At four in the morning, with the aircon system broken down, the heat was intolerable. My face shined with grease. I had to tie my shoulder-length hair. I even changed my seat–from a high back to a swivel chair, so that wind from the electric fan could hit me straight on my back. My pink sleeveless was not enough to remedy the warmth inside the thick-walled office. How ironic when I usually rant and freeze on those cold shifts. But then, the system broke off and my officemates and I could only just wait for the electrician to finally fix the machine.
Vanina and I went out to buy an ice cream–just enough for the two of us. The cold early morning air was refreshing, compared to what we had inside the office. I picked Nestle Chuckie Ice Cream with white, milk and super chocolate flavors in one tub. Mmmm… For how many months, I could not recall, when I had my last taste of that cold creamy and sweet food. I forgot already. I thought I could consume half the tub, but then to my surprise, one cup was too much to bear the sweetness with. Had it been too long that I could no longer indulge myself eating ice cream.
One thing I realized that time was that I already had the luxury to buy myself what I wanted to eat, even at the wee hours of the morning. I didn’t have to ask my folks to buy me after some time since I asked them. I grabbed fifty pesos in my wallet and paid Vanina half of the ice cream price. I didn’t have to ask money and permission from them. I didn’t know if that was the sign of my independence to them. I wouldn’t dare ask for independence but I guessed it just came unexpectedly. Well, I expected a bit that after some time, I would have to go out on my own and live my life the way I want it to be. Yet, I thought the time was too soon.
My tiresome and underpaid job somehow gave me a sort of freedom. But I knew that freedom did not stop from its dictionary meaning. It entailed more than that. I understood that buying ice cream at four in the morning could mean more than just relieving heat.