There are very few afternoons like this.
My bi-monthly luncheon friends and I had just wolfed down a tableful of unlimited dimsum at the Chinese restaurant in Shangri-la Hotel; the rest of the afternoon loomed large before us (translation: what now?). So one suggested going to the coffee shop to allow our digestive system to properly work on what we pigged on.
Some coffee, some tea, some mineral water. At exactly 3:00 PM, like a surprise dream while catnapping, a pianist in tuxedo played a hauntingly beautiful kundiman on the keyboard. We all suddenly swooned in chorus and discreetly sang the lyrics, which our generation knows by heart. “Ikaw lamang ang aking iibigin . . .” (Loose translation: You alone will I love . . .)
Then from different directions materialized lovely ladies in gown, more than a dozen of them, playing the same kundiman on their violins and flutes, and walking elegantly to swarm, like a host of angels, the stage where the pianist continued to play, now with a cellist, also in tux. The music went on and segued to another tune . . . then another. . . then another . . .
The musical ensemble on a quiet afternoon reminded me of the days of yore when men were genteel and women were proper—a time of the tasteful life.
That refined era is gone now, but one afternoon it came back for an hour or so to remind and regale us, like a cool breeze of refreshing grace.
Postscript: (posted October 31, 10:36 PM)
I didn't think this special afternoon would happen again anytime soon. But it did.
This time, a new friend introduced by two BFFs, whose passion revolves around publishing Christian books, treated all three of us to lunch—in the same hotel and at the same restaurant. Our conversation naturally centered on our common faith, the fullness of grace, and my favorite pursuit: writing.
On our way out, we passed through the coffee shop where the same musical ensemble was playing nostalgic tunes. Will there be another afternoon like this?
Well, grace always surprises.