He sat with his peer at the nearby café after the day’s tiring work. The afternoon sun was beginning to set, but the day was considerably longer because of the summer solstice.
They had fried fish for lunch and planning to have pares for supper. It didn’t matter where they went for as long as they had fresh packs of cigarettes with them all day.
While passing the time, the younger one picked up the broadsheet from the vacated table next to them. The news was considerably current, even though the paper was dated some two days ago.
It read that the Department of Health had recently declared that the vaccine scare was over. It’s just that most people chose not to believe it, that was the predicament.
“Have you read this yet?”
“Why? Did somebody win the Lotto finally?”
“No, it’s about that Dengvaxia thing.”
“Yeah, I’m relieved that’s over.”
“People are still worried about it though.”
“Sadly. But hey, you can’t blame them right? With all of those fake news circling around.”
The evening sun relieved the day. The moon also did not disappoint, it was even brighter compared to the nights before with its copper-like glow. We decided to skip dinner, and transgressed to drinking whiskey with water, and full cups of Irish coffee instead. The café was starting to pick up, with customers filling up the tables.
He told me that his wife was leaving him. “Of course, she’ll take the house and the kids, even the goddamn dog.”
Then something welled up inside of me. I can’t help but feel that we’re all the same. We’re all just a pile of beat-up empty cans crashing down the hill.
“It’s just sad that the weight of the truth is nowadays measured by the amount of noise one makes.”
Still thinking about the news article, I shared my thoughts outloud.
“Do you think it’s all gone?” The elder colleague followed up.
I lifted my cup off the saucer and pretended I needed a sip. There was a moment of silence between us.
“Well, nothing is ever really gone, I guess. God, I hope it’s not. I think she’s just tired, needs resting, do you understand?”
“I guess so.” The old man’s voice was tired.
“Hey, at least you can use that as material for your second novel.”
“Ain’t that dandy?” Then he handed me his share of the check before finally making his point.
“I don’t believe it matters anymore.”
Months later a state of calamity was issued brought about by the suspension of the vaccine.
Nowadays, I spare myself from reading the comic strip section and jump straight into the by-line columns, to get my weekly dose of laughs.