Afternoon Drama

Ugh, it’s raining.

I closed the door to the entrance of the hostel and sighed. I was looking forward to taking a boat trip for some island hopping, but I was warned beforehand that trips on stormy seas were a no-no for tourists. Shrugging, I moved back to my room.

I considered my options, and boy were they slim. I could drop by one of the nearby touristy coffee shops and do people watching, but I didn’t feel like going out in the rain at all. Working on my novel seemed like something to do too, but it meant turning on my computer, which I wasn’t eager to do. That’s when I remembered that there’s a shelf of paperbacks in the common room, and I decided that maybe I could find something interesting there.

Having decided to curl up with a book that rainy afternoon, I walked to the common room, a large space with lots of bean bags, books, and board games scattered about. It also had a TV that seemed to feature Mexican telenovelas 24/7, as well as a Foosball table. The bright blue walls gave a too cheery vibe to the place, especially since it was detailed with one-liners like “Seize the day!”, “The world is yours!”, and “Life’s a beach!”

At current, the room was empty. Then again, the hostel itself seemed pretty devoid of guests besides me. The monsoon season meant that very little people checked in at this time of year, plus I was here on a weekday. Right now, it was probably populated by just me and the Filipino couple I bumped into during breakfast.

I walked to one of the bookshelves and picked out something worn out, which seemed to be about hitchhikers in the galaxy. I haven’t read it yet, but it seemed interesting – and it was relatively short. With the book in my hands, I looked for a comfy place to sit, settled down in it, and opened my book to the first page.


I nearly jumped at the voice, but I soon realized that it came from the TV. I looked up to see that it was, as I’ve guessed, another Latino drama. I shook my head and went back to my book.

It’s not that I didn’t enjoy telenovelas. I actually really liked them – nothing quite like watching ladies fight each other in the most absurd ways – but these didn’t have subtitles and weren’t dubbed, so I had no idea what they were saying, really.

“No me toques. No me molestes más!”

The emotional delivery – and the sound of the slap that followed – grabbed my attention, and I looked up to see that the exchange was happening between a woman and the man that probably loved her. Between the close up shots of her disgust and his pleading, I had a feeling that things were just about to get intense.

And that it did, as I watched the man embraced the woman in her arms, howling something else in Spanish that I didn’t quite catch. The woman tried to break free, but he merely held her tight while sobbing loudly. Just then, the door opened, and another man came in. The two stopped struggling and looked towards the door, and they both looked shocked at what was about to happen.

There were a couple of close ups between the couple and the man that just came in, and I knew something was about to go down.

I dropped my book to the floor and paid all my attention to the telenovela, which told me a story that didn’t require me to know its words.

I leaned back, entranced.

For Cordillera.

First written March 31, 2018.

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