The Final 3:55

I’d spend three rounds on this chair, swiping my card for a few minutes of mechanical caressing of my aching back. While kids ran around for games that dispense tickets, I’d relax.

Timezone at UP Technohub has been my go-to place since college: it welcomed me when I wanted to shoot hoops, felt like dancing, blew a target GWA, caught up with a friend, or just got bored at home.

Today was its last day.

I was with my girlfriend the night before for a gaming session after almost a year of not going, when we saw a sign at the counter saying that they’re moving to Fairview after the 18th.

I had to take my sister the next day. It was ‘our’ place.

Today, we hit our old favorites. Although the screens didn’t respond well even if you hit the 2D monsters on target with your plastic ball, and the hoop arcades didn’t have equal distribution of balls. We had to aim a little bit to the right to shoot the enemy right in front, but air jockey was just fine.

I made the bowling game break down twice, had a perfect run in Dance Dance Revo, and set the top score on one of the arcade hoops for the last time.

Then I spent my final swipe on the massage chair: last 3 minutes and 55 second.

It no longer hugged my legs as it usually did, but the circular motions at my back were just as strong. I closed my eyes as it reclined, remembering when I aced those papers and exams, when I got that group date with an old crush, when I fought with thesis woes, when my heart got broken more than once, and when it got stitched back together. This chair was there. But it won’t be for my future moments.

Timezone Technohub was our private playground: even if it lacked the massive games from malls, it didn’t have the huge crowd. We almost always had the place to ourselves since it opened. We played frequently that I got a gold membership card.

The 3:55 minutes ran down to 5 seconds, and the chair slowly brought me up. Usually, the part that wrapped around the legs would let go at the last second. But it didn’t have to. It didn’t have enough strength to do so.

But I did. With one last tap to the left armrest, I let go.