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Moving In

He brought two short glasses with him and fell on the chair like an old tree that crashed on the ground. I poured the whiskey I brought for him generously, and without a word we raised the glasses to our lips at the same time. He took a deep breath. We were no longer aware what time it was; turns out it was past midnight, and everyone in the apartment was already asleep--his wife, his father and mother, his sister, and his nieces he took care of in the absence of their parents who worked abroad. I helped him move in to his new place he was to rent. He and his parents decided to sell their house because he told me it was becoming difficult to maintain and his parents were already getting old. Unlike their previous place, the apartment was a two-bedroom affair which, like most homes for big families with modest means, was a room too small. Though we were not yet finished arranging their wooden furniture and old appliances, he told me he'd take care of that in the morning. I agreed. My shoulders were heavy already, and the both of us, so we could do more work, no longer joined his family when they had a small bite for dinner. I was silent. Maybe I was too tired to say anything, or maybe I also wanted him to rest a while. He turned to me. "Hey, thank you for all this." "Of course," I replied. There is nothing as simple or as obvious as helping out a friend. "But you, how are you?" I wonder what was I to say or talk about. My trivial job? How I lost the bank some money because of a wrong call I made the previous day? How I needed to have my car's airconditioner looked at because I felt it wasn't as cool in the car anymore as compared to before? Or how I was planning on going to the furniture store the following day to accompany my wife because she wanted more shoe cabinets? "I'm fine," I decided to say. I cleared my throat. I poured more whiskey into his empty glass. I was still not done with mine. "When we're all settled here, let's go to that new Japanese restaurant you said you wanted to try." "Sure," I said, "I'll tell Michelle. Bring Lani too." He then asked, "How are your parents? I haven't seen them since your wedding." I told him they were in Paris to celebrate their wedding anniversary. "The trip was our gift for them. They told us yesterday they were enjoying everything." "That's good," he said with a smile. He was sincere. I smiled as well. We heard something from one of the rooms. We both turned and saw his father walk out of the room and enter the common bathroom in a daze. He did not notice we were in the kitchen.


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