5/23/2015
All those possibilities

Ten years ago, at around half past five in the morning, I took a bus from Las PiƱas. I settled in my seat, plugged in my earphones, and tried not to sleep, fearing I might be robbed.

Frankly, the details are now murky. I know that, in one of these bus rides, I made conversation with an older woman, where we discussed her son's first day in college. This might have happened on this particular morning. This might have happened a few weeks prior, on the first day of my two-day freshman orientation, although apparently the term is "frosh".

"Welcome, froshies!" these strangers yelled on those two days, and it felt overwhelming and weird and fun. Fun, because, well, it's exciting. You're entering college! This is really it!

I got down from the bus on that Monday morning, the 23rd of May, and the first person to approach me was a man.

"Ser, kayo daw po 'yung kumuha nung cellphone...?"

Yes, of course, a guy who will attempt to rob me of my phone will be the first person I meet on my very first day of college. But I didn't know this then, so I, foolishly, showed him my phone. It wasn't a fancy phone, but it had a camera and it had a color screen. And polyphonic ringtones. All I wanted to say was, no, I did not steal anybody's phone.

I don't remember what happened, but I somehow left him behind and rushed my way to South Gate, the only entrance to the school that I knew at the time. I don't remember if I already had an ID at the time. Or maybe I had yet to claim it. I wish I remembered. It would've been dramatic, me writing something about hearing a beep that says "you can come in" and "well, here you go, kid!"

In fact, I don't remember a lot about my first day in college. I remember being very early for class. I remember going up the third floor of the Miguel building, to room 317, to very chilly room 317. I remember anxiously waiting for familiar faces - I've seen my blockmates during orientation, or as we called it then, LPEP - and secretly hoping I'd get to hang out with my friends from high school. Robyn, after all, was somewhere in this building too.

I remember my first class. English class. Miss Bernie, an affable woman, telling us that we'd have to present something that interests us at the beginning of every class. To religion class, and a nun for a teacher - a nun! - Sister Pinky, also affable, but with a much louder personality that defied her size. To art appreciation class, all of us crowding in this one classroom, and this sprightly teacher we called Miss Sangil telling us about columns... I think. To critical thinking class, and to Sir Timbreza, starting us off with an hour-long breakdown of existentialism, and then dismissing us early.

Turns out I do remember a lot. Must be the act of writing it down. I remember trying my hardest to make friends from my class. I remember talking to Jackie, to Ira, to Kevin. I remember gravitating towards Icka, because we had lunch together during LPEP. I remember seeing Ale again and realizing I do have a crush on her.

All of this, ten years ago.

This is an anniversary that would have slipped past me, if not for the fact that I had scheduled a tweet about it. Today, as you read this, I am out and about with my girlfriend, doing some food crawl for her part-time job, before heading to Merville to celebrate my grandfather's birthday. (Unfortunately, we won't get to try Mon's cookies.) It's not something I imagine I would do ten years ago. I had terrible self-esteem. I have terrible self-esteem. But back then it all felt like a dream, and today it's something you can plausibly do.

A lot of things happened in those ten years. I won't go deep with the details; you probably either know that, or don't care. Anyway, at the risk of sounding misty-eyed about this, all that all goes back, at least to me, to that one day when I got past the turnstiles at South Gate and slowly walked my way towards that chilly classroom.

All those experiences. That day when I found myself pants-less at UP. That day when I scraped my elbow and got a photo with Karylle in return. That day when I figured out how to get my heart broken a little less than before, only for all of it to blow back hard.

All of the people I met, now spanning multiple points around the world, ensuring that wherever I go, I, in a twist I would not have ever foreseen, would not have to be alone.

That one beep - or not, maybe it wasn't a beep - did not tell me that all that would happen. All those possibilities. Or maybe it's just me

Inevitably, what follows is me feeling old, with my cousin choosing to go to La Salle solely for Happy Thursday, whatever that is...

And your responses...

I remember Sir Timbreza telling the class that the girls should all wear red pag CRITHIN tas nung next meeting kahit yung guys nakared. Hahahaha! Di ko lang sure kung nung first day niya yun sinabi. Hahahaha!

Blogger Aleigna Lin5/23/2015     

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