I was not starstruck; nor was I looking at him all starry-eyed.
But sometimes it is quite difficult to act nonchalant or avoid eye contact.
I looked around the small cafe; only four other tables were occupied. The Cantonese-speaking couple behind me were looking the other way, staring through the glass and into the busy walkway beyond, where shoppers stroll by with their hands holding bags filled with their latest purchases.
One young man by my right was seated about three chairs away from the couple, his eyes scanning the newspaper for what probably seemed like the third time for the day. He looked like a student, though; it is still the school holidays, after all.
Directly behind him, on the other side of the cafe, sat another man, his cup of coffee half full – or half empty. Oh well – not that I actually peeked into his cup, really – but he did look somewhat restless. He was doing some people-watching as well, and I thought I sensed his eyes strayed my way a few times. A friend of his turned up very much later, then taking up much of his attention.
Occupying the table next to mine was a grey-haired man, also reading today’s newspaper. I was not sure if he fit the part of a tourist. Nah. A manager in a multinational company, maybe. I wonder if he has watched enough of our television channels to be able to recognise our local stars.
The people manning the cafe were busy. Or maybe they were just acting busy.
But no one laid their eyes on him. Perhaps they, too, were also trying to not openly display their recognition, or were at least trying to not make it appear that obvious anyway.
“Look behind you,” I told my mother. She turned around, pretending to study the glass ceilings of the cafe.
Gah. “Not that way, the other way,” I whispered.
He did look quite comfortable in a grey t-shirt and jeans. He was not wearing any sneakers, just a simple pair of sandals. The waitress then came by to hand him his ice blended mocha. He nodded his thanks. She certainly did not appear excited with his presence (“Oh my! I served Mr. So-and-so today! Oh boy, did he look hot!” (squeals)).
“An actor, he was in that recently-released movie. He’s also a model-lah. Remember those advertisements for that electrical appliances company that you see on TV?”
The thing about chance encounters with celebrities is this: Whoa, is that really him? Are my eyes playing tricks on me, or is that really her – she still looks great sans makeup!
Well, he did look like him. My eyes trailed his back as he exited the cafe. He looked a little lost out in the jungle of a busy walkway, like a small boy looking for his mother through the long aisles of a supermarket. He must be waiting for someone.
No one ran up to him for autographs; no one asked, “Are you…?”
For no one laid their eyes on him.