Sunday, July 3, 2005

A Short Story

A posh but secluded cafe not far off from a main road, Sunday afternoon in Jakarta. It's November, so the light is a bit shady from the occasional raincloud that still strays in the way of the sun, and the weather is not too hot. Inside the cafe, the air-conditioning is going full-blast, freezing the air in contrast with the the environment outside, better for the patrons who visit the place.
At a small table with two chairs near the window, sit two friends, just arrived, and already lugging out their laptops and the assorted artillery that go with it, to take advantage of the cafe's internet connection. Joe, an avid patron of this cafe, gets out a stack of paperwork he's supposed to work on, and tries to make the layout of the table work, considering Fay's laptop is also on it. Even though past those feelings, Joe still occasionally eyes Fay's laptop with envy, a 12-inch Powerbook, and always running the same question of when-will-I-get-one-of-those inside his head, and looking at his own beat-up Acer laptop. Well, at least I still have a laptop of my own, he says.
Joe is a medium-build man with boyish looks, with ample fat around his body to exaggerate the fact; up to the point that a lot of people still think he's in school. Being thought younger than you look is of course a blessing, but for Joe, it's an occupational hazard, as when you do a lot of marketing work, you have to be convincing, and people tend not to believe a little boy trying to sell the something. He unconsiously adjusts his collar of his polo shirt (bought on discount), and tries to find a good resting place for his feet in his always-beat up sneakers.
Fay is already thumbing through her files on her laptop, preparing her work for that day and trying out the internet connection after connecting the network cable. As an art director for a reknowned advertising agency, her work often spills over to the weekends, as like today. Her red hair sticks out like a sore thumb anywhere she goes, but she loves it, as it goes with her J-Pop clothes. She is of slighter build than Joe, so she can move about her chair to find the most comfortable position, where Joe is just stuck as he is.
After Joe and Fay are satisfied with their respective connections, and ready to start working, they call for a waiter. A tall, beautiful dark-skinned waitress with exotic eyes comes along and brings them menus. Now, one of the reasons that Joe frequents this place is he always had a crush on that certain waitress, but of benign interest, so being the hapless romantic that he is, he never got her name, let alone her number. His heart jumps just a bit when she comes by to take their order.
Considering that they might be there for some time, Joe and Fay order some appetizers; french fries standard and some calamari, ice tea for Joe and some juice for Fay. Suddenly, Joe thinks... what the hey, let's ask her name... finally...
"Hey, hi. What's your name?"
"I'm sorry, sir?"
"He he... yeah, what's your name?"
"Oh, so you're Sundanese?"
[Note from Editor: Euis is most obviously a Sundanese name.]
Euis giggles and says "Yes"
Joe gets the stupid why-did-I-have-to-say-that look on his face, and Fay is embarrased that she ever had a stupid friend like this. After Euis leaves with their orders, Fay mock-scolds Joe for his stupid remark. "You're too obvious, Joe.."
"Well, at least I went through with it. I hardly ever come up to girls and introduce myself."
"Oh well. Let's hope you didn't embarass yourself too much, eh?"
"Right on."
The afternoon continues to night, and they do not mention a word about it again. But secretly, Joe hails a small triumph inside his heart, that he already knows her name. Now what? he thinks.

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