Note: I wrote this in the middle of heavy traffic a couple of hours ago. As a proof, here’s the photo of the pages of my notebook where I wrote this down. That’s back-to-back! I can’t believe I was able to do that, considering that I am not a fan of jotting down notes. I apologize for my chickenshit handwriting.
I am so intimidated because I am stuck in the middle of a heavy traffic. My usual 40-minute jeepney ride from E. Rodriguez to Lawton is taking me more than two hours now.
Anyway, I am helpless. So instead of fussing over the delay that this traffic is causing me, I decided to discreetly observe the girls sitting across me. They are all wearing their school uniforms, holding their backpacks on their laps. They obviously came from school and they are laughing and gossiping. While I cannot understand what exactly they are talking about, I’m quite certain it involves professors and guys and school, in general. I bet these girls are nursing students, judging from their name plates.
It’s all coming back. I used to be like them. During my first three years in college, I used to ride a jeepney to go home. But unlike these days when I hate long jeepney rides, I loved the daily 30-minute commute from school to dorm. A big part of that was because I was in college then and I used to be with my jeepmates, Gel and Aze.
Back then, we used to talk about everything under the sun – academics, boys and men (you have to understand, there’s a difference), family, friends, relationships… name it and we already talked about it. The fondest talks, however, are those that fall under the category we used to call life. We had “life talks”.
While we were carefree and forever having fun, we always looked forward for the future. Gone are those days when we used to talk about where we are going to be in the future, our plans and our dreams. We always felt uncertain and scared, but we couldn’t deny that beyond all the uncertainties lies excitement. We were eager to know everything that is going to happen, granted that it’s impossible. But we couldn’t stop!
Back then, when school works and extra curricular responsibilities pile up, our only refuge was ranting and ranting, then eventually cramming. We always looked forward for graduation day because we believed that it was the end of our hellish months of juggling requirements – from the simplest to the most complicated ones; from the minor subjects to the major and pa-major ones we couldn’t afford to fail.
Back then, after regular classes or school activities, we talk and dream together. In between long hours of lectures, of midnights spent at somebody’s place to work on our theses, we still find time to plan birthday surprises, watch pirated movies, listen to those unbelievable FM radio stations (hint: Papa Jack and DJ Chacha), talk about random stuff, drink in a nearby joint, and plan outings and night-outs (which stopped at planning, frankly).
Right after we finished all the requirements, the air was filled with extreme emotions of nervousness and excitement. Some were worried about failing a subject or two. Some were hoping to land a spot in the dean’s list. But most of us were just giddy and excited of finally finishing college, facing the real word (bigger world), seeing where our four-year investment in college will take us.
*Change high school to college*
High school life, ba’t ang high school life
Ay walang kasing saya?
Bakit kung Graduation na’y
Luluha kang talaga?
Then came graduation. All of us were excited to march while wearing the dresses and long sleeves we recently bought and sporting the finest leather shoes and highest killer heels. To complement the appearance, we showed off our newly re-bonded, curled, or trimmed hairs plus our faces fully made up fresh from the salons nearest to our homes. Of course, for most of us, going up the stage was just a simple tradition but behind us were our parents grinning and smiling, all proud and ready to show us off. It’s always worth bragging because they afforded to send their children to an exclusive university amid high tuition fees, occasional problems at home, and promissory notes.
For the most part, I didn’t feel that last March 30, I was actually graduating. It hit me hard only when I got the chance to hug my blockmates and other friends, to take pictures with them hoping that wasn’t the last chance, and well, to cry and pour our hearts’ contents.
I couldn’t stop feeling sentimental because my blockmates and I stayed together and were stuck with each other for four long years and that long journey was associated with countless laughs and tears, fights and compromises, photocopies and Powerpoint presentations. If only graduation means spending the whole day with them, without thinking about clothes to wear and the separate paths we were about to take.
It was surreal and up to this day, it seems like I’m still in denial because I couldn’t even spend a day without talking to one of my blockmates. Up to this day, my happiest moments are those spent with them during school days, planned and unplanned dinners, movie dates, and videoke nights.
Gone are those days when I was like these college girls across me. Whenever I get the chance to be with them, we were not as carefree as these girls, we were not as happy because we are all facing a new phase, a whole new world, and sadly we could no longer say “we’re all in this together”.
If only we could go back. I couldn’t even remember the last time I felt extremely happy and infinite or felt my stomach churning because of excessive laughing. We are always trying to be together by job-hunting together and going out every now and then. But still, everything is just so different – our schedules, the paths we took, our problems. Before, we complain about almost similar things, now complaints vary and most of time, one could no longer relate to the other’s problem. Reality. Growing up. They suck, but we must face them.
So anyway, what’s the point? I am inside this jeepney and I couldn’t open my laptop to look for stories to write or to update my status in Facebook or to tweet or to learn about my friends’ whereabouts. I am here, feeling helpless and missing the good old days, while feeling a pang of jealousy toward these girls who are all so happy despite the heavy traffic.
I’m feeling sad. I want to turn back time, if only I could. If only Doraemon and Nobita exist in real life, my favorite hang-out place would be their drawer. I wish I could wear again my school uniform, that one I used to hate because of the high school look. I want to buy my favorite 20-peso french toast, cheese sticks, and Coke Sakto and bring them to class. I wish I could back go to room 203 because that’s where it all began. I want to go in front of the room and do the things I used to do before – announce, intimidate people, entertain them. I wish I could do small things for them again. I want to talk to professors and be inspired. I wish I could spend every single night with them while appreciating the beauty of our school.
But I have to accept that things are different now and just like what an editor told us in the meeting this morning, “at some points in our lives, we have to move on and move forward”. It may be painful, but it’s going to be worth it.
To be honest, I don’t know if I’ll get the chance to meet people like them and feel the same affection I have for them. One thing is for sure, though… I will always treasure them here in my heart and I will always keep the memories we built through the years.
My beloved Journ2, I love and miss you all so much and I want to hug you all so tight.
And excuse me because the jeepney is approaching Quiapo and I have to look after my things… I’m inside a public transportation, remember?