Saturday, March 29, 2014

Ang Unang Pagkikita

I wrote the piece below almost 10 years ago. I found it while digging through my old files. Thought I'd post it here. And yes, it's the story of how I met my husband. :)



“Excuse me, miss. Is this seat taken?”

I look up from the registration form that I was painstakingly trying to figure out and saw this guy standing right in front of me. He wasn't someone who would take your breath away. In fact, he was your typical average Joe. You know. One of those guys you would pass by and won't warrant a second look. Heck, even a glance would not suffice. But there I was, staring at him with probably a confused look at my face. I guess he would be around my age, although he looked older due to his balding hairline, spectacles and a heavy build. Not to mention he was wearing an outfit that was screaming “Yuppie!”

I shook my head, smiled and continued on with my writing. Heck, who ever thought that going back to school would be this difficult! This was my second form since they made me fill up a new one for my first one was full of erasures. When did my name and address become so difficult to spell?

I’m 27 years old and I decided to go back to school to take up masterals in business. I never even thought that I’ll be going back to hit the books. I barely survived college and I’m going back to the classroom! But my friends were taking it up and since I did not have anything better to do, I decided to give it a try. I found myself visiting the campus in Makati and next thing I knew, I was paying for the entrance examination fee.

I did not know what made me apply and take the exam. Going back to school was never part of my plans and there I was, forking out P300 bucks for an application form. Business school was for people who are intent on climbing the corporate ladder. I was satisfied to be at the bottom rung. I did not want to run the rat race because I’m definitely not a rat. I’m more of a pig (literally), or a mouse (figuratively). I’m content to wallow in the pool of mediocrity and not strive to become someone great. Greatness is for people with “greatness” written in their destinies. “Mediocre” was written somewhere in my birth certificate.

“Hi, I’m Jericho.”

My seatmate’s statement jerked me out of my reverie making me blink at him. Gosh, he must be thinking that I’m an idiot who is not capable of stringing together a few sentences. I’ve been unconsciously blinking at him for the past few minutes! He must think I’m making a pass at him. Oh save me from lonely fools!

“Oh, hi…I’m Sam,” smiling sheepishly as I shook his offered hand. I went back to tackling the registration form hoping he’ll get the hint that I’m busy.

Apparently, subtlety is wasted on the guy. “Where are you working?”

I put down my pen feeling that it’ll be awhile before I can finish the form, “Oh this bank,” and named the bank, hoping against hope that he won’t recognize it.

Of course, being not my day, he instantly recalled the name. “Oh!” he exclaimed. “Isn’t there some sort of inquiry happening right now regarding your company?” This guy apparently knows his news. I’ll give him that.

I answered his question with an official press release statement which earned a laugh from him. We chatted more about our respective companies and work in general. He also mentioned a girlfriend somewhere in our conversation. When my name was called, I said goodbye with a “hope to see you soon.” That was sincere! I mean hey, even if the guy was a nerd, I need all the friends I need.

I left the registration room and tried to look for the ID room. Wonder of wonders, I got myself lost in the halls of my alma mater. Heck, I studied in this school for almost five years and I’m lost. How pathetic can you get?

My savior came in the form of Jericho. My new-found friend is earning his keep already. “Sam! Punta kang ID room? Sabay tayo!” I breathed a sigh of relief and nodded my acquiescence. My stupidity won’t be making a grand entrance after all. “Sure!”

I let him lead and chatted with him as we walked down the corridor. We talked more about work and about the subjects that we’re taking that first term. We found out that we were classmates and were excited on the fact that we won’t be in a room of strangers on the first day of school.

While my new found friend was having his picture taken, I went back to my thoughts and why I was there in the first place.

People have their reasons of going back to school. Some for career reasons, some for love reasons, some for social reasons, while others just to have something to do. I fall in the last category. Though my officemates saw it as a career move, I saw it as something that would occupy my mind. Something that would distract me from the fact that I was the only single person left among my siblings.  All of them are attached or married and I was alone. I was already accepting the fact that I’ll be living a life of singlehood and will be taking care of my parents. School will help me distract myself from those depressing thoughts and maybe I’ll pick up something helpful in the process.

My thoughts were again interrupted by the screech of an intercom speaker. “The following please form a line outside the ID room.” A list of names was rattled off and I stood up when I heard my name being called. I quickly joined the growing line and patiently stood there while I tried to gather my thoughts.

 I saw Jericho leave the ID room and our eyes met that instant. We exchanged smiles and somehow, I felt a niggling thought that going back to school will inevitably change my life.

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