Page 15 of 365: Onwards

Dear reader,

Celine, one of Block 28’s partners, is leaving for Macau in a few days. Today’s basically her last working day. She’ll be gone for a month or so. I am deeply saddened with this news.

The time was exactly 4PM. Celine and I went on break together. She asked me if I can accompany her to the Philippine Airlines office a few blocks from the store.

“Sure!” I replied and nodded.

I unequipped my pitch black cap and soiled apron, carefully placing it inside my inventory black DC shoestring bag. I grabbed my black checkered wallet and we set forth to our destination. Yes, I like black.

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With the blinding sun forcing us to squint, we treaded on. Our conversations were mostly about all the memories we made, not just with each other, but with everyone in and out of the store. Before we noticed it, we were already in front of the office, beside Gloria Jeans café.

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Philippine Airlines was almost deserted, with the exception of two guests and a couple of agents or employees, whatever they’re called. Just as we were about to sit down and make oursleves comfortable, a man in his mid thirties called Celine’s attention.

“Ma’am!” The man gestured Celine to the seat in front of his computer while maintaining his hand in mid air. He wore a white shirt that probably had a Philippine Airlines logo or slogan.

“Go, Ma’am. Heh.” I teased Celine and urged her to stand without having the need to. I like doing unnecessary activities.

Celine sat on the black swivel chair and readied her documents.

“For Macau.”

The two talked about the date of departure, arrival, fees, etc. I was busy playing with the swivel chair just between Celine and the lady next to me. After a few minutes, the two kept thanking each other. They could’ve gone on, but I stopped Celine and asked for a picture for the nth time. The outcome was unacceptable. Too dark. We turned 180° and got better light plus the Philippine Airlines logo at the back.

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She’s finally booked her flight to Macau.

We made our way back to the store. En route, we stopped by at Commerce Center, intending to only see The Black Pig. Instead, we went to the cinemas, almost bought popcorn from Taters, took a mirror selfie, and passed by this Korean store. I believe the name was Assi. I bought Korean noodles, making sure I picked the dry non-spicy one.

Fast forward to around 9-ish in the evening. I was about to go home. I hugged Celine, which in turn triggered her emotions. Tears started falling. She started stuttering. In that moment, my memories with her started flashing one by one surpassing the speed of light. I hugged her even harder, resting my head on hers. The tears showed no signs of stopping. The other partners started coming in one by one and tried comforting Celine. I just couldn’t believe it was her last working day. I would still see her the next day, but that would only last for a little while.

Why so soon?

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As much as I’m sad that she’s leaving, I’m also tremendously happy for her. She deserves this vacation in Macau. And hopefully, fingers crossed, she finds a suitable job there. She’ll probably still act fancy schamncy, with her hand mannerisms and English intonations and unconscious stuttering.

“N-n-n-no!” and “W-w-w-wait!” are only a few of her signature lines.

While I admit that I’m happy for her, I can’t deny that I also want her to stay here longer, be with us for a few more days, eat cupcakes and Puff Corn, watch her gulp San Mig Lights, and be an onion. Yes, she’s an onion. And she’s proud of it. We’re proud of it, as fellow onions too. I know that doesn’t make much sense, dear reader, but it’s a you-have-to-be-there kinda thing.

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I’ll miss Celine. Very much. Very very very much.

Can you not?

Don’t be dismayed at goodbyes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetime, is certain for those who are friends. ~ Richard Bach

Heartrendingly yours,
Rommel

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