I was back at UPLB this morning for copies of my transcripts. I haven't really been back to LB since finishing school four years ago, and now that I think about it, I find it pretty retarded how I've been working all this time without any of my employers really requiring me to give them copies of my grades. But during the holidays, I had this crazy idea to try to get into graduate school, and so finally, after four years, I found myself going back to school.
I had visited Los Baños a couple of times before, but only to visit Hannah and Mark and Sam
, and even then I was there only in night time, and most of that time was spent outside the campus, so really, I haven't been back.
So why haven't I been back? Well, because I'm a wuss.
See, I'm afraid of ghosts. Not ghosts in Baker Hall, the gymnasium that is haunted by the spirits of Filipino and American soldiers brutally killed during Japanese occupation.
These ghosts never leave you alone.
These ghosts talk to you over Y!M, reminiscing about some moment you shared together once, and you lie and say you don't remember, because you wish you didn't.
These ghosts send you a message on Friendster, a message that ends with I hope you reply to this message... for old times' sake
and you feel like shit all over again because you know you're not replying, not even for old times' sake.
These ghosts call you up back in Manila, supposedly to meet with you at Glorietta to return your VCD of High Fidelity
. And then they'd say they'd pay for the burgers, and you let them, because you're tired of fighting and you just want to get out of there as soon as you can.
Then you almost feel bad all over again, for leaving, for being so cold, for being such a jerk. And yet, you feel a sense of relief, because you know they never were capable to ask, Why
Because sometimes, it doesn't take a bad person to do a bad thing. But it doesn't stop that person from feeling bad about it.
And then there's this weird, recurring dream I've been having since my last semester in college.
I was days away from finally finishing school, and I was spending most of my time in my bed, across the room from JAm
's. It was afternoon, and I just woke up from a nap. There was something about that bed, and something about that house, that made me take more naps than ever before in my life.
I went to a class at the western side of the campus. I couldn't figure out whether it was a management or a rural sociology class I was attending. Suddenly the class was over, and on the way back to the university's gate, I passed by an empty classroom. As the blackboard inside came into view, I realized that it was a class I had enrolled for at the start of the semester, and I missed that class that morning. In fact, I missed the class all semester long, having slipped from my mind that I was actually enrolled in it, so now, days away from the end of the term, I would surely flunk the class and I wouldn't graduate.
And then I would wake up, all sweaty and tense. The last time I had this dream was two months ago, the night before I was supposed to go to LB for Sam's dedication
Boarding the HM Transport Bus bound for Sta. Cruz, Laguna felt oddly familiar. I had, after all, done that probably a couple of hundred times before; I even recognized the Caucasian conductor/supervisor at the Cubao station.
Not everything was the same though. Instead of punched tickets, the conductor now issued printed receipts from a small portable machine. The bus I had boarded was a nice, new one, and I was able to almost fully recline my seat as I dozed off to Sugarfree.
I took a jeep to the Office of the University Registrar, and I was surprised when the driver charged me the discounted student fare, thinking I was still in the university. I smiled and gave him back the excess change, explaining the situation.
I still did not know how long it took to process a transcript application. My best hope was to apply for it, and then come back for it in a couple of days. I remembered filing for an application just before I graduated, but that was four years ago, and it was a long shot that they still had those transcripts lying around.
I knocked on window 7, and the woman seemed surprised that I was applying for a transcript for only the first time so long after I graduated. I took my chance and told her that I had actually filed an application four years ago, if she could take a look that maybe, there's an off chance that the transcripts were still there, and if they weren't, I would just file for a new application.
I handed my tattered universtiy clearance forms, up until then the only proof I had of graduating from college. She looked at my name, asked me what course I took, and a few moments later, turned up with my transcripts with a note that said not to release my transcript.
Oh my god, here's my nightmare coming true. I knew this was going to happen. Oh my fucking god, this is why I didn't want to go back!
The woman asked me to go see Mang Mar from the college secretary's office. I had known Mang Mar because he had been the person at that office assigned to handle my course during my last few semesters. He was actually assigned to different courses (Physics, I think, and a couple of others), but the person who took care of Computer Science left so he was assigned to us.
Mang Mar told me to look for Ms. Abrigo, or "Tita Mitz", at the BioSci building, to sort everything out. I rushed to BioSci where Tita Mitz was expecting me, holding a change-mat form with my name on it.
"There was an error in your registration the semester before you graduated, and one unit was left unpaid. We noticed this the semester after you graduated and we tried to contact you, but we couldn't. It had to be paid so you could graduate, so I just paid for your unit and asked Mar to be witness, so now you owe me P385.00 for that unit. I asked the Tita Rose from the registrar's office to hold your transcript and see me, but you never came back for it."
"So you've been holding on to this form for four years? Wow."
I gladly paid her the money, and profusely thanked the woman for her kindness. She wrote a note to Tita Rose saying that the amount I owed her had been paid for, and a few moments later I had my transcripts in my hands.
Boy I had terrible grades!
I had a quick lunch at Indio's, before taking a jeep to buy some buko pie and kesong puti. I boarded a bus back to Manila and was about to doze off happily, when a thought hit me.`
Shit, I forgot to get my diploma.