Timehop inflicted a #TakeMeBackTuesday on me: it has been two years since I resigned from my first job.
My day started with bittersweet memories of good friends and kind bosses. Also, there was the work that was both fun and tiresome. Saying goodbye to all that was difficult. And if that wasn’t bad enough, I just had to create a resignation challenge.
Years after I left, I reread my sentiments for that last day. Though I doubt I could step into those same halls again with the same authority that I once had, I could still picture as I entered the offices one last time and made my final exit. The song that I had on then still plays in my head.
While I wrote about what happened in the morning, I never got to write about what happened in the afternoon. I’ll take that opportunity today.
Jake and I were still best friends then. It wasn’t unusual for us to spend Sunday afternoons hanging out at museums or parks or just be on the road, river, or rail headed for somewhere. But January 5, 2014 was different.
Despite the joy and relief after the resignation, I knew that there would be an underlying drag. I knew I would fall into a rut. Jake knew how to get me out of it.
California Pizza Kitchen was our destination. Though I still have the photos with me, I’ve long since lost the receipt. Frankly, I have no idea what we ordered—but thanks to my entries, I now know what they are.
I ordered the Kung Pao Spaghetti with Chicken for one reason: to see how it matches against Yellow Cab Pizza’s Charlie Chan. Of course it was spicy but not as, just about a level lower. But it still had that kick! And the leftover oil sauce? Brush the toasted bread over it and it’s like eating a savory bun.
Jake liked his Baked Penne Florentine, which was a sneaky way for anyone to eat broccoli—and like it! It was heavy on the cheese but without being overwhelming. He also had Wild Mushroom Pizza. Now that was strong, full-bodied earthy goodness! I could almost tell which type of mushroom I was eating. There was also the Five Cheese + Tomato Pizza, basically a Margherita pizza sans the sauce. The second pizza was weaker in flavor, as opposed to the mushroom pizza. So we devised two ways to eat them without tiring of the taste: put hot sauce, chili flakes, or both.
He had the Rocky Road Milkshake, which reminded me so much of Choco Chip Cookie Milkshake. And now that I think about it, they’re like the yin and yang of CPK milkshakes. I had Strawberry Banana Smoothie. Thankfully, not as sweet as I imagined but it made me imagine eating my niece’s baby food, which is not a good image.
For dessert, we ate Molten Chocolate Cake. At the first spoonful, I melted. It was heavenly and yet sinful, depending which part you had first: the chocolate cake or the vanilla ice cream. Jake liked his thoroughly mixed, meaning he crushed his cake then mixed in the ice cream, looking like a thick sweet soup.
Even though we’ve already had dessert, we still bought one scoop of the chocolate chili ice cream from Gelatissimo. I was certain I wouldn’t like it but he wanted to be sure about his taste. After my one lick, he had it all to himself. It was one ice cream that got the better out of Jake. And no, that one little bottle of water was of no help to him.
Like most times, we walked and talked. Our exchanges helped me process the stuff that I was thinking about back then. But, unlike most times, he did something unusual: he offered to give me a piggyback ride.
You read that right: Jake gave me a piggyback ride.
Picture a big, 5’11” guy carrying on his back a lightweight guy of average height. And this spectacle happened at the center of the middle floor of a high-end fashion-lifestyle mall. I bet the Sunday folks were dumbfounded. I could imagine the eyebrows we raised. Even I found our antic strange because I knew Jake then. He was conscious about being in such places. But he threw caution to the AC and carried me on his back while he marched past TWG. He did the unthinkable and the unexpected for me.
California Pizza Kitchen
2F, Greenbelt 5, Makati
2F, Greenbelt 5, Makati