Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Make Tea Not War

At four o'clock in the afternoon, you can hear a pin drops at It's the time of the day when you're supposed to get out of the huge dormitory building to follow the scent of sugar and bananas deep fried in oil wafting down the streets and finally come upon the mysterious place where noisy children gather.
But it's about the beginning of summer--the time when schools close to give time for leaves to sprout---and the maruya makers are gone, trying to find someplace else where to cast their mysteries.
Now, as I contemplate the absence of that sweet aroma that had become part of my day, I become aware of the light coming from the window to the right. The sky beyond the roofs of houses, I can see from here, is gray and white. There's the ceaseless buzzing of the electric fan on the wall to my right, and the rustles of papers on the bulletin board on the wall opposite me.
"Make Tea Not War," says a huge poster on the wall, showing a man wearing a white teacup for a hat. He is tight-lipped and he wears a hard look all over his face. He is wearing black and his right forefinger is about to pull the trigger of the gun he perpetually holds. The iron gate on the groundfloor squeaks. The total absence of human voices allows me to hear voices inside.

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