Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The long jeepney ride

The jeepney was eerily quiet when I hailed it. It was about 7:30pm. Except for the para po's of the few passengers, everyone was silent.

When we passed by Bio, the jeep halted. Then came two women whose faces I will forever associate with the cool, wood-paneled lecture hall and my experiences during the last two semesters in UP. I smiled at both of them upon greeting them good evening.

"What are you doing here, Mister Catedral?" Dr. Jacinto asked. She was my Bio 11 zoology lecturer. I explained that I had been detained at Albert Hall for a choir practice.

"Are you still very movable?" Dr. Amparado, my Bio 12 zoology lecturer, asked. I said, "Yes, Ma'am, I'm still as movable as before, but I'm eating a whole lot more now." She seemed pleased. We used to discuss the unequal distribution of energy throughout the earth's ecosystem when the topic of malnutrition came up. She was engrossed with talking about it when she singled me out from the rest of the class, and said, "O, ikaw, malnourished ka." She made a deal: if I could fatten myself before the end of the sem, she'd give me an uno. You can read all about it here.

"My husband used to be very thin before. But when he got older, oh no... he now has trouble contolling his weight. But you look better now," Dr. Jacinto said, to my delight. The last time she had seen me was two sems ago. I was must've been a whole lot thinner then. It's a comfort to know that my efforts to stuff food into my stomach have not been in vain.

"Ma'am, I'm finally done with Bio." I told them. They smiled back. They asked me many things: what has been keeping me busy, how I was with my studies, where I lived. I was surprised when Ma'am Jacinto told me she would see me frequently walking along Yakal. It was a delightful conversation altogether, but something that had made me slightly uneasy, considering that they've been my professors.

"Sino nga ba 'yung ka-sparring mo dati?" she asked.

"Ah, si Juanchi po."

'Ah, yes, si Mr. Juanchi Pablo. Nagdadaldalan pa rin ba kayo?" I told her, yes, sometimes, followed by jerks of laughter from all of us. I told her how we would talk about how she told Juanchi to transfer to another row, away from me and Wegs, so as to stop all of us from talking. Those were the days. She laughed when she heard that.

The jeepney finally stopped at Yakal. I bid them goodbye, to which they said, "Good night, Lance. See you around." They still remembered my first name. Bio professors do have superhuman memory powers.


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