for a time in high school.
a tumultuous age. Bullies were quick to pick on new students like me. A considerable part of this period was spent in dim corners, pushed and taunted by a throng of high-profile brats (“Squatter!”, they yelled) for having one too many piercings and carrying a beatup red bag
for years while every girl on campus sported Esprit and Jansport rucksacks that
suffocating nun-run rules were all too foreign to me. After class, I would walk
home sobbing in Veronika-decides-to-die fashion.
Whereas I took home medals to my mother up until I was a sophomore, I performed
poorly, if not average, from third year onwards.
mythology the slightest bit. For the first time since prep, I got a 75 – in Ms. Guevara’s (or Ms. G, as we call
her) literature class, a terrible grade for a school gazette’s ex-editor-in-chief. My homework and essays were perpetually late for submission. At the
front, it always reads: “-5. Late again!”.
esteem-upping note from her at the bottom, next to a whorl. “You are brilliant”. “Perceptive”.
“Weird and beautiful”. “Keep on writing”.
cake by the “weirdos” in the Creative Writers’ Guild that Ms. G led, granted I
sign up for them instead of the other clubs in school. So I did.
Mighty Bosstones. We recited them during candlelit poetry readings with her and her bongo-tapping artist friends, where we – and totally just for kicks –
wore black and bindis.
Creative Writers’ Guild – the last that Ms. G taught in St. Scholastica. She resigned after graduation.
for me to become a doctor then a nurse. Unfortunately for them, they would not see me engaged in either occupation, at least in the long term. Because here I am, 16 years
later, writing for a living – in part due to Ms. G’s signature whorls and one-liners
and those endearing weirdos I wrote and read poems with in high school.
belief that there’s a bigger purpose in words, more important than the white
coat, more satisfying than making millions as a nurse, more meaningful
than just surviving.
melody, the warm feeling one gets from articulating thoughts exactly the way she means them
– as a metaphor or otherwise – comforts beyond anything in this world. It’s
mind or two too.
sometimes insane). It’s not always,
but it’s more than enough for this lifetime.