I should’ve made a more memorable speech.
That’s what I thought as I read previous speeches and valedictory addresses from the yearbooks I found.
Everybody said write to express and not to impress. How could I have sucked big time at my one-time chance? I should’ve said things that would’ve left a mark on everyone’s minds, myself included. It’s so disappointing that I don’t even remember my own speech, considering it was for the greatest moment of my life. There’s no second take and I screwed up forever!
“Sayang..” I sighed, closing the last yearbook.
“Oh well. Gotta get back to work.” I said to myself while I picked up my things to walk back into the building.
It was a very hot day. I couldn’t help but sweat profusely, walking under the sun. Seven feet away, there’s the catwalk. Finally, some shade.
It’s just like any other day, actually. Why would they call it a tropical country if it’s supposed to be cold? But today, given that the Philippines is just a little off the equator, I can’t shake off the thought of the effects of global warming and climate change.
“Stop it.” I laughed myself off, thinking I’m being a geek, talking to myself about science shit while walking. I’m becoming more like the people I mock inside my head. You know, the no-social-life-too-busy-reading kind of students. But I know that ain’t me.
That is the shriek of someone who has not seen you for a long time.
“Emily!” I shouted back.
“Uy, tagal na natin di nagkitaaaaaaaa. Where have you been?” She asked, finally dropping the high pitch.
“Here. Where else could I go? I haven’t finished my degree. What are you doing here by the way?”
“Oh, dito ka pala nag-aaral. Well, I work just across the street. I don’t see you walking here very often.” She intrigued, probably thinking I was bluffing.
“Yes, my college is three blocks away. I just passed by here, my first time, really.”
“Haha, you’ve been here for years and you pass here just this once?”
“You know how distant the buildings here are. It’s like a whole subdivision, this school is.”
“Yeah, I guess. Hey, by the way, it was nice seeing you again.”
“You too. See you around. Ingat!”
“Ay, wait. Can I get your number? You know, so that we can go together to the homecoming.”
“What homecoming?” Okay, maybe I really am becoming more like those people.
“Hey now, Ms. President, if there was a high school homecoming, shouldn’t you be the one to know first?”
“I guess not.” I shrugged, giving her that clueless look.
“Oh-kay. Well, there’s this alumni homecoming in our high school before the year ends. I sure think you’re coming.”
How come I’ve never heard of this? Why didn’t anyone inform me? Where are my high school friends? Have I been forgotten?
“Where are your friends?” I asked her. I’m quite sure we were never that close in high school. We were never classmates.
“Some of them have already confirmed. It’s not easy finding lost friends. So let’s just see how many will come. I can’t believe you don’t know about this. Didn’t your classmates tell you?”
What do you think? I thought to myself, just staring blankly at her.
“So… Can I get your number now?”
After the exchange of digits, we went on to our ways.
My friends, huh? I always thought I make friends easily. I never thought I’d lose them just as so.
That night, I turned on my computer to log in to this social networking site. I dropped a few words to some friends, telling them I miss them, asking stuff, trying to cope up. But was I expecting a reply? I don’t know. I don’t know if they know me still anyway.
Sometimes, this idea of actually being depressed just gets pinned in my brain. What if it’s true, that being a loner in a huge institution, with high expectations, can leave one mentally disturbed?
Oh shit, I still have engineering problems to solve. So I turned off the computer and went back to work.
The next morning, I went back to that spot where Emily and I met again. I don’t know why. But, fortunately, she passed by just about the same time she did yesterday.
“So, second time mo na dito?” She smiled.
I smiled back.
“So, what’s up?” She asked.
What was up? Did I come here to wait for her? For what?
“Wala naman. I just wanted to catch up with you.”
I could tell that she was startled. I was too. Yesterday I was thinking that this person and I were never close and now I came here just to see her again. What has gotten into me?
“Haha, oo nga. Well, let’s set a date then. Maybe we can bring our friends too. We never got to talk much in high school. It could be our chance.”
I haven’t seen my friends since high school. What can make them wanna see me now? They get together all the time…without me.
“They’re very busy. But I will try to invite them.” I just made up.
“Great. So, text text na lang?”
“Are you running late?”
“No, I’m an hour early. Why?”
She must probably think I’m weird. I’m starting to think I am too.
“I’m hungry.” What? Was there anything better I could say?
“Haha. There’s a fast food chain just near our office. Wanna get lunch there?”
Eating out for lunch, having chit chat with a new-found friend who’s not from the university, asking and being asked about past relationships… these are all firsts for me.
“Do you wanna be my FB?” She asked.
“Haha. No, you know. FuBu?”
“HAHA! I was just playing. I meant food buddy.”
“You scared me. I almost wanted to walk out and change my phone number.”
“Haha, over. Corny.”
But I wasn’t joking.
“So, I guess this means we’d eat lunch together from here on?”
“Well, if that means we don’t eat here everyday…” and you don’t ever talk to me about that stuff “…then okay.”
“Haha, syempre naman. So, see you friend.”
“Sige, I’ll go back to school na.”
Walking on that catwalk back to my college, I laid a few premonitions of the future. Will I go to that homecoming? What if I find myself out of place? Isn’t it awkward to be alone in a reunion? What do I tell them if they ask me? What will they say about me?
Maybe I shouldn’t go. Maybe they’ll just make fun of me. Imagine the high school salutatorian…the last to have a college degree.