A brown suede shoe incessantly taps on the white tiled floor, rhythmically, as if carousing in a joyful beat of music. One-two. . .One-two. . .One-two. The sound produced by the tapping wistfully creates a disturbing thought that dances in a sound-proof room devoid of any motion, beat, and understanding. The bank usually gets busy when the week starts, usually a Monday; or after the seceding of spates; tropical storms which interrupt business operations for long days; or after holidays. However, I have never been trapped in a bank for just one transaction for long hours, waiting and waiting and waiting, as if eternally, like a groom torn by the sudden breach of promise to marry by her bride-to-be after the former waited for long hours at the entrance of the cathedral. It’s just like a hopeful waiting. Like a thought of waiting for something, something which has died away long before, some resolutory condition that is not going to happen, or an inevitable circumstance which suddenly become avoidable.
Flashes of faces passing by tired my vision. For once in my whole life, I have never tried to guess the personality of a person by the look of his or her face this much. And as I’ve said, the very judgmental undertaking is tiring. This husky man beats her wife, that old woman is a primadonna, that man who whistles away his irritation is a meek person, that lady crouched on one of the belchers has her semblance with Julie Delpy; her eyes lovely and calm, her lips resembled a mound of a thousand shiny red apples, so polished that they reflected every man’s eyes who looked through them. Her eyes pierced mine, for a split-second I saw her strumming the chords of a guitar, her hand dropping so gently as if caressing and feeling a fragile object (hehehe). Then I asked intently: “Could you sing me a waltz?” Out of nowhere, the voice of a child pounded in my ears like a high-pitched note that almost broke my eardrums. “Ma, could you buy me a toy later!” The mother whispered in the child’s ear: “I will, hon.”
It’s half past twelve. The line’s slowly moving. Teller number 4 and 5 went out of their compartments to have a break. Only two tellers are now accommodating hordes of clients continuously flooding the lobby. Looked at the clock again, its second hand drops heavily, the ticking becomes the beat of the pulse palpitating strenuously because of stress and various forms of agitations. The rancid air aggravates the torment. Suddenly, the walls became sources of comfort.
Framed poster No. 1 taunted the time wasted as if doing a mockery of alienated lives trapped in the four corners of the bank for a day. Sir Emilio spoke cordially:
Huwag mong sayangin ang panahon. Ang yamang nawala’y mangyayaring magbalik, ngunit panahong nagdaan na’y di na muli pang magdadaan.-Emilio Jacinto
Okay sir I got your point. Thank you for such veritable wisdom you have there and for keeping this idleness robust with great learnings and wonderful ponderings like what you’re doing with me now. But, really, the day’s great today the sun’s up and the wind’s blowing smoothly along trails of flowers in the park, its gentle coldness rushes up to here, hours spent waiting should have been allotted for leisurely walks in the park. Nah, but I won’t give up my seat for nothing. Hours wasted are wasted, can’t do nothing about it.
Framed poster No. 2 is quietly reneging my last statement.
It is a useless life that is not consecrated to a great ideal. It is like a stone wasted on the field without becoming a part of any edifice.- J.P. Rizal
Okay sir I will remember that. But a stone is a stone. Objectivitism would tell us that a stone’s destiny does not always end up happily in structures you know. Like, a big stone- rock could attain greatness in itself. I know, you’re referring to small rocks capable of being thrown but it’s just the same; a small rock could attain greatness in itself without being commixtured with sand and cement. A desolate raspy voice whispered in my thought. “I know kid, enough with the stone. This could well be a faulty metaphor, but at least, the adage suits nice with how the stone’s depicted.” Okay, okay. However, idealism cannot feed thy stomachs these days. It can nurture you but it can’t feed you. And it’s really hard being idealistic and being practical at the same time you know.
Framed poster No. 3 flared a paintly red face of Bonifacio in rage because of my last statement. Think of our nation above anything else. . .hmmmm. when almost everybody is thinking of something else.
Walang mahalagang hindi inihandog ng may pusong mahal sa Bayang kumupkop; Dugo, yaman, dunong, katiisa’t pagod, buhay ma’y abuting magkalagot-lagot.- Andres Bonifacio
There was a rush of relief when teller no. 3 blurted out the word: “Next!” As if the word propounded as much wisdom as the framed posters which immortalized heroic ideals. I rushed towards the teller, she never looked at me. She quickly checked the amount and the payee on the check, stamped on it and let me sign. She counted the bills with her hand leafing through them, double checked on the counter and handed the bills to me. There was a sudden feel of monotony with her as she automatically grumbled on saying “Next!” every after transaction, every after client she serves.
A realization came to me as an afterthought. Money’s quick in revolving and revolving round these halls. Money bills come and go. What’s my point? Well, nothing hehe it’s just that I discovered a different kind of life inside the bank while I am waiting. It’s me just trying to make sense of wasted time. . .could I still consider it wasted? [Poster No. 4 luring: “Former Secretary Teves still got something to tell!”]