It was around late afternoon when I came out of Atlanta center in Annapolis St. Galing lang ako sa printer called “fans”, disappointed over their conked out digital printer, and mad over the squandered pamasahe and wasted time.
I guess it’s the optimanian in me, pero whenever I get stressed or get dissappointed, I turn to good food. There was a dell catering service sa tabi ng printer, pumasok ako pero parang walang interesting kainin. Pag labas ko ng Atlanta, napansin ko that there were people with bananacue and squidballs. Biglang natakam ako. Oh gosh. I miss squidballs na. The real honest to goodness ones, soft, round, creamy at squid na squid (kahit alam kong puros hangin, msg at arina lang yun).
Si mamang squidballs was around 3 buildings away from atlansta center, pero you know the way people gravitate like flies to the wastebasket? Parang hub yung squidball stand. People were coming and going. May messenger, si haughty secretary na naka heels, si mamang sekyu, your pa-sosy OB Montessori student, at ako, starving artist.
“manong, magkano ba yung squidballs?”
“dalawang piso isa”
“sige, sampung piso nga”
I went ahead and fished out 5 balls, both squid and chicken. You can differentiate the squid ones were pure white, the chicken balls were freckled. (cute no?). I slathered it with sweet and spicy sauce (you never ask what it is, the less you know, the better). Mapaso-paso pa ako in my first bite, pero pucha, PASOK! Parang alam mo yun? Nag crave ka ng masarap ng squidballs, at napagbigyan ka ng diyos at nakahanap ka nga ng perfect stall in the most unlikely of spaces?
Bawat kagat, I forgot about my pending problems, yung mga sama ng loob over the things na di ko nakuha, people reminding me to start eating less, stress over the preparations ng exhibit ko, and impending arguments of my parents pagbalik ng bahay…. before I knew it ubos na yung 5 squidballs ko.
Nagbilang ako ng barya. May isa pang sampu, pero dapat may panulak. Nakita ko may styro cooler si manong.
“boss may sprite po kayo?” manong, the entrepreneur that he was, opened up the mahiwagang cooler, at naghukay ng sprite when I saw a royal on top.
“kuya, kahit royal nalang, para din a kayo mahirapan maghanap”
He handed me over the royal and I fished another batch of squidballs.
Tuloy ang ligaya! As the flavors whirled around my palate, yung marriage ng sweet, spicy, seafood and msg… I contemplated on my strategies kung paano ako yayaman, paluluhurin yung mga naksakit sa akin, and my eventual, domination of the world. Nandun pa lang ako sa pagpapayaman part, when I’ve reaized with disgust, ubos na squidballs ulit.
And then, I looked at the other people lining up kay mamang squidballs. I hesistated, then contemplated. In the end, I went back.
“ma, huling tawad, pa dalawang kikiam nalang.”, si mamang squidballs smiled. Sanay na siguro ‘to.
Pucha, hirap mag diet