March 13, 2017

A Seaside Stroll

Dumaguete Boulevard

I love chilling by the sea; to see the glistening reflection of the sun’s tangerine light on the vast blue, to hear the white noise that the crashing waves create, and to have the sea breeze sweep my hair off my face. That’s why I always grab a chance to go on a stroll every time I visit a place with a boulevard by the sea. So, here I am.

I came to this town to visit my sister who’s also studying to be a doctor. I'm leaving tomorrow to go back to the City, so today is my last day here. I wanted to spend it pampering myself. The plan is to have my nails done (which I already did), and to grab a bite after. Gel polish is cheaper here than in the City. Almost everything is cheaper here. Hopefully the food from the pizza parlour that I want to try would turn out to be a good spend too.

I walk slowly, taking my time. I recognize the street food area where they sell tempura, a must-try in this place. It’s well known not only because it tastes good, but also because they offer spicy sauce on five different levels - level 1 being the mildest, and level 5 being the spiciest. I know this because I’ve tried some from Bossing’s tempura inside the University. I had my tempura with the level 3 sauce, because I did not have the guts to try levels 4 or 5. I must say, it’s the best tempura I’ve ever tasted.

I move on and observe as couples, fitness folks, families, and barkadas do their thing. There were also others who were alone, like me.

Then I see a bunch of street kids approaching. Their clothes were tattered, slippers mismatched, and faces grimy. They’re all smiling though. A good sign. Maybe they’re not hungry. This means I’m safe from their begging.

Then I saw a girl. She was with her family. Judging by the tablecloth, the balloons, and the paper plates with spaghetti, it must be her birthday and she’s celebrating by feeding the street kids. No wonder the kids were smiling! They've got a pretty girl serving them spaghetti. I observe further and realize that the girl is familiar. Not only because I recognize her as my sister’s friend, but also because I can see that I was once like her.

I feel a pang. When did I stop caring about the less fortunate? It’s only a few steps from not caring about the hungry to not caring about the sick. I’m on my way to become a doctor, a profession based on service, but I have become numb to the afflictions my less fortunate countrymen are facing. I sink deeper into my thoughts, barely noticing my destination.

At last I am standing across the pizza parlour. I cross the street, enter the restaurant, sit down, and place my order. I am famished! I couldn’t wait for the food to be served. This is the longest 15 minutes ever.

Finally! I see the waiter with my pizza. I quickly mutter a prayer to bless the food.

I wolf down my pizza, savouring every last bit of it and washing it down with water. I finish, but I'm still hungry.

It could be because of the rate I was eating, or the anxiety for next day's trip. Maybe it's because of the guilt I'm feeling for my apathy. I'm not quite sure, and I don't know if I ever want to figure it out.


Mini Game:
1. Can you guess which Philippine city I was in?
2. Can you guess which University I was referring to?

Give your answer in the comment section below :)
Winner gets bragging rights hehe :p


Other short stories by The Wise Lark

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