MY HANDS felt stiff after a whole night of shaking hands with people whose names are in every lease and contract.
Inside the room were men in their 60s. They wore maroon fabrics their legal wives had chosen for them. As the indigo radiation in the air and the fever of midnight heat pricked my exposed skin, I felt the surge of consumers. And in my ears, my husband whispered a reminder, “Smile.”
The men and women asked how my children were. “Is Junior still a child stuck in a man’s body?” They were intrigued about whether my son became an intellectual after studying at the maroon school abroad or a comical individual who has a symbol of dimes on their neck.
I gave back the courtesy of politeness. I acknowledged the repetitive lives of these men as they memorized scripts for speeches, clueless of the metaphors of insult by the writers.
Banters of snide remarks, and yet my lips finally stretched as they voiced their concern about our trust fund. I never bothered counting. As long as debit and credits exist, the amount will double by the time I am 40.
The displayed silverware they used every night at 8:00 equated to eight hours of labor from our factory. The silver spoon and plates were not one for the masses. It was too delicate for the rough hands of the laborers anyway, never intended for them.
I looked away when I stared too much at the person before me, lavishly spending money. The whisper of my husband echoed; I remembered that discerning what is morally right and wrong was not part of my job.
As I returned their metal cards to the counter, I reached for the succeeding profit behind them. I watched with confusion as they counted the pennies in their purse. I grimaced when I felt the unfamiliar feeling of black powder traces on my palms.
I shrugged, unaware that 30,000 pesos for a silverware set was unreasonable. What cost them a fortune added numbers to our name.
I was disappointed with the security that night. The sound of stilettos and dangling earrings was what I wanted to hear, not pennies. The juggling of coins in someone’s pockets caused an uproar in my mind. For a while, I thought I was horrified.
Still, I did not mind. As I poured the red wine into the glass of the person our laborers abhorred, we did not care. We still hosted parties. We gathered at one place to be each other’s hostages of futile interest. F