This is the story of Eloisa, a Filipina who works as a nurse at the Elmhurst Hospital, the epicenter of the COVID19 contagion in New York written by Story Weavers Ann Constantino Beck, DJ Chinita, Elizabeth Cueva, Grace Labaguis, Joyce Andes-David, Lara Gregory, Laura Garcia, Mona Kuker, Muriel Iturralde, Nieva Quezon-Burdick, Vanette Colmenares, Vivian Talambiras-Cruz, Cristina DC Pastor, and Marivir Montebon.
Part 4: Eloisa Meets Elusive Roommate Brian
By Laura Garcia, Mona Kuker, and Muriel Iturralde
Laura Garcia: “F#*k!!! I shouldn’t have switched identity with my twin brother. What am I going to do? These freakin’ guys think I’m George…I can’t tell them I’m Brandon.”
Meanwhile, George, the real George, the “extremely handsome guy” that everybody thinks, is spending a lonely night all by himself in his room 79 Park Avenue. He opted not to leave the house tonight and to listen to advisories in this current environment of the COVID.
“Let Brandon have the time of his life tonight.” Besides, he is exhausted from the number of calls he received from the women in his building and the house-to-house visit he had to do in less than a week. “George, sweetie, tonight is awfully cold. Can you please check my thermostat?” “George, my love, the kitchen sink is clogged. Can you please unclog it for me? And don’t forget to bring your humongous wrench to fix the . . .” “George, something got caught in the ceiling fan and I can’t get it to start. I can’t sleep without the soft air from the fan caressing my naked body,” mischievously adding, “You know I sleep naked.” Followed by a brassy laugh, like a donkey braying instead of a hearty laugh. “George…” George…” George…” “George…”
Then a loud knock awoke George from his half asleep-half awake state. Well, George is not quite alone as we thought he is. A loud, booming voice called him from outside the door, “Georgie, dinner is ready.” “Coming, Mom.” As George was looking for his flip-flops, he begins to ponder upon his situation and his Mom as a building super. “This job is wearing me out. I am only 40 years old, with no steady girlfriend because I live with my Mom. I wish I was Brandon. . .”
“Georgie, the food is getting cold.” His mom called again, in a much sterner voice.”
Mona Kuker: Meanwhile, Crystal in her apartment in Brooklyn, Eloisa’s childhood friend who met George was feeling uncomfortable. How in the hell, of all the gorgeous men in Manhattan, her friend Eloisa who’s so nice, beautiful and intelligent is dating a man he met before in Barcelona Spain three years ago? But she’s also confused if the guy he saw is the twin brother…Brandon.
She had the chance to take a break from exhausting work, and decided to tour alone in Barcelona. She stayed in a fancy hotel somewhere in the Gothic Quarter, to make it more accessible to places she wanted to visit. She clearly remembered this attractive dude one sunny afternoon in front of the Barcelona Cathedral. People were gathering in Pla de la Seu and started dancing gracefully the flamenco. George, wearing a white long sleeves shirt and a sombrero, was dancing with an apparently older woman. A fabulous fancy woman probably in her 60s. They romantically kissed after they dance and Eloisa felt awkward seeing the woman she knew very well.
She is Mrs. Elizabeth Klyde, now a widow. A multi-millionaire in Park Avenue where she worked as a private nurse for her ailing 85 years old husband, CEO of Klyde And Co. Feeling nervous as she doesn’t want to be noticed by Mrs. Klyde, she walked fast heading to La Rambla and planning to get some food in La Bouquera de marcat. But she was startled from what she saw, the love birds headed in the same place. She hurried to the nearest train station to avoid them. Eloisa was so nervous as if she witnessed a crime. Although she knew that in love, age doesn’t matter.
Muriel Iturralde: She couldn’t sleep. Eloisa tossed and turned in her bed till the sheets entangled her bare legs. “Why isn’t he answering any of my calls?” She glanced for the nth time on the screen of her cellphone it was 2 a.m. “Has there really been no response from George all this time?” She rolled over and punched her pillow in frustration. The chilly night wind blew in the open window causing goosebumps on her exposed arms.
The 2nd-floor apartment that Eloisa shared with her roommate, was modest with a shared bathroom. It was only slightly larger than that of George’s apartment up on the 4th floor. To think he was only two floors up, so close yet so unreachable. She thought of the last time they were together. He had buried his hand in her hair and drew her close for a hug. He inhaled and she heard the murmured word “strawberries”.
The place was dark with a faint glow of light from the bedroom. Eloisa felt her way, not wanting to spend more on the electric bill. She sighed again. She was nearing the refrigerator when, without warning, a shadow loomed up almost in front of her. Too late, she collided with something hard and soft at the same time! Oh my God! Her mind registered a warm body! She raised both hands to defend herself a scream building in her throat.
“Calm down!” A hand gripped her arm. At first, she couldn’t seem to make sense of the words she was hearing. “Hey, calm down.” Eloisa tried to identify the voice. She thought it was familiar yet unfamiliar at the same time. Suddenly she was blinded by the intense light that filled the room. Her would be attacker, or so she thought, had reached for the light switch at the same time was holding her arm to steady her. Her eyes adjusted to the light and she turned to face the person holding her arm.
She blinked! “Brianne?” She’d only met her elusive roommate once and it was while she was leaving for Florida. That was almost a month ago. He was getting into a car in the parking lot two floors below. She naturally assumed her roommate was a woman. The landlord wouldn’t have put her with a man! And yet the person before her looked so much like a male version of the Brianne she saw at a distance that day.
Then she noticed his shirtless chest. He was wearing only boxer shorts. She hastily crossed her arms in embarrassment over her state of undress and opened her mouth for questions, but he raised a hand, cutting her off. “We’ll…you are not mistaken, I’m Brianne,” he said in a low voice. He said Brianne pronouncing it like Brian. He ran a hand to his black shoulder length hair.
“I get that a lot. A matter of mistaken identity.” He said, trying to explain, then He smiled. Up close, Eloisa wondered how she had mistaken Brian for a woman. The more she stared at him the more she was convinced he was of mixed Asian descent. He had a shy smile and intelligent eyes. “Are you Korean?” She blurted and was horrified by her own lack of decorum. He shook his head.
“No, I’m Filipino-Chinese.” Brian said. “You’ve already told me your name some time ago, unfortunately, I was in a hurry to leave, and now I can’t remember what it is.”
To be continued: 4/9 Installments
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