Holy Monday. I was left alone in the house. Ma and my brother participated in our Parish Visita Ecclesia/ Iglesia. Cuz left for school to get his invitation for his graduation and finish his clearance. So it’s just me and the dogs at home.
With nothing to do, I decided to arrange my stuff in my Durabox to make room for my new stuff. I scanned through the lowest drawer’s contents and skimmed through several folders of paper and stared into texts dated early 2000’s. I began my journey to some five to nine years ago. I was instantly transported to my days in college and the early days of law school.
I found my old quiz and exam papers. My projects printed in fine substance 20 bond paper were still complete. It reflected how diligent I was as a student and reminded me of the consequent series of flat one’s in my transcript of records. I realize now how my handwriting looked so small and round in between the lines of my intermediate pad, sometimes yellow paper. I remembered the nights when I got home tired and weary from school. I would have dinner alone as the rest of the household were now fast asleep. I remembered, too, that despite the weariness that I felt, I used my reserved energy to transcibe my notes in my notebook until I was too sleepy to continue. I burned the midnight oil alright, until about 3 in the morning.
I also found my blue folder – my neophyte folder with all the contents still in tact. I remember memorizing the Constitution and By-Laws, the Officers, Hymns, etc. to please by Mesdames – with a blue ribbon tied around my head and a blue bracelet in my right wrist. I can only laugh now at the first instance that I cried because I was not able to answer the oh-so-simple-question that my Madame threw at me. I laugh now, too at the instances where I made a real fool of myself in front of Masters and Mesdames – singing out of tune almost choking, pirrouetting in my tight skirt and heels, etc. I would not forget to how some of my Masters comforted me when I felt weak, almost ready to give up. I was such a crybaby back then. Oh well, until now.
I was able to find my first ever published work, too. I was a Freshman then, practically forced by a Worthy Brother to write an essay in an hour. I read it with pride now. I was a newbie and having been asked to write an essay meant that your Worthy Brothers and Sisters believed in you. I found, too my copy of my second published article. Plus the scratch paper where I originally wrote it. It was actually a speech I delivered before a the School Administrators during our Founder’s Day. The audience loved it so much that I still remember the applause in between lines in the speech. My other unpublished works are still carefully filed in one of those folders. I’ll get to publish them, too one of these days.
I even found my first employment contract and the copies of my pay slips. It reflected how much (little?) I earned compared with the number of grueling hours I spent doing my job. It reflected, too how much was deducted as my (withholding) tax, with me, finding out much later that I had no Tax Identification Number (TIN) so nothing was really given to the government coffers. Now, where in the world did my taxes go? I did love my first job, though. I got to travel for free, with matching service van and driver. I got to talk and shake hands with principals and guidance counselors and conduct speaking engagements with high school students. I was doing what I loved most – creatively writing presentations and speaking before an audience. With my (meager) salary, I was able to buy some of my books in law school as well contribute in paying for our household bills. I was able to finance the transportation for our barkada’s first roadtrip, too.
Photocopies of cases from the SCRA (Supreme Court Reports Annotated) comprised a large chunk of the paper I have in the drawer. There were highlighted areas which I most probably used in the case digests I submitted. There were marginal notes, too. I think I was that conscious about my handwriting because I used different strokes for different pages.
The rest of the day went on and I continued shuffling through all the paper I had. I sorted them to two categories – will use, will not use. I sorted and re-sorted until I have nothing left to sort. While Aqua’s ‘If I Could Only Turn Back Time’ and Color it Red’s ‘Paglisan’ played in the background. A trip down memory lane, alright.
True, most of the paper I have accumulated through the years could make good scratch papers now. Sigh. Yet all the memory I have shared with these paper will always be in my heart.