She told me that a friend told her that the building looked like a waffle.
I rarely see the entire building when I’m walking briskly to the office. I just know it’s blue, grimy blue.
And in that grimy blue waffle building, as I wrote that impromptu resignation letter in the same interview room where the best days of my working life started, my mind couldn’t help but be filled with flashbacks.
I wasn’t facing the executive assistant that day. That person didn’t have the awkward smile that said, “This is wrong but there’s nothing else we can do about it.” No, that day, I was facing an enthusiastic HR staff saying that they’re glad to have me in their company. I was offered the salary, I accepted it, and I was happy my jobless days were over.
At first, I was revolted by the facilities. Compared to my previous company, this was plainly shabby. But there was a peculiar air of freedom and comfort all around, so I was still glad that I was here instead of anywhere else. My job as a junior writer was kinda easy compared to my previous job as a broadcast transcriptionist. It involved more thinking and creative manipulation of words, something that you can’t do as a transcriptionist who merely types words that assail your ear. My desktop computer was not sleek and shiny — it was in fact, sticky — but I can do pretty much anything I wanted with it as long as I finish my duties every day. Yahoo Messenger, Multiply, raunchy sites — all of them I can access all I want with minimal restrictions.
This was close to my dream job: just writing light articles, enjoying the Web while earning dough. Back then, as a gloomy guy who came from a cold, bleak company, this was paradise for me — cockroaches in the bathroom and all. I was contented with it. I was probably ready to do it for five straight years if the company allowed me.
Little did I know that so much more was in store for me. See, I didn’t have any real friends in my previous company. It was all keyboard, coffee, and more keyboards back there. But in the grimy blue waffle building, the qoolest friends sat in cubicles, waiting for another lunch break just to talk of nonsensical funny stuff. These guys were so cool, my dark heart started opening up to brighter, happier hours.
And my god, did that girl from the cubicle far away stole my heart for keeps.
I smiled whenever I peered from my place to look at the back of her short curly hair. She had these groovy glasses on which made her look like a funky messenger from the ’70s. When I said my job was easy, I probably didn’t emphasize it enough. This girl looked laidback and beautiful (too beautifu) as Friday came with her accomplishing just a morsel of the quota. I sighed whenever she’s in front of me, heading to the pantry with her friends. Yeah, she was different all right.
How I went from ogling her in front of elevators to swimming with her in a lovely beach in Zambales is nothing short of a miracle to me. My fueled interest in my work probably equipped me with enough words to dazzle her one noisy and drunk night in Metrowalk. My passion for my job recuperated my body, and I was getting better and better every night. More magic tricks flowed from my hands every night, and I knew, if I pursued this dream goal, I could kiss her some day, some night.
It’s 12:39 and our memorable fourth monthsary just slid away 39 minutes to the past.
She’s a senior writer now and I am at home, juggling blogs and a fragile career choice. She’s doing a very good job with her work and the grimy blue waffle building wants her to stay despite my fall.
Nothing to worry about. I have to focus. Whatever happens, I must make things work out. I can do this. I know I can. I’ve done it a thousand times before. I just have to trust my heart in this and it will not fail me.
But still, I’ll remember.
I’ll remember Jie, who I consider my rival in art, even though I bet he doesn’t consider me a challenge at all. His sudden outbursts of gibberish will echo in my mind for a long, long time.
I’ll remember Alfred, that huge man with a huge voice and a huge sense of humor. He was one of the first guys to ever speak with me, and I thank him.
Then there were those silent guys, Chester and Jerc. Jerc was softspoken but he was friendly enough to chat with me during team-bonding activities. He said I was lucky I wasn’t required to introduce myself to the whole team unlike him. Chester was the most silent of all, but he had great talent. Up to this day, I believe Jie and I are no match for Chester’s line art.
I’ll remember Ms. Anne and her lesson to me in Tagaytay that you should have already figured out what you’d do in your career by the age of 25. I still have two more years to go before I’m officially without direction then.
I’ll remember Aika who interviewed me for my position. I’m 1oo% sure I sucked at that interview but I was accepted just the same. Thanks, Aika and good luck.
I’ll remember Arnel, Debbie, Bryan, Jit and ES who seemed like a package. They always went together. The grimy blue building would’ve been happier if all of them stayed.
I’ll remember Meia who made it in time to have fun with us during lunch breaks. Where I met her in UP is still a mystery.
I’ll remember all the cool guys and gals who didn’t make it in this blog entry.
But I’ll definitely remember Staci. He said he liked me in a nipa hut back in Tagaytay. I forgot to tell him that I felt the same way. I still laugh to myself when I remember his jokes.
Paul and Marck are two great writers enveloped in smoke. I’m sure their talent will continue to blaze as long as there are cigarettes to light.
My best memories were with Aila, Elaine, Chemae and RJ.
My Bruce Lee VCD collection is still with Aila. I hope she takes care of them as much as she takes care of her vegetarian diet. She said I was too negative in life. Aila, I beg to disagree.
Elaine had always been friendly to me. I thought she did an awesome job of being a friend and a team leader at the same time. I’m sorry if tears were shed one day because of my inadequacies, although that also is just a minor smudge in my shining, clear memory of her laughing at the cheapest of jokes. Her guy is an extremely talented friend. Kaloy, I’ll still envy you day and night.
And of course, I will remember RJ. He’s the man. He’s half the reason why the grimy blue waffle building will be remembered as an enchanted place. He’s like destiny’s gift to bleak, dry, serious people who stupidly walk the earth. I’ll pay anytime for a beer with him.
And finally, my mind and my heart will rest on the memory of Chemae. Her hair’s quite long now, though still curly as before. She should wear her groovy glasses more often so her eyes that discovered the light in me will not fade. She’s the funkiest girl in the world and she’ll forever be my crush, my love.
It doesn’t matter now if not one of these amazing people stumbles upon this blog entry. I’ve sealed their glimmering memory March 20th in the servers of this blogging site. I throw virtual flowers on this memory, place a virtual cross on it, and walk away from it now.
Goodbye, Waffle Building! It’s time for me to come home.