It is not the same stage anymore. The psychedelic lights that drown her theatre are all turned off. Tables and chairs are drunk from the slow penetration of rust in their bodies. The windows once covered with heavy drapes of darkness are all allowing the light from outside to enter. It is a very different theatre now.
It is fortunate of me to find my favorite seat among the piles of rust-covered chairs and tables. It is seat no. 7. As I sit on the chair, lights slowly come to life. The theatre walls painted black as the stage is prepared for another performance.
I see the same familiar silhouette I saw twenty years ago. The silhouette perfectly danced with the flickering lights of the stage, enticing the audience and giving rise to the temperature in the air.
I remembered stroking the sweat on my beer bottle as the silhouette makes it way out of the dark. The figure was perfectly curved as if a god of art made her body. Slowly, beads of sweat gathered on my forehead. Entertainment of this kind can surely make any man oblivious of his misfortunes.
The figure slowly inched her way to my direction. Seat no. 7 was turning into a hot seat. As the god-curved figure came to my direction, heads started to focus on my seat. Seat no. 7 turned into a hot-seat.
The figure’s face was covered with a veil of a shiny material, exposing only her rounded deep-set eyes. The temperature of the room was heightened by the flickering shades of red and orange that served as light.
Without realizing it, the figure caught my hand and guided me to the stage. The touch seemed familiar at first, but the pull was more fierce and forceful. The figure left my hand for a moment as she removed the piece of cloth covering her top. Before I could react, her lips caught mine and all I could hear was the deafening cheer of the crowd. Ecstasy hit my body like lightning. I fought back the kiss, and when I opened my eyes, a sad, familiar set of eyes greeted me with a surprise.
In split seconds, the figure, now having her face distorted with tears pushed me back and served me a forceful slap on the cheek. Then the figure ran backstage, leaving me alone and shocked as the flickering lights slowly faded together with the scream of the crowd. Again, I found myself sitting on seat no.7.
It was Sunday when I first met her. She was trying to blend with crowd of church-goers but her mid-toned face having deep-set eyes and apple red lips just kept on catching my attention. I am not an avid church-goer. I usually go to church to hear the homily occasionally, and to experience an alternative environment, far from the busy and chaotic office world.
When I thought I lost track of her figure, I sat on the pew to do some reflection. After a while, I realized that I was joined by a lady in tears, in a seemingly solemn prayer with God. When the lady finally broke from her prayers, I saw that she was the same lady who caught my eyes. After a few seconds of silence, she rushed outside the church like a bride running after her husband. After she left, I noticed that she left her rosary.
I ran after her, and tried to find her among the diverse crowd in Baclaran. I rummaged the streets and fortunately, I saw her sitting on a bench nearby a fast food establishment.
- “Miss, you left your Rosary after your prayers.”
- She was startled and seemed embarrassed of my act.
- “Oh, you should not have picked this up. I left it there on purpose.”
She smiled, said thank you and left in an instant. Being curious of her, I followed her again and asked for her name.
“Rosario” she said, and took another fast step. After a while, she gave me a wink and shouted “5:30, same time, same place, tomorrow.” then she left leaving me with a smile that caused cramps on my cheeks.
- “5:30, same time, same place, tomorrow…” What could that mean?
I followed her bellow. She was there as I expected, still wearing her mysterious smile.
- “Thank you sir. Here is a rosary for you, take it. Sorry I was not able to thank you that much yesterday. I have to go to our rehearsals.”.
- “You’re an actress? How fortunate of me to meet a beautiful actress like you!”
Her face flushed pink. Before I could ask her if she was new in the movie industry, she instantly told me that she was a theatre actress.
- “I act on the stage. We all act on the stage. We are all actors and actresses.”
That short chat was followed by constant meetings that became an avenue for me to know the beautiful actress. After some time, I finally told her my feelings of love and affection.
- “If you love me. you will stop asking me to watch my plays. Someday, you will learn to accept me as an actress.”
One mysterious thing about Rosario is that she does not allow me to her rehearsals. She will not even invite me to her shows. So one day, I followed her secretly and found out that she resides in a shabby house under the bridge. Her house was among those who sought foundation on the bridge’s columns. Is this her secret? I do not care about her social status. I love her.
- “I love you!”
- “love is just a social construct. Your feelings for me may just be driven by the society, by your mind, and not by your heart. I am just an actress. You have no future in me. Do not waste your time with me. Do not be deceived by your senses.”
- “No. It is not what you think. I love you because I really do. See, I still wait for the time you bring me to your theatre plays. I could wait. I am still waiting because I love you. “
- “No. You do not understand. We must end this now. I am sorry.”
She bid me her last kiss and handed another rosary in my hand. I was fixed on the ground, watching her as she slowly left. The feeling of regret slowly crept on my veins. I love her but I let her go. I tore the rosary apart and the beads quickly bounce on the pavement and rolled over the nearest hole on the street. I left, though I was feeling heavy, as if my feet cannot carry me anymore.
I wallowed myself in pitchers of alcohol. I bar hopped until I went to my favorite bar. I was a regular of this bar. I particularly liked this because of the ambience it exudes. Unlike any other bar, I found solace on this one. I found serenity among the flickering red and orange lights cradled on the dark. Aside from those, I liked the bar because of my favorite seat, seat no.7. The bar owner happened to be my friend and provided a special seat for me near the stage. The seat was perfectly situated on the bar giving you the most of the aesthetic distance you can get.
Insatiable of the alcohol I already took, I asked for another bottle of beer, and waited for the show on the stage. Lights slowly come to life; walls are painted black as the stage was prepared for another performance.
I saw a silhouette perfectly dancing with the flickering lights of the stage, enticing the audience and giving rise to the temperature in the air. The silhouette was perfectly curved as if a god of art made her body. I stroked the sweat out of my gin bottle. I stared to enjoy the show. The silhouette inched her way to my direction. Seat no. 7 turned into a hot-seat.
He figure dragged me on the stage and offered me a hard kiss. The kiss felt familiar, yet indifferent. I fought back the kiss and our lips were locked for a few minutes. As he figure broke from our kiss, her deep-set eyes caught mine. As tears slowly gather on her eyelids, she gave me a slap, looked at me again, cried, and walked away. I saw the actress in action. I finally saw Rosario. Lights off.
- The fading of the lights joined the setting sun. Seat no.7 was now cold.