Dear Andrew

I see so many posts about best friends. They all seemed cheesy to me, honestly. Like, yes, we get it, your best friend brings you food everyday, and he/she makes you smile, we get it. It’s not that I don’t believe in best friends. In fact, I do have one. It’s just that, well, I can’t seem to write a post about my best friend and express all I want to say about him without sounding cheesy. Oh well. That doesn’t qualify as an excuse for not trying, so I’ll give it my best shot.

 

Dear Joel Andrew Mallari,

 

First of all, thank you for being my best friend. Well, damn, it’s cheesy, what should I say? I need help telling you how much you mean to me, and how great you’ve impacted my life for the better, because to me, it’s like a mass noun. Well, what am I saying, of course it’s a mass noun, I can’t measure your kindness, your selflessness, and all your good qualities that you sadly fail to see. Thanks a lot.

 

What do I want to say to you? I’m not repeating all the things I’ve said on Messenger when you opened up to me about your feelings of self-hatred. Even if I keep on thanking you for being there when I had depression, it just doesn’t feel enough. What should I do, Andrew? What can I say to you here that will express all I’ve wanted to say to you?

 

Embarrassingly, I keep on having fantasies where either you or I am about to die, and that’s where I get to tell you all I’ve been meaning to tell you. We don’t need to go there, do we? What is it with the knowledge that death is coming soon that encourages people to tell all they’ve felt about a certain person to that person? Is it that when they die, that person will doubt forever about how much they meant to that dying person?

 

I’ve always wondered if it was possible to love someone not related to you without romantic feelings, just deep-seated love, admiration, and caring for that person. After being with you for a whole school year, I can definitely say yes. It was confusing at first, because I first thought that if you loved someone, you had to be interested in them and have romantic feelings for them. Maybe that’s why I’ve simply dismissed my feelings for you as something that will pass. But as time passed, I realized that maybe I actually loved you. More time passed before I realized that this love has been present ever since opening day. It has just developed over time. Of course, I’ve always let you tease me about my crush. Maybe those were only feelings of lust. You know our hormones. Always raging at the speed of light, but that doesn’t mean it’s gotta be tonight.

 

I like to think of myself as realistic. So when I had those realizations, I knew I couldn’t say it to you without sounding like I want to do the nasty to you. Yes, I’ve confessed it to you as well that I thought of doing the nasty to you, but that was me simply exploring whether it would work or not. Now that I’m sitting here, typing this, I am laughing at myself for entertaining those thoughts. So, don’t worry, I’m not interested in doing the nasty with you.

 

Now that I’m reading my thoughts, I realize what type of love I have for you. You’re like the brother I’ve never had. So, I guess it’s brotherly love. Bromance? Hmmm, will think about that later.

 

Oh well. That’s all I have to say to you (for now).

 

Thank you for being the eldest brother I’ve never had (I know, I’m older than you, but TBH, IDC.)

 

Love,

A. Garrett Lubag

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Before I go to sleep, Depression talks to me

This story is basically my take at depressed self-loathing Caleb. I wrote it to try and show how it feels like when depression hits me. Take note that this is only one way depression affects people. Sometimes, it can also mean feeling empty. Here it goes. Trigger warning: implied self-harm, suicidal thoughts, depressing thoughts. Explicit.

Caleb just wanted to sleep and escape into nothingness.

Right now, it’s 12:20 a.m. He couldn’t sleep, and voices kept popping up in his head, which are quite abusive to him. He knows it was just one voice, since it always yells bad things about him. it just has the ability to morph into voices of other people. Mostly, it’s his voice, but it changes to others as well.

“Worthless. Liar. Skinny, as they all say, or fat, as you see? Hahaha, you can’t seem to agree with yourself of who you are, can you?”, whispers the voice in his head. He shudders.

“Such a piece of shit. I still wonder how on Earth Leo is still friends with you. After all, isn’t he right about the fact that you are, let’s list it down, rude, anorexic, depressed, suicidal, and, well, it’s too long to mention.”, the voice continued, snickering.

“Didn’t it feel so good when you dragged something sharp across your forearm and see the scratch? Why couldn’t you do it again? Oh wait, you’ll hurt everyone with what you do to yourself. , it seems as if it’s the only thing you can do: hurt everyone, hmm?”

Caleb was crying silently. He was thankful all his other roommates were asleep. The voice’s right, how could he still keep on living? Why was he still eating the food other poor hungry people need more than him? He tried to read a Johnlock fanfic where John comforts Sherlock during one of Sherlock’s depressive episodes. To him, reading fanfics about characters being helped mentally and emotionally by other characters comforts him. He gets the feeling of comfort that he isn’t alone. That others have the same problem as him.

“Oh how sweet. Sherlock at least has John to remind him he’s worthy of life. Don’t you wish Leo would be able to do the same to you?” the voice mocks. “To be the one who you could cry on his shoulder and be the one to hug you? Oh, in your dreams kid. You know he hates to touch an evil, twisted anomaly like you. Plus, why would he even remind you that?”

Caleb decided to have a conversation with the voice.

“Hello depression.”

“Hello Caleb.”

“Why are you still here?”

“I don’t know, you ask me, bitch.”

“Fine. I wish you were gone.”

“Well duh. Everyone’s asking you to do your best to make me go away. They don’t understand, though.”

“I know. It’s so hard for people to understand how I feel.”

“That’s why I’m here. I’m the one who understands you a lot. I can sympathise with all the pain you have inside.”

“Funny, how you say it like you are not the one who causes it.”

“Ever heard of the term ‘the ugly truth’, bitch?”, the voice asked sarcastically. “When you let it all out, I make sure you do what you think you deserve.”

“Why do you convince me that killing myself is the only way out?”

“Caleb, when you die, this pain you feel inside you will go away. You will never make anyone mad at you for doing bad stuff. Plus, you deserve this.”

“But, I’ll end up hurting people I love.”

“They’ll understand as they move on with their lives. They can sell your stuff for money. Your parents save money in the long term. Right? You can give your iPhone to Leo. He’ll have more fun with you phone than with you. Plus, why would they need you anyway?”

“I don’t know. Honestly, there are people who love me a lot, even if I don’t deserve it, so I should probably do them a favour and stay alive.”

“Fine, be that way. Just so you know, I’m always ready to help you achieve death if you think otherwise.”

“Should I even believe you? All those times I tried your suggestions, I failed, and you laughed at me told me I was too weak to do what had to be done.”

“Well, they are good ones. You’re just too weak to follow through.”

“Oh well. Good night.”

“Good night, Caleb. Enjoy your dreams of suicide.”

Short story: Caleb’s OTPs(?)

Caleb thought about school in his bed. Wait, scratch that, he thought about his OTPs (One True Pairing). Before you dismiss him as irresponsible, take note that he has pulled an all-nighter for the sake of studying for exams. Let’s continue.

Caleb sighed. As much as he wanted the ship to happen, Leo/Rita just wasn’t going to be a thing. Yes, Leo liked Rita, but there was absolutely no sign from Rita saying that she liked Leo. All Caleb saw was a sermon given by Rita to Leo for not being cooperative with the play. In fangirl terms, this was canon. Leo/Rose had more hope, but for some reason, Leo still denied the possibility of being friends with Rose. Plus, when they weren’t on good terms, they cursed at each other in Spanish and Italian, respectively. Humph, next!

Jerry/Cam? Oh hell no! Just by appearance and by behaviour, it was obvious it would never work out! Cam was petite, but very bitchy sometimes (especially during rehearsals for the play, but he understood), and Jerry was like the perverted version of the BFG. This was obviously not his OTP. Next!

Caleb/Mae? Nah, he already got over Mae because he found out she was “pabebe”, and anyway, his eyes seemed to be more attracted to Fianza (who is a boy, but he was ok with that). Caleb/Fianza? He wasn’t sure. He kept on telling Fianza he was handsome, cute, and other positive adjectives, but Fianza didn’t seem to listen. Plus, Fianza denied Caleb’s brownie (which was so good because Jerry’s mom baked it). As much as it hurt, he knew it wouldn’t work. Next!

Axel/Clarisse? Now this had a lot of hope. The two were the main characters in the play ran by the section itself, and they were supposed to act as lovers who tragically found out they were siblings. Plus, Axel posted pictures of his conversation with Clarisse. Fluff overload, he thought dreamily. Hmm, need to think about more later. Next!

Porkie/Narcissus? Ok, he was biased here, but he didn’t want this to happen. Narcissus was his annoying classmate that’s disruptive AF during class, and his personality screams “babaero”. Porkie was a cute sweet shy girl that likes Facebook and needs to control her laughter during recitation in Math. She certainly didn’t deserve Narcissus! Next!

Oh wait, that’s all. Oh well, I need to sleep anyway, Caleb sighed as he entered the world of dreams.

 

Depression and ADHD

Hey guys. Sorry if I haven’t updated my blog for some time, what with PSHS being so demanding with requirements. I’ve been diagnosed with depression, and it isn’t a walk in the park, but i think I’m getting a bit better. It’s been vicious, and my friends and my parents know that too well. Self-harm, purging, crying spells, and, well, you get the idea. I was (or maybe I still am?) self-destructive. I’ve gotten over the self-harm, and purging, but my crying spells and suicidal thoughts come often still.

Being a student diagnosed with ADHD and depression is twice as hard as being a normal student. It takes a lot of effort to start on requirements, and finish them, as you will not see the point in finishing it because you will still fail. You don’t really care about your personal appearance. Your friends may also be annoyed with your behaviour, and call you “emo”. (Yes, I’ve been called that by my best friend). You feel ashamed for all the negative thoughts in your mind because they’re like a painful truth, even if it doesn’t seem like it to others. (“Oh Garrett, why are you still entertaining these thoughts?”, said one dormer). You absolutely cannot stand noise and need to be in a quiet place, which will never be granted because that damn disruptive classmate of yours just won’t shut up. You listen to emotional music every time you need a pick-me-up, which means belting out “Bring Me To Life” in the bathroom. Negative criticism about you hurts more than it should.

There are nights where you feel the need to cry into your pillow. Every time you take your anti-depressants, you feel numb. You don’t get excited over stuff that you love to do. Your poker face becomes a mask; it hides your sadness. Your grades are slowly dropping, yet you can’t find the will to even care about them anymore. Sometimes, you wonder if you have bipolar disorder because sometimes, your ADHD makes you hyperactive and make you look like you’re bouncing off the walls, but then depression strikes, and you suddenly become lethargic and quiet.This is how it feels like to be depressed and have ADHD as a student.

I’ve been diagnosed with it in the late 2015, and so far, my coping method is sleeping. The first one was cutting, then crying. I’ve also had body image issues.

My best friend, Andrew Mallari, was my rock. He supported me during the good times, and the bad times. He also got mad at me sometimes, yes, but he always apologized because he felt the consequences (which was me having another crying spell in the bathroom, and suicidal thoughts for being a bad friend). During the times I didn’t eat lunch, he nagged me to eat lunch. Now, he keeps waking me up every time I sleep in school.

It isn’t anyone’s fault for my depression. I have to remind myself that over and over. Sometimes, though, I fantasize about everyone rejoicing over my death. I know it’s wrong, and that no one will ever be happy if I killed myself, but I get blinded by twisted fantasies of me jumping over the bridge, shooting myself with a revolver, drowning, then it all disappears and I’m back to normal. That was how it usually happened.

I always get reminded by people though how much they mean to me. One time, I chatted with Andrew a way to die without hurting anyone and he said that wouldn’t work. He also said he would demand Hades to let me go. Mom always reminds me of how much I mean to her.

Everyday, I’m one day closer to dying. Sometimes, I use that knowledge to wait for that day, other days, it’s an encouragement to get up and do something. I just hope I use it more often as the latter.

Short story continuation

Caleb couldn’t remember exactly why he cut himself with scissors that Monday night 2 weeks ago. 10 marks on his left arm that disappeared after 2 weeks. All he knew was that everyone had a sympathetic/worried reaction, with him promising he wouldn’t do it again.

All he could remember was him thinking about all the negative comments about him said by TJ that seemed to be on repeat every night. Mom got so worried. Maybe that was why she gave him The Science of Happiness. Why she made sure to ask how was he feeling. She wouldn’t like it if she found out what was happening in school.

It started with Caleb having to take Concerta again this week. TJ knew already, because Caleb’s mom texted him about his situation. Maybe he had hopes that his talking would be under control that weren’t met. That could explain why he said offhand, “Why doesn’t his Concerta seem to work?” Ouch. That hurt. It works. You just don’t see it, because I’m alone.  Then you’ve got Leo asking, “Why you’ve got to be so depressed and sh*t like that?” I’m sorry. It’s my medicine. And I’m not depressed, thank you very much..  Plus the fact that he couldn’t be with mom on her birthday. Ouch. All those things could explain why his feet rushed him inside the bathroom. Why he felt relief after hitting his head on the wall. Why, for some reason, the pain on his head calmed him down. That was during the morning. Leo found out that moment when Caleb confessed what he did. He really couldn’t keep anything a secret, could he? He appreciated Leo’s efforts in cheering him up. This was one of the only things in school that make him happy.

Lunchtime. He did the same thing, except he yelled to himself all his thoughts. Too loud, in fact, that TJ overheard what he said. He confronted Caleb later, telling him, “Stop being depressed!”

He wished he could easily; stop hitting yourself on the head and smile a lot. But he couldn’t. At least, not the easy way. Hitting his head on the bathroom walls was how he coped with the pain. Not physical pain, more of emotional. Like a safety valve.

On Wednesday, Caleb went through the bathroom ordeal again, except that:

  1. Leo caught him during the morning. Caleb’s reason was because he cursed himself for forgetting that the people who failed their long test in Math already had a failing tentative grade, and were lamenting about it.
  2. TJ and Callie caught him during lunchtime. Caleb felt lonely and couldn’t reason with his heart that at least 16 people cared about him.

Leo was totally convinced Caleb was depressed. He forced him to go to the guidance counsellor.

“You’re depressed!”

“I am not depressed, Leo!”

“Yeah right. Then what’s with the head-banging on the walls?”

“It’s how I cope with the pain of feeling lonely and isolated.”

“I’ve got more reasons on why I’m a social outcast.”

“Then why not you go to the guidance counsellor?”

“Mine’s just petty, yours is worse, depression and sh*t like that.”

“I’m not depressed. It’s the medicine. Although I did do the cutting before I took it.”

“So you mean that the medicine amplified your feelings of sadness?”

“I guess so.”

“Ok, you really need to go to the guidance counsellor.”

“Ugh, fine.”

And to the guidance counsellor they went, with the guidance counsellor listening to the whole story and trying to give alternatives to hitting his head on the wall, like writing, because what Caleb did is self-harm, and not only he will get hurt, his loved ones too will.

As he went back to the classroom, Caleb decided to write what happened, as suggested. He did need to update his blog, after all. While listening to Leo explain all the instances that serve as proof that people hate him, knowing that the truth was, not everyone hated him. He was living proof.

The best moments this day, though, was when he heard Leo sing. It was very rare, because he never sung in public. He didn’t interrupt, for fear of the song stopping mid-way.

On Thursday, what made him stop the habit was seeing Leo look depressed. He rushed to the bathroom after trying to get Ishi’s attention about their music practicals and failing to do so.  Caleb followed to be sure. He saw him inside the locked stall, just inside. He stayed for a while and asked, “Leo? Are you in there?” Leo opened the door, and Caleb saw his sad face for the first time. Let’s just say, it broke him.

It turns out he had enough of being ignored by friends. Caleb listened to him, ignoring TJ’s advice of talking to everyone. Besides, he didn’t talk to Leo. The whole day, he was always with Leo, making sure he didn’t feel ignored. Maybe that was why he told me he was a social outcast. He listened to all the things he said, ignoring the heaviness in his heart when he said, “I don’t think that I’m better out of the picture. I am already out of the picture.”

“But you always talk to other classmates.”

“Only about jokes and brain teasers. Other than that, I’m always ignored by everyone.”

“Really? What about me?”

“Except you, of course. I mean other people.”

“Leo, not everyone ignores you. You have people who care about you, even if you don’t see them.”

“Give me 20 people that care about me. Aside from you and my relatives.”

“…”

“See?”

Their conversation wasn’t always sad, though. Sometimes, they would talk about happy stuff, like their fandoms, jokes in school, and brain teasers. Leo even helped Caleb review for ValEd.

That night, when Mom called, Caleb told her everything. Mom said, “You should stick with Leo. You have lots in common, and plus, I think he needs you.”

The rest of the call was a blur. All Caleb could remember were two things:

  1. Mom said Leo needed him.
  2. The holiday was moved to Sept. 25, their Scholar’s Night.

That night too, Camelot told TJ and Caleb everything he researched about depression. Leo wasn’t the only one totally convinced about Caleb being depressed.

On Friday, Leo and Caleb talked about what happened yesterday. Caleb asked, “I’m not sure whether I need you, or you need me, and- “

“That’s true.”

“Do you still think I’m depressed?”

“Yeah.”

“Is it because I’m more quiet than usual?”

“Yeah.”

They were interrupted when they saw their teacher coming. They rushed to their classroom in time.

English was fun, ComSci was like the Oracle prophesizing the scariest news: the periodic examination. During their Integrated Science Period that turned into free time, Caleb typed what happened so far. He was pleasantly surprised when he learnt that Tiger wrote a fanfic before.

Lunch was a disaster. TJ made Tiger lose her appetite by making her focus on the earthworm under the bench. At first, Caleb was alone. Then, Tiger joined, then TJ, lastly Sonic. The four discussed about the irony of Caleb’s ADHD.

Math was ok. Students who didn’t recite that much were forced to discuss their answers in the quiz in front of the class. Narcissus replaced Porky, seeing that she was struggling with words.

The Filipino Long Test was not as hard as Caleb expected. The only hard part was the songs of the pre-colonial Filipinos.

The weekdays officially ended with Caleb and his parents sleeping in dad’s condominium for the visit to the psychologist the next day.

Short story continuation

Caleb couldn’t remember exactly why he cut himself with scissors that Monday night 2 weeks ago. 10 marks on his left arm that disappeared after 2 weeks. All he knew was that everyone had a sympathetic/worried reaction, with him promising he wouldn’t do it again.

All he could remember was him thinking about all the negative comments about him said by TJ that seemed to be on repeat every night. Mom got so worried. Maybe that was why she gave him The Science of Happiness. Why she made sure to ask how was he feeling. She wouldn’t like it if she found out what was happening in school.

It started with Caleb having to take Concerta again this week. TJ knew already, because Caleb’s mom texted him about his situation. Maybe he had hopes that his talking would be under control that weren’t met. That could explain why he said offhand, “Why doesn’t his Concerta seem to work?” Ouch. That hurt. It works. You just don’t see it, because I’m alone.  Then you’ve got Leo asking, “Why you’ve got to be so depressed and sh*t like that?” I’m sorry. It’s my medicine. And I’m not depressed, thank you very much..  Plus the fact that he couldn’t be with mom on her birthday. Ouch. All those things could explain why his feet rushed him inside the bathroom. Why he felt relief after hitting his head on the wall. Why, for some reason, the pain on his head calmed him down. That was during the morning. Leo found out that moment when Caleb confessed what he did. He really couldn’t keep anything a secret, could he? He appreciated Leo’s efforts in cheering him up. This was one of the only things in school that make him happy.

Lunchtime. He did the same thing, except he yelled to himself all his thoughts. Too loud, in fact, that TJ overheard what he said. He confronted Caleb later, telling him, “Stop being depressed!”

He wished he could easily; stop hitting yourself on the head and smile a lot. But he couldn’t. At least, not the easy way. Hitting his head on the bathroom walls was how he coped with the pain. Not physical pain, more of emotional. Like a safety valve.

On Wednesday, Caleb went through the bathroom ordeal again, except that:

  1. Leo caught him during the morning. Caleb’s reason was because he cursed himself for forgetting that the people who failed their long test in Math already had a failing tentative grade, and were lamenting about it.
  2. TJ and Callie caught him during lunchtime. Caleb felt lonely and couldn’t reason with his heart that at least 16 people cared about him.

Leo was totally convinced Caleb was depressed. He forced him to go to the guidance counsellor.

“You’re depressed!”

“I am not depressed, Leo!”

“Yeah right. Then what’s with the head-banging on the walls?”

“It’s how I cope with the pain of feeling lonely and isolated.”

“I’ve got more reasons on why I’m a social outcast.”

“Then why not you go to the guidance counsellor?”

“Mine’s just petty, yours is worse, depression and sh*t like that.”

“I’m not depressed. It’s the medicine. Although I did do the cutting before I took it.”

“So you mean that the medicine amplified your feelings of sadness?”

“I guess so.”

“Ok, you really need to go to the guidance counsellor.”

“Ugh, fine.”

And to the guidance counsellor they went, with the guidance counsellor listening to the whole story and trying to give alternatives to hitting his head on the wall, like writing, because what Caleb did is self-harm, and not only he will get hurt, his loved ones too will.

As he went back to the classroom, Caleb decided to write what happened, as suggested. He did need to update his blog, after all. While listening to Leo explain all the instances that serve as proof that people hate him, knowing that the truth was, not everyone hated him. He was living proof.

The best moments this day, though, was when he heard Leo sing. It was very rare, because he never sung in public. He didn’t interrupt, for fear of the song stopping mid-way.

On Thursday, what made him stop the habit was seeing Leo look depressed. He rushed to the bathroom after trying to get Ishi’s attention about their music practicals and failing to do so.  Caleb followed to be sure. He saw him inside the locked stall, just inside. He stayed for a while and asked, “Leo? Are you in there?” Leo opened the door, and Caleb saw his sad face for the first time. Let’s just say, it broke him.

It turns out he had enough of being ignored by friends. Caleb listened to him, ignoring TJ’s advice of talking to everyone. Besides, he didn’t talk to Leo. The whole day, he was always with Leo, making sure he didn’t feel ignored. Maybe that was why he told me he was a social outcast. He listened to all the things he said, ignoring the heaviness in his heart when he said, “I don’t think that I’m better out of the picture. I am already out of the picture.”

“But you always talk to other classmates.”

“Only about jokes and brain teasers. Other than that, I’m always ignored by everyone.”

“Really? What about me?”

“Except you, of course. I mean other people.”

“Leo, not everyone ignores you. You have people who care about you, even if you don’t see them.”

“Give me 20 people that care about me. Aside from you and my relatives.”

“…”

“See?”

Their conversation wasn’t always sad, though. Sometimes, they would talk about happy stuff, like their fandoms, jokes in school, and brain teasers. Leo even helped Caleb review for ValEd.

That night, when Mom called, Caleb told her everything. Mom said, “You should stick with Leo. You have lots in common, and plus, I think he needs you.”

The rest of the call was a blur. All Caleb could remember were two things:

  1. Mom said Leo needed him.
  2. The holiday was moved to Sept. 25, their Scholar’s Night.

That night too, Camelot told TJ and Caleb everything he researched about depression. Leo wasn’t the only one totally convinced about Caleb being depressed.

On Friday, Leo and Caleb talked about what happened yesterday. Caleb asked, “I’m not sure whether I need you, or you need me, and- “

“That’s true.”

“Do you still think I’m depressed?”

“Yeah.”

“Is it because I’m more quiet than usual?”

“Yeah.”

They were interrupted when they saw their teacher coming. They rushed to their classroom in time.

English was fun, ComSci was like the Oracle prophesizing the scariest news: the periodic examination. During their Integrated Science Period that turned into free time, Caleb typed what happened so far. He was pleasantly surprised when he learnt that Tiger wrote a fanfic before.

Lunch was a disaster. TJ made Tiger lose her appetite by making her focus on the earthworm under the bench. At first, Caleb was alone. Then, Tiger joined, then TJ, lastly Sonic. The four discussed about the irony of Caleb’s ADHD.

Math was ok. Students who didn’t recite that much were forced to discuss their answers in the quiz in front of the class. Narcissus replaced Porky, seeing that she was struggling with words.

The Filipino Long Test was not as hard as Caleb expected. The only hard part was the songs of the pre-colonial Filipinos.

The weekdays officially ended with Caleb and his parents sleeping in dad’s condominium for the visit to the psychologist the next day.

Short story for fun (my friends know what this really means)

Caleb was pissed. He was so excited for the club’s next meeting, and yet it was postponed. He was at least with his best friend, Leo. They were both obsessed over Percy Jackson, and his laptop was full of PJO fan art and head canons from Instagram, so they had fun staring at them and laughing. Caleb had enough.

“Come on! The guidance counsellor said this meeting was important!” whined Caleb.

“Well, his business is more ‘important’ than this important meeting.”, replied Leo.

“We’ve seen all the fan art and head canons, right?”

“Yeah. Oh god, my stomach hurts.”

“Well, let’s go outside.”

And out they went. The cafeteria was there, and it was often their class’s favourite hangout, so there were his classmates playing truth or dare. Maris was the most active player in the game. As the two passed by, Maris yelled “Hey Caleb!”

Caleb asked “Why?” You never knew with Maris. Maris was the best in Math, but today, Caleb and Leo were the Top 1 in the class’s superlong seat work; 45 out of 53. Other than that, she was the Math guidance counsellor. 

Maris said, “This is just a dare, ok? Mae, tell him already.” What is she going to say?     Mae said three numbers, “1-4-3”. She seemed embarrassed about it. Caleb didn’t get why, but Leo did. He pulled Caleb. “Ok, we gotta go now. Bye!”

When the duo was far away, Leo explained the three numbers. “Caleb, she said I love you.”

“How?”

“I don’t know, it’s just like that.” Caleb felt a bit sad and wistful about what she said. You see, she was Caleb’s crush. Not a severe case, ok maybe, but she was who Caleb thought of as the prettiest girl in class. She was just, well, simple and natural. Her simple and graceful manners, and her face, which was just so pretty, and attractive, and her long flowing hair bouncing about while she walks. The best part? He’s the only one fawning over her. Which meant no enemies. The bad part? Some of his friends knew already about it. (Darn you truth or dare.)

Caleb was smart. He knew she was forced to say that. That made him sad. What made him wistful was what if she really meant it. He still wishes he could ask her out to Starbucks. 

Leo knew already. He was also in that truth or dare game that revealed it all. (Again, darn you truth or dare.) Caleb decided to tell his thoughts to Leo. Leo simply nodded in agreement, while trying not to think about Caleb and Mae kissing in the rain. Just like the scene in The Notebook. 

Caleb, on the other hand, was on a fangirling outbreak after telling his thoughts. He wasn’t always obsessed about her. Sometimes he was obsessed over his favourite book series. And, yes, he was also obsessed with his favourite characters doing mushy gushy stuff. (Thank you Fanfiction.net).    

Dismissal time came and Caleb and Leo went their own separate ways. Leo goes home daily; Caleb stays in the dorm. Time flitted by while he did the usual routine; give his ID, dump his bag on the floor beside his bunk bed, get his clothes from his luggage, change into clean clothes, and rest on the bed. Then, he talked to his friends, TJ and Einstein, about major events in school, homework and quizzes, and etc.

TJ told Caleb, “You know, I really think you should try to lower your volume when you talk to Leo.”

Caleb winced. He knew this was coming. It had been going on for weeks. Caleb liked to talk to Leo (a lot) about PJO, school stuff, fanfics, and etc. 

“Oh. Is it too loud again?”

“Yeah. So many of our classmates are starting to complain about you.”

“Oh no. Maybe I should take Concerta again.” My ADHD’s getting worse! It can’t be like in Grade 4! 

“What’s Concerta?”

“Well, Concerta is a stimulant I used to take before. That one made me more focused, and quiet, but it had side effects; I couldn’t sleep well, I start to lose weight, I get depressed, and I stopped after three years.”

“Maybe you should take it again.”

“I don’t know, whenever I tell mom, she’s like, Oh you shouldn’t say that, I thought you can control your ADHD.”

“Have you noticed Ron is getting stressed lately?”

“Kind of. Last time, in ComSci, he sounded really stressed about the reporting.”

“He failed the long test in Math. You know, Caleb, he’s the guy who can’t stand losing.”

“Oh, so he tries to show that he contributed to the winners?”

“Yep. Remember during English during the skits when you and Einstein got the Best Actor Award?”

“Yes.”

“He tried to day, ‘Oh, I was the one who helped him act, with the emotions.’”

“Oh.”

“Oh, um, TJ, why were you so sad when you failed the math long test?”

“It was the first time I failed in Math!”

“Oh. Nah, I’m used to it.”

“My Math Tentative Grade is going to go down.”

“Maybe mine, too.”

 “Let’s eat dinner.”

 “Sure.”

They got their wallets and water bottles and went down to the mess hall. Dinner was meh. The only good part in dinner was when Ewell came over. She’s a friend of Caleb and everyone. They chatted for a long time, then went back to their dorm room to get ready for Study Period, aka “Give your phones to us, you need to study”, usually starting and ending w/ a bell. TJ, Caleb, Albert, and Chris talked to each other before Study Period.

Study Period started. First, dormers surrendered their phones. Second, they submitted their request forms to use the laptop signed by teachers to the Dorm Manager or Assistant (if they have any. It’s for those who have to use their laptops.) Then, those who need to use their laptops should go to the mess hall to study, while those who don’t have a choice to go down or stay up.

Caleb went down with his laptop bag into the mess hall. He took out his Macbook Air and got so many comments about him being RK (Rich Kid), much to his dismay. He inserted his USB, clicked on the PowerPoints, and rad them. One by one. He didn’t really take notes; he already wrote them down during class. He does this for some time, then decides to close his laptop, and go up to finish his written assignments., together with his dorm mates. He really doesn’t like crowds that much. They’re too noisy. That narcissistic classmate who tries to flirt with girls with his corny pickup lines, study groups that are not the same section as him, guys and gals drawing anime, nope. Yep, his introvert side is popping up. He’s too talkative to be an introvert, though.

Study time was over. People rushed to get their phones back and get called by their parents. Caleb gets his phone, goes up to his dorm room, prepares his stuff for tomorrow, then crashes on his bed. The end of another day, he thought, making a mental note to wake up to his alarm tomorrow.

Love is in the (P)air

Back in school, me and my classmates used to create couples. Yes, we shipped them. No, I don’t remember mixing their names together. (To ship two people means to fantasize about them going out together, btw, but the Grade 6 did mix the names of their couples. You’ve got AirBag (Gab and Ria) and S&R (Sean and Ria), to name a few.) My otp (one true pairing, meaning your favorite ship) was Ketiara (Karl and Tiara, don’t kill me on social media).

I’m not an adult, but I’m guessing the shipping still continues. Not just with women, but also with men. Really, guys, I know you’re thinking of friends who you suspect will tie the knot with their significant other. With women, they love chatting with each other about the latest gossip about celebrities.

I’m about to enter my teenage years, and I’m guessing that the shipping is going to get more interesting and intense. I know friendship issues are going to get more serious, because I have experienced some, and at this point I can’t answer this question confidently: Who are you going to be when you grow up? People start out like that, but not everyone gets the job they want.

Face it, at some point in school you chanted this: (insert name) and (insert name) sitting on a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G! It drove the couple insane with embarrassment. What if adults did that to their attached friends? Would that be okay? Maybe not.

Love is in the air, not just for adults and teens, but for kids too. Everyone had a crush at some point. I won’t lie to you when I say that I tried to kiss a girl in Grade 1. In Grade 4, Eli proposed to Rose. (I’ve clipped their names for less embarrassment). However, if you’re too young to think about your special someone, then let your love show to your parents. Who says they can’t be your special someone?

Memory Recovery

When your grandmother gets so old,

She can’t remember anything, as what you’re told

You show her pictures of herself back then

While you and your parents were still in heaven

And your grandmother was a child before.

II

Her picture of herself with her playmates

Her graduation picture full of batch mates,

Her picture of her ex-boyfriend

And her shattered heart she had to mend

Now show her the picture of the day at the beach.

III

The memory process has  just begun,

If you just started something, you’re obviously not done.

There are many more pictures you have to show,

Because you started the process a while ago.

She’ll soon remember the memories she has forgotten.

IV

You might not be able to finish,

When she dies, her memories forever diminish.

Just remember, if that happens, you did your best,

You both enjoyed the process, and you did it with zest.

Now, she’s with her Creator at eternal rest.

This poem was our English written project for 2nd trim. My topic is Forgotten Memory.

Pawikan Encounter and Community Immersion in Morong, Bataan.

We had a three-day school trip in Bataan from December 19 to December 21. We were not tourists. We worked hard, and by work, I mean physical work. Even though it was like that, it was still fun, I’m happy to say.

Let’s start from the very beginning. I woke up at 1:30 a.m. Wow, that’s early. Yes, I know, when we were prepared already and went to the subdivision gate, it was still closed because it was still curfew time. When my mom and I were at the school, I dragged my luggage to the school entrance, which consisted of:

– a big trolley bag,

– a field bag with many colourful pockets

– a tent

– a red bucket from Orocan with my surname on it with a steel scrubber and a wooden scrubber

Once I got inside, I found myself in a maze full of students. I didn’t know where to go. Luckily, my bus mate, Iñigo, helped direct me to where I was supposed to be. I got inside the classroom, and I found myself with my classmates in jackets, jogging pants, and sandals. I saw one of my classmates, Franz, who wore a ski mask and looked like a future Abu Sayaff terrorist. Another one of my classmates, Karl, brought boxer shorts, which was against the rules for camp clothes. Ramon and Aki were talking about Clash of Clans. Rose showed me how many types of medicine she brought.

During departure time, Iñigo and I dragged our luggage with a bundle of books in our hands to the bus. Our big bags went under the bus with the buckets and brushes. Our field bags and  the bundles of books went with us inside the bus.

It was 3 a.m when we left, yet the bus time said 11 p.m. I was not in the window seat, that’s where Iñigo sat. On my left was a Grade 8 student, Ellie. In front of me was my closest friend Bettina. Beside her was her cousin and my previous crush Tiara. I was on the right side of the bus, 3rd row from the front. Behind me was another Grade 8 student Cheska. Beside her was Hannah Dy, who looked like Bob Marley with her striped bonnet and jacket.

During the trip, we were supposed to go to our stopover at NLEX. The whole trip to the stopover, my bus mate and I were struggling to sleep. When we got to the stopover, we ate at Jollibee. I chose a 1 pc. chicken value that cost 87 pesos with drink. It was only after I sat down and drank medicine that Bettina reminded me that we were not supposed to drink soft drinks. I threw my Coke down the sink. After that, I did something I regret. I bought batteries which were so expensive that I spent almost all of my pocket money.

Part 2 of the trip was to go to the mangrove in Subic. There was one incident I will never forget. One of my classmates needed to go to the comfort room. To relieve the stress, he peed in the bottle. We shared snacks in the bus. We passed snacks to each other in the bus. I was requested many times to pass this thing to this person and so on and so forth.

We had a comfort room stopover in Subic. Many people went out the bus to relieve the stress. I wasn’t one of the people who needed to do so. They all told me the male and the female bathrooms were so stinky they had to pinch their noses.

We got to the mangrove. Unfortunately we were not allowed to go inside. So, we went ahead to the Bantay Pawikan Conservation Centre.

When we got there, we were ordered to bring bags inside, regardless of ownership. We did. I felt sorry for the one who had to drag my trolley bag along the sand, as I imagined it was hard to do so. I also had a hard time finding my bag among the other bags.

We assembled in the auditorium. The shape was circular, which is the best shape for an auditorium because everyone can see and hear the speaker. The only problem is that it takes up lots of space.

The speaker was the founder of the conservation centre, Manolo Ibias. He and the other volunteers were exploiters of the pawikan before. It was only during 1999 that they turned around and became the protectors of sea turtles. They do all the hard work of protecting sea turtles without pay. They’re an NGO.

We were divided into committees beforehand. I was one of the pawikan caretakers. We might as well be named the janitorial committee because we had to clean the bathroom regularly, and we were supposed to wash the dishes, but we didn’t do the latter, only the former. Yuck, you say. Fun, we say, because we jokingly called our chore aqua hockey. You use a walis ting-ting as the stick, or any other thing used for cleaning, and water as the puck. The goal net was a gutter, which often got clogged. People got wet, either intentionally got wet, or unintentionally got wet. The other committees were the masons, who were responsible for projects involving concrete, the painters, who were responsible for painting classroom walls, the artists, who made a mural, and the carollers, which I was involved in, which I will expand later.

We celebrated when we had grilled pork chop for dinner, because it was a well-deserved break from the soup-based meals that we had to eat for 3 days.

We had a merit-demerit system. I remembered quite clearly that if your feet got wet by the waves, that was considered swimming. And swimming was prohibited, and would automatically get you 500 demerits for your house unless told by the teachers you can do so, a messy tent also got you demerits. Only prefects could give demerits, and only teachers could give merits.

If you’re wondering about the houses I mentioned earlier, this is what you should know. We were divided into houses. A house was a group of students from each level in the Bataan trip. Our houses were named after names of turtle in different languages. The houses were Penyu (Javanese), Kura Kura (Indonesian), Rua bien (I don’t know what language) and Tao (Thai). My house was Tao. My bus mate was in house Tao too.

I participated in the Christmas program, since I was one of the carollers. I sang Jingle Bell Rock with Grade 8 students: Eldrick, Luigi, Ash, and a Grade 9 student, Jeremiah. I gave my gift to a boy named Ayin. He was in grade 3. He peeked through the hole  in the brown bag. He seemed excited. I felt great sharing something and the smile on his face.

We got to see a mother pawikan laying eggs. It was during the wee hours of the morning when a motorcycle came and told us they spotted a pawikan laying eggs. We lined up by house and started jogging. One thing you should know about jogging in the beach: It was tiring because each foot seemed to sink in the sand while you jog. I was struggling to keep up with the group, but I got left behind with Athena and Zoren, both Grade 8 students, who were also struggling to keep up. Zoren is asthmatic, but he was able to keep up for a while. Athena stayed by my side while she kept moaning about how tiring it was. In the end, we saw the pawikan laying eggs with the group. The pawikan was laying eggs that were the size of a table tennis ball, only a bit smaller. When it was done, it covered the nest with sand and went to sea. We had to quickly get the eggs and put them in the insulated egg bags or else the eggs would die from the cold. They used my egg bag and someone else’s insulated lunch bag.

Some eggs hatched and hatchlings came out. The teachers said they would prioritize the Grade 8, since they will not go to Bataan next year. However, they included some Grade 7 students, as long as they woke up from 5 to 6 a.m. I was included. I named my hatchling Amber and set it free to sea.

I participated in the sandcastle building contest. Each house had to make sand pawikans, and the words “Help save the Pawikans”. I think our house won 2nd or 3rd place because of the wrong punctuation mark. Iñigo, Francóis, Cheska, Melody, and I participated as house Tao. The group assigned me to find shells for decoration. I diligently searched the sand for some shells. Some were small, some were big, some were pretty, and some were just plain white.

I liked swimming in the beach. Don’t worry, there were times when the teachers allowed us to swim. We loved high tide the best. There is something about the beach that lets you enjoy being dragged and pushed by the waves.

That wasn’t the whole trip. When we left, we headed for Dambana ng Kagitingan (Shrine of Valor). When we got there, we saw writing on the wall, about The Battle of Bataan. It sends shivers on your head as you read the true story that ends on another wall. Inside were war remnants of WWII. They showed pictures of what happened during WWII, guns that were used by the US and Filipinos, a 3D replica of the war map with lights showing where the Americans and Japanese were. I can only write about what’s inside the place because you’re not allowed to take pictures there.

After that, we headed to our last stopover in NLEX through San Fernando. To take our minds out of the length of the trip, the driver played a movie titled “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”. It seemed as if I’ve seen it before, but my bus mate, Iñigo, saw it for the first time. I wondered if Naomi Watts starred in that movie because it seemed so. The hero seemed familiar, as if I saw him in another movie, but I forgot his name.

When we got to our stopover at Jollibee, I learnt my lesson and ordered iced tea instead of Coke. I sat with a Grade 8 student, Enrico, my classmate, Pipo, and someone I forgot. We were talking about this and that, which I will not mention to save privacy. I ate the same thing I ate last time during our first stopover. I moved to Bettina’s and Tiara’s table, and we talked about Instagram, our experiences in Bataan, gossip about this person who did that, and so on.

Thus, this trip came to an end. We ended our trip with a prayer led by Sir Henry. When we got off the bus, we greeted and hugged each other Merry Christmas. Then, we got our bags and went home to celebrate Christmas with our family. On January 5,  we’ll see each other again, and make the most out of the little time left in school because others will transfer to other schools.  The bad news is that I am among those who will transfer to another school. The good news is that I’m moving to Philippine Science High School(PSHS), known as the most prestigious public school in the Philippines. I passed the PSHS test!

So, goodbye and thank you, dear reader, for finding the time to read this post. I’ll see you again with my next post.

Lessons learned:

– Don’t throw plastic bags into the sea. A pawikan will die if it eats a plastic bag.

– The best reformers are those who have done seriously bad things and saw their errors.

– Trust your mom.

– You don’t appreciate what you have until they’re gone.

– It’s better to bring too much than too little.

– Pawikans play an important role in the sea ecosystem.

– Be proud of your race and their participation in history.

– A pawikan cannot retract his head and legs inside, unlike a tortoise.

– Other people don’t have the luxuries that you take for granted.

– War has a lasting effect on not just the country, but also on the families of the fallen soldiers.

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