There I was. Sitting alone at Café Havana while the rain outside seemed like not letting up. My sis and a friend had excused themselves earlier to freshen up. I took a sip of my chilled mangojito which is concoction of rhum, mango juice and crushed mint leaves. It is the Manila version of the classic mojito cocktail.
From where I am sitting, I could see the silhouette of the vocalist singing latin music inside the cafe. I also started admiring the perfect rhythm of his hands tapping the conga. The music was loud but I still could hear the minute beat it makes. I thought it takes great skills to keep that rhythm while belting high notes singing a familiar Latin oldie. I know this for a fact because it is extra harder for me to play the guitar while singing.
I couldn't tell if he smiled at me but I know for sure that he kept looking back to my direction. After their number, he went outside for a cigarette and drink and then looked back at me. This time his piercing eyes met mine and then followed it with another smile. If I smile back, would it just be a sign of friendliness? Would it betray mijo who I just dropped off the airport and was on his way back to the States that night? I decided not to smile back for it might be mistaken for a small flirtation. Though I nodded just to acknowledge the lavish attention he's been giving me.
After a few cocktails, I went to the men's room to freshenup. As I was walking back to our table, I passed by the bar where he was sitting at. For the first and last time, I returned his smiles as if to bid him goodbye and to thank him for the lively music and the moment.
The rain has finally let up. Two more nights and I fly back to the States.
(A picture of the sprawling Metro Manila skyline the morning after a big rain.)