Eyeball to eyeball
By Virginia J. Pasalo
I arrived much earlier than my appointment at Asian Eye Institute. So many people of all ages, mostly with family names composed of two or three letters. I recognized someone but could not remember her name, or where I saw her. She reminded me of Nieves Confesor. I sat on a chair but miscalculated drinking from the coffee cup which I thought was securely closed and spilled some of it on bag, blouse and pants. It dried in a while, the air conditioning was freezing cold.
The woman whose aura swirled like Nieves stood up. A few minutes later, she came back to her seat. An elderly man requested me to watch over his things because he needed to be at the men’s room. I agreed but told him to make it fast. He came back in a minute, and I suspected that he was not able to do what he intended to do.
An elderly woman stood up. When she came back, she told her companion that she was proceeding to the examination room in another floor. Her companion waved to her as she continued her conversation on her mobile phone.
She had difficulty standing up, but she wore a nice pair of rubber shoes. The companion of the “Yabut” woman was talking about meeting Grace and Annie.
“It’s a go, it’s a go, whether Susan likes it or not! Bye, andito na siya!”
A young woman suddenly got up and pulled the hands of an elderly man wearing a hearing aid. After a few minutes, he was back on his seat watching “Tawag ng Tanghalan”. A certain “Tuko” won. He cried as much as the first runner-up.
The children became restless. A brat ran around the patients and laughed loudly imitating different voices, shouting on top of his voice. Another one started to join the chorus, but was restrained by her father. Amid the noise, the teleserye (TV drama series) rolled on, with a girl about to jump over a bridge. At this point, someone changed the channel. NU Lady Bulldogs was playing against Adamson Lady Falcons. In a few seconds, the bulldogs shot down the falcons. The Yabut woman was back. She was wearing accessories that weighed down the muscles on her neck.
“Patient Dong Lee!”
“Thank God, ako na! Sandali lang, ihing-ihi na ako. It’s freezing cold, it makes me pee!” (For a while, I need to pee.)
I stood up and made my way to the same direction. I queued and waited for the cubicles to be vacated. Someone who looked like a man came out. Confused, a Chinese woman waiting in line asked her/him:
“Di ba ladies’ room po ito?” (Isn’t this the ladies’ room?)
I thought I made a mistake too and looked at the sign. The person glared at both of us, his/her eyeballs almost popped out.
“Oo nga, ladies’ room nga, Anong problema ninyo?!” (Yes, it’s the ladies’room. What’s your problem?!)
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