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Finding Alberto (Chapter 7)

Titilaok Sep 02,2013 0 Comments

Story by Joan Lopez-Flores and Rico del Rosario

They came upon a store that sold earth-friendly beauty products amidst trinkets of beads and jewelry. The store owner seemed to know Alberto pretty well. Manang Opa, Alberto called her. There were other customers in the store. Alberto was talking to Manang Opa while Elena considered a bottle of virgin coconut oil. When the other customers had finished their purchases and left, Manang Opa approached her.

“Alberto tells me you have closed ones who have suddenly passed on,” she said.

“That’s right,” Elena answered.

“Give me your hand,” Manang Opa said.

Elena obeyed. Manang Opa closed her eyes. Alberto watched from afar. Manang Opa said, “She has a unique name. Michelle. But she prefers to be called—”

“Mintsy,” Elena said, now realizing that Manang Opa was a medium and was, in fact, giving her a reading.

“You have to relax,” Manang Opa said, letting go of her hand. She smiled at Elena and went back to her seat behind the cash register.

Elena purchased the bottle of VCO. Manang Opa approved. She said it’s good for hair at night, and also for massaging.

“I’ll take care of the massaging,” Alberto said. Elena smiled.

Manang Opa said, “Mintsy has a message for you. She says, ‘Be happy.’ That. And she says, ‘Tell father.’ Do you know what she means?”

Elena felt silent. “I’m not sure.”

“Okay,” said Manang Opa, handing her purchase wrapped in a brown bag.

Alberto drove Elena to her apartment. He said, “I’m sorry about that incident. I should’ve warned you about Manang Opa.”

“It’s okay,” Elena said.

“I went to her once for a reading. She told me that someone at work was scheming to get me fired. She said I shouldn’t do anything about it. That it’d all work out for the good. If I wanted to keep my job it would be an endless struggle. That person was obviously very jealous of my status at work. I did get fired, after three months. Rumors behind my back about how I lacked integrity with my reports. But I landed a better job elsewhere.”

“I see.”

They were silent until they reached Elena’s apartment building. “Thanks,” Elena said.

“No problem. If you need anything, just call or text me, okay? You got my number na ha,” Alberto said.

“Sure.”

Elena waved bye and walked into her apartment. She got to her door. Then, almost panicked, she picked up her phone and dialled Alberto.

“What’s up?” Alberto answered after a ring.

“Are you able to track a person for me?” Elena asked.

“What do you mean?”

“I’m looking for someone. I have no idea where—all I have is a last name.”

“Okay. Male or female?” Alberto asked.

“Male. Mr. Perez.”

Alberto was silent for a few moments, then he asked, “An ex of yours?”

“No, silly. That’s Mintsy’s dad. Can you find out if he’s still alive? Or where he lives?”

“Listen,” Alberto said. “I’m still outside, where I parked. Why don’t I come up and we can talk about it?”

“Sure. Of course,” Elena said.

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