I went out onto the main street where I breezed the sidewalk on the opposite side of where the sun shone. Rose gold rays warmly set in through the apartment windows and the narrow concrete walkways were relatively empty and yet to be bustled. Sure, a few cars jostled across here and there, but the town was sleepy considering, while breakfast cafés were putting up menu signs for the day and folding gazebos were set up at the marketplace beneath the shade of the trees along the hedges. The unloading vegetable jeepneys and meat canter trucks pulled over and went, as people shook hands and chattered before bidding goodbyes.
Summer has just begun, and another school year has ended. Kids help out with the chores at the nearby fruit stands and novelty thrift shops. I know most of the owners by name, and some are considered dear friends. As I watched them go about their day, I settled in under a cool shade, reading an overdue paperback from a local library. I figured I had at least an hour before the scheduled rendezvous, so I took my time leisurely, drinking a cup of creamed coffee.
A flower girl held a basket full of mixed banaba and yellow gumamelas as offerings to the virgin of the grotto. She held the hand of an elderly, whose I would assume was of her grandmother’s, while lanky male tourists wearing board shorts and loose shirts walked past by me, peering through the food stalls at the corner street. They appear to have been around for at least a week by the looks and tone of their tan.
Over the blue-tiled roofs, the sun is now higher into the horizon, outlining the sky. The wind then picks up, as I walked up the slanting road, until leveling off onto the commercial part of the district. Standing on a tall escalator, pairs of lower limbs in jeans and skirts tripled before me through the reflection on the glass balustrade panels. I elbowed the rail as I ascended to the upper landing where I was bound.
When I approached the reception, I was told to sit down on the couch, under where a huge abstract painting hangs. The lady behind the desk was nice enough and made me feel I was being expected. Her warm accommodation was very much complimented by her soft voice. Somehow, I just couldn’t remember her face anymore, as if what was left is just a memory of an embroidered crest on her office jacket and the apple cut hair that she was sporting.
I stared at the enormous painting to kill time, examining it the best I could and thought about what it meant. I never quite understand what abstracts were all about, or how one should feel about them particularly.
When the time has come, I was led to a room at the end of the hall. The decorative paneling was made of oak and the lighting was elegantly positioned and unnecessarily excessive. I was behind the receptionist when the door was opened, and a man was waiting for me inside, leafing through some paperwork as he went to me and reached out his hand. He always had a good grip.
University certificates were delicately framed, not a hint of dust on them. There was a fabric ward divider that stood at one side for changing and paper brochures neatly spread out atop the receiving table, with a picture of a happy looking couple on them.
“Let’s get on with it shall we?” I suggested.
“Lots of good things to see today”