You've got to move on

"Anak ng... graduate na pala kayo?"

"Opo," I responded, chuckling as required. "Sadly, we had to leave you."

Only when everything is over do you realize what you have left behind. The euphoria of that rainy Saturday morning has settled, and after all the cars have left the parking lots, all you have is everything else you never really thought about.

Ranice was probably inundated with a swath of announcements on Multiply - a lot of photo albums related to the commencement - and somehow had to ask me. "Ambilis ng panahon," she went. "So after DLSU, where?" It was suddenly my turn to be inundated with questions, about who else graduated and who already has a job at hand. And then, it happens.

"Anyway, ayun lang," she said. "Nalungkot ako na natuwa for you guys."

I can understand her, all of a sudden.

"Naka-move on na ako siguro sa DLSU in terms of di na ako taga-DLSU and everything, pero kayo, block ko at SJ Walk..."

I haven't cried that morning - we were frantic, happy and all - but when it finally sinks in, will I ever make sense of it?

I slept at two in the morning - perhaps one of the last times I would be able to do so - and I woke up four hours later, the front of our house already flooded. The typhoon had taken another unexpected turn, and I quickly found myself putting things up to higher places. My books, my bags, the sofa in the living room, and the frustration that there isn't any electricity, which meant we couldn't test the newly-bought microwave oven.

Well, things eventually went back to normal, or whatever resembles it. The lights were on during lunch, while eight hundred lives went on the verge of being pronounced dead. I had my own killing to do, when I finally started putting things back in place. I had to deal with the old school bag.

It isn't really a mess, but it's been sitting idly for the past three months, and has actually started dusting up. What's inside remained a snapshot of my college years - a film canister with rusty thumb tacks, old printouts from advanced radio production class, a postcard that I got from Eena, and the many drafts for our final thesis report. My portfolio has remained the same, only more tightly packed.

My mother has wanted me to get rid of everything, including the bag - it's safe now, though, since it's still in good shape anyway - and I had to do some cherry-picking myself. Why would I want to throw out everything? Besides, I can still make use of some of the things inside: a barely-used comb, that film canister, a couple of mints, and those doodle-ful notebooks.

I tried salvaging what I could. Perhaps there's a lot in store for the sentimental people like me. I kept the fillers; one was autographed, although I never bothered rediscovering who those were. One by one, they went to a safer place: the postcard from Karylle, the postcard from Kelly, a couple of Max FM stickers, a sign-up sheet from world history class. Everything else had to go, and on a rainy day at that; paper suffering its eventual fate.

Then, when my school bag has been put back to bed, I looked at my portfolio, no longer full of stuff, although still keeping my botched photographs and all of my negatives from photography class. It's going with the new bag that I'll use for work a week from now.

The opposite of Procrastinator happened - the day segued to night, although by now this metaphor sounds sketchy - and it was still raining. We've been following the news all day, with survivors popping up from out of nowhere, and Zimbabwe suddenly taking the spotlight away, and before we knew it, classes were suspended. I wasn't really rattled as my siblings celebrated what was somehow long apparent, since it doesn't really matter anymore. I'll still have to go to work anyway, even if it's raining hard outside.

My sister, being block representative - whatever that means, since you're really better off having course representatives - has been swarmed with questions, and while she struggled to keep up with her remaining balance, I started telling stories of my own. It used to be when I'd be asked by many about whether classes would be suspended, and I recalled how I got annoyed at people hoping for a suspension when the possibility's zero.

She eventually got confirmation from Hugh, and I settled back to my earphones, listening to what turned out to be a farewell to everything. And the rain's still going, although the street in front of us is still a street. Thankfully.

Steph was still asking me questions, though. "We don't have classes tomorrow, right?" she said. Oh, she who's fashionably... not there.

"And Tuesday?"

I took long to answer. "You don't have class tomorrow. And you don't have class on Tuesday. But I don't have classes anymore."

"I know," she said. Then something I wasn't so sure about.

Jackie and I have been talking more often lately, and as she tried to doze off for work the next day - indeed, we're not affected - she started reminiscing, too. "Sana ma-feel ko ulit na student ako para walang pasok," she sighed.

"Oo nga," I agreed. "Tinatanong pa nga ako kung walang pasok, eh."

While people continued to complain about electricity and communications, I started to wonder about whether I'd be able to sleep well tonight.

"Gusto mo na ako agad iwan, eh!" Tina joked.

"May YM, apo!" I replied, in characters that never scrubbed off us after we did voices for broadcasting class almost two years ago.

"Hanggang dun na lang, lolo, eh," she replied.

Minutes later, Mae was asking me about the Media Speakers Series talk that we've organized, and inevitably so, we've tackled my graduation.

"I feel that I've left so many behind," I said.

I was watching a bit off the Tony Awards earlier, and it started bouncing off my head. From Sunday in the Park with George: "You've got to move on."

And your responses...

The lights were on during lunch, while eight hundred lives went on the verge of being pronounced dead.

amazing at how you mention it so nonchalantly. sad.

Anonymous Anonymous6/23/2008     

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