Monday, June 3, 2013

№ 131. Instagram (1)

We receive; we wait.
It suns. It rains. It passes.
We receive. We wait.


The story began with his postpaid unlimited data plan.

It was late summer last year, just before the monsoons came with their tantrums. May, to be precise.

The romance that was triggered by the data plan, came in late. Two weeks late. June and unexpected, as usual.

He dreams in the daylight. An insomniac.

Mara, unlike most temptations under sheets of darkness, is rooted in daylight, in nine-to-five realities.

She was a pillow of balsam to his nocturnal pains. So he learns early on to be patient. Well, her solid, almost even keel amuses him. A pixie in ponytails and slacks.

She actually fits his array of defining realities: his portable office, non-inclusive blog posts, his still life and street photography, edgy ideas of travel, playlists recorded on cassette tapes, old music sheets sequestered from Platerias, et cetera. He likes textured contradictions or nuanced personalities of things. Whatever that means.

Infatuation is Alice. Between these two wonderlands, blushing because of her exploring senses, it is a riddle of feigned play.

They met, of all places, in an weekend market.

Under one of the post World War II, Art Deco buildings in Escolta, she sees him first. He is sweating from a walk that afternoon under the sun, carrying a black backpack, which, as she will come to miss, is his trademark appendage.

The hawkers were already slowly packing the largesse. A few were celebrating their meager sales. He seems to have just stumbled upon the set-up behind the blighted eaves. He quickly fishes for his phone and starts shooting the scene. Ah, a blogger. Or wannabe. She knows the type, she dismisses.

He becomes fixated with the caricature of buildings spread out on the unfinished concrete floor. The spotlights flood portions of the diorama. He experiments with the angles by walking around slowly or crouching just at the perimeter and always checking the shots of the exhibit onscreen. He stays on the edge of the light, careful not to mess the shots with shadows.

On his third walkabout, he finally comes close enough to her stall. She is very tired. Tired of the enterprise both from the hot afternoon and from the micro-bloggers. She sees what was onscreen. Oh, Instagram. Typical. A rich guy with a surfeit gadgets, free time and, of course, money.

She goes through the tedium of packing up the beads laid out on her tiny stand. It is almost five. Till next month, she thinks. And maybe more social network plugs, gotta talk to J....

He comes around again and, this time, swings by her colorful merchandise. He nods politely, raises his camera, asks with raised brows and a plastered smile. Without waiting for her, he begins composing his frames. He steps closer beside her to focus on threaded glass beads.

She looks at him.

She thinks, he smells like my dad's Old Spice cologne.

He quells his unease from the assault. A stare, armed with olfactory thoughts, grazes like a breath across the nape.

He looks back at her.

He thinks, she smells like my mom's Heno de Pravia soap.

She recovers a bit from the retort. Swagger, wrapped in wicked humor, weighs on the tongue like inappropriate metaphor.

Alice happily explores the new pigments of the rose gardens. The Queen lurks, ready to arrest the intruder.

(to be continued)

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