In Anticipation of the Season

Christmas party was a much anticipated annual event in IHMS. It was not only fun-filled, ushering the start of Christmas break. It was also the time, when the young ones feel mature enough to decide for them selves and are expected to behave and remain in control in spite of the overflowing spirits.

The preparations that led to the much awaited night were something worth remembering. Classrooms were decorated with multi-colored and lively designs. Christmas trees were gathered from the beaches of Taloto. And the party itself was marked with competitiveness, as each group try to outdo the others in any sort of thing they could think of--from the cooking of more food to making the group livelier and noisier.

But other anticipated event that the class prepares for was the class presentation. That afternoon, after siesta time, we 3rd Year High School students in 1978, were at the college lobby. Chaos ensued, as would be expected from high-adrenaline teenagers.

Outside, it was raining. I quietly sat on the long wooden bench, watching the raindrops outside of the lobby that we call “parlor”. I do not know, but that image and the stillness I felt in the midst of chaos has long remained in my memory. I can still vividly see that picture in my mind until now.

The noisy ones were finally able to agree on the format and structure of the presentation. The natural leader of the class was Junior, owing to his matured looks if not age. Leodegario was in high spirits. He was going to be the bida of the class that night. Raymund was assisting Junior. He was going to be the other bida of the night. They were to sing solo parts.

Our presentation was a mini-musical narrating the story of the three kings. The grassy lot in front of the auditorium (near what we see now are the talisay trees) served as our open air stage. I can’t remember if there was a bonfire lit in the middle. But it was sufficiently bright and warm.

The final presentation however was tragic. The shots of alcohol apparently didn’t help. Leodegario failed to hit the right note when he started to sing. He tried three different keys, until he settled for one that seemed to be right, “Sa alas doce ang takna, may natawo …” Raymund, in tucked-in shirt and maong shorts, fared better than Leodegario.

I don’t know if I was one of the three kings who really didn’t do much but stand there till the end. I was both anxious and indifferent. Perhaps I was really excited at the prospect of Christmas and of being home for the season. But deep inside I was unhappy because of my unruly classmates. The ambiguity must have been too much for me, drawing me to silence and detachment. Well, probably. (nox arcamo)