how excited I am to work with you. I heard so many great things about you and your team so working with you is an honour and privilege.”
After their meeting, Simon and Ryan headed to the construction site and started working.
Later that night, Maya and Simon had a conversation over the phone. He has been away for two weeks already.
“Babe, miss na miss ko na kayo nila Thea and Sean. Ang hina kasi ng signal ng internet eh, hindi tuloy tayo makapag-video call.”
Finally, Maya was able to put Sean to sleep. She asked Doris to take over for few minutes as she was talking to Simon. “Hay naku, yung anak mo. Ang hirap patulugin. Anyway, kamusta ka naman? Miss ka na rin namin ng mga bata.”
“Eto, sobrang miss ko na kayo. Di bale, before the school starts, makakauwi ako and makakapag-bonding pa tayo ng mga bata. And don’t worry about me, I am taking my vitamins regularly, I always eat on time and I don’t stress about work very much. Onti lang.” He joked.
“Very good si Papa ah!” Maya sat comfortably on the reclining chair. “Ay, Babe, bago ko makalimutan, meron palang Parent-Teacher Meeting sila Thea the day before the school starts. Sabi nila, as much as possible, mas gusto nila na both parents ang umattend. Eh, wala ka naman.”
“I think it would be okay na kahit ikaw nalang, maiintindihan naman nila siguro na wala ako dahil sa trabaho. After all, I am providing for our little family.” Simon yawned on the other line. Maya decided to end the call so Simon could take a rest from another tiring day of work.
“Daddy, I think hindi makakapunta si Mama sa meeting because she has to go to Lola Nanay’s house. Bigla daw po kasi sumama pakiramdam ni Lola Nanay and Tita Cris was panicking.”
Richard checked what his agenda would be on that day. Since he has no meetings to attend to, he decided to attend the parent-teacher meeting. “Don’t worry baby, Daddy will do it nalang. Please tell your Mama, ha?”
“Yay! Thank you Daddy! Sabi po kasi ni Teacher important daw po kasi ‘yung meeting.” Thea saw that Doris was having a hard time pacifying Sean so she had to hang up. “Daddy, bye po muna ha? Sean is crying po kasi. Thank you po ulit Daddy! I love you!”
Richard imagined how Thea would thank him sweetly. “Anything for you, my love.”
“Naku, baby Sean. Tahan na please. Uuwi na din si Mama…” Doris didn’t know what else to do to calm Sean down. Thankfully, Thea caught his attention by playing with him. “Naku, ano nalang ang gagawin ko kung wala ka Ate Thea.”
Sean was amused by Thea’s funny antics. “Ate Doris, sige po, ibaba mo muna si Sean diyan sa crib. Hindi na iiyak ‘yan. Paki-tawagan nalang po si Mama, paki-sabi si Daddy nalang daw po a-attend ng meeting.”
“Ah, o sige. Tawagin mo lang ako duon sa kusina ah, huhugasan ko lang ‘yung mga feeding bottles ni Sean.” Then Doris dialed up Maya’s number.
“Hello Doris? Kamusta diyan?
“Ay, Ma’am, naku, kanina po iyak ng iyak si Sean. Buti nalang po andito si Thea. Ngayon po nag-lalaro na po sila kaya makakapag-hugas na po ako ng bote, hehehe!”
“Buti naman…” Maya’s forehead wrinkled upon remembering the parent-teacher conference she has to attend to. “Doris, naku, paki-check nga sa papel na idinikit ko sa fridge kung anong oras ‘yung meeting sa school nila Thea…”
“Ma’am Maya, ‘wag na po kayo mag-alala kasi… Hello? Ma’am Maya? Andiyan pa po ba kayo? Hello?” Doris dialed up Maya’s number again but she couldn’t be reached. “Hala, ba’t nawala…” She sent Maya a message instead to inform her that Richard would be attending the meeting.
Maya heaved out a deep sigh. “Hay naku, bakit ngayon ka pa na-low battery, Maya?”
Cristina Rose, Maya’s elder sister, rubbed Maya’s back. “Bunso, may pupuntahan ka pa ba? Sige na, lumakad ka na. Pasensya na sa abala ah? Nag-panic kasi ako dito kay Nanay eh.”
“Sigurado ka ba Kutê?” Maya was reluctant to leave.
Nanay Teresita carefully and slowly rose up from the bed. “Sige na, Maya anak. Lakad na.”
Maya gave Nanay Teresita and Cristina Rose a hug. “Sige po Nay, Kutê. Alis na ho ako ah? Nay, ‘yung gamot ‘wag niyo kalimutan inumin ah? Sabi naman ho ni Lino siya na ang bahala sa restaurant.”
Cristina Rose attended to Nanay Teresita. “Sige na bunso, lumakad ka na. Baka mahuli ka pa sa pupuntahan mo.”
Richard arrived at Northwest Hills just in time to fill out the attendance sheet at the reception area. He decided to look around for few minutes as the teachers were still preparing for the meeting. Moments after, the meeting started with an opening prayer.
“Ms. Maya! Akala ko po hindi na kayo aabot. Eto po ang program natin for today. Andiyan na din po si Mr. Lim.” Thea’s former adviser approached Maya as she was hurriedly making her way to the meeting area.
“Mr. Lim?” Confused, Maya continued to walk while Teacher Rebecca escorted her.
“Yes po, Ms. Maya. Sige po dito po kayo sa tabi ni Mr. Lim, umupo.”
As Teacher Rebecca walked away, Maya still couldn’t believe that she was sitting next to her former flame, the Richard Lim.
He slowly turned his head towards her. “Maya?” His jaw was slightly opened as he was completely filled with awe upon seeing Maya. Just like what he thought, nothing has changed. Her beauty was timeless, indeed.
Maya heard how her heart thumped loudly as if it was going to get out of her system. “He…hello.”
Richard lowered his head and whispered to Maya. “Akala ko ba hindi ka makakarating?”
“Let’s talk about it later.” Maya focused her attention to the guest speaker although she was having a hard time. She couldn’t believe that after all those years and heartbreaks, he still has the charm that makes her giddy.