LIFE'S blessings come in many ways and let me tell you how a blessing came to me in a unique and unexpected way.
I was having lunch in a restaurant in Cotabato City one day, and as I have missed my breakfast, I decided to make up for it by ordering a huge meal. It was not one of those pay-as-you-order establishments where you have to blink your eyes many times at the enormous figure flashed by the cash register before you shell out the amount to the cashier, thus spoiling your appetite. Rather it was a resto where waiters hover near your table, ever ready to refill your water glass or serve whatever you wish just to justify the extorbitant prices they charge. (You have to wait for the shock to happen when your bill arrives).
Halfway through my lunch, the door opened and in breezed a young lady in body-hugging jeans, high-heeled shoes and tight-fitting, see-through sleeveless shirt that leaves almost nothing to the imagination. She sat down at an empty table, studied the menu for a while before giving her order to a hovering waiter. Her face was heavily made up while huge loops hanged on both ears.
She swept a cursory glance around. When she met my eyes, she was suddenly all smiles as she stood up and headed for my table.
"Hello, where have you been hiding yourself all these years? Can I join you?" Before I was able to blink my eyes and without waiting for my answer she motioned for the waiter to bring her order to my table. I frowned, trying to place her face among my acquiantances but came upon a blank wall.
"I must be getting real old," I told myself when I couldn't recall who she was. And she was quick to notice it.
"You don't remember me, do you? I'm not surprised. After what happened, I went through a lot of changes outside but inside, I'm still the same old Sophia," she beamed as her order was served by a waiter.
"So how're you?" she asked as she started eating. I smiled hesitantly before telling her I was fine. With a tremendous effort, I summoned all the memory 'cells' in my brain just so I could recall her face among my former classmates or acquaintances but the blank wall persisted. She took care of the talking, laughing a lot as she ate while I just smiled, nodded my head and answered her questions as briefly as I could.
"How's your brother?" She suddenly asked me, and for a fleeting second I saw a bitter expression replace her brilliant smile.
"You know, it took me sometime to recover from our break-up but I guessed right from the start that he wasn't the marrying kind. Anyway, I survived the heartache and here I am, alive and coping well," this was said with a punctuating laugh.
So! She must be a former girlfriend of my brother (I only have two but it was hard to figure out who could have been this girl's boyfriend because both hate make-up). I also couldn't recall her name being mentioned in our house in the past.
I was grateful when we finally finished our lunch.
When our respective bills arrived, she grabbed mine and insisted that she'll be the one to pay for it. I refused but she was very adamant so I let her have her way.
We went out together and she apologized that she had an appointment, otherwise she would have loved to talk to me more.
"Bye, Luz, nice seeing you again!" she waved cheerily and boarded a passing passenger jeepney outside the restaurant.
The mystery was solved. I couldn't recall having a friend named Sophia because I never did have one, my name is not Luz and I saved P245 by accident.