Confused in Love Four (Part 8)

By: Akhi Ryu Go

One More Chance

It was about 9am nung lumabas ako para magkape sa Cat's Eyes. For the very first time in a long time, gumising ako na magaan ang pakiramdam and I wasn't grieving as much as before. I decided to go out for a change. I've spent a whole year na nagkukulong lang sa bahay at nagtatrabaho. Nakakasawa din pero honestly, ngayon ko lang sya naramdaman.

After about half an hour or so, naalala ko bigla I was cooking something and it is still on the stove! I quickly stood up and as I hurried for the exit, may nabangga akong lalaki.

Akhi: Oh! I'm so sorry!

Guy: It's okay.

Maya maya pa, napatingin sakin yung guy.

Guy: Hey, you look familiar.

Akhi: Well I'm sure I make that kind of impression to everyone. After all, my features are not that unique.

Guy: No, I'm sure I've seen you somewhere...

Akhi: Anyway, I really have to hurry now. Sorry.

Guy: Wait!

Bago pa man nya ako mapigilan, naka alis na ako ng cafe.

Pagpasok ko sa bahay, dumiretso na ako agad sa kusina to check on it. Pagpasok ko doon, Rocel was standing there, arms crossed and brows furrowed. Si Cherry naman ay nakaupo sa upuan malapit sa table with her chin rested on her palm.

Cherry: I must say, masaya ako bessy na nakakalabas labas ka na ngayon.

Rocel: Pero lipad parin ang isip! Iniwan mo tong niluluto mo! *sabay turo sa kalderong nangingitim* muntik na tayong masunog kanina. Kala ko nga paglabas ko ng kwarto eh nasa heaven na ako. Yun pala it was smoke coming from a burning dish in the kitchen!

I slumped my head and shoulder and apologized.

Akhi: Sorry... Aaminin ko andami kong iniisip kanina.

Rocel wanted to argue with me, but she resigned. She's rubbing her temples and her eyes rolled skyward.

Rocel: *inhales a deep breath and blows out slowly* Well! Wala din namang magagawa kahit pagalitan pa kita. I'm not your mother. But please pull it together Akhi. I don't wanna die young.

Cherry: Oh stop overreacting Ross. Sige na Akhi, take a seat at may pag uusapan tayo.

I did as she asked. Na-curious ako bigla. What could it be all about at napaka aga ni Cherry pumunta sa apartment?

Akhi: Okay what is it?

Cherry: Ayun, fortunately kahit gumawa ka ng eksena kahapon sa wedding ng anak ng business partner ni James, hindi naman naapektuhan ang relationship nila about sa business.

Akhi: That's good to hear.

Cherry: Yun nga lang, James was really upset. Badtrip sya sa'yo bessy.

Akhi: *sigh* Sorry talaga. Hindi na mauulit.

Rocel: Talagang wag mo nang ulitin dahil next time di na kita ililigtas sa kahihiyan.

I scratched the back of my head and feigned sleepiness.

Akhi: yeah yeah... I hear you Ross...

Cherry: And ayun, hindi nga pala natuloy ang kasal. Umayaw yung groom and I'm guessing dahil yun sa mga pinagsasabi mo.

Rocel: Oh gosh I hope this isn't gonna be a problem.

Just then may tumawag sa phone ko and when I answered it was my boss. Matapos naming mag usap, nakasimangot na ako.

Rocel: Oh? Anung sabi?

Akhi: *sigh* I'm fired.

Cherry: Ha? Bakit naman? On what grounds should they fire you?

Akhi: Hindi ko alam kung may mental telepathy 'to si Ross eh!

Rocel: Ha?

Akhi: I'm fired because of the scene I've caused at the wedding. Turns out, my boss is associated with the bride's father and he happened to be one of the guests that day.

Cherry strike her palm onto her forehead.

Cherry: tsk tsk! Ayan na nga sinasabi ko. Pano na yan?

Akhi: *sigh* I'll figure something out.

Rocel: Nako Akhi! You're so lucky you have friends like us. Di ka namin pababayaan.

Cherry: Anyway hindi lang yan ang bad news for today.

Akhi: Ha? Meron pa? I think I've had enough.

Cherry: Well like it or not, nakabalik na ng pilipinas si Aaron. I've heard from Mackhoy.

Rocel: Bad news nga.

Akhi: Binaon ko na sa limot ang taong yon. Dahilan ng lahat ng ito. I can't forgive him.

Cherry: Ingat ingat ka Akhi, he might try and get you again. For all we know walang bituka yon.

Rocel: Subukan lang nyang makalapit kay Akhi. Not on my watch. Kung hindi, makakatikim sya sakin!

Akhi: Don't worry guys. I can take care of myself.

Cherry: Well that was all that I came here for. May meeting pa ako in a while so maiwan ko na muna kayo mga bessy. Keep in touch nalang.

She threw her bag onto her shoulder.

Rocel: Okay. Yung lakad nga pala natin nila Celine ha? Don't forget.

Akhi: May lakad kayo and you didn't even tell me?

Rocel: Duh! Like how many times did we invite you in the past that you've turn us down?

Akhi: Oo nga pala.

Rocel: Anyway I've got to prepare na.

Akhi: Si Harold nga pala?

Rocel: Akhi, seriously? Hindi ka ba namin kasama the past year? Parang ngayon ka lang bumalik sa amin ha? Alam mo namang minsan nalang yon umuwi dito sa bahay dahil palagi na syang andon! Kasama ni Grace!

Then she walked out and towards her room. I felt sad really... We both know na inlove sya kay Harold at nakakalungkot isipin na all these times hindi ko namalayan nag iisa nalang pala si Rocel. Like I might be with her but I'm also not. Kase it's been all about me. She's always taking care of me... Trying to comfort me... While ako naman I haven't been there for her sa mga times na nasasaktan sya dahil kay Harold. But then may hindi din ako napansin, kasama narin pala namin ulit si Gideon. Pero gaya ni Harold, madalas narin syang wala sa bahay.

.

.

.

Celine: Oh my goodness you're looking so fabulous in that gorgeous outfit!

Lyssa: I knerr! Ako pa!

Celine: So what time daw ba makakarating yung dalawang bruha dito? Sumasakit na yung paa ko sa heels na to ha.

Lyssa: Any minute now Celine.

Sabay dumating si Rocel at Cherry.

Cherry: Hey girls I'm so sorry to keep you waiting.

Rocel: So ano? Let's go shopping na! At para maaga tayong makauwi.

Lyssa: Teka lang mga te ha? Hinihintay ko pa kase si Andrew.

Celine: Oy ikaw ha! Halos mag iisang taon ka nang nililigawan nung tao hindi mo parin sinasagot? Nagmamaganda ka!

Lyssa: ay nako. Huli ka na sa balita. Kami na no last month pa! Palibhasa call center mode kayo ni Gideon parati!

Cherry: Ayan na sya.

Andrew: Sorry I'm late. I had to report at the station kanina.

Lyssa: It's okay babe. *kiss*

Celine: Eh teka, pano nyo mapapa alis ng bahay bukas si Akhi?

Rocel: Pinagiisipan ko pa nga eh. But don't worry. Since it seems like he's moving on this time hindi mahirap palabasin ng bahay yon.

Andrew: This is actually the second time that we're going to give him a surprise birthday party right?

Then natahimik sila bigla.

Cherry: nakakalungkot lang isipin na someone dearest to him is not going to be a part of it anymore.

Celine: Ay naku! Itigil natin ang dramang ito at ito'y hindi na aangkop sa sitwasyon. Tara na guys!

Rocel: Yeah you're right. Let's go.

---

Surprisingly, today since wala narin akong trabaho, I felt really bored for the first time staying at home. So I cleaned up and went out and since paubos narin ang laman ng fridge, I decided to go shopping for groceries. At the mall, sa may supermarket naglalakad ako nang bigla akong makita ng mga girls.

Rocel: Oh em gee!!! Anung ginagawa ni Akhi dito?

Cherry: Everyone quickly hide!

They ducked behind the shelves of goods kase I was walking just right on the opposite side kung nasaan sila. I was about to go to their side of the area nang makita ako ni Celine. I wasn't looking in front of me as I was scanning the shelves for fresh milk. Dahil panicked na si Celine, she pushed a guy towards me na namimili din and they quickly and carefully ran away so I wouldn't see them.

Akhi: Ouch!

Guy: Sorry! Someone just pushed me. Hindi ko sinasadyang mabangga ka.

I looked up at the tall and handsome guy in front of me at sabay naming nasambit.

"Ikaw nanaman?"

Guy: Why is it that everytime our paths crossed nagkakabanggaan tayo. It makes it literal.

Akhi: Well it's just a coincidence.

Maya maya pa, tinititigan nya ako then suddenly as if something has struck him, he snapped his fingers and said:

Guy: Aha! Alam ko na kung saan kita nakita!

Akhi: Saan naman?

Guy: You were in my wedding.

I stared at him with cow eyes and gapped mouth.

Akhi: Ikaw yung groom?

Richard: Yes I am. The name's Richard.

I inhaled a sharp breath and then bigla akong lumuhod sa harap nya and nag apologize ako ng paulit ulit.

Akhi: Sorry talaga! Huhuhu sorry talaga! Hindi ko alam kung anong pumasok sa isip ko nung mga oras na yon! Masyado nang magulo ang utak ko at di ko alam baka nababaliw na ako. Sorry! Sorry!

*He was thinking*

Richard: (Should I tell him that it's okay or should I tease him?)

Then he decided to tease me anyway.

Richard: Well if you're truly sorry about that, come home with me and be my wife instead.

Bigla akong napatingala sa kanya at sa isip ko "aba'y antipatiko pala itong lalaking ito?!" But then naisip ko din na malaki ang kasalanan ko sa kanya. I stood up slowly and asked trembling and as my voice trails off:

Akhi: S-seryoso ka ba sa sinasabi mo? *frowns bug-eyed*

He raised a brow as a smile dangled on the corner of his lips.

Akhi: Hey um...

I was thinking what the hell did I get myself into? Then he laughed vigorously.

Akhi: *brows furrowed* What's so funny?

Richard: You're so gullible. Don't worry it's okay. I was just messing around.

Akhi: Hey?!

Richard: But seriously, you don't even need to apologize. You actually saved my life.

Akhi: Really? How?

Richard: You saved me from a life long misery. From a marriage that I didn't even want from the very beginning. I was too afraid to decline my parents. But that day at the wedding, you gave me a push that was just enough to give me the strength I need to do what's right for me.

Akhi: Well I'm so glad to hear that.

Hindi ko talaga alam kung bakit pero may naramdaman ako sa titig nya. Hindi ko maintindihan but it was kinda familiar. This feeling, it's as if I have felt this way before towards someone. Siguro napatagal na ang titig ko sa kanya because he said

Richard: Are you having a LAFS with me?

Akhi: *startled but I composed myself and asked* What on earth is LAFS?

Richard: *grinning mischievously* Love at first sight.

Akhi: *I tilted my head to the side and look dismayed* okay teka lang ha? Medyo malakas kase ang hangin dito eh.

Richard: Haha. Well mali ba ako?

He cocked his head and bit his lips as he stared at me then I look him straight in the eyes.

Akhi: Is this how you express gratitude?

Natahimik sya then he stood up straight and cleared his throat.

Richard: Ahem! Umm... So is there anything I can help you with?

I was thinking marami akong bibilhing groceries ngayon so maybe I could use a hand to help me carry my shopping bags.

Akhi: Well kailangan ko ng tulong sa shopping bags since marami akong groceries na bibilhin.

Richard: I could help you with that and if you want, hatid narin kita sa inyo.

Akhi: hmmm.... Yeah okay. That would be nice. Makaka save ako ng pamasahe.

Richard: Since I am also here to shop, let's go shopping together.

Akhi: Okay.

Richard: But before we do, you need to give me your number now. I might forget it later.

Akhi: Uhuh? And why would that be necessary?

Richard: Look, I know we just met, but I feel like we could be really good friends. I feel like I can relate to you. Magaan ang loob ko sa'yo. I don't really make friends with strangers and people I just met but with you, it's like a kindred spirit thing happening.

Medyo may kurot sakin yung word na "friend" At di ko parin malaman kung bakit but anyway I shook it off and gave him my number. We finished shopping and then got in his car tapos hinatid nya na ako sa apartment.

As I entered the house, Rocel was there in the living room eying me suspiciously.

Rocel: Sino naman yung naghatid sa'yo pauwi ha?

Her enquiry sounded so annoying so I returned the favor.

Akhi: *acting* Oh mother! oh mother! Please forgive me!

Rocel: Ha?

Akhi: I love him and he loves me... Hindi naman kayang pigilan ang aming mga pusong umiibig!

She frowned at me with her hands on her hips and said

Rocel: Ikaw Akhi ha! Tigil tigilan mo yan. I'm just worried about you!

Akhi: Haha I know.

Then I smiled at her with a sincere heart without saying a word I expressed my gratitude through that. She smiled back and said:

Rocel: It's good to know that you're okay now Akhi. I'm so happy. Finally you're back.

Akhi: Thanks Ross.

Lumapit ako sa kanya at niyakap ko sya. Medyo nagulat sya at nagtaka, but she returned the embrace anyway.

Rocel: Walang anuman bessy.

Akhi: Tsaka sorry din Ross. I know you've also been hurt and sad the past months pero I wasn't even there to comfort you or just be there for you. But things are gonna change now and I just want to let you know na nandito lang ako for you.

A tear fell from her eye and then she said in almost a whisper:

Rocel: Thanks Akhi.

Matapos non, I cooked dinner for everyone and umuwi si Harold for dinner at sabay sabay kaming apat na kumain nila Gideon. Then it was late at night at ako'y natulog na.

---

I am savoring the cold breeze by the beach while I am walking and watching the sunset. I feel so light... I feel so calm... I feel so peaceful... Then I sat in the sand facing the ocean in front of me. Maya maya pa, may tumabi sakin.+

Gab: Hello stranger. *smiles*

Akhi: Gab? Oh my goodness... *laughs*

Gab: Why are you laughing Akhi?

Akhi: Am I dreaming again? Hahaha I'm getting used to this. It's terrifying though.

Gab: Well do you want it to stop?

Akhi: No. It may scare me a little but I feel comfortable.

Gab: I'm glad to hear that.

We sat side by side in silence... Then he asked:

Gab: Does he remind you of me?

Akhi: Oh you mean Richard?

He just nodded and smiled then he threw a pebble into the ocean.

Akhi: Honestly, I think that's what I felt when I stared into his eyes... Hindi ko sya mawari kanina. Pero ngayon it's becoming clear.

Gab: That's good.

Then I looked at him... Medyo malungkot ang mukha ko then I asked:

Akhi: Aren't you jealous?

Gab: *sigh* I'm not supposed to be. Maybe a little, but it's no longer a thing and I know you know what I mean.

Akhi: Yeah... It's so sad.

Gab: Hey cheer up!

Akhi: I know Gab... But you know what, it doesn't suck so much anymore.

Gab: I'm glad.

Once again we just sat side by side in silence watching the sunset then I rested my head upon his shoulder.

Gab: Well, I gotta get going now Akhi.

Akhi: Wait Gab, can we just stay like this? Until I wake up?

Gab: Sure thing Akhi.

Then niyakap nya ako as I savor the feeling of being in his arms... Even if it was just a dream...

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