3. Larra Vega- Waiting


I wait for Matt in the lobby. I called him. He said he’ll be here in thirty minutes. I decide to go to the comfort room as I wait for Matt. My feet start to hurt by the pumps I’m wearing. Before I enter the hallway towards the comfort room, I lean on the wall and take off my shoes. I rotate my right foot clock-wise, and then my left. I slide my soar feet back into my shoes. As I stand straight and start to walk, something, or someone hit me. All I feel right now is there’s something hot poured all over my dress. I jump in shock. I gasp for air. I look in front of me. A tall man and a bit brawny with a hot steaming cup of coffee in his hands stands in front of me, with his good-looking face as emotionless as a plank. Wow. I say with a hint of sarcasm. I wait for him to apologize.

“I’m so sorry ma’am.” His expression doesn’t seem like he means it. I pat my damaged dress with my hands to cool it off.

“I’ll have it dry-cleaned right away. If you give me your suite number I’ll have it deliver to you.” I saw him wave his hand. I look back and now a staff walks towards us.

“Is there a problem ma’am? Sir?” he looks at the both of us.

“He splattered his coffee all over me.” I say as I try to control my growing anger.

“I did not mean it. We’ll just have it dry-cleaned. We can do that, right Gary?” He refers to the staff. He knows him.

“Uh. Absolutely. May I know your suite number ma’am?” he says politely.

“I’m not a guest here. I just had dinner with…”

“Then we’ll deliver it to your house.” He interrupts. He seems he’s on a rush. I look at him with disbelief.

“Ma’am. We can settle this.” I think the staff guy could already sense the tension between us.

“Why don’t you leave your name and number and we’ll call you and you can get your dress back here? Would that be okay ma’am?” the staff suggests.

“That…that would be alright. But I have to go somewhere from here. I have nothing else to wear. Do you have…uhm…a store where I can buy casual clothes and a pair of sneakers?”

“Of course ma’am.” He waved his hand beside him as he shows the way. I start to follow him.

“Here. Wait.” I stop and look back. The plank guy follows us as he takes off his coat. He hands it to me. I stare at it for a while. Then he shakes it once. I grab it from him.

“Thanks.” I say flatly.

“You can give it to Gary after you buy your clothes.” And there he goes. When he left, Gary looks at me with an apologetic face. I sigh. We start to walk with him leading the way. I wear the coat and pull both sides in front of me to cover the stain from the coffee.

“Who was that mean guy?” I decide to ask. He looks back to me and slows down and now he’s by my side.

“He’s the son of the hotel’s owner.” He says with his voice slightly lowered down. So, he’s the son’s owner. He’s a Simoun, one of the richest families in the whole country. No wonder he could be that mean to anyone he wants.

“And he’s not mean, ma’am. He’s just not feeling well lately. You know, with all the tourists a lot of work to be done. He’s just stressed out.” He explains.

“Right.” I sort of accepted his explanation but not fully bought by it.

“Here it is ma’am. I’ll be waiting for you right here.” He smiles.

I enter the store and start to look for nice clothes. I pick a faded blue high-waist skirt and a plain gray shirt. I go in the fitting room and change my clothes. I tap the soaked dress on my abdomen to make it dry fully. I wore the new clothes. I get my perfume from my purse and spray it on my neck, sides and wrists. I inserted the shirt under the skirt and went out the fitting room. I search for a pair of sneakers. I see a black Converse and grab it quickly. I walk towards the counter and the cashier smiles at me brightly. I give her the tags and she swipes it. After she swipes the tag of the shoes, I sat on the couch near the counter and wore it. I walk back to the counter and hands her my credit card. She gives me a paper bag to put the dress in it. I go out the store and look for Gary. He’s by the entrance of the next store. He smiles as he sees me approaching him.

“You look nice in your new clothes ma’am.” He compliments.

“That doesn’t really make me feel any better now but thanks, Gary” I smile warmly. I hands him the bag and the coat. I open my purse to get my calling card. I hand it to him. He looks at it and smiles.

“Okay, thank you miss…Larra Vega. We’ll call you right away.” Then he walks away.

Right! I forgot! Matt!

I search my phone in my purse. Five missed calls. No. Could this evening get any worse now? I return his call. He answered on the second ring.

“Where are you? I’m parked near the entrance lobby.” His voice sounds impatient.

“I’m so sorry. I’ll be there right away.”

I’m almost jogging as I rush to the entrance. I gasp for air as I pass through the exit. I look for his car. When I saw it, I jog again towards it. I open the door.

“Hi.” I say under my breath.

“Hi. What took you so long? Hop in.”

“Uhm. I brought my Ducati.” I smile sheepishly.

“I know. I got it on the back.” He points his thumb to the back. I step away from the car and check the back. It’s already there and I didn’t even notice. I smile and hop on his huge and high car.

“Thanks.” I say.

“How’s the dinner?” he asks as he drives off.

“Weird. This evening is really weird. I met weird people.” I say flatly.

“Weird? Why?”

“I’ll tell you about it later at the coffee shop.”

I must forget what happened to me earlier this evening and focus on Matt. I missed him. I miss my best friend. It’s been a month since he left for London. He visited his sick brother who migrated there years ago. He tells me he’s okay. He’ll be well soon. I ask about his family. It’s been three Sundays that I didn’t visit them. I’ve been so busy. Matt said that they miss me already and made me promise to visit them this Sunday which is tomorrow. I said I’d be there. My mind starts to wander. I give a blank stare outside the window. I recall how tiring yet fulfilling my last three days were. I’m happy every time I hear positive comments. It’s like all our efforts and sleepless nights fixing schedules and the touring itself are all worth it. Wow. Three years. It’s already been three years since I started the business and I believe it has become very successful and now one of the best known travel agency in the region. Though my office is not that big yet and my employees are sometimes not enough to do all the work that I need them to do, we all get through.

We arrive now at his coffee shop. The waiters greet us as we enter. I smile at them. We sit on our regular place at the balcony. The summer evening air is warm but it was tolerable. I tell the waiter who followed us that I’ll have iced cappuccino with whip cream. Matt will have the same. The waiter leaves. Matt asks me about what happened to me earlier this evening. I tell him everything, everything.

“Two psychos in one night?” he jokingly says.

“Ken…Ken is not a psycho.” I defend. “The second guy was.” I laugh.

“Ken is a weird, weird guy, isn’t he?”

“He…kind of is. When I first saw him I thought he was handsome. Then I was able to talk to him. There was something off when we converse. It’s like talking to an old man-child. Yah, me too I don’t get it. I was really shocked when he said that he loves me. He loves me. How’s that possible? Well you know, he’s still young, he might not know what his true feelings yet.”

“With your nice and outgoing personality and pretty face…you’re not hard to love, Larra.”

“You’re just saying that because I’m your best friend.” I teased and laugh. He rolls his eyes and decides not to argue further because he knows I’ll always win. Our drinks arrive.

“Right. I remember. August 12 is coming. What are your plans?” he sounds serious now. My smile starts to fade.

“August 12. I don’t know. I don’t think I could go this year. I’m busy.” I reason.

“But you didn’t go for four years. I’ll come with you.”

“I visited them once. I didn’t tell you.”

“When?” he demands.

“On my birthday, last year.”

“We were together the whole time that day.”

“When you dropped me home, I didn’t get in. I went to visit them. I slept there.”

“But it was cold.”

“It was. Remember how sick I was the week after that?”

“Uh-huh. Right. Why didn’t you tell me?”

I poke the cream with my straw and lick it. Why didn’t I tell him?

“Oh. I know. I know you. You hate people knowing your sad. You don’t want me to know that you miss them, that’s why you’re acting like you’re so strong that you didn’t even visit them on their death anniversary. You don’t want me to see you cry.” He suggests. Yes, I think that’s the reason. He really knows me well. I’ve cried enough in front of him and I don’t want him to see me break down again. It’s not a nice view to look at.

I look at him but not saying anything. He leans forward and I rest my elbows on the sides of my chair.

“It’s okay to admit you miss them, Larra. You can’t act strong and emotionless forever.”

“I’m not emotionless. I’m happy. My clients are my witnesses.”

“It’s a façade that you make to let us believe that you are happy. It’s tiring trying to be okay all the time Larra. I know you’re in control about almost everything else in your life, but not your emotions Larra. It’s okay to….” He pauses. He notices my eyes starting to get teary and I try my hardest to stop them from falling. I look up.

“It’s okay to cry sometimes.…” he says.

Tears start to flow endlessly from my eyes. I cover my face with my palms. He reaches for my right hand and pulls it closer to him.

“I miss…I miss them…so…much.” I struggle to say as I sob.

“I know.”

“I know August 12 is fast approaching….then…then…I have to…remember their…death..and….I don’t…want to remember….It still…hurts….that’s..why I’ve….been keeping…myself..bus..busy…to…keep…me..from thin…thinking of them…but it’s no…use!” Matt stands and now he’s sitting beside me with his arm across my back and pulls me close. I cry harder. He rubs my arm slowly, comforting me. I burry my face on his chest soaking his polo shirt wet.

“I’m sorry.” I say as I wipe my tears with my fingers. I’m referring to his shirt.

“It’s okay.”

“My make-up’s all over it.” I say in a low voice but high pitched.

“It’s fine. Don’t worry about it. You feel better now?” he asks. I nod.

“It feels good to cry once in a while.” I laugh. He chuckles. “Is my make-up a mess?” I stare at him like I’m waiting for my reflection to appear in front of me.

“Hmmmm. You look like a wet raccoon.” He says with his eyes squinted.

“Ugh. God.” I grab the tissue from the table and wipe it around my eyes. I get more to make sure it’s all clean. I look at Matt once more for his affirmation. He nods. I smile.

I loosen the tie in my hair and fix it in a pony tail.

“I don’t want to go home yet.” I say. “I’m not sleepy. Can we go somewhere after here?” I suggest.

“Where do you want to go?” he asks as he sips his melted cappuccino.

“To the beach?” I raise my brows.

“The beach? Alright then.”

We finish our drinks and left immediately. The beach is half an hour travel from the city. It’s 10 o’clock. We’re now back in Matt’s car. He turns on the radio and the perfect song just played. Just when I thought I was over you, just when I thought I could stand on my own. Oh baby those memories keep clashing through and I just can’t go on without you. Yes mama, yes papa. I don’t think I could go on without you. I thought I could stand on my own but I keep on falling right back down where you left me. Matt senses that I need a song that should brighten my mood. He continually presses next and then stops on the fifth press. “There.” He says. A song starts to play. Fly me to the Moon by Frank Sinatra. It’s my favorite song of all time. I smile. I see him smile too. I lean my head on the back of the chair and close my eyes as I listen to the song.

Fly me to the moon and let me play among the stars.

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