(Written by Ran Manansala)
She left the airport to dine in the nearest café.
Her fingers tapped the wooden top rhythmically, pout lips humming a tune. She could not help but reminisce. The smell of his aftershave lingered in her thoughts. The anticipation rose every time she breathed in. Six long months have taken their toll on both the physical and emotional longing. She missed his fingers tracing her thighs and the way he brushed her hair back when he ought to kiss her. Memories stirred a rippling fantasy.
Lunch had passed like a breeze. The once thin air outside had become thicker, fogging up the store’s glass. Outside was a blur to her as the heavens poured, following the aching of the wailing heart.
He never came. Not a single call was answered, texts ignored And all at once the memories of him faded into phantoms adored by salty tears, the promise of a thousand tomorrows drowning in the sound of soft and frequent pitter patter. Tears mixed with the puddles of muddy waters and gunk.
Later that evening, she checked herself into the cheapest motel at the bustling boulevard.
The two-star establishment was nothing out of the ordinary, but decent enough to attract the privileged patrons. It had four floors with the topmost one being an open garden while the first level prided itself with a resto-bar.
The woman found herself that night, lounging in a seat near the busy bartender’s post with a middle finger tracing the rim of her third glass of beer. In the low lights, near the draped velvety curtains, old college friends cheered and drank. In another corner, three younger customers made merry with twelve dark bottles divided among them. In the low lights, at the corner of her eye, was an unbecoming scene of subtle debauchery. It was at the far end of the room that no one paid attention to.
“Another bottle please.”
And she saw him in the flesh. In the low light, a woman downs bitter liquid as her fiancé sat on a roundtable with a laughing girl on his lap.