Forgive me, I was just reliving something that happened to me awhile back.

It was 1999, high school for me, maybe college for you, maybe elementary for others, and, for some, well, you get the idea. The time was somewhere between 10 pm to 2 am, I can’t quite recall but I do know that it was past dinner. I mentioned ‘past dinner’ because my friends and I were hungry once again. It was the usual midnight snack routine for us. “Star Mart!” was suggested by one of my comrades. That night, I fancied Star Mart’s hotdog on a bun.

If you have never been to the Philippines, then I must inform you that our hotdogs are special: thick, juicy and red. And no, I was not throwing some sort of sexual innuendo. They really are red.

And so, I rushed back to my house and gathered every single loose change I could find. Being in high school, I wasn’t exactly very liquid with my finances. This was further compounded by the fact that it was summer vacation, or at least I think it was, and my funds weren’t easily replenished by my parents then. I serached underneath my mattress, inside my cabinets and drawers, consuming about twenty minutes of my time.

Finally, I was able to scrounge twenty-six pesos, just enough for one sandwich. The moment itself was glorious, even if it only lasted for a few seconds, but such trivialities are worth the inner-celebration. Successful, I placed them all in my pocket and made sure that they were all safe in there. I could imagine each coin singing high praises to their lord and master. That would be me, in case you were unaware.

Thank you o lord! We shall be more than willing to oblige you in your quest for a hotdog!”

I marched outside and saw that my friends were waiting in the car. I hopped in and we drove off. We shared the usual friendly banter and stories. More importantly, we shared a common goal: to satisfy our stomachs with food. And we shared a common sentiment: that we were going to be able to do just that. Star Mart was a mere five minutes away, so we got there rather quickly and advanced to the entrance.

There it was. The hotdog that I so longed to consume, in all its thick, juicy and red glory. I brimmed with excitement which I had to hold back. I did not want to be looked upon with bewilderment by the store’s employees. My coins, on the other hand, jingled inside my pocket, already sensing the triumph that awaits them. I walked over to the counter with overflowing confidence, looked the clerk on the eye and said.

One jumbo hotdog, please!”

Just like that, he, or she, I don’t remember, grabbed the tongs with his right hand and a bun on his left. The tongs then took hold of one of the hotdogs and let laid it in between the bun. Meanwhile, I had taken every single coin out of my pocket and counted every single one. My worry was that maybe one of the coins had fallen astray. If that happened, then my quest for a hotdog would be a failure and all my efforts moot, futile.

Twenty-six!” I said. I shoved the coins, which were placed on top of the counter, towards the cashier. She, or he, punched in the necessary code. “Ding!” and the receipt began printing. The wonderfullicity (Yes, I enjoy adding over-the-top suffixes to my words. Hah!) of that sound signified my victory. I grabbed the hotdog and made my way to the condiments to add some ketchup, after which, I walked out of the store and towards my friend’s car.

The hotdog gazed at me with its loving redness and juicyness. In that brief moment, that piece of meat on bun began reciting Shakespeare’s 18th sonnet to me. “Thou art more lovely and temperate” struck me to my core and demanded that I satisfy my desire to consume this magnificent creation of the gods. And so, it began, the meeting of the hotdog and my mouth. Closer. Closer.

Farther. Farther. I realized that, despite having the bun in my hand, the hotdog began slipping, falling, subject to the evil whims of gravity. I could hear it screaming in despair. I, on the other hand, could only give out a monotonous “Noooooo…” as if I cared little of the fate the hotdog. But I cared. I did. The shock was just too much. I could feel the emptiness from the bun in my hand as if embodying the void that suddenly opened up inside me.

And it laid there. The hotdog drowned in a pool of motor oil. It gasped, asking me to pick it up. I couldn’t. I wouldn’t be able to eat it anymore. It had lost all its worth. All I could do was stare and whimper silently. My friends laughed, unsympathetic to my loss. I ate the bun in hand in hopes that, maybe, it would fill the aforementioned emptiness. It didn’t. I walked away from the hotdog and into the car defeated. Goodbye, hotdog. Goodbye.

Pretty funny, eh?


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