INT. SUPERMARKET - MORNING
ELIAS, 23 years old, is lined up at a supermarket counter, his basket filled to the brim with groceries for his home.
From a counter over, he can hear people talking about their vaccination schedules. His anxiety growing with every word falling out of their lips.
Basta may bakuna.
He sluggishly moves forward in line, placing his basket on the counter. He looks up at the cashier, sighing in relief after seeing a familiar face.
Nag-downgrade ka ah. Nasa counter 1 ka nung isang linggo!
The cashier chuckles behind her mask.
Just by taking a look at his items, she notices something is missing.
Nagsawa na po kayo sa Stick-O?
Elias scrunches his eyebrows, realizing he forgot to grab his younger brother’s favorite snack.
(scratching his head)
May kinailangan kasi akong bayaran nung isang araw. Kaya medyo nagkulang pera namin ngayon.
The cashier nods and begins tallying everything. Elias reluctantly gives his ₱1,000 bill to her, thanking her.
As he’s packing his groceries, MAX, the man behind him, moves forward.
Hi, Sir Max! How can I help you today?
Ah, eto lang.
Max places his basket down. Elias notices an assortment of crackers, including the Stick-O. His heart sinks at the sight of it.
Sir Max, your total is 2,112 pesos.
Max holds up his cash in response. Elias’ eyes locking on Max’s ecobag.
‘Di to para sa akin.
They both finish packing their items and walk out of the supermarket simultaneously.
Elias is taken aback by the sudden question.
Ah, oo. Mamayang hapon
Max tilts his head. Elias raises an eyebrow in response. Max begins walking towards his white sedan.
A confused Elias simply waves before hurrying towards a nearby jeepney stop.
INT. LUNA BARANGAY HALL VACCINATION AREA - AFTERNOON
After getting his vitals checked, Elias takes his seat in the queue for receiving the vaccine. Fanning himself with his documents. Hundreds of people in masks and face shields await their turn, some go over their papers nervously.
Elias gradually makes his way near the front of the line. He eyes the people in front, watching as frontline workers in protective equipment inject the vaccine. Elias shivers and rubs his arm.
Sana ‘di masyadong masakit.
Soon after, a person behind Elias taps his shoulder with rolled documents. Elias turns to face him.
Kayo na ata ‘yung sunod.
Elias turns forward, surprised to see two vacant seats in front of him. He hurriedly stands up and makes his way to the vaccination table.
Ikaw na naman?
Elias’ eyes widen, hearing a familiar voice. Max laughs.
Patingin po ng mga papeles
Max collects the documents from Elias, scanning them before getting up from his chair. He grabs one of the syringes from the cooler on the table, proceeding to wipe Elias’ arm with an alcohol pad.
Mabilis lang ‘to ‘di ba?
Takot ka ba?
Di ah. Gusto ko lang malaman.
Max firmly nods his head, quickly injecting Elias.
Okay! You might feel a
little discomfort soon.
Elias takes a look at his arm. Max holds a cotton ball over his arm, carefully placing a band-aid over it.
They’ll be observing you in
the waiting area to monitor
you for any side effects that
may happen such as nausea, muscle
Elias stares blankly at Max.
Max points at the papers in Elias’ hands.
Nasa papeles po ang mga side effects.
Elias nods, Max holds up his hand for him to stay seated as he reaches into his bag. He takes out a pack of Stick-O and hands it to him.
Elias timidly nods his head to thank him.
Curious lang, sabi dito A3 ka. Can I ask for what reason?
Ah, nagka-kidney failure yung kapatid ko po. Ako lang po ‘yung may match sa kanya.
Oh, pasensya na po.
Okay lang, dahil doon naging priority po ako.
Max’s eyes widen as Elias starts laughing, causing Max to chuckle.
Elias stands up from his chair and nods towards Max.
Max waves goodbye as Elias grabs his treats and heads over to the post-vaccination area.
This article is also published in The Benildean Volume 7 Issue No. 2: Restored.