The day is fresh, and a lot of people walk in different directions. Some are in a hurry to catch the train. Others have their phone in between their neck and shoulder because both hands are unavailable. I could even hear gossips coming from a distant group, 10-feet to my left.
The girls were talking about a guy who decided to juggle four girls at the same time. He has plenty of time in his hands. I thought to myself I unintentionally eavesdrop. I mean, if they want to keep the conversation to themselves, why not lower their voices down a bit.
They lowered their voices, which I’m thankful for. I don’t want to hear how that guy enjoys the night with every woman he has.
I puffed smoke and decided it was time to get back to work. I threw the cigarette butt on the trash bin then walked inside the cafe known as Starbucks. The moment I entered the said establishment, the fragrance of coffee attacked my nostrils, which I love, by the way.
“Hey, Rick! We need a hand here,” Luna called my attention by waving her hand up in the air. I nodded my head and marched towards the bar counter.
“Wait a minute. I need to sanitize first. I puffed a cigar.” I didn’t wait for her answer and went inside the locker room to pour some alcohol on my hands.
When I got back to the counter, Luna was busy as hell. Mixing, brewing, and everything you see Starbucks bartenders do. Her apron is dirty since I left her with a lot of orders.
“Need a hand?” She rolled her eyes at me, indirectly saying ‘Isn’t it obvious?’ I chuckled at her reply. “Announce the orders that are done. I’ll finish this up.” I slightly pushed her, and she nudged my side. “Easy, tiger. You can get your little revenge later.” She rolled her eyes once again and grabbed the already done orders.
I glanced at the receipts and swiftly started making them. I adore my job. It pays me, and I love coffee. I can drink coffee all day long, but I might get diabetes or hypertension, so I never tried.
“Earth to Rick.” A hand waved in front of me. I blinked a couple of times and realized I spaced out.
“Sorry ‘bout that, Luna.” I continued what I was doing earlier. “Is there a new order?” She shook her head and pointed at the counter.
“Someone’s looking for you. I think he told me his name’s Jake or Jacob or something that starts with J.” I chuckled and ruffled her hair. “Hey! It’s hard to fix a long hair, you know.”
“Yeah, yeah.” I put both hands up — a sign of surrender — then I looked at the man in front of the counter. It’s Jay — a high school friend. He is smiling from ear-to-ear I smiled back and approached him.
“What brought you here? My busy friend.”
“I am not a busy person, and you know that.” He chuckled. “Well, you see. Grey, our dear class president, decided to arrange a class reunion, and he invited everyone.” I winced from the idea of having a reunion with them. “I know that face, and I know you haven’t looked at the invitation sent to your e-mail. Grey, as we all know, sends personal messages every time and knowing you its either you don’t have time to look at your e-mail, decided not to read it, or you have read it but ignored it.”
I chuckled from his long response. I looked at Luna, then the cashier, and saw no one standing in line. “Let’s have a sit over there,” I pointed at a table and went out of the bar counter. “and talk about that ‘reunion’.” Emphasizing the word reunion.
Once seated, Jay started talking about the reunion again. “I know you don’t like parties and social gatherings, but just this once, attend the reunion. Everyone’s asking me about you, and I don’t know what to say to them. Afte-”
“I don’t like gatherings, as you stated, so why would I come? I’d rather work or sleep instead of go to that reunion.” I looked around the cafe, and a few customers entered. “I have to go now, Jay.” I stood up without letting him answer.
“I have a few tricks up my sleeve for you to come,” He whispered the moment he passed by the bar counter.
“Yeah, you trick me? Never Jay, never.” And he left with a smirk on his face.
Customers arrive, order, chat, then leave. The day passed by in a blur. I looked at the clock, it's already 4:58 p.m. meaning my shift will end soon. The moment the clock struck 5, I started fixing my things inside the locker room.
“I heard your friend earlier,” Luna said. She is leaning on the door frame, hands crossed in front of her. “Why don’t you come? I mean, a reunion seldom happens, especially if you all are working.” She entered and started packing her stuff.
“I don’t like gatherings, Luna.”
“And cats don’t like water.” She punched my shoulder lightly. “Come on, Rick. You should go. I think your friend really wants you there because he even went here to convince you or something.”
“Its a no, and today’s hectic. My arms would fall off any minute now. My eyes are stinging, which means I need to sleep.” She suddenly looked at me.
“Don’t be a drama queen. You’re overacting. Today’s the same as the other days, and I bet you’re already used to the workload and besi-”
“Stop talking, or else I’ll kiss you.” I shot her a sideway glance, and she covered her mouth with a hand. “Always works,” I whispered to myself. Luna intentionally pushed me when she passed by. “So childish.”
I decided to stroll around Shibuya station before going home. My mind is still quarreling if I’d go to the reunion or not.
I looked at my busy surrounding and exhaled before crossing the street. As always, the Shibuya crossing is jam-packed with people. It is said that Shibuya’s crossing is the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world, and I’d like to agree to that.
There are three large TV screens mounted on nearby buildings and some advertisements signs everywhere. I think it was once compared to the Times Square intersection in New York City and Piccadilly Circus intersection in London that’s why it's so famous among tourists.
My eyes caught a crowd inside an establishment. At first, I ignored it, but I saw Jay inside the establishment. I stopped walking and looked at the building. Familiar faces emerged one by one, and I heard Jay’s voice saying I have a few tricks up my sleeve for you to come.
So this is the trick he was telling me earlier. The reunion is a few meters away from my work. I glanced at everyone, and they all seem happy, happy to see and hear from one another after a couple of years.
My classmates aren’t bad. Actually, they’re friendly, but whenever I’m with them, I feel suffocated. I feel out of place. Yes, they’re friendly, but a part of me feels aloof. I have peculiar hobbies such as escapology and collecting of firearms —which isn’t normal for high school students.
They know my peculiar hobbies and talk about it with me once in a while, but I know they aren’t interested in them because they have more normal hobbies than me. The boys like sports and such while girls like makeup, fashion, and the list goes on.
When we gather as a class, I always feel left behind because they can talk for the whole day while they can talk to me for 5 minutes max.
“Rick’s here!” A person shouted. I didn’t know my feet walked on their own to here. I examined who it is and saw Karen.
“Hello,” I awkwardly said then scratched the back of my head. She guided me inside, and I couldn’t say no since she saw me already.
One by one, people started crowding near me. Asking how I’ve been and such. It felt awkward. I saw Jay smiling from a corner.
“The trick worked, I guess,” I said, which made everyone confuse. “Jay’s trick,” I answered their unspoken question.
“We asked him to persuade you to come because everyone missed you and it worked, you came,” Tyler said with a gleeful tone.
“Sorry for not coming before.”
“That’s okay. We all are friends in here if you have anything to say please do so.” He motioned me towards a chair. “We are all adults now and we will understand your reason.”
I exhaled and told them what I feel. The girls gasped, and some cried, the boys gave me a man hug and said sorry.
I looked at Jay once again and mouthed a thank you. Maybe, it wasn’t such a bad idea to come here. They understood me and talked to me more., told me different stories and adventures they experienced themselves.
“I like guns, you know.” A girl sat next to me. It was Luna. “I’m not a classmate, but that friend of yours invited me. I don’t have anything to do, so I said yes.”
“You like guns? Yeah, right. You’re just saying that to comfort me in some way.” She looked at me sharply.
“My favorite is the Commando and Galil, or I’d like to call them Glock and Clock.” She smirked when she saw the shock on my face.
“Yeah, you can come to my place to see my collection. Maybe we can go shooting one day.” She smiled, and I did too.
“Yeah, sure. I’d love that.” And we talked about guns, our collection and everything for hours, days, and weeks.