Friday, June 17, 2011

Waiting for Mahleen

(Sometime June 2011) Got off at Grand Central Station, exited at Vanderbilt and walked towards St. Patrick's. My cousin was a bit concerned that I would get lost. My sense of direction is not that good but I have miraculously found my way around the city that never sleeps.

While walking I chanced upon Daffy's. I remember wanting to go here during my last visit but didn't get the chance. I think I was meant to go to Daffy 's today. After a few minutes of looking around, nothing really caught my eye so I get out of the store and walk on Madisson towards 51st street. This is where I am meeting Mahleen who was an officemate of mine some years back in the now defunct AGILE.  I see St. Patrick's from the backside and I walk towards the front on Park Avenue. The sweltering heat is terrible. Today's temp is at 97F. I call this Manila weather because it's too damned hot. Beads of sweat slowly trickle down my back as I crane my neck looking for my friend. She hasn't arrived yet.  Meanwhile, there are a lot of people crowding in front of the church because it's graduation season.  Pictures are being taken left and right.  So many happy people, smiling people. I look at them and i think to myself that this is so boring. I remember not wanting to attend my own graduation when I finished my Masters degree. My parents cringed at the thought of skipping such a "momentous event"- to be read as "Thank God, our daughter can go back to working now." I stopped working for two years so I could study full-time. There was no skipping the graduation ceremony for me. End of story. I have pictures of this event.

Anyway, there is still no sign of my friend. I'm actually a bit early for our 4:30pm appointment.  This heat is killing me. I turn and look around for the nearest coffee shop. A few meters away from the corner of Park Avenue and 51st street is "The Primeburger". Anything with air-conditioning would be great at this point. I'm on the verge of dehydration so I order a peach Snapple sit at one of those single seats with the movable tabletop. The brown interiors and bad lighting tells me that this joint probably started in the 60's. In front of me is a picture of SJP and Aidan from one of the scenes from Sex and the City. Meanwhile at the bar, a family of three are about to finish their meal. They seem to be tourists like me. The place doesn't look exceptionally clean but hey if SJP had a burger here then it must not be too bad. One of the waiters is sitting by the bar with his head leaning on his left arm. He's a sleepy and slow waiter. Maybe it's the heat. Maybe he's been doing this for years, who knows. I read through the menu and decide to order a vanilla sundae in case Mahleen is late. My sundae is served and it looks like a huge pile of messy white cream with chocolate sauce poured on top and spilling over the side of the bowl. Arrgh.  I better eat it though or else it would be such a waste as I try to mentally compute how much this thing would cost in pesos. Ten minutes later, Mahleen arrives and the sundae is left unnoticed and melts into oblivion.

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