Tuesday 13th January 2009by Tina
The crowd at the hidden balcony of the Yuchengco Building was small, and they could hardly see each other’s faces because of the darkness, but the mood of the early evening was calm, almost peaceful. That’s saying a lot, since it’s the last few weeks of the third term, and most of the people down the main plaza were rushing to other late classes, meetings, project meetings or just on the way home to get started on other school requirements. We, however, took a break from all the rush and planted ourselves at the usual worship spot, singing and praying in the way we all know how to do.
Anjo strummed the final chords of the last song and set the guitar down as the rest of us murmured our prayers while some continued to clap their hands. If someone happened to pass by (although it’s highly unlikely), they would’ve seen quite an unsual sight: other than the guy holding a guitar and the girl beside him with the songbook, everyone else had their eyes closed and their arms raised up or clasped or had their palms facing up, all in their own way of praying. It was unconventional and a probably bit weird to the people who don’t know what we’re doing, but to us, worship at six o’clock behind Yuchengco was a normal way of life for the past terms in the university.
I closed my eyes again and listened to Coach as he led us into prayer, and smiled when he said a special thanks for my recent passing of my thesis defense. Everyone knew about my thesis woes and I knew that one of the reasons why we passed was because of their prayers, so I whispered a silent “Yes Lord” in affirmation to his prayer.
A minute later, we closed the worship with a loud uttering of Glory Be and made the Sign of the Cross. There were some last claps as we said Amen, and then we started picking up our things to move to a brighter area, most probably back to the tambayan, at least until we figure out where we will be heading.
“Graduate! My partner is graduating!” Niki declared, putting an arm around my shoulder and squeezing them affectionately. “Congratulations!”
“I know, I can’t believe it!” I said, still giddy. “Thank you!”
“I told you you’d pass,” my best friend, Bea, added, smiling as she brushed her skirt off.
“So when’s the treat?” Niki asked, and I just rolled my eyes, hitting him playfully on the arm. I walked over to my things, where I had dropped them earlier shortly before the worship started.
I heard someone approach behind me and speak. “Three weeks!”
I looked up and saw that it was Coach, our worship leader for the night. He was one of my batchmates, and one of the people who I’d be seeing during our graduation ceremonies by June. “What do you mean, three weeks?”
“We only have three weeks left,” Coach said, his hands moving this way and that, the way it always does when explaining something. He rocked back and forth on his heels and I just watched him, waiting for him to explain further. “Three weeks until school is all over for us.”
“Really, just three?” I repeated. I did a mental calculation of the remaining weeks left in school to finals, and was shocked to find out he was right. “Yes, it’s just three weeks! And then…”
“It’s hello real world,” Paolo, or Pdo, as most of us call him, piped up, coming up beside Coach. He graduated last term and had started working, hence the office attire that he wore that night.
“Wow,” I said in disbelief. “I can’t believe it.”
Pdo shrugged. “I’m sure you’ll do good.”
“But…” I said, trailing off. I hugged my bag in front of me and looked around, taking in what little I can see of the campus at the tiny Yuchengco balcony. I can’t believe this year has gone by so fast, I continued in my head.
Wasn’t it only yesterday that I was finally back in the tambayan, with my YFC friends? Has it really been nine months since I was complaining about my OJT and wanting to be at school more than ever? Wasn’t I just crying about my thesis proposal defense recently? How many hours have I spent in the thesis room with my blockmates, laughing about other subjects and cramming for thesis? And how many households have Niki and I done? How many hours have I spent at the tambayan, trying to release some stress and watching over the other people who I have learned to love and care for in the past year?
Am I really about to say goodbye to this? To my college, to YFC…to school? Forever?
Surreal. That’s what it is. Somehow, I don’t think I want to face it just yet.
I felt a hand on my shoulder and saw Bea was standing behind me with a smile that told me she sort of understood what I was thinking. But true to who she is, she didn’t mention anything about it. I was the worrier, the one who looked too much into the future, while she was the one who thought of the present most of the time.
“Come on Tins. Let’s hit Merce’s for dinner.”
Three weeks left, but that doesn’t mean I can’t make the most out of all this.