Coming home from tutoring one of my tutorees (who was being exceptionally distracted by some video games he recently started playing), I rode the usual bus home (11), which was relatively empty that night. After a few stops, I noticed this old man come in, eating a McDonald’s chocolate sundae. He was observing everything and everyone in the bus, almost like he was looking for someone. He got the seat right in front of me, so that’s how I noticed. I’m not that crazy weird…creepily observing people in my surroundings out of curiosity…without them noticing…since I have really good IFOV… Well, anyhow, I sort of started thinking about what the guy was thinking, and I came up with the back story that he was diabetic and that he may have been looking around to check if his nutritionist might be on the bus; he’d get busted for eating a cup of chocolate sundae (it’s been pretty darned hot recently, so I don’t blame him for succumbing to the cold ice cream). But then I thought that that was just too short a tale and I decided to elongate the story line a bit. And what I came up with is as follows.
Ever since he’d moved himself and his family halfway across the globe to Macau decades ago, a lot had change in this tiny, little enclave. He’d also grown old himself and along with the arrival of his golden years, illness also came along for the ride. Not very pleasant for him, of course, since he had to give up a lot of the delicacies he’d always enjoyed. When he got diagnosed with diabetes, he had to give up a lot of his favourite foods. McDonald’s, especially. He struggled with this, of course. Especially at the beginning. He succumbed to his urges a lot, but this proved very bad for him and it got worse. But when he could, he would sneak off to a branch of the fast-food chain and get a delicious burger meal. To top it all off, he’d also get an ice-cream cone to go
On this particular summer day, he had been walking around the Old Taipa area, enjoying the scenery and watching tourists as they snapped photo after photo of their people, the places, and the things. When the day increasingly grew unbearably hot, he got into one of the stores nearby for a large bottle of water and decided it was time to head home.
While waiting for his bus, a very huge yellow “M” sign caught his attention, and he was immediately captivated by it; McDonald’s was less than a minute’s walk from where he stood and he was soon walking towards it in a trance-like state.
He didn’t know what he wanted there, and all his nutritionist’s warnings against fast-food flew right out of his mind. Walking towards the restaurant had him remembering all his good memories with it — the first time he met his wife, the first time his wife told him he was going to be a father, when he received news that his baby sister was getting married, and all those other great memories.
When he got inside, he was greeted by the smell of burgers and newly cooked fries, one of his favourite things entering any McDonald’s. A couple of teenagers walked past him for the exit and all of them held chocolate ice-cream sundaes, reminding him of how hot he felt. And right then and there, he decided on placing the exact same order as those very young adolescents.
Once he had gotten his cupful of deliciously sweet chocolate ice-cream, he walked back out into the summer heat for the bus stop. And he was lucky enough that as soon as he got to the bus stop, his bus came along, sparing him from more of the blazing heat of the sun.
Very few people were on the bus and he took a seat in front of some young Filipino woman. He quickly took a seat, but as he sat, he caught a glimpse of one of his wife’s friends. Or he thought so.
He kept looking at the back of the bus, but every time he looked, his failed to see his wife’s friend. In the end, he decided it must have been a trick of his paranoid imagination, especially due to his intake of something forbidden to him.
Having accepted that neither his wife nor his wife’s friend were present within the public vehicle, he finally settled down in his seat and enjoyed his sundae.
His last one for a long time. Who knows when he’d be able to eat one again.
I am such a busybody *shakes head in disapproval*