Saturday, September 17, 2011
Part VII – False Impressions (In Filipino "Tagalog" dialect)
Los Angeles, California
Nakadungaw sa floor to ceiling na glass window sa ika 16th floor ng S&S Tower si Damon ng biglang pumasok si Sally sa kanyang office.
“Sally, would you care to knock next time?” Sanay na si Sally sa ganong kasupladuhan ng kanyang boss.
“Sorry boss, did I interrupt something?”
“Almost, I was on the verge of doing something private when you suddenly hopped your ass in.”
“Really?, Or are you daydreaming of someone from the past again? Like I can't notice....I know that malayo ang tingin look of yours boss.”
Tinaasan sya ng kilay ni Damon.
“Ooopps, sorry, I'll zip my mouth na po...By the way boss, here are the proposed contract of the companies you had meetings with, porche, chevrolet, ford...basta nandyan na po lahat.”
“Just put it on my table thank you.”
“And miss Megan called, wag mo raw kakalimutan ang date ninyong tatlo ni Maxine bukas.”
“Right, thank you...anything else Sally?”
“Wala na po bossing, unless may kailangan pa kayo?”
“Wala na rin” tumalikod muli si Damon at humarap sa glass window.
“Ok, thanks” naglakad nang palabas si Sally... “Ayaw nyo pa kasing umuwi ng Pilipinas eh” pahabol na pang aalaska nito.
“Did you say something” tanong ni Damon na nakatalikod parin
“Nope, not a word”
Naiinis sya sa tuwing pinapaalala sa kanya ni Sally ang isang bagay na gustong-gusto nya nang kalimutan. Ngunit sa oras na halos bibigay na ang kanyang pride ay may trabaho nanaman syang dapat pagtuunan ng pansin.
It's been 6 years now... he had had lots of relationships with beautiful women but none of them filled an empty space somewhere in the middle of his heart which only a particular person can fill in.
God, how he missed her so much, especially in times when he's with another woman.. His mind would wonder, where in this freakin' world is she right now. Bakit sya naglaho ng ganon-ganon na lang. He keeps on reminding himself... “Damon, Damon, how can such a girl affect you so much after all these years na hindi mo sya nakita. After all the gorgeous ladies you've been with, you're still wondering what could have been if you did not have that accident... kalokohan na yan Damon..Move the fxckin'on man!!!”
After being discharged from the hospital, Damon had to undergo weekly physical therapy in order to be able to walk again. Inabot din ng isang taon bago sya nag fully recover physically.
Contrary to his plan of coming home to the Philippines, his dad requested him to take over his kuya Alfred’s position for a while because his kuya got married and asked for a 3-month break from work. His kuya Alfred and his wife travelled mostly during those 3 months, talagang honeymoon to the fullest ika nga.
Pumayag narin sya dahil gusto nya ring mag expand ng kanyang S. Motors Lt. Ed. Sa US. He had it all planned. He would request Miggs again to look for Steph and ask her to follow him to the States para doon nalang mga aral. He would provide everything for her, ganun sya ka desidido ngunit Steph was no longer in that school. She was practically no where in Manila, Visayas and Mindanao... He waited, in fact he waited for like a year, asking for updates from Miggs but they couldn’t find her.
Pakiramdam ni Damon ay kinalimutan na sya ni Stephanie. He hated her for that . Tinamaan ng husto ang pride nya pati.
He just kept himself preoccupied with work para lang makalimutan sya but her memories just won’t let him go. He would wake up in the middle of the night from a hot dream of Stephanie. He would dream of their first night together. He imagined himself taking her glasses off... and her clothes of while kissing those cherry red lips.. They would make passionate love all night. It almost felt so real and he would wake up so much in love again. That’s his most hated part, waking up so much in love with someone he couldn’t find. For all he knows baka nga nag-asawa na sya ngayon at heto sya nagpapantasya parin sa isang babaing hindi nga nya lubos mang lang nakilala... Worse, when he wakes up, he would be beside another woman always. It’s so fxcking frustrating.
Tila yata nakikinig ang panahon sa kanya, nag ring ang kanyang private line.
“Miggs pare, kumusta na..napatawag ka pare.”
“Sensya na pare, naka abala ba ako?” tanong ni Miggs
“Hindi naman, bakit pare, may problema ba?”
“Pare, diba may surveillance camera ang bahay mo?” si Miggs.
“Do you mind if I take a look at them pare?”
“Of course not pare, daanan mo lang doon sa may security house, nandun lahat ng CDs.”
“Great, salamat pare.” Binaba na ni Miggs ang telepono.
Hindi na nagtanong si Damon, madalas naman talagang tinitingnan ng security agency ang mga surveillance cds nila para magfile ng yearly report for documentation. Ganun ka conscious si Miggs pagdating sa legalities.
ROYAL DIAMOND HOTEL , Los Angeles
Papa Damon!! Papa Damon!! Can I have ice cream?! Paglalambing ni Maxine.
“Sure Princess, come on lets go get some ice cream.” Sumakay si Maxine sa likod ni Damon na parang spider monkey.
“Mommy, well just buy some ice cream, just wait for us here ok?” Parang matandang pagpapaalam ng anak sa kanyang mommy Megan.
“Ok, just be back right away cause we are going to miss the movie if we don’t get inside on time.”
“Sure mom, lets go Papa!”
Sa may di kalayuan ay nakatanaw si Steph na tila hindi maintindihan ang kanyang nakikita.But she can’t be wrong, It’s a picture of a perfect and happy family. Damon was with his cute little daughter and his beautiful wife. She wanted to believe otherwise so she asked the waiter whom Damon was talking to earlier.
“Excuse me, do you mind if I ask you something?”
“No ma’am, what can I do for you..” magalang ng sagot ng pinoy na waiter.
“That lady in purple over there, do you know her?”
“Si Mrs Megan Samuel po, wife of one of the owners of this hotel maam.” Nakangiting paghanga ng waiter ky Megan.
“Thank you.” Tulalang nakatitig na lamang sya kay Megan, napakaganda nga, they look gorgeous together.. Maya-maya ay bumalik na si Damon and Maxine.
“We have to go now,” Tawag sa kanila ni Megan.
Nakatitig parin si Steph kay Damon habang ito ay papalabas kasama ang kanyang pamilya. He looked more handsome, more mature and very happy.
She almost couldn’t stop herself from running to him.. Damon, I’m here...But obviously, she’s too late, Damon looks so contented with his family now. Hindi nya inasahan ang biglang paglingon nito sa kanya na tila narinig ang pagtawag ng kanyang puso.
She instinctively looked down, turned around and headed back to her room on the 6th floor.
Damon couldn’t understand why he’s feeling so uneasy today, tila may nakamasid sa kanila. Habang bumibili sila ng ice cream ng kanyang pamangkin ay napansin nya ang isang magandang dilag sa my di kalayuan. She looked so familiar, he just can’t remember where he’d seen her. She looked like an angel in her red sun dress with her straight and long black hair na nakalugay halos hanggang bewang. He wanted to go to her and ask her if they had met before. The truth is, gusto lang talaga nyang makilala and magandang dalaga na tila kanina pa nakatingin sa kanila. But unfortunately, they had to leave to catch a movie he’d promised to Megan and Maxine na mag-ina ng kanyang kuya Alfred na kasalukuyang nasa Paris for a conference. Maybe he would ask later if that lady in red happened to check in their hotel. Perhaps he would send her some compliments from the hotel and invite her for dinner tomorrow tonight.
Nang makapasok si Steph sa kanyang kwarto ay agad itong ng impake at nagpatawag ng taxi sa receptionist upang ihatid sya sa airport. Her tears were involuntarily flowing . What were you expecting Steph? That he would look for you and ask you to marry him? After all these years of waiting, diba walang dumating ni anino? So don’t cry!...
Nagpahatid si Steph sa airport at nagbook ng earliest flight back to the Philippines. She had to let go of Damon for good this time. He’s already happy now and that’s what’s important. He is healthy and happy—period. Hindi ba yun naman ang kanyang hiniling sa Diyos noon? So she should be happy for him too. Even if her heart is bleeding she has to move on from here.
The next day, maagang pumasok sa office si Damon.
“Good morning boss?” nagtatakang pagbati ni Sally.
“Sally, I want you in my office right now.”
Agad tumayo si Sally at bumuntot sa kanya papasok sa office.
“May ipapagawa ba kayo boss?”
“I want you to call Diamond hotel, ask them if a lady in red dress with long black hair happened to check in yesterday. I want her name and room number.”
“Ah.... a lady in red dress....with long black hair...” puzzled na tanong ni Sally.
“They would remember her, believe me, she’s......very difficult to forget rather easy to remember.”
“Ok, right away boss.” Saka lumabas na si Sally
“And cancel all my appointments today, I have a date with miss lady in red.” Pahabol nito.
“Yah right, of course sir.”
After 10 mins ay bumalik si Sally...
“Boss, sorry mukhang hindi yata matutuloy yung date mo.... miss lady in red checked out from room 605 last night and headed straight to the airport.”
“To the airport? Bound for where? Did you get her name?” tumaas and tono ni Damon.
“She only wrote Ms. QSRT, no contact no. whatsoever.’
“Well, call the the airport, use my connections, find out where she went.”
“Ok boss, certainly.’ Muling tumalikod si Sally.
Uminit ang ulo ni Damon. He had to see her again. He felt some sort of connection with that woman. He felt it when their eyes met at the hotel, but she immediately looked away and left na parang nagmamadali. She looked familiar...She felt like Stephanie...... what?! No way! Steph was no way like her, sophisticated yet angelic and demure in some ways. Napakaganda.. He felt so excited like in the first year in his highschool days when he saw his ultimate crush. He had to really see her again.. Baka sakaling makalimutan nya si Stephanie. Sa tindi ng pakiramdam nya ngayon.. This woman would definitely change things a lot.
Biglang nag ring ang kanyang phone..
“Damon pare, did you mention to me that you were with miss Stephanie Martinez sa bahay mo the day before your accident? Do you remember having other lady visitor?”
“No, why?..well ate Belen was with her when I left to meet the President.”
“Pare, you have to check the video taken on that day, I think this will help us a lot in finding her.”
“Pare, was that the reason you asked for the cd’s?” medyo iritang tono ni Damon.
“It’s been years man, I thought it was understood that by not asking info about her anymore meant that my case with her is closed.” Dagdag pa nito.
“Pasensya na pare, I just can’t get over with her case man...Di lang ako mapalagay na di talaga natin sya mahanap, I want to finish what I’ve started man, you know me Damon.”
“Ok Miggs, do as you wish pare, just remember that I’m no longer interested to find her..”
“Got that Damon...Will bear that in mind.”
Saka ibinaba na ni Damon ang telopono. Ng tila inis na inis sa sitwasyon... Nasaan naba si Sally. Tatawagin na sana nya ito ng bigla itong sumulpot sa pinto...
“ Boss, she took the latest flight back to the Philippines last night.”
“Philippines....Good, now book me a flight to Manila, I have a business to attend to”
“Business? I don’t remember arranging any meeting in Manila?” pagkukunwaring clueless ni Sally.
“Sally, I didn’t hire you to question my plans, now book me a flight... I want the earliest.”
“I’m on it boss” Saka kumaripas na ito ng takbo palabas.
He felt so lucky to have Sally, his ever reliable secretary who knows him like family.