Suzhou Experience

I have long heard and read about this hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Malate that supposedly serves good dumpling, including my favorite xioa long bao.

And in the three years that I have worked in the area, I would always pass by this restaurant, even when it was still in its old location (a couple of establishments away from its current address). I never got to try it until last week when I was on my way to work on election day.

It is now housed in the commercial area of Red Planet Hotel. I decided to eat there on a whim and did not have enough time to do research on what to order. So I went the safe route — spareribs noodles soup and xiao long pao (yup, they spell theirs with a ‘p’ instead of ‘b’)

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Stuck in traffic for more than two hours now and I can’t help but wonder, how many hours do we waste sitting idle and doing nothing? How many hours lay wasted when in these hours, the person you are meant to spend the rest of your life with is in the other side of the city, in her part of the world, stuck in traffic for more than two hours now.

I sit here wondering what these people I’m in the bus with are thinking. Are they thinking about work? Are they thinking about the recipes they’ll try this weekend? Are they thinking about what they accomplised? Are they thinking about their failures?

And then there you are. While the bus waits for the signal to go green, you aboard, with your dreams and aspirations. And I see them in your eyes. While the rest of us are either sleeping or are half-conscious, there you are trying to find a seat with your eyes gleaming.

And when you find none, you still smile as if that is what you hoped will happen. 
There you are standing beside me, facing me. With your earphones on, I know what you are thinking about. I can hear it from your breathing. I can hear it clearly. 

I can hear your heart beating excited to see her. I can hear your heart beating, looking forward to her touch.

I can see clearly from your eyes all the stories you cannot wait to tell. I can see clearly how you’re already rehearsing them in your head. I can see clearly how your eyes widen just thinking about here. I can clearly see how much you love her.

It’s been an hour since you rode the bus. You’re stuck in traffic for an hour now, I in three. And yet you don’t feel stuck. Because you’re not here, not really. You are where your thoughts are. You are where she is.

She has been waiting for you for an hour now. While I sit here stuck in traffic, you stand there grounded while flying to her direction, to her touch, to her love. 

I badly want to be you. 

But the person I am meant to spend the rest of my life with sits stuck in traffic in her part of the world. Not even thinking about me. Not even knowing I exist.

Fiction. Written while stuck in traffic. Carry on. 

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