Waves of Memories – Kabanata 47

November 19, 2016 By In Waves of Memories 1 Comment

Kabanata 47
Plan

Nag-usap si Ali at Kapitan Solomon patungkol sa sinabi ni Anton Mercadejas. Nakinig lamang kami ni Athena sa dalawa.

Captain talked about the possible plans of Senyora Domitilla Mercadejas and the power of Antonius Mercadejas to stop her from giving the whole company to Ivo.

Ayaw nang makealam ng pangalawang anak na si Uriel Mercadejas sa kompanya dahil may sarili naman ito.

“Domitilla is creating a barrier between her sons. If the company is headed by her sons, there should be equal shares,” si Athena.

Nanatili ang mga mata ni Solomon kay Ali habang ito’y malalim na nag-iisip. Watching him think about everything thoroughly made me love him more. I can see that he doesn’t immediately take action to everything. Pinag-iisipan niya pa ng mabuti bago siya nagdedesisyon.

“Do not tell me you’re gonna let your grandma do that, Ali?” tumagilid ang ulo ni Captain.

Ali licked his lower lip before finally settling for an answer.

“That company is made by my great grandfather. It’s not mine. Kung iyon ang gusto ni Lola, I have no right to question it-”
“But your grandfather, Antonius Mercadejas, clearly gave you that right on his deathbed,” umiling si Solomon.
“Your grandmother is really a damn-” hindi pinagpatuloy ni Athena ang sasabihin.

Kumunot ang noo ko at binalingan siya na ngayon ay tila kinakalma ang sarili.

Nang lumalim ang gabi ay nagpasya na kaming magpahinga. I kind of learned about the history of his family through their talk.

Tahimik kaming naglakad ni Ali sa pasilyo patungo sa aming suite. I can’t help but stay quiet while thinking about what’s happening back in Manila.

His father did his best to keep that company running for years. I am sure Anton Mercadejas wants his son to lead that. I can only imagine his disappointment if the company isn’t given to the rightful heir.

“What’s bothering you?” Ali asked when he noticed my silence.

Nasa loob na kami ng suite. Naupo ako sa aming kama samantalang pinagmamasdan niya akong mabuti. Dahan-dahan siyang tumabi sa akin. Tumagilid ang kanyang ulo. Tinitigan ko siya.

“I think it’s time to go back to Manila,” mataman kong sinabi.

His serious face told me that he doesn’t like what I’m talking about but he knows that I’m right. Paniguradong namomroblema na ang ama niya. At tingin ko rin, maging siya’y namomroblema na rin. Hindi niya man sinasabi pero alam kong ang kompanyang kinalakhan niya’y kahit paano’y natutunan niya na ring mahalin.

“Ali, you need to talk to your parents and your grandma. Alam kong hindi ka bato para ‘di maapektuhan sa lahat ng ito…”
“Ivo loved that company. If my grandma wants to give it to him, I know it’ll be in good hands, Thraia…”

Pumungay ang mga mata ko habang pinagmamasdan ko siya. Iyan ba talaga ang nararamdaman niya? Ivo loved that company but he loved that, too. Alam kong maaaring kaya niya ngang talikuran iyon pero alam ko rin na mahirap iyon sa kanya. He’s acting tough about it but I’m sure it isn’t easy for him.

“You love that company, too. Ayaw mo lang sabihin.”

Umangat ang gilid ng kanyang labi at bahagya siyang yumuko para maabot ang aking mukha. Ang kanyang kamay ay hinawakan ang aking panga. He gave me a soft kiss on my lips. Napangiti ako roon. He continued to give me more, I closed my eyes. Tumindig ang balahibo ko at tumalon ang aking puso.

“You are my only love,” he whispered.

Nagkatinginan kaming dalawa. In his eyes, I saw gentleness and happiness. At tulad niya, ganoon din ang nararamdaman ko ngayon.

“Ali…”
He nodded, knowing what I’m going to say. “We’ll go back to Manila. I’ll talk to my family. I’ll tell them I’m marrying you. And you… You have to stay with me the whole time. Promise me you won’t leave when a problem will rise. Promise me to be honest with everything.”

Hinawakan niya ang batok ko. He rested his nose on mine. I nodded gently.

“I promise. You don’t have to worry anymore, Ali…”

I know he needs that assurance. At siguradong sigurado ako sa sarili ko na iyon nga ang aking gagawin.

All my life, I have a hard time dealing with my problems. I always choose to leave instead of fixing things. Kapag may away si Ate Ethel at si Alejandro noon, umaalis ako ng bahay dahil ayaw ko ng problema. I know that I should stay and be with Ate Ethel, but I still choose to leave and assure myself of a peaceful day.

Ngayon, hinding hindi ko na tatalikuran ang kahit ano. I’ve realized that problems will never go away. If you leave and pretend that you don’t have one, you will never have a peaceful mind… and it will find you in a different way.

Mahihirapan si Ali sa nangyayari sa pamilya niya. I promise that from this day onwards, I will make his sorrows mine. I will share his problems and I promise to help him deal with it. I think this is what love is. I think this is what he gave me for years. It was what I ignored. Because I thought it’s a big problem to me…

Nagpaalam kami sa mag-asawang Galvez sa sumunod na araw. We promised to visit soon. Ali promised to invite them to our wedding. Excited na pumalakpak si Athena sa sinabi ni Ali.

“We would definitely come!”
Tumawa naman si Kapitan. “Ate Marem will curse possibly curse me to death, Ali. But, yes, we won’t miss it.”

Ilang saglit na pagpapaalam pa bago kami tumulak patungong airport ng Caticlan. Hinatid kami ng isa sa mga van ng hotel.

Habang nag-aantay sa flight ay abala ako sa pakikipag contact kay Penny. Ali’s busy calling his secretary and some important people too.

Ako:
Uuwi na ako ng Maynila. Sorry sa absences ko. If Ethan won’t allow me to come back, I would understand. I abused the rules.

Penny:
Ano ka ba? Ang tanong naman dito ay hindi kay Ethan. Papayagan ka ba ni Ali na magtrabaho sa Le Viste?

Nilingon ko si Ali. He’s busy with his calls so I wouldn’t disturb him. Hindi ko na rin naman kailangang magtanong. I know he’d agree to whatever I want.

Ako:
Of course, he’ll understand. But seriously, I might resign and find another job. I don’t want to be a burden to Ethan.

Penny:
Kung iniisip mong hindi ka niya mapapagalitan dahil gf ka ni Ali. Pwes, ako ang mang aalila sa’yo rito kaya kailangan mong bumalik at pagbayaran ang mga absences mo! Kidding. Don’t tell Ali. Please, come back.

Napangiti ako at napatingin kay Ali. Kahit may kausap sa cellphone ay nakita kong tinitingnan niya rin ang screen ng phone ko. He kissed my forehead and continued talking to whoever is on the other end.

Mabilis ang byahe pabalik ng Maynila. Hindi pa nagsi-sink in sa akin lahat ng nangyari’y lumapag na ang eroplano.

Hawak-hawak niya ang aking kamay habang palabas kami ng airport. A black SUV was waiting in front of us. Isang nakakulay itim na lalaki ang tumitig sa akin bago tuluyang binuksan ang pintuan ng sasakyan.

Nilingon ko si Ali. Iminuwestra niya ang looban ng sasakyan. Hindi na ako nakaimik. Pumasok na ako at sumunod naman agad siya.

Pumasok iyong lalaking nag-antay kanina sa frontseat pagkatapos ay tumulak na ang sasakyan.

“Sir, sabi ni Sir Anton dinner pa lang daw sila magiging available ni Ma’am Annaliese…” sabi noong nasa front seat.
“Oo. Nakapag-usap na kami…”

Nilingon ko si Ali na ngayon ay seryosong nakatingin sa dadaanan. When he realized that I am curiously gawking at him, he turned to me and snaked his arm on my waist.

“That’s the bodyguards of my father. Sa condo ka na magpahinga. Gusto mo bang ipakuha ko ang mga gamit mo sa condo ni Penny?”

My eyes widened. Napaatras ako sa gulat.

“Bakit?”
“You’d stay with me. You promised,” he smiled.
“Well, yes… But I’m leaving Penny? Paano iyong hati namin sa condo niya?” diretsahan kong tanong sa gulat.
“Ethan wants her on his condo, anyway. She’s just staying there because she likes hanging around with you.”
Mas lalo ko iyong ikinagulat. “Ano?”
“Sabi ni Ethan. Matagal na noong gustong kunin si Penny sa condo na iyon pero ayaw niya. Someone is obsessed with my fiancee,” he chuckled.
“Pero kailangan ko paring pumunta kay Penny!” giit ko kahit hindi pa ako naniniwala sa huling sinabi niya.
“We will, Thraia. Don’t worry. I just want you to rest on my bed as I fix things, okay?”

Naaprubahan ko naman ang gusto niyang mangyari. Hindi parin maalis sa isip ko ang kabaliwan ni Penny. Hindi ko rin makuha ang isang iyon. Parang kailan lang ay nagdadrama pa iyon dahil sa ex ni Ethan at ngayon nalaman ko na lang na ayaw niya palang umalis ng condo dahil lang sa akin.

Pero kung tutuusin, if I was in her place, I wouldn’t immediately leave a friend too. Lalo na kung nakikita kong nahihirapan pa itong magsimulang muli. I couldn’t leave her, too. Iyon nga lang, para akong naliwanagan noong sinabi ni Ali na hinihikayat na ni Ethan na tumira si Penny sa condo.

Nang dumating kami sa condo unit niya, pamilyar na sa akin ang lahat. I briefly wondered how I’d feel when I come there with no memory of it. Ano kaya ang magiging reaksyon ko? Would it trigger some deja vu?

His black sheets were properly ironed. Hinaplos ko iyon habang siya’y nagbubukas ng Macbook. Pagkatapos ay tumabi siya sa akin.

“You can rest here. I won’t go anywhere. I’ll just do some calls. We’ll have dinner with my parents tonight.”
“Parents?”

Kinabahan agad ako. Tumango naman si Ali.

“My grandma wants a conference early tomorrow. Siguro ay doon niya rin tuluyang ibibigay kay Ivo ang company. My father wants to talk to me and I’d like that opportunity to introduce you to them.”
“Ali, baka hindi ito ang tamang panahon. May problema pa kayo.”
He shook his head in the middle of my sentences. “My mother wants to meet you properly, too.”

Halos matigil ako sa paghinga. The image of his stoic mom flashed on my mind. At kung mayroon mang mas nakakatakot pa sa mga mangyayari ay ito na iyon. I’ve met his mom but not in this situation! I was with Ivo the last time we saw each other! Ano na lang ang iisipin niya?

“Don’t worry about it…” Ali said with finality.

Alam niyang ikinakatakot ko iyon pero nangako akong hindi ko tatakbuhan ang kahit ano kaya haharapin ko ito ngayon. Eitherway, if I want to be with Ali, it’s inevitable to meet his parents… his mom.

Nakapagpahinga ako sa kanyang kama. Nang nagising ay agad na akong nag-ayos. He was almost always on his phone and on his Macbook. Hindi ko masabi sa kanya na wala akong magiging damit mamaya.

Pero nang lumabas ako ng kanyang banyo ay nagulat ako sa nakalagay sa kama. He was already wearing his black slacks and white unbuttoned long sleeves. He smiled when he saw my reaction.

“Kailan mo ‘to binili?” napatanong ako ng dis oras dahil sa gulat.

A white off shoulder dress is already on his bed. Isang cream na stilletos ang nasa baba nito. A complete set of pearls were also resting on his bed, waiting for me.

“I ordered while you’re asleep. I’m kinda sure it’ll fit.” He said in an amused tone.

Kinagat ko ang labi ko at nilapitan na ang damit na ibinigay niya. Nakatapis lang ako ng tuwalya pero bago ako maging masyadong conscious ay hinarap ko na siya. Nagtaas siya ng kilay at bahagyang hinagod ng tingin ang aking dibdib. Umirap ako at hinawakan ang kanyang polo para ma mabutones ang mga iyon.

Hindi ko alam na posible palang maging masaya sa kalagitnaan ng maraming problema. Ang akala ko noon, kapag may problema ay puro lungkot lamang ang mararamdaman. Ali taught me that there’s always happiness everywhere.

Muli kong nabalikan ang mga alaala namin sa Carles. I wonder if he ever was happy even though I couldn’t remember anything? Did I make him happy, still? That way? I was hard on him back in Carles… when I still couldn’t remember anything.

Walang patawad na tumakbo ang oras. Balisa na ako pagkalabas namin ng Aston Martin. Hindi kalayuan ang napag-usapan nilang restaurant kaya hindi na rin ako nabigyan ng oras para huminahon.

Will she like me?

Na meet niya na ako at paniguradong pangit ang unang impresyon niya! Lalo na dahil kasama ko noon si Ivo! Anong iisipin niya sa akin? Oh damn!

“Relax…” Ali said in a casual tone as he touched the small of my back.

Iginiya kami ng waiter sa isang private room ng French Restaurant na iyon. Ni hindi ko na mapuri kung gaano iyon ka magarbo. Hindi ko na matingnan ng maayos ang lahat ng mamahaling muwebles dahil ang tanging nasa isip ko ay ang mga mata ng kanyang ina.

The tall double doors opened. Pagkabukas noon ay agad kong nakita ang kanyang ama at ina sa isang four seater na lamesa.

The table is full. They already ordered food, wine, and more. Candles burned beside foreign flowers. Napalunok ako nang nagtama ang tingin namin ni Annaliese Mercadejas.

Tumayo ang dalawa. I noticed the unmoving bodyguards that were present even behind closed doors.

“Good evening,” Anton Mercadejas greeted me.
“Good evening, Sir…” I formally said.

Hinawakan ni Ali ang aking baywang.

“Papa, this is Thraia Fortunato. Thraia, this is my father and my mother.”

The father looked formal. Ayos lang. Kahit na mukhang seryoso ay hindi ako masyadong kinakabahan. Pero nang nilingon ko si Annaliese Mercadejas ay pinagpapawisan ako.

Naglahad ng kamay si Annaliese Mercadejas. Tinanggap ko iyon at inayos ang pagkakamay sa kanya. Una siyang kumalas at agad akong nahiya. Damn it!

She kissed Ali’s cheek before smiling at him and then to me. I smiled back but her smile was shortlived.

“Have a seat…” anito.

Nagsiupuan na kami. Kahit na dapat ay nagdidinner na kami ni Ali, hindi ako dinalaw ng gutom.

“This is the finest of their house. Is it good?” tanong ni Madame Annaliese kay Ali habang kumakain.

Puro pagkain lang ang pinag-usapan habang kumakain kami. Mas lalo tuloy akong kinabahan.

“Do you like it?” tanong naman nito sa akin kahit na walang nagreregister sa taste buds ko sa sobrang kaba.
I nodded. “Yes, po, Ma’am.”

What the hell, Thraia? Get a hold of yourself!

Hinawakan muli ni Ali ang baywang ko. Nanatili ang tingin ng mama niya sa akin. Napainom tuloy ako ng tubig. Nakita ko ang pag-angat ng kilay niya nang nakita ang singsing sa daliri ko.

Shoot!

Bumaling siya kay Ali.

“When are you planning to tell us, Ali?” mapaglaro ang tinig ng kanyang ina nang itanong iyon pero wala akong maramdaman kundi kaba.

Parang nakuha agad ni Ali ang tanong ng kanyang ina.

“Tonight,” sagot ni Ali.
“What is it, darling?” his father interrupted.
“That your son is engaged, Anton.”

Ang bilis ng tibok ng puso ko. Pakiramdam ko’y hihimatayin na ako.

Antonius Mercadejas Jr smiled at me and then nodded. I awkwardly smiled back.

“Si Mama talaga…” umiling ang kanyang Papa. “Did you tell her about this, Ali?”
“Hindi pa po.”
“She called for a conference tomorrow. I asked her to talk to us privately but she refused. She invited the board. She feels threatened in Paul Angeles’ withdrawal and because of that, she wants to give Ivo the position.”
“It will be tough without his shares but I can slowly boost the company, Papa. Kung bibigyan lang ako ni Lola ng panahon.”

Kahit na nag-uusap na ang dalawa’y hindi parin ako nilulubayan ng mapanuring tingin ni Annaliese Mercadejas. I can’t help but feel uneasy.

“Alam ko iyon. Masyadong padalos dalos si Mama.”
“Pero kung ito talaga ang gusto niya. Ivo has the right to be a CEO, too. Gusto ko ang kompanya pero kung iyon ang gustong mangyari ni Lola, rerespetuin ko iyon.”
Natawa bahagya ang kanyang ama. “This won’t be good. She’ll think you’ll fight for your right.”
“The company is not mine. Sa kanila iyon ni Lolo. They both have the right to do whatever they want to do with it. I can start from the very beginning…”

Napalunok ako nang nanliit ang mga mata ng kanyang ina habang tinititigan ako.

“The main reason why it took you so many years before finally sealing it with the wanted you wanted, Ali…” malamyos na boses ang iginawad niya kay Ali.

Napatingin ako kay Ali. He smiled sarcastically at his mother.

Wait! Does that mean… she knows something?

“You don’t know how to fight for things that are rightfully yours…” mas lalong lumambing ang tono niya.
“Is that an insult for your son, darling?” natatawang tanong ng kanyang ama.

Nagtaas ng kilay si Annaliese sa akin habang may multo ng ngiti sa kanyang labi.

Hinawakan ni Ali ang aking kamay. I stiffened because his mother is looking at us pero nang hinigit niya ako palapit sa kanya’y wala na akong nagawa.

“Sorry, the company may not be mine… but you are and that’s more than enough for me,” he whispered.
Tumikhim si Annaliese. Hindi maalis ang tingin ko sa kanyang ina. Damn it!
“I choose my fights and this one is my favorite,” matamang sinabi ni Ali.

Uminit ang pisngi ko. Lalo na nang bumitiw sa pagkakatitig ang kanyang ina sa akin. Nagkatinginan sila ni Anton Mercadejas Jr.

“Thraia,” his mom inquired.

Napatuwid ako sa pagkakaupo kahit na panay na ang halik ni Ali sa aking balikat.

“Napakabagal ba ng anak ko para umabot kayo ng ganito?” she smiled genuinely kaya nasuklian ko iyon agad.

Mabagal? Mabilis nga, e. Ako lang iyong mabagal sa amin!

“H-Hindi naman po…”

What the hell? Did I really say that to his mom? Tumawa si Ali.

“Prove that to me, then. Get him to plan your wedding real fast,” hamon niya.

Nagtawanan si Ali at ang kanyang ama. Para akong nabunutan ng tinik doon. Unti-unting nag loosen up ang aking balikat.

“Sorry, she’s just really intimidating,” Ali whispered to me.

Yeah. Obviously… like you.

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One Response to Waves of Memories – Kabanata 47

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