Subtle actions project different meanings to an observer.

My translator was not a bad guy. He was simply an irresistible funny man who women found easy to get along with. I had to admit that was what I liked about him when we first exchanged drinks in a small joint.

When we became closer, he would pay for my lunch regularly. I was struck by his generosity. At first, I thought his pay was above the standard of most government employees. He was loaded as the locals would aptly call his status.

Well, who would not want free meals and funny anecdotes while eating? I had money but it would be the height of disrespect to turn down such offers.

I had not observed anything unusual except we ate at the same restaurant for over a week. The patroness personally came over and even served our meals. She was a spinster so I guess my translator’s magic overpowered her.

I joked once that if he married the owner of the restaurant, I would be eating for free for the rest of my stay.

Then, he replied cryptically, “You will.”

So, he was planning something. I did not want to get in the way like one of our courting episodes. I would gladly hand her to him in a silver platter if permitted.

One day, while in the middle of a sumptuous meal, the patroness approached us. She had that radiant smile that could mean she had some happy news to announce.

“I am ready to get married.”

I almost stood up and clapped merrily. The food in my mouth prevented me to shout my jubilation.

“Who is the lucky guy?” I asked after swallowing. I glanced at my translator who seemed not paying attention at all.

“Your friend told me you are still available. I think I believe everything he told me about you.”

I started to perspire, all over I thought. Either I was too angry to lynch my translator on the spot or keep my cool to think of a way to escape the trap.

“He is a nice guy,” I said, emphasizing the word nice. “I think you are matched.”

“Oh, no! He’s gay! He told me so.”

Now, I know why I got free lunch everyday. Perhaps, my translator, too, was included in the deal.

“Oh, my! I have to go! My boss will kill me if I am late. We’ll talk more tomorrow.”

I stood up and vanished from the premises like a ghost. That was the last time I would accept a free lunch.



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