Thursday, August 26, 2010


I was at Dunkin Donuts in Gateway this evening to meet a friend for a drink. The air was crisp outside, and the street was still moist after a brief downpour drenched the city. Standing outside the bakeshop, an old lady passed in front of me. Crooked and staggering, she was gazing at the tables inside the glass window as if the chairs were calling her to take a seat.

In a wet and desolate August, one could not resist the allure of the pastry place. The warm breath of black coffee, the sweet soft bread sprinkled with nuts and glazed with fruits and chocolate, the hearty ham sandwich that could fill the longing of an empty tummy. She entered the bakeshop without getting anyone's attention. Choosing a table next to a corner, she put her belongings on an empty chair and began counting the coins inside her cotton purse.

There were many customers inside Dunkin Donuts. A guy in his mid-forties sat next to my table and was chatting with a sporty good-looking hunk. At a table behind me were two guys, perhaps agents from a nearby call center taking their break. At the counter queued three students placing an order for the bread of their choice. Everyone seemed in transit, including me, while the old lady holes herself up in a quiet spot until everyone leaves and the pastry place closes down for the night.

Minutes passed and my friend would arrive soon. Watching the old lady as she accounts for her meager earnings after toiling the entire day; her serene grace concealing the tenebrous tales of her sordid life; The styrofoam cup half-empty with warm water to soothe a grumbling stomach, a watchful soul could easily hear a longing heartbeat.

Leaving my chair, I walked towards the counter to pick a donut on sale. A bunwich was what I had in mind, but given the dwindling wealth, which continues to drain my resources, any bread of kindness would do.

"Miss ano diyan yung donut niyo na hindi matamis?"

"Honey Glazed po o kaya yung..." I wasn't paying attention to the attendant. My eyes were glued at the muffin costing 28 pesos. I cannot afford it.

"Magkano yung Honey Glazed Donut niyo?"

"P9.50" I still have enough coins for a jeepney ride going to work tomorrow.

"Sige yun na lang kunin ko."

The friend texted just when I was about to get my change. Walking towards the old lady I humbly offered the donut snugged inside the plastic bag.

"Kain po kayo..." Her somber face suddenly glowed with delight. After all, who would offer such a treat when she didn't ask anyone for it.

"Thank you," Her eyes disappeared under her wrinkly, smiling face.

Leaving Dunkin Donuts to meet my friend on the other side of the boulevard, some callous eyes caught my passing as I chance upon the old lady's gaze still trailing my direction.