One happy ending at a time...
The Sky's the Langit
By Ella del Rosario
“I just think that management has to cut me some slacks.”
Lydia was not sure if it was the noise at Sbarro in Megamall that impaired her hearing, or if she heard Engr. Roy dela Peña, with whom she was having a lunch meeting, correctly. She was tempted to comment that he looked good in jeans so why bother with the slacks, but was afraid that the joke would be lost on him. After all, he seemed to be unaware that what he said did not make sense as far as the English language that Lydia grew up with was concerned. He did carry his Levi’s well, though, she realized woefully.
She thought to herself, “What am I doing checking him out? He’s my client! And he’s definitely not my type.”
She had been corresponding with him for the past couple of weeks as she, a freelance trainer and consultant, was hired to teach the engineers-turned-salesmen of Roy’s company some communication skills to improve their sales performance. Roy was proving to be a challenge for Lydia as he seemed to be disinterested in remembering the rules on syntax, grammar, diction, and even spelling. She was sure that if she cut-and-paste his e-mails to her Word editor, they would be underlined in red by pages, with overlapping green marks due to grammar. “Oh, wherefore art the renaissance men?” she asked herself. His writing was the worst of the lot, and prior to meeting him in person, she imagined that he looked disheveled, with unkempt hair and crumpled shirts. To her surprise, he happened to have some resemblance to Benjamin Bratt. A minor distraction, she convinced herself.
She remembered that she was working and she had to take the spirit of his statement and not the presentation, so she responded based on her understanding of what he was trying to say. “Roy, I’m sure you are doing a wonderful job and they just want you to perform better. They’re stingy with compliments because they want to keep you on your toes, for you to be constantly driven to do your best. Don’t take it personally.”
Roy resented being sent to “grammar school”, as he put it. Lydia thought it was understandable, for how could an engineer who graduated magna cum laude stand being tutored this way? Still, she went to work and showed him his errors in the essay she asked him to write. She pushed all unprofessional thoughts at the back of her head. In the subject of language, her brain and training reigned supreme, and he should just live with that if he wanted to impress his bosses.
He invited her for coffee afterwards but she declined, saying she had to buy something for her niece who had been begging her for the new Harry Potter book. He offered to go with her to Powerbooks, and mentioned that he was not able to finish Book One of that series. “Another reason why I should not have coffee with you”, she thought. “I prefer men who adore Dumbledore as much as I do.” Instead she said, “I can find Powerbooks by myself, silly. Really, I’m ok. Thanks and see you next week!”
She turned to walk away but was able to notice the look in his eyes, where a mixture of disappointment and fascination was mirrored. She was glad she wore a skirt today, because she could feel his eyes on her, and so she deliberately walked slowly to give him a better view.
When she got to her car, it refused to start. She had just recently traded in her old second-hand car for a new second-hand fully powered and automatic Toyota Altis and she was still unfamiliar with what the lights, aside from those for water and gasoline, were for. She took out the manual from her glove compartment but it had a thousand and one reasons for why the car would not start. Besides, it did not make sense to her. She wanted to edit the darn thing.
Somebody knocked on her window. It was Roy. She opened the car door, because the power window wouldn’t budge without the power. “Is everything okay? I thought you left already,” he said, with a look of concern.
She gave her sweetest smile and said, “The car wouldn’t start.”
He said, “I believe, my lady, that I could help you with that. IF you ask for help, that is. Can you say it, Lyd? Repeat after me… ‘I… need… your…help, Roy’.”
He said it in straight English, but at that point that wasn’t what Lydia was thinking of.
“You stalker, how come you found me here? Did you follow me to my car?” Deep in her heart, however, she knew that it was something else, fate maybe, that brought him there at that precise time to rescue her.
“It’s not my fault that I parked near your car and that I have a knack for memorizing plate numbers. I’m good with numbers. Now if you don’t need help, I’ll be on my way, Miss.”
“Wait!” She stepped out of her car.
“Yes?” he asked expectantly.
She said softly, “I need your help, please.”
Jumper cables, mocha frappuccinos, and several hours later, Lydia discovered that English was not the only language in her world. She could speak Filipino, too. Roy could speak Whale*. It all made sense. Like a blessing in the sky.
* Please watch "Finding Nemo" if you haven't yet. Wonderful movie. Otherwise my short story would not make too much sense to you. You don't have to like Benjamin Bratt as much as I do, especially if you are a guy, but you've got to hear Dory speaking Whale, in Humpback or whatever other dialect it was. Hilarious. Endearing to a clown fish as well. Now that's another happy ending!