As soon as everyone had returned back to their former position, I instantly adjusted my collar and took my time in cleaning up the crease on my black pants for everyone else except me was still frozen in their places. Then I snapped my fingers evoking everyone in the banquet back to consciousness including a chubby fellow in green suit, sitting next to the doorway that led to the kitchen, from whence Mario had come into the banquet with fancy dish meant to be my meal in the hot afternoon. The hall became rowdy once again with no one noticing that something had happened to them earlier and that time had rewinded itself as well as everyone present thirty-five minutes earlier before Mario, who was by now, already walking towards where I sat down beside Mr. Wong through the aisle of the hall, strolling past several other customers on the way with little more confidence than before despite the fact that Mr. Wong was peering at him at every step he took after he had passed the same woman whom he had collided with in the forgotten time line some minutes ago. For a moment, I was satisfied with the cheerful faces of everyone in the restaurant and myself as well for having the privilege of rendering smiles upon their faces once again with a special gift which sometimes I find it hard to convince myself that I am not cheating God with it but trying to help someone out of a difficult situation which they find themselves trapped in without knowing that they are going to end up being oppressed in any way when trying to survive in the little possible ways they can.
”Heres your meal, sir ”,
Mario said dropping down the tray that contains the exact same dish I had ordered in accordance with the menu. His voice suddenly woke me up from my rumination and I took off my eyes from the happy faces of the guests and looked at him trying to evade eye contact with Mr. Wing.
I quickly noticed further aggression from the his chubby boss and promptly replied to save him from any sort of embarrassment.
”Thanks. So, whats my bill for the meal? ”,
”Huh… The meal costs.. A hundred dollars and fifty cents ”,
Mario stuttered, scratching the back of his head timidly and flinched nervously when his eyes saw his boss staring hard at his tall stature that seemed a lot less impressive to Mr. Wong ”,
”Are you sure that the bills correct? ”,
This time, the interrogative question came from Mr. Wong.
”Yes, it is, boss ”,
He answered gazing at one side of the chefs face without looking at him straight on the face.
I stared at the two men waiting to see if Mario had made yet another mistake even though I knew that his speculations were correct in accordance with what was stated on the menu which I read moments before he went inside through bring my lunch. Then I surreptitiously opened a page of the menu lying on the table beside me to crosscheck if his assumptions and mine was wrong , only to find it correct as recorded on the price list. Afterwards, I raised my head back to catch a glimpse of the current situation between the two of them and found only the chef still sitting down close to me while Mario had left all of a sudden probably to attend to the needs of other customers but I couldn set my eyes on him in the fairly noisy restaurant.
Before I could say anything, Mr. Wong beckoned at me to eat my meal which I sluggishly obeyed wondering where Mario had gone to without having to receive the payment for the meal that I ardently wanted to give to him. I was left alone with his boss who kept watching me hungrily munching the delicious delicacy into my stomach and it was only after I was done satisfying my hunger with the tasty food, that he resumed our conversation which lasted for two hours. It was after we were almost done talking about things that we felt was important to discuss at that moment though much of it was about his boring life dwelling alone in this part of the country away from his relations that lives overseas particularly at his hometown, that I got to see Mario once again and his face was more brighter than before when he came to my table for the fourth time to take the empty dirty dishes on the tray and to the collect the payment for the meal that I had consumed with much delight.
After exchanging goodbyes with the chubby who had made my day a bit of another experience for having shared our thoughts of the world together, I left the restaurant and somehow met the old cab driver, still parked with his vehicle near the pavement where passersby strolled past me as well as the taxi cab. The old woman and her grandson had already left quite long ago leaving only the cab driver out here in the street probably cooling off from the hot sun which had lowered its burning rays down behind some clouds as the time slowly trickle towards evening. My suspicion about him taking a short siesta from work wasn wrong when he had intentionally left his front door opened with him sitting at the front seat while resting his head against the seat on which he sat down taking his nap and didn notice me when I strolled to the left flank of the vehicle. I could see his silent sweaty face clouded with sleep as he slept inside the car and couldn help but notice his Visage almost disfigured with a good number of wrinkles with each representing every weary stressful journey he had sustained ever since he started transporting different kind of people to different nook and cranny of the city. Even his attire seemed too odd for me to comprehend how the loose fitting of his blue coat somehow made him feel cozy enough to snore vibrantly inside the vehicle.