Chapter IV. Upsurge
Since then, nothing much has changed. The usual things arrive at a familiar time and place. There are times when my eyes first catch the morning light, it would either be the sun or my room’s incandescent bulb. How many more times do I have to tell my mother that fluorescent lamp is more economical before we got our lights replaced? The sun. The clouds. The rain. The infinite kingdom of the sky before us. We are but tiny creatures following the track of Mother Nature. What we do is definitely according to what she wills.
As I go to school, everything will be just as it was 7 days ago when I first met Patty – except for one thing. Our Music class, which was originally scheduled 11 in the morning until 12 noon, will have its schedule changed and I have no idea why.
Entrance. Backdoor, Room 103.
“Patty, do you have any idea why our Music class will be moved?”
“What, you don’t know Eric? Oh. It seems that you are so preoccupied with your problem. Take time to breathe. We’ll get to the end of that. Just chill for a while.”
“Oh sorry. Thanks for the advice.”
“Anyway, you see Eric, our teacher in Music class got into a terrible accident – and that has been the cause of her death.”
“Death? You mean, Mrs. Irene is dead? But how can that be?”
“How can that be? You see Eric, we don’t fully own our lives nor our body. When our time comes, we have no other choice but to abide by it. The problem is that we don’t know when our time will come. And that is precisely why we should live our life to the fullest, as if we were to die tomorrow.”
“Yeah, life’s harsh”, I agreed on her thought, although I have other things in mind. Surely, I’m scared of dying. How could such an unforeseen circumstance happen? Is this also the work of fate? Is the fate of his child and his husband really this cruel? To love someone eternally and then one day, wake up with your loved ones in heaven already? She might have gone to a better place, but He stole her away from them.
“The problem now is that we don’t have a teacher who is willing to substitute for her, except for one who will only teach during after class hours. What you call “fate” leaves the school administration no other choice; and thus, the decision has been made. We’re gonna have our Music class in the afternoon under the new teacher, Ms. Mia. All classes will be merged to fit Ms. Mia’s lone, free schedule.”
“Oh, so that’s the story behind it. And we’ll have our first class under her later, right?”
“Right. So, feeling excited?”, she queries with a smile.
“Yes, of course.”
Patty, I’m sorry I lied. Again. The truth is, I’m anxious. The class will surely be a big one. There will be new faces. I wonder what changes will happen. I’m not used to living in dark places – and I consider the lack of freedom and knowledge as darkness. Maybe this is what she means by using my senses. Certainly though, I’m not good at it. Weakness, cowardice, dependency, you name it. I don’t care. I don’t even know my own capabilities and limitations.
Fifteen minutes before five in the afternoon. This multi-purpose hall has served yet another purpose – to fit in at least 200 students for our Music class – and it’s certainly doing a nice job.
Until now. Exactly five in the afternoon. The volume of people inside this room is multiplying like a bacteria in a nurtured petri dish. This is starting to get on my nerves. The noise, not to mention the behavior, has reached the limits of my patience. This is insane. Won’t there be anyone who can stop this catastrophe? Order in the court. This is a classroom for.. anyone’s sake. It’s not like you haven’t seen each other for eternity. Geez!!
Five minutes later. Deafening silence. Wonder what happened? Somebody just entered through the front door. Could it be that she’s our new teacher? But what made the students shut their mouths? Could it be that only her aura alone can make everyone behave this nice? What’s with her? What’s IN her? Wait. Do I know her? Why am I looking at her this way? Have I seen her before? De ja vu? Hmmm. I really should start sleeping early again or I’ll continue having hallucinations every now and then.
“Let’s start this class with a prayer. Let us give thanks to all the blessings we have received and pray for your departed teacher.”
I’m amazed. There are only a few number of teachers I know to date that actually starts a class with a prayer. Prayer ends. Everybody sits.
“Hi, my name is Mia Aquino. Just address me by the name Ms. Mia. Since this is a huge class, I’ll be demanding your undivided attention and not a single whisper to your seatmate. Any questions should only be directed to me. Now for this course, it will take a lot of hardwork for you to pass.”
Hardwork? But this is only a music class! How hard can it possibly get?
“You see, it only takes 24 hours to change an examination’s grade from F to A. But it takes an extensive, indefinite amount of time to change a “you” to a human person. And that’s what I’ll teach you”, as she points to random students in this hall.
What in the world is she talking about? Notes, staff, sharps, flats – that is music in our language! Hello? Earth to Ms. Mia Who-ever-you-are. Are you nuts? Reality check. 1. 2. 3. Everyone else is making a commotion.
“Silence everyone. We’ll start our first class next meeting and be prepared for a short quiz. For now, I will dismiss you early. Goodbye class.”
Wow. That Ms. Mia really is something. There are no words to describe her. She’s so… Miariffic, I guess.
Aside from me, everyone else start packing their things so they could rush home. By the time the population of the students inside the room reaches half, I saw someone four rows in front of me. It was her! The girl in my dreams! That same complexion and hair – she is, without a doubt, that girl – only a little closer. Now’s my chance to know her and this time, I won’t let this grand opportunity slip by.
As I approach closer from her back, I tend to move a little farther to the right. The result? Eh, well, I’m about two persons to the right away from her. A step. One more step. Just once more. There. Turn around. Glance.