One Morning at Starbucks (or The Problem with Men)

It is 6 am and Alice just got off from work. She proceeds to the Starbucks beside their building for her daily caffeine quota. Her backpack feels heavy and she is unbearably sleepy. She will proceed to her apartment and sleep the whole day. At 6 pm she will teach evening classes at the university. Work, school, home … the rhythms of her life.

She orders a cold capuccino, to jar her up. She needs the extra adrenaline for the commute home. She doesn’t really like Starbucks coffee, but it is convenient and fast.

It’s also obscenely expensive. He said that. Two weeks ago; when they were debating the merits and disadvantages of changing the Philippine constitution to give more ownership to foreign corporations.

These days, his voice would manifest in her head without warning, during times when she is most defenseless. Like at six in the morning when she is bone-tired and sleepy. The jerk hasn’t called, texted or even emailed in over a week! How dare he intrude in her thoughts.

He has been parachuting in and out of her life for the past – oh, 5 or 6 months. Each time she would see him was always like the first time. Initially, she would be indifferent (hostile, even, especially if he appeared after weeks of disappearing with no trace at all). But then he would say something, or touch her in some way, or smile – and she’s … gone. Alice would feel her heart do that hopping routine and she would just welcome Jonas like a long-lost friend … or something.

Two sips of cappuccino and Alice feels awake again. She checks her cellphone for messages; and there are two missed calls and a text. Speaking of the devil!

Hi! Are you still in at work?

She is tempted to put the cellphone back in her bag without answering. Let him freeze, she thought.

Hu u?

It’s Jonas. And I don’t believe that you lost my number. For god’s sake, are you still in Makati?

Her phone vibrated and the tune from the play “Rent” started humming.

“You don’t have to sound so grumpy, you know,” said Alice without preamble.

“I have been calling you for 30 minutes,” the male voice on the other line said grumpily.

“I was at work! I had to turn my text messages off.”

“Oh well, okay. I’m on my way to Makati.”

“Oh so now you want to meet up!”

“Alice I haven’t seen you for two weeks. I just got back from Mindanao.”

“Hold it right there. That. That is just the problem with men. They want to meet up and they want you to just drop everything. Like what am I? A geisha, or something?”

There was a pause and a loud sigh. “I am going there and I and I am meeting up with you. I assume that you’re at the Starbucks beside your building? Thirty minutes, wait for me.”

And that’s that.

Drats! Alice knew she would wait. Some geisha she was turning out to be.

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