“Goodbye, Ma. I’ll go now to school,” I mumbled to my mother who was preparing packed meals for my two younger brothers.
I put mine in my backpack earlier. I am glad I have something to share to Sophia and Chloe, my amazing bestfriends since I don’t usually eat what my mother prepares for me. Although I appreciate her efforts and flavor of love, my appetite has lost its taste on my mother’s cooking. Anyway, I don’t feel any guilt since I do not throw them away. That’s why I love my friends for loving what my mother always prepares for me.
To my surprise, it’s not Mama who greeted back. Juancho, our youngest, said while smiling, “Ate, keep safe.” After hugging him, I set my foot towards school.
Every step seemed so heavy as if I was going to the northernmost part of the country. Actually, my bag was almost empty except that it contained the ones that my mother gave me before I left. Although the distance between our house and school was quite near, I still feel that I am walking for eternity.
I should have not gone to school in the first place. I hate going to school. After two months, it will be vacation time already. I wish I had a remote control to press the fast forward button because every time I wake up I imagine my entire body being strapped on my bed. It’s an endless battle to get up from bed. It’s another battle to take a bath, and the rest is history.
“I hate going to school now. I don’t understand why many of our teachers give too much assignments and requirements these days. Aren’t they aware that we feel so abused? Maybe, they just give too much now because they will miss it when they spend their vacation. Of course, they can’t give assignments on vacation. Besides, they will no longer be our teachers,” sighed Lenard while he was copying my assignment in Math yesterday.
“I hope there will be holidays for assignment,” I responded because I agreed to everything he said as if we have the same mind and heart. I assume every student in our class and in our building feels the same way. A person would be abnormal to think otherwise. Our sentiments are legit.
Last night, I chatted with Jay, and he invited me to go with him on a date today. After a long cheesy conversation, we decided to meet at SM. He even convinced me not to attend classes anymore.
“You will just miss a day, and that day will be spent with me, Baby,” he typed on our chat box and I felt like the universe stopped, and I had to pause it for a longer time to contain the crazy feeling that I have inside. I don’t feel it every day, let alone my days in school.
“Baby, that’s so sweet, but I really can’t. I don’t want Mama find this out. My parents forbid me to enter in a relationship, let alone go on dates,” I mentioned apologetically. I wish I would take back my words being afraid that Jay might change his mind.
“Okay,” he replied. I felt the bitterness of that word. It was so short, yet it told so much more.
I don’t want to argue with him, so I ended our conversation, “See you at one-thirty.”
“See you,” he responded after a few minutes. The time between my last message to his feels like a thousand years. Still, I’m happy that the date would push through.
It will be my first date. I never had before because I was afraid of Roberto, the only guy who was brave enough to invite me. I didn’t feel ready way back then since I was just a fifth-grader. Years later, I asked my friends why nobody invites me or courts me.
“Girl, you’re so intimidating. Your beauty is exotic. Boys are just afraid to talk to you. You might reject them anyway,” Sophia cheeringly told me while she was cutting her nails during one of our break times.
She might be right, but I hope she’s wrong. I don’t want to intimidate guys especially now that I have many crushes. As a girl, I don’t want to do the first move. It would be embarrassing for a Cinderella or Snow White to give flowers or chocolates to Prince Charming. That will never happen.
That is why I was overjoyed when finally after two months of chatting, Jay invited me for a date. Two months ago, classes were suspended for three days due to typhoon. I was bored at home that I realized that it would be more boring to stay at home doing nothing than going to school pretending to do some stuff. During those days, I found my refuge on Facebook. I scrolled my newsfeed as if each moment would be my last hour on earth.
I liked so many photos I really liked though not in equal intensity of like. I like some photos more than other photos my friends usually post whenever they feel so bored. If I can only tell them that they look in their ugliest version, there will be few posts on my wall. Of course, I am too nice not to say that, so I keep on liking.
After liking and commenting on several photos, a photo of my friend on Facebook that I don’t usually know in person attracted my attention. For a few minutes, my eyes were glued on my screen as if the universe became so soundless and dark, and the light focused only upon me in my room. I saw Jay was tagged in the photo, and in a few more seconds, I added him.
I thought it would take centuries before he would accept my friend request, but before the rainy days ended, he finally answered my most important prayer for the decade: respond to my friend request. When he did, I activated my stalker-mode.
An accepted friend request is a ticket not just for friendship but also for a million possible ways of knowing another person. I scanned his albums, and it was hard to find an angle where he looks so bad. He’s so perfect that maybe Chloe was right when she reported about Romeo last Friday. Romeo is extremely handsome. Jay is my Romeo, and Romeo is not just a fictional character in one of William Shakespeare’s almost perfect story except that it happened to be a tragedy. I hope my story with Jay won’t be tragic. I don’t want to drink a potion or stab myself. I can never do that!
After clicking some likes in Jay’s photos that he posted even few years ago, he started to chat me. Oh! I don’t remember anymore if he was the one or I who first started our online conversation. I do not remember anymore since our thread was as long as the lane in MRT, which I do not want to experience ever again, though the length of our conversation is not as irritating as that in MRT.
Talking to Jay even though only in cyberspace makes a romantic story worth keeping. As much as I want to share it to my friends, I chose to keep him to myself because my friends might have the potential to steal him from me. I watched those kinds of plot in different series already, and I don’t want to ruin my friendship and my blossoming relationship, so I kept it all as if I am hiding a treasure in my small shoe box.
As I entered our classroom, I don’t know how to stop remembering the memories that Jay and I shared. I feel so excited to the memories that we will about to make on our date.
“See you later,” he texted.
“See you, Baby,” I replied with a heart emoticon. I have to control myself because I don’t want Jay to feel that I’m cheap or easy to get, but I can’t help. Seeing Jay’s photos makes me think that he is the only prince that deserves my love and affection. He’s so irresistible. His being a prince makes me a princess.
Two classes have passed, and I almost did not notice it because Jay and I kept on texting. Mrs. Nevo and Mrs. De Jesus did not even notice that I kept on bending my head to peer on Jay’s texts. Maybe, it’s because I kept myself inactive for the past few days since I almost lost my interest in school. All my interest now has been diverted to Jay, my prince. Besides, my classmates were too active in their classes that they might not notice an ordinary student like me.
“Good morning, Mr. Ropi,” the class erupted as Mr. Ropi entered our classroom.
As much as I wanted to text Jay this time, I tried to be discreet because I know that Mr. Ropi has more than two eyes. He always notices anyone who does anything weird in the classroom even though texting in class seems not a weird thing nowadays after all.
My classmates, Jerica and Mylene, started their presentation on the theme and conflicts in Romeo and Juliet. While they were reading ideas they copied and pasted from Wikipedia, I tried to sneak a look on my phone.
“I can’t wait anymore, Baby. I am so excited,” Jay sent me, which is one of ten other unread messages in my messenger. I missed many of his texts. The thought of it startled me, so I tried to read his messages one by one.
The background of my classmates reporting and their monotone voice suddenly stopped, and I felt the whole world was watching me when Mr. Ropi called my attention.
He calmly uttered, “Wynona, why did Romeo suddenly lose her interest in Rosaline when he saw Juliet?”
I froze. I am guilty of my offense, yet Mr. Ropi did not make it obvious for asking me a question than to pinpoint my mistake. I am always impressed with his strategy including this. He took my attention, and he knew that I knew I had to stop whatever crazy thing I am doing right now.
I slid my phone in my pocket and tried to answer his question. Unexpectedly, I impressed him with my analysis. Although I did not read the entire manuscript of Romeo and Juliet, simply following the discussions once in a while made me understand the play. Because of that, I cleared myself from any offense against Sir Ropi.
As I sat on my chair, I suddenly thought about what I said.
“Romeo fell in love with Juliet because-let’s be honest-she’s beautiful. Of course, we know-men are attracted easily on what they see. They’re entirely visual. No offense to the male species in this room! Romeo’s actions might tell us that he’s in love with Juliet, but maybe he feels the same way he felt with Rosaline. Of course, I am not sure, but given those raw facts, I can’t help but to conclude that that’s it,” I forced those thoughts out of my mind that I never thought existed along the way since I was too preoccupied with my date with Jay.
What if, I am Romeo this time? Am I just attracted to Jay because of his looks or because of the Jay I tried to convince myself that exists. What if the Jay I always see on Facebook or the Jay I created is not the Jay I will find out in reality? Did Jay’s looks blind me all this time? As more questions overflowed inside my head, I started to doubt if I really should go on a date with Jay.
I reflect upon my own questions as few more reporters discussed why Romeo and Juliet experience a tragic end. The voices of my classmates echoed the answers that I need for my questions while my cell phone kept on vibrating giving me the signal that Jay kept on texting. I held it, and turned it off.
The information and ideas that I should know become the background of what is happening to me inside. I don’t want a tragic ending, and I don’t want to make a decision that I might regret. Before I lose all my interest in class, I have to return in a world that is more real-although real cannot be gradable as real or more real because it should be real or unreal only-before I’ll get lost in a world that I am really not sure about.
Besides, I don’t want to see my mother to be like Lady Capulet- or worse- Lady Montague. I love her even though she loves me unconditionally and I can never ever repay that as of the moment or even if I put my entire lifetime altogehter. Now, I still have to continue to love her by respecting her. To respect her is to make my dreams come true because when that happens, her dreams do come true as well.
Before the class ended, Mr. Ropi dictated our assignment, “Write your reflection on Romeo and Juliet.” After he said that, I have a vast of ideas to share. It made me smile.
When he left, I glanced if Mrs. Lar was already outside. I didn’t see her, so I grabbed my sandwiches and enjoyed the taste of my mother’s love. For me, that is more romantic than meeting whom I thought is already my Romeo.