Part II. HOW I MET JAYJAY (1988)
The first time I saw Jayjay was when we were in 2nd grade. We both were in the same Catholic School but we were in different classes. Then was the time when we have to receive our first communion. We were practicing for that ceremony. He was standing in front and all the students from 2nd grade were facing him. He was assigned to read the Prayers of the Faithful. And we were to answer him with “Lord, hear our prayer.”
When I first saw him, I didn’t see stars or didn’t hear bells. He was not that good looking. He has those big round eyes, dark color complexion, average height for our age and looks just so ordinary. One more thing, I was too young then to know the meaning of crush. But he just caught my attention. He was reading the prayers with heart. I can see his sincerity and I thought, I like this boy. He looks kind and soft hearted. One day, I would be one of his closest friends.
He belongs to the first section, the star section, as we called it. From 1st grade to 6th grade, we have that “cream of the crop.” They (the teachers) rank all the students’ grades and get the top 40 or 50. Then that would be the star section. Then the rest would be jumbled and become the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and so on sections. I wanted to get to know him then. I wanted to be friends with him. I didn’t know anybody from his class. So what I did is to strive had to get to that first section. I studied hard to reach the first 50 of the whole batch.
First day of classes, June 1991
My mom and I were looking at the lists of sections per class pasted on the bulletin board near the principal’s office. We looked at the second through the last section and my name wasn’t on any of the list. We even checked the list of the boys’ names in case they mistakenly put my name on the boys’ list. But to no avail, my name still wasn’t on it. My mom then decided to go to the principal’s office to ask for some assistance. As we went inside, she asked for one of the counsellors there. I can remember the woman browsing thru all the lists. Then after a few minutes, she said she found my name. My name was on the first section, the star section. I couldn’t believe what I just heard. We didn’t check the list because we weren’t expecting that to happen. For years we didn’t check that list, not even once because it won’t happen, it can’t happen. But it did. My mom was ecstatic. I wasn’t. I was frightened to death. I was thinking, all the students there are smart and I wasn’t. How in the world did I get there? I would surely be the lowest of all in ranking after this school year. And I don’t know anybody there. I won’t have friends this year
We went to find the room. When we finally found it, I felt like my first day in school….my ever first day in school. I didn’t want my mom to go. (This is one disadvantage of having the section 1. The students become scared of competition. They are supposed to study, play and enjoy. They are not supposed to bore holes on books. We were only in primary school.) My mom was getting pissed off. She’s going to be late for work. And so she had to go and I had to take a seat….at the back. Because everybody was chatting with their friends and I had none. When I took my seat, I saw Jayjay. Then I remembered my promise to myself, that one day I am going to be in their section. Then I would have the chance to get to know him. Then I thought, “this would be a very different year this time.”
To be continued…