You see, my first job in Spain was as a kitchen staff in one of the best or should I say rather expensive restaurants in the coast. I was pulling out fish guts, de-scaling them, going up and down the steeply stairs going to the beach to get seawater for the mussels, clams and god knows what else and finally throwing away tons of trash at night. In short, it was an excruciating job--physically and emotionally. I never had any physically challenging job in Manila before aside from my fastfood stint in JOLLIBEE in college. Everyone in my communications 1 class were having part time jobs as service crew so I tried it basically for curiosity than anything else. The stint lasted for a whole one and a half month and I rather left a sour taste to my managers' buds. Well, I thought I wouldn't want to spend the rest of my university life sliding and falling on the greasy kitchen floor every so often. My career in food handling died a quick death but I never regret one minute of it.
Anyway, so going back to Spain. Last Sunday, I went back to this restaurant that I worked one summer of my life. I was quite nervous to see the the kitchen manager who we call "bruja" (witch). She's a mean piece of shit. She can kick your ass with her non-stop shouting and snooping around everybody's business. I didn't speak any Castellano at that time so I've internalized, I didn't have to put up with it. I just pretended I didn't know a single word she was talking about so even if she shouts at me, I leave her with a blank face and ask my latin-american colleague what she was on about. Of course, at that time, even if she told me what it was about, I didn't make any difference because I barely comprehended her.
"I'm so nervous", I said to my friends.
"Why?" Shauni asked. Couldn't see his eyes as his electric blue shades were distracting me.
"Because it's been almost three years since I've worked here and definitely, it's not really a Walt Disney story, I tell you"
" Were they mean to you?", asked Phil
" Well, it's gonna be fun sweetie. Enjoy the ride. It's gonna be payback time"
So we were seated and Dolores (I really didn't remember her name. I just overheard someone calling her when the memory came back to me), my Argentinean ex-coworker asked us for drinks and we ordered a glass each of white wine. She didn't seem to recognize so I didn't really chat her up. When she came back with a bottle of Marques de Riscal, she said hi and we started to talk about old days.
" Hi. I didn't recognized you!" she said.
Oh it was almost three years now. How are you?"
[small talk about work]
So, is Lola (the bruja) still here?
"Oh, no. She's gone now a long time ago. I don't know where she is now"
"Ok. What about Raquel? DO they still own this restaurant?" (The name of the restaurant has been changed since)
Yeah, she's actually on her way now to here.
Aside from Lola, Raquel is the other character I loathed in that restaurant. Don't get me wrong, she is a stunning Spanish woman with very expressive eyes and lovely figure but during my kitchen muse days, she must have spoken to me on 3 separate occasions only. First, 3 minutes on my first day when she was looking at how I was mopping the floor (the horror! I didn't even know how to properly mop floors back then!), the second time was when she had a go at me when I forgot to clean something, and lastly when I brought a copy of the magazine I worked with before and she found out that I used to be an editor of a certain third world publication.
" Hmmm...es caro estar alli?" (Is it expensive to be there?)" pointing to the picture of a Palawan resort on my magazine.
" No" , I said. I wanted to say more but the language was just a hindrance. She didn't say anything and left.
That was the last time I've spoken with her. I've seen her once in Puerto Marina and I'm sure she saw me as well but we didn't even say a word to each other. Not that I cared at all.
I almost choked on my wine being startled with a woman's voice. It was her.
" Hola! Que tal? Hace Mucho tiempo!" (Hi ! How are you? Such a long time!), she said while grabbing my arms and then giving me a big kiss on both cheeks.
Obviously I was surprised. I thought...hmmm...I don't think she even knew I existed then why the fuss. I remained to look enthusiastic.
Little chat about work and stuff. Then...
"Well, it's wonderful seeing you again! I'm glad everything's well with you".
Thank you very much. I politely replied. Afterall, she was an ex-boss.
And she took our orders.
I felt like a true diva that afternoon. We were served quite exaggeratedly by three different attendants who were happy seeing us drink like fishes. My ex-boss was coming back every so often to ask if we need anything more or if everything's okay.
In the end, we consumed three bottles and paid a total of hundred fifty-eight euros bill for the lunch.
Needless to say, I got drunk and spent the afternoon lying on the poolside, passed out.
I dreamt my former boss and Lola serving me food. They've cooked the giant ( and I mean like three meters long) stingray that was washed ashore one fateful morning on that restaurant three years ago. The fish was badly cooked so I threw it on the ground and let them eat it without using their hands. I've unleashed the evil diva in me and I had them to taste their own medicine. They cried for mercy and I had none.
I woke up disgusted with my dream.
I wonder if true divas eat stingray.