Saturday 17th January 2009

by Tina

Don’t you ever wish you were someone else,
You were meant to be the way you are exactly.
Don’t you ever say you don’t like the way you are.
When you learn to love yourself, you’re better off by far.

The song had been playing in my mind the moment I stepped into the grand ballroom of The Heritage Hotel. It was our senior’s night, our batch’s replacement for a graduation ball since not everyone is marching on June. It was our first and only formal event in our entire college lives, save for debuts. I wasn’t a part of the organizing committee for our senior’s night but I would not and could not miss it because my closest friends in college made this night possible.

Plus, it’s fun to see everyone all dressed up.

“Block photos!” Micko called out from the front. “Time for block photos guys! S11, up to the front!”

“So how many people from S20 are here?” I wondered out loud to Vida, who sat beside me with her best friend.

Vida stopped from polishing off her dessert plate and looked around the ballroom, spotting our original blockmates. “…Six, seven, eight…nine. That’s it.”

I felt my face fall. “Nine? Wow. We were forty-four back when we started right?”

“Yeah, four years ago. Hello brutal CS mortality,” Vida replied with a grin.

“And people boycotting,” I added softly, thinking of the people that Louie and the others were debating with in the batch’s egroups during the planning of this entire thing. It would have been awesome if everyone in the block made it.

I watched the next block form their poses by the stage and Yuggy, our official photographer and old blockmate, took the shots. It’s been a long and arduous four years of college: from passing grades to failing marks, new friends, old friends, loves found and lost. People often say that high school is the best of a person’s years, but I thought college was way better. I found most of the friends I’d really love to keep even after the togas have been returned.

“S20! Come on up!”

“Let’s go!” Vida pulled on my hand. Tricia nodded at us and we walked to the stage.

“Tins! Vida!” Louie was immediately up front, tall and glamorous, as always.

“Louie!” Vida squealed. “Cathy!” She added when she saw Cathy standing behind Louie. There were hugs all around as we waited for the other people to get to the front. The rest of the nine original blockmates found their way to the front. There stood two other S20 girls, Apple and Mae, and the guys: Pete, Yuggy and Noel.

“Well this is a happy crowd,” I said with a chuckle.

“Pose time!” Micko said, who was now handling the camera. I motioned for Rye so he can get photos from my camera, and the nine of us assembled in front.

“Okay, on three!”

Cameras flashed as we posed — normal, wacky, serious, the works. As we did, I felt the song play in my head again, the same song that was played four years ago during our tear-filled yet very happy freshmen recollection:

I think that you could be whatever you wanted to be
If you could realize, all the dreams you have inside.
Don’t be afraid if you’ve got something to say,
Just open up your heart and let it show you the way…
And I hope you always stay the same,
cuz there’s nothin’ ’bout you I would change.

[583 words]

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