Future Unfolding

March 1976. I can't remember if our Grade 6 graduation day at the Collge of the Holy Spirit (later renamed to Holy Spirit School) fell on a Saturday. Graduation days were usually held on weekends, as I recall. But I do remember visiting the school the day after.

I was feeling ambivalent. On the one hand, there was new-found freedom--school was over, summer break had just began. And yet, I felt somewhat sad knowing that I won't be coming back to the school ever again. It was rather strange since I did recall being impatient and anxious and dreaming of getting away from school as soon as possible.

There were others who probably felt the same way. There was nothing to go back to since the school grounds were empty. Yet there they were: Rene, Dindo, Jecebu, Ringkoy, and maybe two others that I cannot recall anymore. It could be Marvin and Marclare. Since they also took the entrance exam to the Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary. The casual decision was made during that day. We were talking about where to study in high school. And I think it was Ringkoy who said that he would take the IHMS entrance exam. And as any teen-age group, everybody said that they too would like to go. So plans were made as to where to meet and how to get there. Then we went proceed, strolling towards K of C.

It was low tide. Nonetheless, we attempted to float a piece of styrofoam where a tiny labintador was stuck. I lit the wick with a lighter I was carrying in my pocket. In the proces, I soaked my rubber shoes in saltwater. But I didn't mind. The labintador blow the styrofoam, we cheered, and we went on to the edge of the pier.

I remember carrying a few labintador and a lighter because a few days earlier, we were throwing lighted labintador at each other. I remember being in the same group with Marclare and there were other students on the opposite side at the farthest end of the school's baseball field where we practiced for the Little League Baseball matches that we never won. We lighted labintadors and threw them to the other group. We were fearless and reckless. But we survived.

On the day of the exam, we boarded a white sedan. I don't remember if it was Ringkoy's father who drove us or somebody else. There were 5 or 6 of us who fit our tiny bodies in the car. I didn't tell me parents I was taking the exam. I just went with the group. The seminary was very quiet. It was probably siesta time. I remember feeling at peace and distant. I can't remember the priest who met with us, but I remember Fred Hinacay keeping watch as we took the IQ test. I wasn't quite finished yet when he said that we had 5 minutes more to go. I didn't know it was timed and simply tried to take my time. When I had 5 minutes left, I panicked. I scrambled to fill up the rest of the answer sheet even without reading the questions. I truly believed that I wouldn't pass while our papers were being checked. But it was all right. I didn't want to become a priest anyway.

It came as a surprise to me when Fred announced that we all passed the exam. You all have good grades, I recalled hearing the compliments. Well, that posed another problem for me for I didn't tell my parents about this. And I didn't think they would have the resources to pay for my stay in the seminary. But it was all right. There was the entire summer to think about it and make plans. For now, I had lots of days ahead of me that I can spend with my classmate--or rather, former classmates. The future can wait for while. (Nox)