We built a memorial out of Starbucks

THIS WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED VIA TINYLETTER ON DATE STAMPED

I worked as a barista on my fifth and last year in UP. I only had 3 units left, retired from my undergraduate organization to focus on my studies and, ironically, couldn’t take all the free time. J just started working at McKinley which usually ends around 11 PM. I had shifting schedules and sometimes get to close the branch at 1 in the morning and finish cleaning up by past 2 at the maximum. I live in San Pedro, my house only a 10 to 15-minute drive away from my branch, and he lives in Mandaluyong. Let me pull out a visual for you:

When I do get night shifts, he’d always insist it’s not out of the way and drive all the way from McKinley to Muntinlupa. He’d get there by midnight, wait for an hour for closing and another hour for the team to finish cleaning up, and drive me home. All of that just so we could spend 10 to 30 minutes chatting until I’m close to dozing off out of exhaustion. I had to tell him not to do it so often because it’s not very economical. Ha! What a killjoy. A friend had to tell me to just let him. I get really kilig about it, though. I just get guilty and shy being accommodated like that

So more than Shirley’s association of a person to a home, we also relate to Nakauwi Na on a literal level.

Kahit sandali lang / Basta’t makasama ka / Kahit mamaya maya lang ako’y uuwi na

Nakauwi Na, Ang Bandang Shirley

A few weeks back, on the way to his hometown with the rest of his family, we got to walk down memory lane visiting my Starbucks branch for the first time since my ENDO. It has been over a year. If I were an actual customer, my usual would be a multigrain bagel. But I used to always get a corned beef pandesal for my kinses* then and it was almost second nature to me to have it at that branch even though I no longer work there.

I don’t go to Starbucks anymore now unless left with  no choice, what more to a branch along the expressway. Naturally, the place has become a memorial of when we were still starting to fall in love. I don’t like visiting the place but I like knowing there exist a physical structure that represents a period in our timeline together somewhere—I’m sorry, was that too mushy? I realized I’ve never told anyone the gory details of our love story and it’s uncharacteristic of me to be this chummy and happy. But it’s romance anyway so I guess a cringefest is in order.

*15-minute breaks

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