“OKAY, everyone… listen!” Charm clapped her hands to get the children’s attention.
Every last Sunday of the month, Charm has an arts and crafts class for the kids who attends their church’s Sunday school. Right after worship, she headed to their classroom, located just behind their church.
“For today’s arts and crafts, I prepared different colors of paints and white cloth. We are about to make something beautiful and meaningful today. We will call this a freedom flag,” Charm explained slowly so that the toddlers in their class would be able to understand what she was saying.
She sauntered to the long table and laid the white cloth there, and then she filled the basins with different colors of paint.
“You can choose whatever color of paint you like. Dip your hands on the basins and stamp your cute little hands on the white cloth.” She did it first to set an example for her students. “And… done! Got it?”
“Yes, Teacher Charmaine!” the class said in chorus.
“Alright, let’s begin with the toddlers going to the older ones.”
Charm stood in front, watching the kids enjoy what they were doing. The room was suddenly filled with little voices and laughter. A smile curved on her lips. That kind of sight is what makes her heart happy. That was the reason why she volunteered to teach them despite her busy schedule.
Everything was doing fine until her eyes caught someone who was about to cause a problem.
“Angel, no!” She immediately ran to the kid’s direction.
But Charm was a bit late, when she got to her side, Angel’s hands filled with yellow paint already touched the wall that was painted in white.
“Should we make a freedom wall instead?”
Charm turned to the door’s direction and found Pastor Ronald standing there, watching them.
“Well… it’s not a bad idea,” Charm said. She held the little culprit’s hands. “Everyone, that’s enough. Let’s clean our hands now.”
She heard some groans, while the others immediately followed her order.
She ushered Angel to the common sink outside their classroom and assisted her in washing her hands.
“Mama said I must sing the Happy Birthday song while washing my hands to make sure they’re clean,” Angel told Charm when she covered her little hands with soap.
“Yes, that’s right. But to make sure that your hands are really clean you must use soap, not just water. Understand?” she said.
“Yes, Charm,” the kid said.
She turned to her briskly. “What did you call me?”
“Charm,” Angel said without hesitation.
She scoffed. “Look at you, dropping the honorifics when we’re outside the classroom.”
It might sound a bit odd, but she and Angel were acquaintances. They live in the same neighborhood. Their houses were just a few blocks away. She used to go to their home to play with Carl, her younger brother, who was a decade older than Angel. Until now, she was still wondering how they clicked with each other.
Charm turned to the direction of the voice. “Carl.”
“I’m going home,” he said. “How about you?”
“Oh… not yet.” She fished her phone in her back pocket to check the time. “I have to meet someone.”
“Take Angel with you. I can’t bring her with me.” She lightly pushed her toward Carl. “Her mama will pick her up before sunset, I guess.”
Carl held Angel by the hand when she reached him.
“We’re leaving,” Carl said and waved her goodbye.
“Oh, be careful on your way home. Watch out for the vehicles, Carl. Walk Angel on your left so that she will be safe,” she reminded her brother.
“Yeah, I know.”
CHARM pulled over in front of Innamorata, her favorite coffee shop owned by her friend Yvonne. She got off of her car to remove the ‘no parking’ sign on the only vacant space of the parking area and set it aside.
That spot was reserved for her every Sunday. She has an appointment with the owner, who happens to be a famous webtoon writer. But unfortunately, Yvonne could only write amazing stories. Her friend does not have the talent to draw, so she collaborates with her as the artist.
But to her surprise, an SUV had stolen her spot.
Charm shut her eyes, put her hands on her hips, and heaved a deep sigh.
“Charm, it’s Sunday. You just went off from the church. Come, Holy Spirit… keep me sane.”
The door on the driver’s side opened, and a man on pajamas got off.
Her forehead creased. It was already noontime, and here’s a man going to a coffee shop in his pajamas.
She sauntered toward him.
“Excuse me. That parking space is mine,” she said calmly.
The man turned to her with furrowed brows.
“No one owns a slot here. Every customer—”
“I am a special case,” Charm cut him off.
“What are you talking about?” He scoffed. “Look, I’m a regular here and—”
“And I am friends with the owner,” she cut him off again.
The man gave Charm a once-over. She didn’t know why, but she kinda got irritated by the way he looked at her.
“Why don’t we call the owner then. Let’s see who weighs more, the regular or the friend.” Charm stuck her nose in the air.
“Fine,” he said.
They race to the door. Charm ran so she could come in first.
Rohan, Yvonne’s husband, was the one who manages the coffee shop when her friend was locked in her bat cave, writing.
“Hey, Rohan!” she called.
“Uncle,” the man said.
Charm turned to the man with narrowed eyes. “Uncle?”
He crossed his arms over his chest and grinned.
“You always cut me off, so I could not tell you that Rohan here is my uncle.”
Charm turned to Rohan, her eyes almost come out of her eye sockets. “Care to explain?”
Rohan smiled, his chinky eyes formed a line.
“Joaquin is my nephew. I am his uncle,” Rohan explained.
“Wow,” Charm said, almost sarcastic. “Were you two joking around to piss me off?”
It was hard to believe that. Rohan and the man Joaquin, who claimed to be his nephew, seemed of the same age.
“So, what happened to you two?” Rohan asked.
“He took my spot in the parking area!” Charm pointed a finger on Joaquin to add more feeling into it.
Well, she doesn’t need to make it more convincing because it was a fact.
“Uh-oh…” Rohan said as he looks outside the coffee shop. “I think you have a bigger problem now. Your car’s being towed.”
“What?” She turned around and saw that he was telling the truth.
She ran outside the coffee shop.