|My tattoos figure largely in this story.|
We've been friends for a while now, but she still refers to me as "Uy, ano!" That's "Hey you!" in receipt language. Anyway, Norma, that's my friend, Norma cooks the best torta within miles, and that's why I'm keeping her business. And I decided to eat at her stall that afternoon on account of I was too lazy to do them goddamn dishes afterwards.
So there I was, all 5 foot 9 inches of pure fierceness with nothing but a tanktop, a short pair of brown floral shorts, and an umbrella at around ten in the morning in all this third world heat, standing before this selection of warm lunch. "Hey you!" I can see it on her teeth. Norma, that's my friend, was happy to see me. And she was with this giggling old stranger that was, by comparison, happier to see me.
Life without Norma's torta was far from satisfying, but I had to make do with her current menu. And I have to choose with marked haste on account of Norma's other friend, the giggling old stranger, was standing next to me now. And she's moving her wrinkled hands up and down my right sleeve of tattoos. That smile never left her face.
I hurried with my quailed egg ground beef something and a cup of rice, of course, to the closest table. Norma's friend, and that smile, sat across me, directly before me, where she decided that I can use her cheerful company. It turns out my tattoos remind me of her Facebook friend with which she shares a secret relationship with, and they've been flirting on and off four four months now, and that she's...
"You're telling me you have a boyfriend in Facebook?"
Her forefinger stretched an inch before her puckered lips told me to keep it a secret. She says her boyfriend was "high profile," which prompts the secrecy. Shhh. I told her I will be 36 this August because she asked. And then she told me, with a wider smile, that her boyfriend is younger than I am. He's 28. And I'm nearly done with lunch.
"You're telling me that your Facebook boyfriend is 28?"
She giggled hard and then shushed me immediately with that pointed forefinger before her puckered lips.
"You tell me," said that look on Norma's face.
I was paying for my lunch when I heard Norma's friend mention "when a guy likes a girl, then he should visit her," and "passports," and "travel to the Philippines," and I smiled at the three of them goodbye.
Let me make a wild guess and report that she's about 60 at the very least. She was around five feet flat, and her hair's the triumph of white over gray. Her eyes have seen decades, and her crow's feet have crow's feet. She's this ball of senile energy, and if it wasn't for her vibrance, then my money's on 62. What I do know, from the stories that issued between those jagged teeth, is that her boyfriend's 28. She has a mouthful of yellow teeth that were distributed in two disorderly rows. It reminds me of a Chinese colony without religion. And I cannot make any of this up, because if I did, it will be between a younger dude, probably a minor, and a balding horndog with a beauty parlor.