19 May 2012

Boarding House Chronicles

I tore the Business Gazette cover leaf and fanned the embers in the coal stove. The motion disturbed the subtle ashes, scared it away like a swarm of flies whipped by a stiff twig. I added cold coals in the stove and set the rice pot on it. Then I went on a corner of the kitchen and sat on a wood bench beside the kitchen table. I watched the boys intently doing a rough workout with dumbbells. I could see the moist of perspiration running down against their brown skin towards their half naked bodies. It gave me a grave feeling of nausea looking at their bodies wetted by sweat. I couldn’t bear the sight of them so I stood up and approached the stove again to examine the ashes interspersed among the cold coals and crumpled papers.
Jake stirred the noodles in his casserole with a large and elongated spoon, resisting the hot water vapor ascending from the boiling water. In our boarding house or maybe even in other boarding houses here, Lucky Me Pancit Canton is the staple food of the boarding students. You won’t find a room here without seeing a heap of pancit canton in the cupboards. You might also find the bold cans of tuna, corned beef, sardines and beef loaf but pancit canton is the dominant food supply. Apparently, it is because it’s affordable, quick and easy to prepare. I grinned at Jake as he wipes out the moist on his forehead – a mixture of water vapors, perspiration and dead skin cells. I turned halfway around and intended to sit back on the wood bench at a corner when a boy – his name I didn’t care to know – approached me with a handled rectangular box.
“Mayor, do you know cheese?” asked the boy with excitement on his face.
“What? Is that a food?” I replied with intentional sarcasm.
“Hahaha! Are you deaf? Can’t you see I’m holding a cheeseboard?” the boy asked irately.
It took me a moment to decide whether he meant that I’m deaf because I didn’t hear him say cheese or I’m blind because I didn’t see him carrying acheeseboard.
“Silly boy! You mean to say, chess?” I retort with an evil grin rather showing a sneering response.
“Whatever you call it! Do you know how to play this game?” he asked again with a bit of indignation in his voice.
“I dunno… Sorry.” I answered bashfully.
He twitched his mouth showing an evident implication of frustration. He went to the rooms and looked for a willing playmate. I shook my head and went back to the stove. I lifted the cover of the rice pot to check the temperature of the water. It’s warm and there were tiny bubbles moving in random direction. I returned the cover and then looked at Jake with an expressionless face. He moved his head towards me and threw his arm around my shoulder.
“You are so mean.” he whispered.
I chuckled upon hearing the message because his breath created a ticklish feeling in my ear and butterflies in my stomach. I removed his arm from my shoulder and pinched him on his bare back as I let out a shrill giggle.
I cherish those moments – it happened just an hour ago – and while writing this journal entry, I am wearing a big smile on my face.
Fonzi Christ Web Developer

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