Category Archives: Summer ’11

Along the Line of Choices

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My keyboard classes concluded today. It was very special. I still cannot finish The Prayer. I had wished to perfect it today, but it seems that I still need to observe. I still need to persevere. During this final meeting, Kuya O got to know so much more about me. That I am a very active pupil in school, that I want to take up either political science or journalism in either UP or Ateneo, respectively. That I can write for shiz. He even got to read the initial parts of The Boy with the Fork in His Side, which is a story I made for my Sophomore English Class. The biggest shocker, I think though, is divulging to him and Teacher Bong that I had been taking this class for the past three weeks without either of my parents knowing. I myself find it charming now that despite my many extracurricular, I still pursued this course. And that I still opted for Gardner above all. Well, keyboard is the only class that I never missed a session of. In a way, I was also relieved that it was to end. Now Kuya O won’t have to give up a lot of his time just so he could tutor me. And believe me; I am very difficult to teach. Nevertheless he has remained patient throughout, so for that, I want him to get a well-deserved respite every Tuesday at 1 -3 in the afternoon, and again every Friday at 1 – 2 PM. He’s a very great teacher, and I owe all the world to him.

Keyboard will forever hold a spot in my core. It’s not just the course, but also the art of music, and music being played right beneath my fingers. I feel that this whole affair has brought me closer to my musical endeavors, and I hope to go all the way with it. Now that I know so much about it, there’s no stopping me. Not this time, you’re not.

After keyboard, when I got home, I just about felt good about myself. Just felt good about a lot of things again. I am thankful that I got a one-on-one module for only P2,400. That I got to use my keyboard again, and that it finally has its AC power adaptor back, which I found inside an old, smelly cabinet. I am grateful that I have done it. That I just went with it and did it. As I have written, I am relieved, but in a lot of ways, I am also disheartened because I really enjoyed this, and I will very much miss it. Before I started, there were times when I doubted my choice to go with this, and there was a time when I considered putting off it until next summer. But when I was running out of time, I decided not to think anymore, and just went with my intuition. It was now or never. Those were the choices, and apparently, now was the answer.

I will now feel at ease every time I push the keys of that electric organ. Not anymore discomfited or frustrated because, now, I have a mentor whom I can approach whenever I need help. I think now that there will always be that sweet summer smell for every time I play The Prayer, or every time I carry the keyboard case which I so skillfully sewed out of old school uniforms myself. Gardner will forever be the very scent of it, for that is the only place where it had quietly reposed. Gardner – which has been my haven every time I walk to it, about three blocks from my house, carrying the heavy bag with a keyboard inside, under the blazing sun of May, then under the rain for every time I go back home. It had freshened me up with its air conditioner all these weeks. It had made me feel at home. I should remember it for every time I play. Then perhaps, I should also remember Kuya O, and Sir Bong, and Ma’am Lynn and all the others at Gardner Integrated School. Maybe next summer, who knows, I might do it again. Thank you Sir/Kuya Olan Alagao. More power to you and God bless, idol!

So here I am in my parent’s room – keyboard poised on the floor. It is one of my favorite spots for playing music because in here, everything just sounds so peaceful; every note sounds so infinite. I have just finished playing my instrument. I hope I can upload a video one of these days! Keyboard, Taekwondo, swimming – they are all done today. I am so glad that I gave time for all of them this summer. I HAVE FINALLY DONE IT: THE GREATEST SUMMER ESCAPADE. It wasn’t how I pictured it to be. It was dang hectic, and I wasn’t always happy. But add them altogether, and they make me smile. What an experience – it was really something.

This is the purpose of bobsbigbeerbelly. It only took us a year to accomplish them all. And for that… well, here’s to us.

And happy birthday, Lola Olive.

Ice Cream na Malamig

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I had my final Taekwondo training yesterday. I believe that that will certainly be my very last. No next months, or next summers. But last, period. It’s amusing that I write about ending it when just minutes ago, I’ve observed two unrelated shows on the television about Taekwondo. Not that I planned on watching them; I just inadvertently passed by them. They were haunting, almost as if entreating me to prolong. But as much as that sounds poetic, I know that I won’t. My heart just isn’t in it anymore. My body is set to compete, but that is all. There is nothing in me that guarantees going back. No impulse, no temptation. I’m simply done with it. Figuratively, I’m tired, I think. I need to rest for a hell of a time.

On the outskirts of the sport, I find it unusual being with Asher considering that we have a little bit of ‘history’ back in our elementary days – and his folks know about it. It was just a small crush, nothing very serious. We were kids. You’d think that it’d be awkward now being in a class with him again, but every time we’re made to select our partners for drills, he pairs with me. And just so you know, in Takewondo, we go through a lot of odd positions. Asher is taller and slimmer now, in case you were wondering. He’s been better at Science – Scientist of the Year 2010, if my memory serves me correctly. But he never dances anymore. He was still a crybaby back in Sophomore year but, I’m not so definite about that now. He has a blue belt and a gold medal in Taekwondo after all. He’s so much different from the Asher I had met seven years ago.

Happy June 1st.

A Lot of Thinking

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I saw a light today. I was floating on my back in swimming class when it appeared. It was the sun – only, it was hidden behind a multitude of clouds in such a way that, for a slight moment, it didn’t appear to be the sun at all. It seemed more like dawn parting, making way for a new day. I think that the coming storm gave it that unusual effect. But even then, it made me feel peaceful, like nothing could hold me down anymore. For a moment, I was invincible. After Taekwondo class, as I was walking home in North Olympus, it happened again. The feeling was there again, which sounds even more fucked up in writing than when it was just in my head. It was almost nighttime, and the streetlamps completely aggregated the orange sky. Jukebox the Ghost was playing on my iPod. I forgot what the song was, which I am resentful for. I think now that I’d give a lot to go back to that particular scene, listening to that particular song. Because then, I just felt good about myself. I felt good about life. It was strange and tranquil and beautiful.

Ikaw Na Lang

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I’m buying this time off to write about something that bothered me.

Today, at swimming class, a girl with mental deficiency dropped by the pool. She was around my age, perhaps even two years younger. She was tall and lanky, and had short hair. I didn’t mind her at first. I thought she was a student there before with the way she approached the trainers. Primarily, you’ll never notice it. I only got to really observe when the instructors started looking at one another, stifling laughs. Very soon, these two other kids started joining in the ‘fun’ as well.

There were nine of us there: three trainers and five students, plus, the girl who just came in. And she was sparking up a lot of attention. She was screaming out interjections in English, and, I suppose, was trying to entwine herself with our lessons. She didn’t know how to swim. I’m not entirely sure if she’s supposed to be part of the class. I didn’t see anyone come in with her, but she brought her goggles, swimming cap, plus pincers for the nose. And I heard the instructors debating among one another over who should get to teach her. In the end, nobody got to do it.

This girl, now, is excessively active too. She kept on running around, shouting a bunch of things, and jumping in the pool. I guess the water excited her. She even kept on coming near the machine that fills the pool with clean water, despite the sign that reads “Bawal lumapit dito”. She didn’t aggravate me. What disquieted me were the two other kids who kept laughing at her and mocking her. They were teasing her a lot, but she didn’t mind. Perhaps she fancied that she was being funny and were making a lot of people happy.

These two other kids who were insulting her, I believe, are in advanced placement class. They were around eleven and twelve, a boy and a girl respectively, and I couldn’t believe how boisterous and public they were with their blasphemy. How they can laugh like corpulent monsters, and mock in front of the very person. And what was even more disappointing were the instructors themselves. Shame on them for tagging along and making her an inside joke among others. It bothered me because they were adults. It’s not in my code of ethics to laugh at a person with a disability. Moreover, at a person who cannot do something that I already can. They were so ignorant. Frankly, I expected a different setting, a different set of values to be acquired in swimming.

In the next five days, I’ll be swimming in the same pool with the same people. I will never forget how blunt and disrespectful those people were today. For a minute, I thought of them taking her place. But then I didn’t think that it would be fair. Because then, no one would be laughing, except maybe for themselves. I find it interesting that if we were all like her, the world would be much more colorful, but with less meaning. I am familiar with the world of autism and the labels that come along with it. I have encountered a few people with such a disability over the course of my life. There are a lot of them in our world – some of them as close as just living next door to us.

As a decadent child, I lived next to one without having to know about his condition. I should recount too that we were friends, not the closest of, but we were good to each other. He had other friends in the neighborhood too, I should fancy. And the adults talked about him too. But none of us talked to him inaptly as the ones in the pool did today. At least none that I can recall. I haven’t seen him in over ten years, I can tell you that much.

The Firm

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Remember when Spartacus fought against Crixus in the house of Batiatus? Spartacus, spiteful and laden with pride just about hated this man. But Crixus, so much bigger, much more experienced, can beat – even kill – Spartacus. Still, the Thracian was persistent. And alas, in a matter of minutes, Crixus had him, literally, by the throat. Spartacus could have, as a sign of surrender, raised two of his fingers. But he didn’t – out of pride. He was fortunate that Batiatus ordered Crixus to stop before he could pierce the opponent’s neck and paint the town red with his blood. Then came the day of the battle in the arena, in front of the entire city of Capua. Pro against Amateur; Crixus versus Spartacus, yet again. And after a hard bout, when flesh had been ripped open and blood had been spilled, Spartacus… surrendered. It flat-out surprised me because I had always assumed that he would either beat this man or die trying. And after the match – after getting booed out of the arena – Spartacus, bitter, bruised; humiliated, humbled himself in front of Doctore when he finally admitted, “Maybe I should train harder then“. And Doctore looked at him, and his answer was not of agreement nor was it of surprise that here was Spartacus, his most rebellious pupil – finally eager to learn. What Doctore said was simple. Discouraging, even: “It’s too late for that now”.

I made a deal with myself regarding Taekwondo. I might have mentioned it here before. That if I win at least once in a competition – this competition, most preferably – I will, without any further ado, register my name in the said class come July. So there it was: the day of the battle. Imagine – I had to wake up at five in the morning because we were expected to arrive at that far-ass school in that equally far-ass land at eight. I was agitated since it’s my first competition, and I tried very patiently to wait. And wait. And wait. Until time passed and I noticed that waiting has been all that I’ve been doing since. And then finally, there it was. I waited for ten fucking hours to get called. It bothered me, really. Nobody even told me that I had to pack lunch. Well, I guess that’s my fault too because I never asked. I forgot that I have to ask first before getting an information. Well I guess that would be great – only if there is anyone I could perceptibly talk to.

It was sad. I felt as though everybody was waiting for me; anticipating which kicks I am going to execute. I wanted to win, truly, I did. Not because I didn’t want to let the team down. Rather, I wanted to so that whole day – that terrible day – would be worth it after all. To surrender was not an option. So I fought. And that’s what I got back as well: a number of kicks straight to my face, one which made me fall down. And then there’s the ref who kept on deducting points from me (I might have gotten on his bad side when I came out there without a mouthpiece – which, by the way, is a requirement). Apparently, I had been pushing my opponent. When the time was up, and when I knew that they were going to have me sit down the rest of the night, that’s when I realized that God had made his decision for me.

This simply isn’t the sport for me. Once, I thought it was, but really it hurts me not only physically, but in every aspect of my being. It’s much too big for me to keep up with. It’s a demanding sport. I have to buy every fucking paraphernalia, most of them useless yet expensive, and some of which I can’t even move properly in. Also, while most will tell you that it’s all about proper training, they’re leaving out a big part. It’s a matter of size, too. The girls there are huge. Aside from being small for a sixteen-year-old, I also am on a diet and my speed is very limited. So in actuality, I have no chance in hell.

I never knew that it would technically start at six in the evening. That my sister would miss the awarding in her art class for this. That it would be boring. That for ten hours, we’ll be doing… nothing. Sorry that I never asked. Sorry that you all got to come. A melodramatic father, a sick mother, and a frenzied sister. I don’t blame them for anything. Partly, I was even minding them. Praying that I win so they’d at least be happy. I don’t blame the coaches too. I am unteachable, I know. I blame myself for the loss, and for every screwed-up thing that happened to everyone else’s day. Come to think of it, it was foolish of me not to have asked. I didn’t want it to come down to this. This will be my first and last competition.

I don’t believe I won. I lost undoubedly and indubiously. I never beat anyone. I have the scar just above my chin to prove it. But they still gave me a bronze medal, perhaps for taking part in the event. I did corner that girl, just so you know. ‘Good fortune happens to those who smile‘ – says an art on some wall on the way to the competition. The only time I didn’t frown was when, after the match, I passed by a nun in the school. I tried to smile, and she smiled then she saw my bronze medal. Then she said, “Winner.” And it was the only thing that made me happy. I will never forget that scenario.

I did cry, by the way. In the car. But only for a second. Then I held it in. It hurt, but it’s better than to lament about things that have come and gone. Spartacus definitely took it in like a man. Everyone else does, so there’s no reason to cry. At least not yet. On the brighter sides of things, I have a bronze medal in Taekwondo now. I bet not everyone can say the same. But really, the sport – it’s merely a summer thing.

Thank you, but I depart from thee.

It’s time to hang up the yellow belt.

“He will not cry out, nor raise His voice, nor cause His voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed, He will break and smoking flax He will not quench; He will bring forth justice for truth.”

– Isaiah 42:2,3

What to Become of Us?

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I have made a decision. But it’s still fractional for now. I won’t carry on with Taekwondo any longer. The people are nice, but I doubt that any of them will comprehend my position come the schoolyear. It will be my last year in high school, and I should have taken this risk the year before. I just can’t do that now. I just can’t afford to see everything that I’ve worked for come and slap me in the face. I know that sports are demanding and that those who involve themselves in one are very dedicated, very serious about it – no matter what. I just can’t see myself doing that in my Senior year. Not this time.

Today, Coach E directed me not to proceed with my promotion for this module. Apparently, I’m not ready yet. I know I’m not. But it’s sad because I’ve always longed for a blue belt, and I honestly thought that I was going to end this summer wearing one. Maybe with that, at least, I would have the advocate to go on. Frankly, I am disappointed.

I will always hurt in this sport. I have prepared myself for this before the summer commenced. I ought to be more vigilant lest I end up crippled like Coach. I should have kept that in mind before I wounded my right foot today during the kicking drills. By mistake, I landed on my toes. I knew I should have impeded when it began to redden and I was put in such an excruciating pain. I thought it would pass but I was wrong. It’s swelling, and it very much hurts. This is terrible seeing that I am a right leg kicker. And what glorious timing: the competition is due tomorrow already. It’s my first, and already, I am tired. I’m tired of all these. Tomorrow, my verdict shall come full circle.

Blessed, I Hope

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I kicked Jayson’s elbow today at Taekwondo, and I think my foot is all set to swell. I have to pay attention to my right one since it kicks better. The competition is on this Saturday already, yet only a few of us were present in the training at St. Patrick today. There were only three of us ‘beginners’. I was selected last for sparring. It actually isn’t my first time to experience this. At least no one’s endeavoring to ‘scare’ me to any further extent. Some scares those were. Hey, I have sparred before, just so you know. I’m not happy that my Taekwondo colleagues don’t even want to confer with me because they’re shy or intimidated or whatever because of my profile in school. Because I keep to myself. I am open to any type of censure, and I am eager to learn. Well, I may be a little slow sometimes, and I am not taking my chances on holding back the rest of the class, but give me five minutes and I’ll get it. And I practice too. I don’t just let it be.

I also don’t appreciate Coach R speaking only to the other side of the court – to the senior belt holders’ side – during our gatherings. It bores me. I always want to be promptly dismissed from the class but this slow, one-sided speaking delays me.

So much for that. I faced off with Janine today. I won the first round. I even roundhouse kicked her. I tried it again for a second time but I lost my stability and fell flat on my ass. She got me the second round too, but I won the sudden death match with a solid kick. It sounded excellent. The whole affair made me feel good. Coach E even said, “May laban dito”. Surprisingly, those who were benched for the meantime were also observing us. I still couldn’t win against Jayson though. I get to hurt him plenty of times but he always gets to my armor. I cornered him today, but I still didn’t get the job done.

Coach E has confirmed that I am ready for the competition, and that I have ‘improved’ on a good basis. Bahala na, beginner lang naman ako eh. These are just some thoughts that I thought I should tell you with regards to Taekwondo.