My Halcyon.


Frantic – thats one word that can pretty much describe my state of mind right now. This coffee shop is pulsing with too many talking customers which is very unusual for a Monday afternoon. I came here to study, practice my speech by talking to myself and look stupid. Now, I cant do any of it. I occupied this long table so I can lay all my things infront of me – notebooks, pens, manuals, print-outs. But my personal space got invaded within minutes. Now, Im right beside this man who keeps on talking about his travels and flight to this woman that he probably just met today (who for the love of God looks so flustered, obviously falling inlove). Infront of me is an elderly man who, like me, has a thing for laying belongings on the table – his newspapers, IPAD, phone, meal and tons of magazines. My personal space downsized in a matter of minutes, along with the serenity and peace that I intended to keep today. I kept shuffling through pages of print-outs, not really reading but just staring. There are laughter and gossiping and non-stop talking in the background. Not my usual coffee afternoon. Finally convinced of the chaos upon me, I emptied my cup of tea and started writing nonsense things.

“Hey, you look pretty.” He said as he approached me. Not my usual afternoon, yes. He seldom compliments me (he’s not the talker, swooner asshole type). But whenever he does, he means it. He got his coffee and sit beside me. His presence instantly quieted the rage in my brain. We agreed that he can come and see me as I study, but he is not allowed to talk, laugh at me and show me videos of his basketball heroes. So we just sit there, in comfortable silence as I try to study. I realized right there that its rare to meet someone who you can share comfortable silence with. Who will leave you alone when you ask him to, and who will not blurt out nonsense just for the sake of conversations. We can be 80 years old and sit in the lawn and be silent. Priceless.

An hour has passed, I tried to study and formulate possible answers to questions that the interviewers would ask me, but I just cant grasp any of it. I’m too agitated, stressed and afraid.
“Just be yourself.” he said.
“What If I loose it? Im so stressed I dont even know how I can be myself.” I asked. I needed something to calm me down.

“Draw something on my wrist, comeon!” I told him, as I offer my wrist and a pen. I needed something that I can look into when I started sweating and blabbering during my interview. Something to remind me to be myself. He started drawing a huge line on my wrist. “Not that big, you fart. I will look stupid if my interviewer will see it.” Peal of our laughter filled the cafeteria.

Then he drew two small dots and a curve line on my wrist. A smile. What a nerd.

But it has indeed calmed me down when I stared at it in the middle of my interview. It even made me giggle a bit.


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Jona Alday

A corporate slave who finds joy in motivating and leading people but ultimately yearns for weekends and plotted vacation leaves. An Engineering graduate who HATES Math. An acrophobic who conquers mountains. A lover of sleepy towns, dawn, poetry, pancit canton and cats.

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