I unintentionally lost my alcoholic virginity exactly one week before my 21st birthday. My subscription to teetotalism wasn’t due to being overly health-conscious or anything like that—I just can’t get to change my taste buds’ dry response to any kind of alcohol. So that night, when my other officemates were downing glasses of wines and cocktails, I was just contented on nursing a glass of iced tea and munching on some chocolate-coated buns.
It was on our way home when one of my friends told me that those buns were actually chocolate tequilas.
It was Saturday evening and I’d just finished book-shopping. With earphones stuck into my ears and four new novels in my bag, I happily hopped my way to the terminal where jeepneys going to R.Papa were waiting for passengers. Halfway on the ride home, I stopped in mid-head-bop when I felt someone’s head slowly leaning on my shoulder. My first instinct was to jerk away, but when I saw that this person beside me was actually a very tired-looking old woman in a maid’s uniform, I didn’t move an inch.
Even when I had more than an arm span of space to occupy on my other side, even when other people were throwing funny looks at us, even when we were the only passengers left on our side of seat, I stayed and remained her human pillow for the rest of the ride. I gently (and guiltily) woke her up when I reached my stop, hoping that her sleep-blurred eyes saw my slight smile before I got off.
I blame it on Sophie Blackall and her book on “missed connections.” Okay, maybe it’s not her fault at all. Perhaps it’s all because of those cyber message-in-the-bottle entries that I binged on one boring morning while admiring Blackall’s watercolor illustrations.
It happened on a sunny Sunday afternoon. I went to 7-Eleven to buy a couple of sachets of instant milk tea and packs of oat cookies. As always, I had my earphones on; I think my sister tinkered with my phone, because the player was uncharacteristically on shuffle mode. I let it play for a while till I get to the convenience store.
Then for the first time, Rivermaya’s “You’ll Be Safe Here” played. For the past few months I’ve only been listening to my pop-punk and indie playlists, and all of them contained music of foreign bands. A giggle that was oddly threatening to bubble out of my throat evaporated when I came in eye contact with a smiling guy, who was standing far in the middle of the store. I could tell he was tall, for I could see his whole face popping out from behind the stand of chocolates.
Fighting the sudden flurry of “missed connections” sceneries in my head (and failing), I silently cursed Rico Blanco’s singing voice and walked to the refrigerators. I told myself not to turn my head to the guy’s direction, but I was too stubborn to follow even my own thoughts. So I held my head up when I reached past the chocolate stand and saw the boy…with a girl animatedly talking beside him. Of course. I didn’t see the girl because she was short enough that the stand’s height would hide her whole body if seen from the direction of the door. I could have heard her talk, too, if it weren’t for the stupid music filling my eardrums.
I didn’t look at the boy again and just snatched what I needed, paid for them at the counter, and went home. I hate missed connections.
Add to the ‘Bucket’
I know what I’ll invest in on the next pay day: art materials. My drawing muses were alive again when I started studying illustrations of Sophie Blackall and Dallas Clayton last weekend. Both of them were amazing! My fangirling soon gave birth to a new bucket list item: illustrate a children’s book for my future kids. And write the story for it, too. :)