A man walks up to a nearby bar. His pale yellow shirt faded and clinging onto his wet front. His eyes were deep-set. His forehead was wrinkled with all his worry lines and his blue dusty shorts had cuts here and there. Nevertheless, he walks up to the bar and opens the front door.
“Ate, isa nga po” (Miss, one please), he requested. His eyes were trailed onto his tired palms and the jacket on his back was muffling the soul music in the background. He sat down, exhausted and expecting.
The miss shouted, “Isa pong ano?” (One what?).The man looked up and said “Isa pong shot ng pinakamalakas niyong inumin, on the rocks po” (One shot of the strongest drink you have, on the rocks). The bartender nodded and returned with a cold tall glass of cow milk.
He stared at the drink, gave it a sigh, and graced it with one small sip. He only managed to smile at her when she came around the counter and decided to sit beside him.
He huffed, “Tanong nga po, miss. Nakapagbenta na po ba kayo ng isang baso sa presyo ng dalawa?” (One question, miss. Have you ever sold a glass for the price of two?). “Siyempre naman! Lalo na kapag double yung shot” (Of course! Especially if it’s a double shot), she replied.
Before she could tell him more, he added, “Paano po, ate, kung bibili ka ng isa sa presyo ng dalawa?” (How about, miss, you buy something for the price of two?) . He paused. “Paano kung may pagkakataong kailangan mo magkaroon ng sakripisyo? Paano kung kailangan mong pal’tan ang isang bagay na mahalaga para sa isang bagay na halos walang halaga dahil ito ay ang sinasabing nararapat ?” (What if there come a time where you need to sacrifice? What if you need to exchange one important thing with something without worth because it’s what they say as right?), he spat out.
The bartender was only stunned. She looked at the man as he took a long sip from his glass of milk. She then stood up and reached for the upper shelves of the bar. A loud “clink” was heard and a cool “slush” spilled onto the bar counter.
The girl smiled. “Kuya, papal’tan ko na po yung gatas sa gin na inorder niyo” (Sir, I’m going to give that gin that you ordered in exchange with that glass of milk) .
He gazed at the counter, impressed. He, then, laughed. He stood up, downing the glass of milk at his stand, and gave her a genuine smile. “Sorry, ma’am, pero mas pili kong inumin ‘to” (Sorry, miss, but I think I prefer to drink this more).
He placed the glass down and walked out of the bar with his hands in his pockets. He walked home with soggy eyelashes and a serene expression, but he still didn’t notice the letter of his daughter’s and wife’s heart transplant surgery left on the old wooden barren bar counter.