Melissa Jane Laurel
One long weekend at home got me cleaning
and fixing personal stuff in my room. I started rummaging through
my old things, deciding which to keep and which to throw out. In the
middle of the dusty clutter I gathered, I saw the boxes where I kept
mementos of all my 23 years on Earth.
In those shoe boxes were tons
of letters from way back in grade school and High School, some written
on sheets torn carefully out of our neatly covered notebooks, some
in artistically folded, scented stationeries.
I began to open them
one by one and read through each and every letter, allowing me to
look back at the life I lived in my younger days, after six years
of graduating from High School.
One letter contained my 5th grade
classmate's graphic and morbid narration of her fantasies to make
her nasty, arrogant and annoying seatmate shut up - while our Sibika
teacher sing-songed her lecture continuously in our classroom.
letter was from one of my loyal High School friends, deeply apologetic
for shutting me out of our barkada because one of the more bullying
members of our group wanted her to stop talking to me.
I read more
letters about break-up pains, trivial love-life dilemmas, family problems,
exciting slumber party plans, retreat letters and other spices of
life in High School -- from long 3-page letters to little notes triggered
by boredom and restlessness.
It took me more than three hours to run
through my letters, consequently taking me two days to finish my general
cleaning. Nevertheless, the whole three hours plus of browsing through
these sheets of paper made me realize one thing: I miss High school
My school bus, which fetched me at 6 in the morning and brought
me to school much earlier than required, because I was in the 1st
trip. I equally miss my bus mates in the afternoon, waiting with
me in our own version of "Picnic Grove," saving seats for each other
as soon as the bus arrives and walking home with my them when we miss
- My neatly plastic-covered notebooks and books with breath-taking
photos I used to take from glossy magazines. They were very well maintained,
keeping an order in my school bag that prevented them from getting
Even our daily morning assembly, where we said our prayers, sang Lupang
Hinirang, recited the Panatang Makabayan and chanted our
endless Alma Matter hymns...
I miss hanging out during recess and after lunch
in our Batibot spot, a small round bench with a large tree in the
middle, which explains its name...
Quizzes, homeworks, group projects
and even the handicrafts we made in Technology and Home Economics...
The freedom we felt when we had no teacher in the classroom and we
can change seats and compare notes, academic or otherwise, as our class officers would shout "QUIIEEEET!!!"...
The excitement and nervousness during quiz bees, intramurals, inter-school
"sabayang pagbikas" contests and other competitions where we felt
the peak high of school-spirit...
The "kilig" of High School dances and Junior-Senior proms,
looking for the perfect prom dress, waiting to be asked out by our
dream guys and getting the nerve to turn down some other guy politely...
The feeling of having to worry primarily about little things such
as what to eat for recess, how to get my first stain off my skirt,
how to start our barkada's open-forum (also known as bull-session),
how I can get past our cheering competition without getting sick of
fatigue, and my crush crushing on somebody else...
In other words, the
feeling of being young and carefree, wondering what the "real world"
I laughed again, cried again, felt anger and frustration
again, even felt school-girlish naughty again as I recalled the moments
in their letters when they made a mark in my life - a mark I have
carried with me way after graduation.
I guess Sharon Cuneta's song says it all: ".....high
school days, so exciting, kay saya......" c",)
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