Monday, September 3, 2018

Visiting Nella Sarabia's new optical shop at Acacia Dorm, UP Diliman

Composed September 3, 2018, but I've just only realized it was saved in drafts and not posted publicly. 

My commute to UP Diliman was brief. I took the bus, hailed a UP-Philcoa jeepney, and alighted at what used to be the UP Shopping Center, home to my favorite karinderya and optical shop, a block away from Yakal dorm where I used to live. The karinderya did not survive the fire, but the optical shop did. The new location was right across the street—the new dorm complex, Acacia, at the back of Kalayaan. Gone are the days when I bumped into familiar faces—classmates, groupmates, dormmates, labmates, my tsinelas-and-shorts UP community—busy with the same things as I was. An essay that needed printing, a provincial urge to munch on the acidity of a green mango, half-cut in the middle, dabbed with rock salt and chili.

The area at 2 pm was foreign and familiar. I savored all these, what used to be my every day walk, the treelined streets and the educated banter in the background.

Dr. Nella Sarabi, having emerged from lunch break, greeted me with smiles and a compliment. “Those are nice frames—are those from the shop?” she asked, to which I answered, “Of course.” Going to her shop reminds me of time that had passed since she had introduced me to the world of eyeglasses when I was in second year college. She asked about me and my brother; she remembered our names, picking them from her mental cloud of customers, her smile widening as she learned about the things I do. Cancer. Rounds. PGH.

I visited her to have sunglasses made. I made a shortlist, eventually zeroed in on the metal, bronze frames. Dr. Sarabia approved. I went through the ritual of having my eyes checked. “Read line seven,” she said. I knew the answer, even with eyes closed—D-E-F-P-O-T-E-C.

3 comments:

  1. I miss her beautiful window display! I bet she lost of a lot priceless stuff in her store when the SC burned. The new place looks unwelcoming and more like a clinic with the everything opaque but it can't be helped, I'm sure.

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    Replies
    1. That display was iconic. I remember seeing many angels.

      She didn’t lose anything; it was quite providential.

      I miss the old place, but the new one doesn’t look bad either. I’m sure she’ll spruce it up when she’s finished transitioning.

      Delete
  2. No loss? So some of the shops didn't burn? That's wonderful.

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