Waking up at 6:00 am to sunlight and frantic mad church-bell ringing ushering in the sun as if the sun were waiting for the bells to come.
Turn off the a/c and lie back down to sleep until my wrist vibrated warning me it was 7 am.
Turn if off and lie awake until I wake again at 8:35 am. Late…but not too late. Walked from the hot room to the hot hallway and into the hot bathroom.
Cold water. Cold bucket full of water using a tabo to douse myself with cold water. Cold at first, then soap and shampoo and suddenly the water isn’t all that cold. Refreshingly not-so-cold.
Get out, shave, walk out into the not-so-hot hallway, back into the not-so-hot bedroom and get dressed. Walk out into the not-so-hot kitchen, cleaning up the dishes from the night before.
Open the fridge and pull out my cold brew, walk to the stove and grab the sieve and a pot. Return to the sink, and start to pour the brew through the sieve and into the pot. Where is the oil skimmer? Grab it, then pour the brew out of the pot and back into the glass jug through the oil skimmer, fine sieving it. Repeat again for second jug.
Walk to the freezer, retrieve the ice. Turn around to face the sink, extract the ice from the jealous guardian of the cubes. Retrieve pink cup. “Everyday is Coffee Day” So true so true. Pour the brew over the ice and stir. Add nothing, just the infusion of cold refreshment.
Pack up the work bag, wipe the counter and the sink. Grab sunglasses, wallet, coin purse, sun hat and keys. Lock the door and close it behind me – find the electric bill.
Put on the sandals. Wrist vibrates reminding me to step 124 times for my hourly goal. Smile. Descend the stairs, whistle. Open the gate. There’s a bird. “Heyyy birdie!” I would rather see a bird than another rat.
Walk around the corner past the honks of Taxis trying to catch my ear and eye. Round the corner in the sun, feeling the hot heat test the resiliency of my cold bath – who will win? Approach the bakery, remember my growling stomach – step inside the shady indent.
The bakery lady seems more friendly than the previous 6 times…perhaps I have achieved local bakery status. She smiles at my local language skills of counting what I want, sale over. “Salamat” I say and whistle on my way.
Look before I cross the street and turn the corner. The construction workers wave as they wave every morning. “Hey Joe!” they say. “Maayung Buntag” says I and they reply laughing, “Maayung Buntag sab”
I smile even in the heat of the sun cooking off my cold shower and walk on my way turning the last corner, avoiding the tricycles and the dogs walking until I see the office. No van outside – I wonder if anyone is there. I ring the doorbell. “Hmm, I should get a key sometime…” I crouch behind the door, feeling playful, so my head doesn’t peak over the gate. “Taas kaayo ka Adam!” Ate Cecil says laughing.
Standing up, peak through the bars. “Yea – I was trying to hide” She chuckles and lets me in.
Walk to the office kitchen. Ugh that dead rat smell persists still. Place the bread on the table outside, take a roll. Greet colleagues. Head toward the work room. “Maayung Buntag Adam, komusta?” “Okay lang” I reply, ” Just running late today” “Okay lang kaayo” The boss says. “I like your cup! Is there a new coffee shop around?”
“Yea…’ I say grinning: “Cafe Adam”