30 x 42 cm.
pen and ink on paper
30 x 42 cm.
pen and ink on paper
The heat has been so oppressive these past few days that I cannot leave cooked rice out in the open for a few hours or it’ll spoil. The humidity is so high that I can even use the sweat on my face to fry eggs. What’s worse is I keep on having these persistent heat-related headaches that I find myself pill-popping pain relievers. I am worried I might end up being addicted to these pretty little pills.
“Vicky!! Do you and Karen have plans of getting any taller?” I was shouting to Vicky the dental assistant at the other end of the room, as I was standing in front of the clinic’s aircondition cooling myself.
“Hoy, Daniel!! Bababa ka lang dito para mang-insulto? Magluto ka na sa itaas at bigyan mo kami (You just come down here to insult us? Go upstairs to your apartment, cook and give us some),” in her shrill voice, she called from her side.
“Hehehe, I will. But I have to show you something first,” I beckoned to her to come closer.
“What??” she said as she walked towards where I am holding a rag she wipes the counters with.
“Come here beside me,” I waved her closer with one hand. “Stand right here,” while I pointed spot beside me. “Okay,” she says and asks, “Ano ngayon? (Now what?)”
“Di ba mukha tayong basketball trophy? (Don’t we look like a basketball trophy?)” I told her pointing at our reflection in the mirror.
“Hayup!” and she whacks me with her counter rag.
Clutching a thick bundle of magazines and notebooks in one arm, and holding a stack of plates and bowls I got from Vicky on the other, I was having a difficult time turning the key on my apartment door. Though I just came from an airconditioned heaven that was the clinic next door, I was already profusely sweating in a hot and humid early evening.
Trying one direction and then another, the key seemed to have a mind of its own and is refusing to heed my hand. I was already pleading for it to turn for in between sweating buckets and trying to carry precariously all the things in my arms, I could feel the slowly rising need in my groin to rush to my toilet upstairs.
“Oh please open up… damn!” I was already cussing under my breath when I heard a rustling behind me followed by a soft mumble.
“Mmm... ememem,” it seemed to say. But I shrugged it off thinking it was just my imagination.
“Mmm… ememem,” and I heard it again. And this time I am sure it was someone mumbling incomprehensibly in a low, “humum”-sort of way. Still, I shrugged it off. Whoever it was has to wait until I succeed in opening my door.
“Mmmm… ememEM,” this time it was louder and it was a small female voice. “Sandali lang (Please wait),” I said as I could already hear the latch loosening from the inside.
“Mmmm… ememem-emeMEM!” said the voice shrilly, saying something I couldn’t understand. Then I felt a hard tug on my shirt. At the same time, my door finally opened.
When I turned around to face my shirt assailant, I gave out a shrill cry “Aiieee!!!” when I looked down and saw who it was.
My anonymous “mumbler” and shirt-tugger was a squat lady dwarf wearing an oversized t-shirt that looked like a gown on her with a big graphic heart emblazoned on it. Stunned and wide-eyed, thoughts of the bride of Chuckie (that knife-wielding murderous maniacal living doll that left a bloodbath in the movies and married a similar female version of his in one of its series) raced through my mind. I stood there with mouth agape, not knowing what to say and scared out of my wits, she kept on pointing to the ground at something. But I just stood back, shamefully, in fright.
“Mmm… ememem,” she mumbled again and in a flash ran off on her short, stubbly legs with her heart emblazoned t-shirt swaying to her every short stride.
It took a while before I could feel my heart thump back to its normal beat. I took a deep breath, looked around to see if anyone saw my sudden and abrupt display of panic, and satisfied that no one was around to have witnessed anything I turned back to enter my door. Once I took a step into my doorway and I turned around to grip the handle to lock it behind me, something caught my attention lying on the ground. It was one of my notebooks that must have fallen off from the pile I was holding! And I realized, that the whole time the lady dwarf was mumbling behind me, she was also trying to call my attention at what I dropped.
And as sudden as the evening tide, a pang of guilt rushed through me.