Saturday, June 28, 2008

First Year- Pandanggo sa Ilaw

Dear insansapinas,

First yearI was in the top section and I danced Pandanggo sa Ilaw.

Except for me and some five classmates, the members of the class were all valedictorians and salutatorians. They were the bunch of young people who thought that the school owed it to them that they enrolled in that university. They were given full scholarship. Mine was just partial but at least, it was the same school where I would be starting my high school.

The principal played favorite to our class. He assigned us a room exclusive for our use. Instead of us moving from room to room every change of subject, the teachers would come at their scheduled time. I did not see any protest action but I thought the issue was settled in the principal’s office. The message was “don’t pamper the guys with IQ that is not lower than 140” or else the faculty would resign en masse. I still did not understand about mass action then.

So we were treated just like the ordinary “mortals”. But the “classmates” walked in the school’s corridors with prideful swagger as if they were god-chosen to be in the elite section. Not me. I got friends in the lower sections who I hang out with during class break. I found it boring to be with guys who did nothing but memorized with their eyes rolling not because they’re laughing but because they can’t cram all those formula and definitions.

The competition for the grades was just nerve-wracking and stressful that one lady student broke down. She was a candidate for Miss Loonies of the year award. She came with wreath of flowers in her hair and danced even without music. We called her Sisa. You know the demented mother of Basilio and Crispin in Jose Rizal's novel, Noli Me Tangere. We were reading Noli Me Tangere then for our Pilipino class. If we were asked to dramatize that chapter about Sisa, she would have gotten the role, hands down. The Pilosopo Tasyo was another classmate who was in the habit of annoying our teacher in History by his off-tangent-sarcastic-patama-remarks.

The class was assigned to dance Pandanggo Sa Ilaw. The costumes were made to order again from the same dress shop. The dress was made from the cheap cotton fabric used for clothes' lining while the "tapis" (translation, the piece of cloth that is wound around the waist was made from animal's feeds cloth sacks. We spent weeks of rehearsal.

Our dance was the finale. The dance instructor glued our glass candlelight holder with a nail polish to our hair swept up like a bun.

All lights were dimmed as we performed with only the candle light illuminating the stage.

After the dance, my brother teased me if i were there in the dance because all he saw was lights.

And because this is my blog, no one should question me, if I am telling the truth or not
when I write that on the first grading period, everyone asked who is…..(insert my name).
I was the first in the honor roll. They could not believe it; neither was my classmate who was acing the tests and was very active in class recitation. Why me? I was low profile. I was not among the valedictorians with haughty noses. Because nobody got perfect scores in algebra except me and a Chinese seatmate. While they were good in memorization, I was enjoying solving the equations and other mathematical problems. I was only a few points higher than the next to the roll. Then I got my drawing skills which gave me a lot of advantage in the Arts and other subjects which required illustration. My drawing of Maria Clara was praised by the teacher.

The big four in the class set their eyes on me. Our own valedictorian eyed me with venom in his eyes. Can't forget those eyes. My teacher remarked that we have the same expressive eyes--sharp when we are angry and teary-eyed looking when we are sad.

The elite group in the class started befriending me by inviting me to their hang-outs. But I can’t leave a friend who belonged to the last section. She lived a few houses away and we came to class together. I stopped by their gate, sat down in the wooden bench and while waiting for her to come down, I also watched her male neighbor got by from my peripheral vision. Damn those zits. I did not know that my friend got the same crush. I listened to my friend talked about her fantasy of marrying the guy. He was her boyfriend without him knowing it. He was older than us by at least 10 years. So I decided to forget about the guy who captivated our young hearts. In Tagalog, pinatay ko na bago pa man tumubo. Haah.

The bad news was related to me with never ending sobs. The guy eloped with the maid.
She’s pretty young thing. My friend said that he really did not love her. He was seduced and had a shot-gun wedding.
Okay, I believed her if she would only stop wailing that hurt my ears. I hated the man for breaking my friend’s heart. And mine too. *heh*

A few weeks after the “teledrama” episode, while walking on our way to school, she pointed to me a guy who was slightly hidden behind the window of a house and was watching us get by.

She said that she noticed the guy several days already; she intimated to me that the boy must be love struck with her. There she goes again. Where was the “I can’t-live-without-him-I-want-to die- declaration of true love just a few weeks ago?

Then the teacher caught one of the members of the elite group passing a "codigo" in a Science class. I knew it was shared by everyone, unfortunately, she was the only one caught in the act. No one stood by her when the teacher confronted her. The "friends" avoided her from then on. I, the invisible became her close friend.


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