Thursday, April 06, 2006

A Simple Love Story 4

My stomach was growling. Hungry. I entered the cafeteria. I went from table to table, trying to peer into the faces of the individuals eating lunch, trying to see if Wanda was among them. My stomach growled again. I saw food, but I had more important matters to attend to.

Where could Wanda be? I looked at my watch: 11:30. I was early. I went over to a food stall selling Chinese dumplings. I ordered an adobo siopao. I paid the salesperson and looked for a seat. I sat down under a fan and ate.

The bell rang. I looked at my watch. It was still 11:30! My stupid watch had stopped! I shoved the rest of my siopao into my mouth and looked at the antique wall clock on the far side of the wall. It was already 12:30! I crumpled the paper wrapping and the cardboard plate into a ball and looked for the nearest trash can. Where was the trash bin when you needed it?

Then I saw Wanda, with her shoulder black hair trailing in the wind. Wind? What wind? It was stuffy in here. She went out the door, carrying a plate of fishballs and a cup of iced tea. I left my junk on the table and went after her. I wasn't going to let her out of my sight!

Just as I was about to go through the swinging doors, a huge wave of people came through the them. It was the lunch rush-hour! I tried to squirm my way through the seemingly endless stream, a little push here and a nudge there.

I felt a hand clasp my right shoulder. I turned around and was about to apologize for stepping on his or her foot when this mountain of a guy dragged me to the side and against the wall. The guy had long curly hair and a stubble that refused to grow into a goatee. A lighted cigarette was dangling on his lips. His eyes were full of hatred and they were looking straight at mine.

"So you're the guy bugging my Wanda," he said. He put his arm around my neck and held me in a neck lock. We exited the cafeteria and headed towards the back of the building. Away from the multitude, he turned me around and shoved me against the wall. The air went out of me. He placed his hands on my neck and squeezed at little.

"Who're you. . .?" I managed to ask.

"I'm Wanda's boyfriend. Tom."

Tom? They're back together? I didn't see what Wanda saw in this big mound of muscle. Well, for one thing, there were the muscles...

"Do us all a favor and stay away from my girl, you hear?" Tom said as he blew a cloud of smoke into my face.

I managed to nod a yes. He released his grip and I rubbed by neck to restore the circulation. Luckily, nothing was broken. I coughed and uttered, "I just wanted my pen back."

"Oh, that's what they all say," he said as he walked away.

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