There are only four weeks left before I leave high school so I would like to honour the sections I belonged to for my four-year stay. This one goes to the “autistic” freshman section, Emerald also known as Emsteinz.
Tic toc, the clock is ticking loudly.
Tic toc, a few are whispering harshly.
Tic toc, look at that one scribbling.
Tic toc, in the corner, they’re sleeping.
Tic toc, everyone is seated.
Tic toc, there goes the bell.
Tic toc, no one is jumping off of their feet.
Tic toc, it’s already lunch time but nobody knows
Tic toc, tic toc, tic toc, tic toc
Tic toc, it’s 4 pm, everyone’s leaving the room
Was that a great day?
That was I-Emerald’s first day.
I remember the first day. Not my first day but Emerald’s. A few already knew each other. They met on review centres prior to taking the entrance exam to our school. Several were schoolmates or classmates in elementary. I knew no one, really.
Emerald was really quiet on the first day. Well, actually we were basically quiet for almost half the time of that school year. There were only two weeks in June for us to get to know each other because the infamous AH1N1 hit our school – the first in our region. But in those two weeks, we had little interactions. I remember that day when the classroom was still close and there was a Math homework due that day, and everyone was just cramming. Even the people we weren’t exactly friends yet, we asked them about the answers and solutions, anyhow.
There was a whole month suspension of classes because of AH1N1. Mostly, the interns (dormers) got the illness. And then, all the students were back. But no one knew that AH1N1 liked Emerald so much that it decided to cling to two Emsteinz. That fateful day when 20 Emsteinz were filling ill, and so they were taken out from the school to be sent to a nearby hospital for a swab test. Only ten remained. I was one of those ten. We still had Filipino and Values Education that afternoon but it was cancelled because who the hell wants to hold classes with only ten freshmen? I didn’t know what was happening to the other 20. However, the ten remaining students were told off the story of St. Bernadette by our Values Ed. teacher. When they returned, it was revealed that two of them were AH1N1 positive. Hence, Emerald, who had only been in school for one day since the suspension, are going to have a one week suspension of classes.
However, when we returned, we felt the hostility. One student from the section, Ruby, even remarked that Ruby and Diamond (the other section) have grown closer over the course of our suspension. Thus, we were marked as the “loners” of the batch. The “autistic” section because we had our own world.
Indeed, we had our very own world. But we were pretty much close with each other. Well, mostly.
We developed a strong bond together. There was the boys who always found something to make fun of. The girls had always something to gossip or talk about. We always found something to laugh about.
The noisiest one probably be Justine Val, who always has something to say about everything. And that something he has to say is just completely random and solely based on his imagination and his love
and obsession and addiction to Pokemon. But of course, there was also the science nerd. Jann Marc blew us off in the first few days when he gave a rather long speech on the question of, “What is light?” Emerald was also the “home” of the first ever freshman Ms. Sportsfest – Jyna! A true blue or green, for that matter Emerald knew how much Jyna was teased or reminded off of her Ms. Sportsfest stint. But there wasn’t only beauty in Emerald, but also brains. The consistent Director’s Lister came from this section. Julie Ann was she called but now she has become famous with the nickname, Baj because of her last name. The resident “ninja” of the class, Dan, came from Emerald. This guy here was totally feared because he just had this really weird aura, and stance, and running. There was one Emstein who I’ve noticed was always voted as bully in the first impressions. And that was Rhuver. No one can blame them. He’s a huge guy who always had this darkened and mean expression on his face, but he isn’t that bad at all. He’s actually pretty much almost like a goofball. But the real known bully was not him. It was Mazel, rather. His name Mazel Tov means “Good Luck”. Talk about cool. He did a lot of, let’s say, “crimes”. To tell you the truth, he made me cry once on the first week of classes because he was bothering me, and I didn’t want him to be around. No Emstein would forget this famous line pertaining to him: “It’s not to condemn Mazel, no?”, when his mischiefs were resolved with the help of the teachers.
We made fun of Dora the Explorer and how we find her stupid and ridiculous. We tried mocking her by imitating her and her foolish questions like “Do you see the lake/mountain/etc.?”
Everytime we had free periods, several of us would gather outside of the classroom and constantly push Jyna towards the huge circular trash bins, making her seat. There were Emsteinz who kept a close group. Justine Val, Emmanuel, Mio, Patrick, Aliana, Ashley, Melissa, Rezl, Lily, Nina, Camila, Jyna, and Kate, and even Mazel. Some interns also usually hang out with these people like Jake, Marianne, Glen, Baj, Jammy, and Rezzaira. Most of the time, I hang out with these people because there’s a non-stop conversation. There was never a dull moment.
The “barko/barako” boys usually just gathered among themselves discussing whatever. Patrick was sometimes grouped with them – Renzo, Josheb, Tagz, Rhuver, Jann Marc, Mazel, Dan and Bernard. But there were also the ones that seemed most secluded. Eunice and Christian. Eunice was fine because several times she would join the close group, which I think they would like to refer themselves as “Mamerlala”, in their crazy adventures of conversations. But Christian was the real quiet one. He still is. We didn’t really get to reach out to him. I tried to but it just seemed so difficult. There was like a force field. Perhaps, a lot of us, especially the girls who ate lunch in the classroom, tried to approach him but couldn’t seem to do so. Maybe we didn’t try hard enough. Or maybe we just felt scared to reach out to him for whatever reasons. And maybe some just doesn’t care.
But we still enjoy each other’s company. We even have a set of famous Emerald lines and even jingles (made by Justine Val). An Emstein would remember, “Problema na ini hit Pepsi-Cola company!” with matching dance moves courtesy of again, Justine Val. And also the famous, “JyMarc Rules! Three Stars! Yeah the Grass!” Plus, the constant matching up of people to form “couples”.
Honestly, this was the section I laughed the hardest because of the “Go-With-The-Flow-Bumping-Into-Each-Other” game that turned into Val and Aliana’s battle of “Bubutay (Hit-Each-Other-With-Their-Butts) Game”. This was the craziest section. We didn’t care about the remark that we have been secluded from the rest of the class. We grew really close with each other. Even our adviser saw and knew that. She even told us, “You have to mingle with the rest of your batch because you won’t be classmates until fourth year.” Not the exact words, of course. But that’s the thought.
Perhaps, we took the comments to heart hence we developed such friendship. We even made an enemy out of one person in the Ruby section
because she literally scratched Val in our attempt to protect each other. The Mamerlala boys plus Ashley were mainly the people who annoyed this person. There was even one time when the youngest Emstein, Lily, was called a “rich, brat person”. Most of Mamerlala, and me, went back to that person who called Lily those words. The main Mamerlalas were mostly annoyed with what that person said to Lily. I saw that they actually made a big deal out of it. Meaning, we do actually care for one another.
But gradually, we let ourselves open up to the rest of the batch. I, personally like the camaraderie displayed in this section. It was constant. Constant happiness. But if I had to rank the sections I’ve been part of, Emerald would be third but it’s a really close one with the second, which I would talk, or write rather, about in the coming days.
My first friend in this section was Rezl. We were supposed to work on a report for Integrated Science. I awkwardly went up to our group when suddenly, Rezl started talking about Harry Potter. And I was like, “You’re a fan of Harry Potter?” She said, “Yeah. Are you?” And I nodded. Thus, we became friends! HAHAHA!!
This became Emsteinz “theme song”. During the clearance period, we flooded our classroom to scrub and clean the floor. We ended up, sitting in the flooded room, singing along to No Air, even if we don’t have the best voices.