Monday, April 14, 2008

Mistaken identity

“Messenger ka ba? (Are you a messenger?)" It was the second time she asked me the same question in about a month. As with the first incident, the Twilight Zone tune immediately started playing in my head. Then came that brief moment when I started wondering why such things happened to me, of all people. Was it because the clothes I’m wearing during those days that she saw me at her canteen were so unlike those worn by these rich law and business students that she served? But I remembered seeing her also behind the cashier counter on days when I had my polo, slacks and leather shoes on, and my head was throbbing from pretending all day long to know how to design a training program that I haven’t even taken up before.

Maybe it was because of my kulay lupa (dirt-colored) skin that puts me in the league of the school’s security guards, janitors and other blue-collar workers. That would surely explain why my attire seemed to make no difference in the way she regarded me. For just a few seconds, as I finished my lunch in a favorite corner, I relished the thought of being seen as part of the masa or low-income groups. With the way fate changes for most of us, there’s really nothing that separates me from these poor people except the kind of job that I have now and the few clothes that cover my back.

So, who cares if she mistook me for somebody she knew from her circle? Not bad, not bad at all. Unless, manang there was thinking of her long lost crush who happened to work before as a messenger. Or she’s a member of a local religious group who’s desperately waiting for the coming of a “messenger” from heaven to announce the end of days. I hurriedly took my plates and leftovers to the cleaners’ counter, and scampered for the nearest exit.

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