On the Road… day 15, at a gas station, an hour away from Paris
“Can I offer you coffee?” A, our Portuguese driver, asks me good-naturedly.It’s been a long day and nobody deserves these much-needed gas station breaks more than him. He’s been driving his bus for a couple of hours now and had to take his mandatory fifteen-minute break, along with the rest of the group of course.
“Only if it’s real!”I quip, eyeing the patisserie and coffee counter at the far left corner of the elaborately designed gas station. For the past few days, we’ve been drinking coffee from vendo machines at almost every pit stop and it has taken its toll on my taste buds. I miss real coffee! Drinking a freshly brewed cup will certainly be a welcome break.
“Okay! Cappuccino, right?Maybe you can look for a table while I buy?I’ll be right back.”
As I watch A walk away, I notice one of the ladies from the group, Ultraviolet, go up to him and ask him something. They exchange a good chuckle and walk toward the patisserie counter together.A really has a way with the ladies, especially the mature ones (read:old).I have repeatedly teased A about this and he would always blush in embarrassment.The old gals adore him and I think he sincerely likes them back, although not in the way that some of them would prefer.But who can blame them?A is handsome and charming and is genuinely good-hearted.He’s the type of guy you would like to bring home to your mother.
I finally spot a vacant table with a couple of chairs, take a seat and anticipate the arrival of my fresh brew.After a while, I see A walk toward me with a tray full of goodies, Ultraviolet in tow. A puts down his tray on the table and so does Ultraviolet. As A hands over my cappuccino and offers to share his pastry with me—which, from what I gather, Ultraviolet bought for him— Ultraviolet makes a big show of appearing to notice me for the first time. She turns to me in mock surprise.
“Oh, I’m sorry.I didn’t know you were going to join us,” she says this with disdain, as if I am invading her intimate moment with A.
I look at A, who looks back at me with a little embarrassed smile on his face. He shrugs his shoulders before taking a big bite off his pastry. Dumbfounded, I can’t help but smile as I look at Ultraviolet in amazement. She is already seated comfortably infront of A, trying a little too hard to ignore my presence.
Before I can say something nasty to her (like “okay ka lang?”), I take a deep breath and sip my coffee a little too quickly, scalding my poor tongue in the process. Needless to say, I spent the next fifteen minutes trying my best to enjoy my cappuccino with a numb tongue. At least that kept me from talking.
So much for real coffee.