A Stranger Though Not

Dinner was served at 8pm on Sunday.  Sitting with about 20 familiar faces in that darkened room was somehow strange and uneasy.  I could not wait to run out that door.  It was a big dinner; lambs, beef, fried rice, noodles, and some vegetables – my appetite just gone.  It was exactly the environment I expecting, and I was right.  They said it was just in your head.  Whatever you think in your head, is the thing you’d get.  It could be, but I wasn’t sure anymore.

I chose the seat nearest to my boss, whom I also called my friend and immediately I regretted my decision.  I should’ve sat at the other table; a smaller one that was behind me.  All girls, but what different would it make?  None I could think of.

The lady sitting in front of me looked very familiar.  I didn’t see her in the gym, but I knew her.  Took me 10 minutes to figure it out who she was.  She was one of the people I’ve interviewed before – a restaurant owner.  Should I greet her?  Should I say ‘hi’?  Should I smile at her?  She seemed to avoid eyes contact with me, so I got her message.  I pretended not to know her.  I smiled that night, but she frowned.  At least that was what I saw.  She saw me, and I was afraid to see her unfriendly expression.

Her restaurant closed down about a year after the interview.  I was told she was abusing her maid and ran away when the police was trying to hunt her down.  A crime reporter told me, so I guess it was true.  I always thought it was just bad business.  With that knowledge, the dreadful night dragged.  A woman on my right was friendly enough to talk to me, but there was nothing in my head; there was nothing to share.  How could you make a conversation with only the other side presenting their ideas?  That was exactly what happened.  They listened to the boss, but I understood nothing they said.  I wanted to get out.

I didn’t ate much that night, I wasn’t hungry, I wasn’t watching my diet either.  My heart was simply not there.  It was a weird feeling.  They saw me in the gym almost every day, not that often nowadays.  I felt so lost, I felt like a fool.  Should’ve not agreed to join the dinner.  Eyes fixed on the phone I was holding in my hand, browsing through Facebook, I wasn’t even sure what I was looking at.  Walking out to that room at 9pm to the open air, my heart cleared again.

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