Special story to the Mirror by Metty Pellicer.
Metty- the desaparecida
Sharon- a friend
Howard- Loretta’s builder contractor
Various Cape Charles Coffee House Staff
P- AirBnB Guest
July 25, 2018 in the historic town of Cape Charles on the Virginia Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake
After a gentle rain in the night, Metty awoke to what she thought would be an inauspicious day and greeted a bright, cloudless morning. She was unhurried as she went about her schedule, early morning yoga on Strawberry Street which Debra led with a challenging practice after the relaxed session of the previous day. Metty could only do a very approximate version of the final pose of the day, Astavakrasana? but that was OK, after all yoga is very personal, and not a competitive or an ego boosting activity. And so refreshed, and with a positive attitude she drove the short distance to Tazewell Ave, to her home she christened Ybalon, the ancient precolonial name of Bicol, her home province in the Philippines, which she built with her sister Minda as their retirement and long-term care home. It has universal access features, an elevator, and a fully furnished 2-BR apartment on the third floor which has a separate stair access from their personal space on the first and second level. Intended for visiting family and friends, and later for the accommodation of their caregivers, the sisters decided to offer it through AirBnB to tourists when not reserved for their guests. Metty then went about her day, lunch at noon at Cape Charles Coffee House with the Wednesday Ladies Mahjong then upstairs of the historic former Department Store to play for the rest of the afternoon.
Unbeknownst to Metty, P___e, an AirBnB guest, had been trying to get hold of her since 1:20 pm to check in. She was already very frustrated and finally reached Minda who was at work in Washington DC. Minda was able to get the guest into the apartment by the elevator but was worried if something happened to Metty. Then the feverish search for Metty commenced between Loretta and Minda trying to get hold of someone who could contact Metty who uncharacteristically was not answering phone calls, texts, or emails. They thought Metty’s friend Sharon might know, however they had no contact information for her, but they knew she worked at Lemon Tree, and Googling the Art Gallery’s number the people there released her phone number, as they knew both women and given the immediacy of the situation.
Sharon thought Metty would be at mahjong but she didn’t know right away who could be playing but finally she found a number for Ginger and rang her. Imagine Metty’s surprise when Ginger answered then, “Metty, it’s Sharon for you.” Metty was all flustered of course because she completely forgot and this was the second time this happened, forgetting guest check-ins. Last week didn’t cause any problem because the guests were creative. Not finding anyone home when they arrived they just left a message saying they proceeded directly to the beach and will check in later. You see, Metty was very new to this hosting business and while weekend arrivals went without a hitch, this midweek bookings was out of Metty’s routine and Wednesday was Mahjong day and Metty’s phone was silenced during the game. It was 2:49 pm when Sharon’s call came through.
As Metty hurriedly went downstairs to leave via the restaurant, the owner and waitresses frantically told her Sharon was trying to.get hold of her. On the way home Metty called Minda who was having a heart attack thinking the worst had happened to her sister. Finding the guests were already in the apartment Metty apologized. They were understandably aloof and formal but accepted her apology. At 3:05 pm there was an insistent ringing of the back doorbell and pounding on the door. It was Metty’s Yoga instructor who was worried about her well-being, who said she had just read the text from Loretta which was sent an hour ago. As soon as she left, another insistent ringing of the doorbell and it was Howard, Loretta’s contractor who built their house at Marina Village. The back and forth texts between Minda and Loretta searching for Metty, was a record of the gripping drama as it evolved. Metty could not believe the response, how everyone dropped what they were doing without hesitation, and it warmed her heart to be surrounded by people who cared, Cape Charles truly is a village in the old tradition of community.
Before the sun sank into the Chesapeake Metty sent a vase of sunflowers to her guests upstairs, to hold the brightness of the day further into the night. P___e responded this time with warmth and a beautiful smile. Cape Charles rocks! But know this too, no one can hide in Cape Charles.
About Metty Pellicer – she caught the travel bug as a child growing up in the Philippines. When her father returned home from business trips in Japan bearing exotic gifts, “It planted the seed of desire in me to go and see the places where these fabulous things came from.” Immigrating to the US in 1967, she realized her dream of seeing the world, and began traveling even before she could afford it. Encouraged by friends to write, she published her first book, a travel memoir. She has no previous writing experience and obtains her guidance from a writer’s Meet-up group that gets together on alternate Saturdays at Manuel’s Tavern in Decatur, Atlanta. She is excited about this new challenge in her retirement years and is working on her third book.