Lingering on a Memory

Another day of spring semester as I sit here gazing at students strolling around campus. The aroma of coffee and French fries are wafting through the main hallway. The sound of cards slapping a hard surface, and the occasional burst of “spit” echoes from somebody in the background. Circles of young adults with black hair and black clothes are hovering over tables and benches placed next to a wall of windows.Rutgers_Newark_aerial_view_of_campus_2008

Just another card game and another lunch break spent at the student center.

It is a typical day of hanging out with friends and planning something cool for the weekend. I hope it’s something interesting or anything to get me out of reading another chapter in this damn chemistry book. I must have read the same sentence twice. Nothing seems to keep my attention lately.

My friends are chatting about going to the movies. I’m about to respond when other students from a table nearby distract me. The rest of the group is buzzing over a stranger in the crowd.

Now my focus zooms towards the sight of someone tall and skinny. It’s just another person being introduced to the gang.

He stands out. He’s different in the monochrome backdrop of black outfits among the group. His clothes are the shades of earth and nature to match his brown hair. Even the knitted backpack slung over his shoulder is a color of warmth.

I noticed, but only a bit. After all, I’m just another petite Filipino girl sitting in the background of other Filipinos. Hardly noticeable so why pay him any attention.

Yet through the corner of my eye, I see him glance my way. Does he notice me?


The lanky waiter escorts my sister and me to a large round table where four other friends are sitting. One of our male friends joined the army and is leaving for boot camp in a couple of weeks. Since the farewell dinner was impromptu, only of few people from the gang came to say goodbye.

Our military friend enters the restaurant with that tall and skinny dude. Unexpectedly, the slim and young man sits next to me. How awkward, I feel pressed to make friendly conversation.

He seems to fit in, amusing everyone with his silly jokes and antics. He does his best impersonation of Filipinos using an exaggerated Filipino accent. I hate to admit he’s funny.

Yet dinner is not as awkward as I presumed it would be. He smiles at my direction once or twice. For a while, he keeps his brown eyes on me. A few minutes pass before a sound escapes from my lips. It’s a giggle. Then another chuckle comes out. Soon I’m laughing with him.

That is when I notice something real. It’s one thing that truly captures my attention.

He makes me laugh.

Just earlier today, I thought it would be another typical day. But I realized another day was one-step closer to meeting him.

This is dedicated to my wonderful husband. Happy Anniversary! I hope to share many amazing anniversaries with you.


About Lisa Malabanan

I am a graduate of Rutgers College of Nursing and work as a Professional Registered Nurse in the field of Perinatology. I currently live in the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania with my husband and two children. At the age of six, I discovered piano and classical music. A variety of music genres influenced my life through the years, and I’m passing on a love of the arts to my daughter and son. Reading fiction is my escape from the chaos and stress of a demanding yet rewarding profession. For me, writing transcends the diversion of a good book. The experience is like commuting on a New York City subway; diverse people enter and exit the scene, sometimes delays and derailment occur during creativity, and a train of thought is missed or passed over on occasion. In the end, an arrival at my destination is what I hope to accomplish, and I invite readers to take that ride with me. View all posts by Lisa Malabanan

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