Men-in-waiting at Dunkin’
By Virginia Jasmin Pasalo
EAGER to enjoy the newly-baked bread I bought from BreadTalk, I proceeded to Dunkin Donuts for quick coffee and gather stories. All the tables were taken, a young man entrenched himself in the corner, reading his books. On two tables joined together were about six elderly men. Two other tables were occupied by tired shoppers. One table, by an elderly woman.
“May I join you, please?”
“Yes, you may. I’ve been here since 1:00 p.m. Waiting for 4:00 p.m. to fetch my grandchild on the other side of the street. I already had a cup of coffee.”
I started to sip my coffee and nibble on the bread. The young man started to play games on his mobile. The elderly woman was visibly irritated, and she spoke loud enough to be heard.
“He has been playing in full volume, for almost two hours now. He did not even order anything.”
Another man, with coffee in one hand and a mobile phone in the other, arrived and requested to sit beside the elderly men.
“Just waiting for my wife to finish shopping.”
“Sige lang pare. Upuan ito ng mga naghihintay,” (It’s okay. These are seats for those who wait.)
“Naghihintay ng wala”,(Waiting for nothing), said the other who clutched his bag close to his chest.
“Magkakaibigan po kayo?”(Are you friends?)
“Hindi, dito lang kami nag kakilala, mga isang taon na rin nakaraan. Ngayon, magkakaibigan na. Sama ka sa amin, kapag ang asawa mo ay nagsha-shopping. Asawa mo ba talaga?” (No, we just met here almost a year ago. Now we are friends. Join us, each time your wife goes shopping. Is she really your wife?)
All of them burst into laughter.
A woman in her fifties rushed to the young man, kissed him on the cheek and apologized. The young man appeared relieved.
“Babes, so sorry. I had to give my husband a good alibi. He asked too many questions. I told him I was shopping with some friends.”
They leave, pretending not to know each other, her bag carelessly knocking off the head of a dozing elderly man. He was going to hit the floor if it were not for the quick support by the man who was waiting for his wife to finish shopping, but had forgotten about the wait, distracted by a passing nymph.
“Pare, nakita mo yung babae? May asim pa!” (My friend, did you that woman? She still has it!)
Still recovering from the blow, the man hurriedly stood up, gathered his wits and remembered something.
“Diyos ko po, patay! Babatuhin na naman ako ng asawa ko ng plato, nakalimutan ko, dadalhin ko siya sa Baguio ngayon para sa aming anibersaryo!” (Oh, my God, I am dead! My wife will throw plates at me again, I forgot, I was supposed to take her to Baguio today for our anniversary!)
The others, men-in-waiting (for someone, something or nothing), watched him scamper and disappear among the shoppers, clutching their empty cups, wondering if they will share another cup with him the next day.
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