A cool and still-empty dining area of a restaurant provides one with the perfect perch for observing the quiet city streets outside. As patrons slowly trickle in a few at a time to line up and order their startup ritual for the day, the LED screens near the counter scroll down their recommended breakfast fare aside from displaying a short list of additional specials. A sober mix of already-seated bank tellers, joggers and some uni students early for their morning classes, having gone ahead of the short queue, quietly partake of their brekkie, while the aroma of brewed coffee begins to waft like incense in the air.
A quick trip to a nearby bank’s ATM opens up the senses to the freshly-swept pavement outside that has now been cleaned and freed of garbage from the night before. Except for a few stray jogging couples headed for home, the street, shielded thus far from the early morning sun by the shadows of the tall buildings now appears bathed in a misty screen of monochrome gray.
Upon my return to the restaurant after the brief jog to the bank, I’m greeted by cold coffee and sodden pancakes, so that it’s a return trip back to the line as well. Luckily, only a few patrons stand in line. A much older man, looking like a veteran sits by the door reading a local paper. And I’m thinking perfect, he provides the needed final touch for all this, my imagined diorama that depicts the slow awakening of the metropolis.
As my fam and I prepare to leave, the street outside is now awake. The early street cleaners and Pandesal-selling bicycles have given way to the zooming messengers in motorcycles while these pretenders in turn, navigate against the jeepneys and cars intent on their way to clogging the main streets.
Like Godzilla waking from her slumber under the mountains, my stirring city, slowly rises from her beauty sleep. I’m at once reminded of an image of our stray cat, stealthy and motionless by the neighbor’s gate, just seconds before springing at the hapless rodent in the bush. In a view more minutes, on our way back home, the sun will have fully be up and by then, it will only be around seven in the highway. Meanwhile, back there from where we were, the metro is already surely purring.
HONORING MY MOTHER
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