The last Thursday of September, ten and a half years ago

Claud and I have been chatting a bit more these past few months. Years, really, but only in the past few months, it seems, did we find some sort of common ground - and only then, when I pretended to know more about design and typography.

Well, I only say that. I'm no expert, but I get it, I'll say. It's really just me being constantly insecure, that feeling that, no matter what others say, someone out there is doing much better than me.

But, yeah, we've been talking, about graphic design, about songs (which explains her being a part of the earthings! team), about Serial. We've been talking on Twitter, on Facebook, but never offline, and that is the most fascinating part.

Sure, that always happens. I rarely get to talk to my friends offline nowadays. But at one point one of us - likely me - pointed out that we talk more these days than we ever did when we both were at La Salle. There, she was Claudine the upperclassman, and I was one of the new kids. Yes, that only lasted a year, when the next batch of students came in and I was no longer one of the new kids, but she was still the upperclassman, working on her thesis as I decided on which elective to take. She's done it, and I haven't, yet.

It's not really a strict hierarchy. I've talked with a bunch of upperclassmen, of course; we attended the same classes at one point. That aside, Claud and I never really talked. I must have been preoccupied with my college crushes.

"Hi, Niko," she said this morning, a chat window popping up on my browser.

She then posted a photo dated 28 September 2005, digital cameras then coming with the date stamp setting turned on by default. It's a blurry photo, but it was of me and a bunch of other CAM students in one of the classrooms. Claud took care to circle my face.

I look terrible.

I still insisted on shaving half my hair every month. I understand what Shalla means now.

There I was, standing in my gawky manner, just right behind a girl in a pink shirt.

"In case you're wondering" Claud continued, "that's me in pink."

"My face!" I answered.

It was a photo from one of TeamComm's general assemblies. It's that organization we joined because it was filled with fellow CAM students, although I don't think I was ever active, choosing to get involved in what was then the Student Council.

"We're in the same photo together!" she exclaimed. "Wala lang."

"That's the closest we've been," I answered. "But you're 104, and I'm just a 105!"

"Eh, kebs na sa ID number!"

True. Funny what happens when all the rules of a hierarchy are broken down. There's chaos, but then there's... okay, I'll try not to go with the "beauty in chaos" trope.

I inspected the photo and saw some familiar faces too - some upperclassmen whose names slip past me, some my batchmates from other blocks. We were so little back then. There's Jem and Bea, sitting together. There's Char. There's Abby. There's Kaye and Ruth.

And then there's me. I seem to be the only one from my block who attended. I don't want to think about what that says about me.

And your responses...

Post a Comment