Thursday, 19 April 2012

"The day I left my heart at Botica Boie"

"The day I left my heart at Botica Boie"


Sorry for the title.

Supposedly this should be a part of the writeup about this writer's visit to the Escolta Museum, but in seeing photos from la Botica Boie, it would be nicer if this should have a separate writeup about it.

Knowing that Manila's very own elders remember an old drugstore that also served as a soda fountain for a thirsty youngster and a place for lonesome guy in need for a sweetheart, la Botica Boie served as its "den" until the war-yet never been revived entirely nor its building been rebuilt despite being a manufacturer of generic drugs such as glycerin for intestinal problems.


However, as this writer took some pictures of these memories of the past, especially those from la Botica Boie, it made him not much likely to create a short fiction out of it.

Sorry for some inaccuracies if there is.



A reminisce by Paul Guevara

I was sipping soda when I saw a beautiful girl buying a glass of soda float from Mr. Boie's Soda Fountain.

While waiting, I was quite fascinated by her brown, Indochinese-like beauty, that perhaps fit for a someone to be with; but at the same time pessimistic to think that she's beautiful to be considered as "single" and perhaps she had a guy to be with.

As I finished sipping my soda float, I saw her leaving the soda fountain away hastily, that she left her handkerchief in the table; and I, perhaps being a gentleman so to speak, hurriedly got away from the chair then went out seeing that girl waiting for a cab or a calesa, at first, I am quite so shy for I thought she would snub me out, but then I approached and asked:
"Is this your handkerchief?"
"Oh!" the Girl said, "thanks for returning it, by the way, I'm Gia Valencia, and you?"
"Me? Paul, Paul Guevara."
Then she offered her hand for a handshake, well, I ought to as she pleased. I also called a taxi instead of a caritela to drive her home, again, she bid thee thanks and bye, that perhaps made me quite glad to think will she see me again in Botica Boie.

The next day,
While at work at Lardizabal's, owned by a friend of mine Sir Ricardo Lardizabal at the Crystal Arcade, I was designing something when I saw her, this time looking for a jacket to buy, I, then called her and she was quite surprised that I am also at the shop, she then asked me:
"So you are working at this shop?"
"Ya, I am one of the designers of jackets and dresses here."
"O I see," Gia said. "I am looking for a green and white varsity jacket, how much is that?"
"Ten Pesos, if you want I will persoeralise it for you."
"Really?" Gia said. "sure!"
Along with a smile.
Then my boss seeing the two of us talking, then came and said:
"so you are entertaining one?"
"Ya. By the way Gia, this is sir Ricardo, my boss."
"Nice to meet you." gia said, along with a handshake with sir Ricardo.
Then Sir Ricardo asked her:
"So where do you study Gia? Seems that you are intelligent."
"Me?" Gia said, "I am from the University of the Philippines, taking up Psychology."
"Psychology? U.P.?" Sir Ricardo said, " Paul, you're also from U.P. right?"
I simoly nod on what my boss hath said to Gia, then I said:
"But I am finished fine arts there."
"Oh I see..." Gia said, That's why you are drawing. I mean designing here?"
"Yes, but sometimes I also make poetry and some writeups; Sir Ricardo likes to read it sometime, but he liked my designs most."
"Nice" gia said. "Oh! i need to go, I'll return next time."
"Sure! Come again Gia!"
And Gia left away, my boss then asked me:
"So seems that you know her ha? Inspired?"
I simply smiled in what my boss said to me, and said:
"Yes, and I am making her a jacket. Amd perhaps I will give it to her for free."
Sir Ricardo then smiled and said:
"Seems that you're something after her. Are you in love with her?"
"Me? I just simply met her yesterday in Botica Boie, so why should I easily fell in love afer returning her handkerchief to Gia?"
"Sometimes," Sir Ricardo said, "There is something that perhaps made to be with her together, just continue being with her as a friend, I'll support you for that."
Then he returned to his desk as I continued my work.

At home, I am seemingly thinking that am I inspired by her beauty and friendliness that compelled me to design something that is for her's? In fact, I had met beautiful, friendly women and most of them are quite inspiring and lovable, yet they have their own respective relationships that I simply tend not to think of such matters seriously except advising them in regards to their suitors or boyfriends as of these days, but, Gia seemed to be much inspiring different fron the others I had met before; yes, she is indeed beautiful, friendly. admirable, yet at the same time pessimistically thinking if she had a man or none?

At work, I was simply focused on designing what Gia hath requested, and at the same time listening to the songs played in the gramophone, Sir Ricardo that time was absent that made me guard his establishment; well, there's noting to maintain over except sweeping floors and looking over the place. Gia then came over to the shop and again, quite fascinated over the dresses, coats displayed at the shop; then as she looked at my designs I am doing, she then asked me:
"So are these designs similar to the ones in the shop?"
"Not really, in fact, I am simply one of the designers here; but my boss had me for now as a shopkeeper."
"Oh I see." Gia said. "So what else dresses you are trying to design for?"
"If you want, I'll make a dress fit for you."
"Really?" Gia said. "Why?"
"It would be nicer that I'll made something fit for you, I'll pay for it."
Gia, at first tend to deny my offer for a dress for free, yet since she sought the designs I made, quite interesting as she sought so, then gave way:
Along with a smile.

Because of that, I became serious in designing a dress fit for Madame Gia Valencia!

A flapper-inspired dress, in dark red and white, with a red French beret, perhaps would be fit for her; straight and loose, leaving the arms bare (sometimes no straps at all) and dropping the waistline to the hips similar to the girls from New York and Paris, all designed by mine plus an alternate dress of white knee-length dress and a red vest for her. Perhaps I was simply inspired that it was made quite swift and end up in the hands of a tailor.


The next day,
I was walking on the sidewalk when Gia sought me. Well, I simply stopped then greeted her a pleasant afternoon. However, her mood was seemed to be quite sad that time, and  I don't know why she became like that such as having a problem that can't be bearable; there we simply walked together and at the same time asked her:
"What's wrong Gia? Boyfriend problem?"
Gia simply nod on what I was asking. "We broke our relationship yesterday, 'twas the eighth time I and my boyfriend broke together."
Quite concerning isn't it that she told me having eight times having an on and off relationship with her boyfriend, not because he came from a distant place but rather a lack of commitment that a serious relationship hath to do with it. Well, I simply replied:
"Well, some can't explain it further about that matter. Coming from a distant place, having miscommunication, much argument, less commitment, some, if not few tried to endure and resolve, scared of risk as I would say; otherwise it may be having less intention to get serious to love you."
Gia then looked at me, and asked:
"Perhaps, he had less time with me."
"I think so. How come having a relationship that is come and go if he had less time with you?"
Gia simply nod, and asked:
"So where are you going?"
"Just to buy Pizza."
"Oh I see." Gia said. "May I join with you for a moment?"
"Sure! I want someone to be with for now."
Then we went together in a pizza parlor where I waited at a quarter for a New York-style Pizza. While waiting, we simply talked together about our childhood days, and it was quite nice to hear that Gia as a daughter of a Japanese and a Filipino with German descent, whose features imbued to her are rather European and Asiatic combined. That, she also loves to swim and dance the swing, listening to jazz in the gramophone, quite compatible as I would say-I also love jazz, dance the swing, yet sadly, I seldom swim.

And as the pizza served, I simply gave some to her. She simply smiled and gave thanks as we start enjoying a hot pan pizza served with Cervesas Suaves Royal in Avenida Rizal.


It was Christmas during that time.

As everyone was visiting Crystal Arcade, Aguindaldo's, La Puerta del Sol and Estrella del Norte for jewelry and up-to-date fashion accessories, toys and cosmetics, as well as Botica Boie for a good soda float and sundae, I was wondering that since Escolta was bustling with people to buy some luxuries similar to New York and Paris was the dress I had designed for Gia.

...only to have it been finished upon request.

Meanwhile, Gia went to the shop, quite exited for the gift, then sought me with a box. There I simply said to her:
"Here's your gift dear...and have an advance Christmas to you."
And as I gave to Gia her christmas gift, she seemed to be amazed that she sought an actual version of the sketch I am making of for her. She then smiled at me and said:
"Thanks for the gift Paul."
"Always welcome."
Then she went to the dressing room where she tried for the first time the dress I hath designed for her. She was quite lovely when she went out of the room and had me and my boss look over her appearance.
"Is this the dress you've designed?" Sir Ricardo said.
"It fits for her." Sir Ricardo said. "especially that she's slim, fair skinned, but what she needs is a good appearance."
I simply nod on what my boss said to her, then I asked:
"What else do you want Gia?"
"Um...nothing." Gia said. "Again, thanks for the gift Paul."
"Always welcome."

She simply smiled at me as she carried the paper bag with that gift I had given to her inside. Quite nice isn't she that how come she's newly separated from her then-boyfriend? Worse, eight times they come and go based on our chitchats while walking in the sidewalk. Perhaps, I was quite inspired though, and willing to be with her regardless of my pessimism that she may had another man to stay with instead of a humble man like me.

But, before she left, she approached me and asked:
"Paul, why not join with me for a dinner?"
"In Silver Dollar." Gia said.
"Silver Dollar? Isn't that expensive other than Chocolate Kiss? Why not in Captain's Galley?"
And Gia replied:

And with a permission from my boss, I and Gia went out for a dinner in Captain's Galley at Plaza Goiti. We even looked for Bata and Ang Tibay shoes also on that same day, I paid to the counter a pair of Bata shoes as another gift for Gia...and perhaps for me since my boss gave me a good salary, and a bonus!

In fact, during those months we've been together, rather as simple comrades, buddies rather than the usual "in a relationship" matter as others may think of us. Companionship involving sipping soda and eating sandwiches or ice cream at the Botica, lunch or dinner at Captain's Galley or Silver Dollar, buying some of her essentials at Aguinaldo's or at the Crystal Arcade, watching movies at Capitol or at Ideal, even taking care of her if she's sick at her dorm (with permission of course!) Gia perhaps was a perfect girl than those I dealt upon before-that somehow I think they are likely to be as friends or rather as mere acquaintances since they had boys better than I to be with...especially when she wore the dress I had designed in one of the "Dinner Dates" and friendly affairs to remember.

However, it turned different as our amity, or rather say my feelings over her seemed to become useless as I earlier felt so in regards to her.

Since I heard from a friend of her's that Gia had a relationship with a new guy, I felt saddened since why she chose him over the one whom being with for quite some time? Who gave a gift and even cope with her personal problem? I tried to disregard and think of it as a minor matter, but then instead made me driven to tears that I couldn't explain why I ought to shed tears for Gia. Isn't it because I like her yet I can't convey it over?

And yes, it was proven. As Gia went to the shop and I simply approached and asked:
"Seems that you seldom visit these days."
"Yes." Gia said.
"Oh I see. I know you're busy this time studying."
Gia simply nod, then said:
"How about you?"
"Not much. So you have boyfriend already?"
"Yes." Gia said.
I simply nod and replied:
And I returned to my work. Gia sought me quite with pessimism that she tried to ask some question, but instead she ought not to. Yes, I tried to hid my feelings that end up really useless since she had another.

She simply bid thee goodbye, and I simply closed my eyes and wave my hand goodbye as a reply.

Later, as I continued working, Sir Ricardo was looking at me trying to disregard the matter with eyes pointing at every design and sketch to be done; he simply approached me and asked:
"Paul, it seems that you are quite so sad today. Is this all about Gia?"
"No, it's not about Gia."
"If not," Sir Ricardo said, "then why are you trying to forget something? Are you denying what goes on with Gia?"
"in fact...I am trying to disregard that Gia had a relationship with another."
"What's wrong with it?" Sir Ricardo said. "Are you in love with her? And this time trying to forget something that entices you to say somthing over her?"
"Yes, I am in love with her. I don't know why I became longing for her, she is nice to see and meet, quite admireable as she approach me, In every problem she says I tend to understand and comfort over, she even enjoy the pleasantries that perhaps a lover would have known over, perhaps if this is my mistake to be with her well, so may it be then."
"Paul," Sir Ricardo said. "There is nothing wrong in befriending and admiring someone, perhaps Gia would understood what you are trying to convey to her. It takes a matter of time if she may ought to rethink and come to see you back. Love is sometimes unintentional and unexpected, the way that you got inspired over her and this time trying to convey something that you are worthy over the one what Gia been with."

I simply nod on what my boss said to me, and as I looked at the designs of the dresses I am designing, I even ought to stop shedding tears and instead venting my emotions in my work. Yes, I was trying to do so as every sketch is being done to, stroke, erase, just to make a perfect dress that it was supposedly made to the one I consider as special.


Even at home, despite trying to forget and disregard, my feelings over Gia is as if blossoming over and over me. I tend to resist emotion yet the music being played in the gramophone made me shed a tear, isn't it weird that how come I am longing for her yet she had someone being with? Perhaps I was thinking that she would foget me and treat a minor matter regardless of wearing an attire I had made and gave months before. I even looked at every bill from the Botica wherein I spend some for medicines prepared by Dr. Paul Sartorius, during the time Gia was sick, quite remembering including the time I gave a Ylang Ylang perfume that was also made for her by the chemist.

And as I revisit the Botica, I simply took an order for a glass of soda; there I simply think that why Gia chose that guy her friend to me over the one whom she befriended most, quite sad isn't it that while sipping soda, the owner, Mr. Reinhold Boie, quite concerned, approached me and asked:
"Seems that you are sad, is there anything wrong?"
I looked at him and said:
"Yup, I just remember someone."
"Who?" Mr. Boie said. "The girl whom you're with a month ago?"
Then I asked him:
"Why do you know about it?"
"Well," Mr. Boie smilingly said. "I use to look at both of you enjoying soda in my soda fountain. And I just thought you are both lovers."
"Yes, Lovers." Mr. Boie said.
"Not really, we're just friends but...yes, I like her most."
"So why are you sad then?" Mr. Boie asked.
"Well, she had another guy to be with. I don't know why of all the weeks we're been close enough end up as mere acquaintances. She's quite friendly though, I even gave her a jacket from Mr. Lardizabal's shop yet it seems that we're just mere acquaintances than close ones. Perhaps I am thinking that am I in love with her or what?"
"Paul," Mr. Boie said. "There's no need to worry about that girl. There are other beautiful ones better than her, so why not stop being sad and instead take another glass of soda float? I'll make it free for you."
Then I hand over an empty glass to Mr. Boie and refilled another. However, despite his message I felt that of all the girls I had met, she's the one who made me inspire enough to do something greater than ever, yes, she may be the one unless someone would be greater than her's.


And as I finished drinking and reminiscing, I tried to pay Mr. Boie for the soda but instead he returned it rather; quite lonesome as this guy would say after months of being with her. I may still try to detach myself from the past, but perhaps instead of forgetting her as someone that remained special in my whole life, it was much likely to have my heart be left there unless she'll come, take a look, reminisce, and bring it back to me.