Thursday, November 25, 2010

Act 1: Beginning

Hello! I'm Mark.
Just a familiar name. Nothing unusual.  Some people call me Marky, some do even add boy in the end.  But regardless of what name they call me, nothing changed.
I'm still the boy who has always been shrouded in mystery.

To be honest, I love the idea of being thought of as "mysterious." Oftentimes, people find me suplado (snob) and very serious. I wonder why that is the usual first impression I get from people. But the good thing is, a lot of them find out that their impression is the total opposite of me.

Secretly, I  really liked being seen as snob and serious. It guess it adds value to my image. Imagine a guy who is an open book compared to a guy who just sit still., who would people want to know more?

I'm not saying I'm the kind of person who won't pay you any heed. I know how to converse, it's just that most often than not, I decide to just keep quiet and stay out of other people's business.  I guess there is a lot to know about me. I hate describing myself so I usually give others the freedom to sort me out.I answer when asked nicely and I talk when needed, pretty straightforward. No icing on the cake. I just simply want to be me.

Talking about being me, I want to be honest. I'm currently a discreet bisexual. Yes. I'm bisexual, and yes I'm discreet. Probably a lot of you would raise either your left or your right brow after reading this. "How come he is bisexual yet discreet? Why bisexual, isn't that just a euphemism for being gay? Or is he just afraid to come out of the closet so he still maintain that masculine aura despite the fact that he yearns for a boy to love him?" These are probably the thoughts that most people think when they hear me say 'discreet bisexual'. Well, I can't blame them. It's probably because of the bias image of society in terms of labeling people.

I'm not really a fan of labels but for the purposes of having an identity, I chose those two words. Well, they are the ones that really describe me as of the moment. Yes, I do like both boys and girls and yes, I don't shout it to the world. I say "currently" because I believe that sexuality is fluid. Well, I'm not saying that I'll become straight over night, it's just that we really can't say what is in store for us in the future. Sexuality is a role and sometimes, we change roles every now and then. But of course, it's not always the case. People have their own thoughts about this and I won't refute that. I just want to express my own opinion. We have a mind of our own and we decide for ourselves. Nothing can really stop you from thinking, it's just that voicing it out is a different story.

Normally, people would find me to be jolly and carefree once they get to know me. Well, it's partly true. I'm the type of person who doesn't want gloomy people surrounding him.  I'm not saying I'll ignore you if you are such a walking pot of negativity, but as much as possible, I want everyone to be happy. That's the reason why oftentimes, I find myself cracking jokes and making a fool out of myself just to make others laugh. But you see, I still hide in my disguise.  We can never be constantly all smiles. There are always times that the cloud of rain would be above us. It is in those times that I don't want others to see me.  Remember the saying about staying in the rain so that no one would notice that a person is crying? It applies to me.

Apart from the fact that I'm known to be a happy person, there is still this hidden personality of mine which I don't want others to know or see. I have built walls around me and I made sure they are strong enough to hide what's within. Only a few people were able to break these boundaries I set. One of them is Danny.

When I first entered college, I didn't know anyone. Though I have high school classmates who also went to the same school, I never get to see them often for we have are taking different courses.

In short, I was, in a way, alone.

Being a boy who lived almost all his life in the province, everything was new to me. The big roads, the city traffic, the tall buildings and the fast-paced lifestyle.

Everything was so easy back in high school. The school I went to was actually just a few blocks away from our house and it will only take me approximately 5 minutes to get to the place. But now, I need to travel for one and a half to two hours to get to the university. Yes, I commute and another yes, I didn't go to a boarding house or dormitory. I actually applied for one, but my application was denied. They told me that my place was just near.

I sneered as I heard them say it. Whew, near? How I wish.

Well, they are actually correct, in some sense. That is if you'll compare Bulacan to the likes of those living in the Visayas or in Mindanao. Still, I hated the fact that I need to commute daily just to get to the university. I was used to a 5-minute travel time from our house to the school. Now, I have to adjust big time.

Anyway, my mom doesn't want me to live on my own so I guess it's a plus for her.  Since I'm an only child, my mom is slightly being too overprotective of me. I would often hear myself say, "Ma, I'm a guy not a girl!" but my mom would just ignore my ranting. My mom is someone you don't want to argue with. She surely always win. Sometimes, I even thought to myself that she probably talked to the people in the dormitory  admin to deny my application. Everyday since then, I need to spend two hours sitting on the bus and wasting my time just to get to school.

The first day of classes was such a nerve-racking experience. Everyone was in a hurry and they are going to all sorts of directions. I stood there in front of a college building trying to figure out where to go next.

Only then did I realize how geographically-challenged I was. No matter how many times I've looked and checked the map they gave us during the orientation, I am still confused where to go. Given all the rumors that most upperclassmen lead freshies (freshmen students) in the wrong location or destination made me think twice in asking for directions. That made my first day experience in the university hell of a nightmare.

While trying to figure out which building and which room to go next, I quickly checked my watch and I was really running late.

Fortunately, I was able to see this girl whom I saw during the university orientation. She was dressed in black and has a red ribbon tied on her hair. I'd say she's like an example of a typical emo girl. I tried to approach her for I know she is also in the same boat as me. New and... innocent. I laughed at the thought of it.

"Uhm, Hi. I'm kind of lost. Would you know where this room is?" I showed her my registration form and pointed to the class I'm pertaining to.

She then looked at me and smiled, "Yes. It's just on the second floor of this building. Right wing!"

"Oh, thanks! I was worried I might not be able to find it! Thank you very much!"

"Oh no problem! By the way, just a tip, all odd numbered rooms are located on the left wing, and the even-numbered ones are located on the right!" She smiled as she told me this.
She really is nice.

"Oh, wow! Thank you! I would always remember that!"

With that she said good bye and went on her way. I was about to call her back to ask for her name but since I'm in a hurry, I just dashed to the second floor and looked for the room where my next class will be held. Unfortunately, when I entered the room, the professor was already there trying to explain something. "Tsk, so much for an impression on the first day." I thought to myself as the professor stared at me as I try to look for an empty seat.

After the class, which all revolved around giving out class cards and discussion of the curriculum outline, I went out of the room and tried to find a place where I can eat. My stomach was already grumbling after all the obstacles I've been through that morning.

I pulled out the map which was now already torn and I tried looking for the nearest food stop.

I went and entered what looked like the college cafeteria. Since it was already lunch time, the place was jam-packed. There were six shops to choose from and I decided to buy food from one of the stores.

After getting my order, I scanned the place to look for an empty table but there was none. I was about to give up when I saw someone waving at me. Since I'm wearing glasses, I tried to adjust my vision as I figure out who was the person.

I thought it was one of my high school classmates, but as I came closer, I found out that it was the girl who  helped me find my room a while back. She was smiling at me while fixing her own eyeglasses as I approached her.

"Hey! How are you? Where you able to find your room?"

"Oh, yes, I was, thank you very much. If it weren't for you, I could've missed my first class." I said while smiling back. "By the way, are you with someone? I was wondering if I can share this table with you."

"Oh, sure, no problem! By the way, I'm Danielle, but you can just call me Danny!"

I smiled as I shook her hand. "Hi Danny! Nice to meet you! I'm Mark!"

I thanked her as I sat on the chair across her. We started talking as we both ate our lunch and I found out that she was taking the same course as mine.

I was actually a bit intimidated because she kept on talking to me in English. She doesn't have that typical Filipino accent when speaking so I thought she probably grew up in the States or something. Well, it's not that I don't know how to speak English nor do I not understand the language, but being a typical Filipino, I'm not used to speaking straight English. I kept on code-switching from English to Tagalog and back as I talked to her. I wonder if she understood me but it seems like she did. I kept on stuttering all the time, but she just smiled and attentively listened to me.

Well, it was then that she told me more about her.

She actually just came from Switzerland where she studied for years. That explains why she speaks English fluently. Both her parents are Filipino but they migrated to Switzerland ever since she was young. She also told me that I should not worry in terms of speaking Tagalog for she understands the language. She is just not used to speaking in our mother tongue.

"Whew, what a relief." I thought I'm going to suffer from epistaxis (nose-bleeding) the whole time. But even though she told me this, her use of English was so infectious that I also used it even if I really am having a hard time.

We kept on talking and sharing things with each other as if we were alone in the place. We didn't mind the others and we just focused on ourselves as we shared our own stories. It just means that we were both really having a good time.

As we finished eating, we stood up and went outside the caf (cafeteria). Before we parted ways, we exchanged numbers so that we can still communicate even if we're not together.  That's really practical since we are coursemates anyway.

As we went our separate ways, I can't help but smile. Finally, I was able to find a new friend in this wild new environment. I was about to put my phone back in my pocket when it vibrated. Someone just texted. I opened it and to my surprise, the name of the sender appeared on the screen of my phone.

One Message Received
From: Enzo Panaganiban 

I stared at the name for a while and thought o myself,
"This sure is going to be an interesting college life!"