1-Noli Me Tangere (Latin meaning Touch me Not) is an 1887 novel by José Rizal during the colonization of the Philippines by Spain to describe perceived inequities of the Spanish Catholic friars and the ruling government. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noli_Me_T%C3%A1ngere_(novel))
2-Tita (Filipino word) meaning aunt
After hours of seating the chair, the bell finally rings. Which means that we are going home. However, today I am going to the library to borrow a book and plan all about the play. While going there, I saw Agatha and her teammates walking inside the gymnasium, training perhaps. I am trying my best to hide from them as I am not in the mood to speak and greet them. As a rude lazy person, I hide near the locker and walk incognito. However, my incognito was ruin as someone grab my jacket and pat my shoulder.
“Hello, Franz!” Frida and Agatha greeted me and started laughing a bit.
I nodded them as well and continue walking going to the library. Agatha chase me and hold my arms.
“Where are you going?” she asked.
“I am going to the library and borrow a book,” I answered.
“Okay. Bye!” and leaves me with that smile again.
The encounter was a bit random, yet happy as I finally got a chance to talk to her.
As I arrived in the library, I immediately went to the Literature section and get the book that I need, “The full Filipino version of Noli Me Tangere.” The book only provides a summary of the story and I want to understand the whole story for me to write the script of the play. Since we are now going to have our Christmas vacation next week after the exams.
Once I found the book, I went to the circulation downstairs and borrow the book for me to read to the whole three weeks. I went outside once I can bring outside of the library. I started reading the book while walking in the hallway, not thinking where I am walking or might bump into someone. Despite walking on the side of the hallway, I still able to bump into someone. The book falls on the book and I stumbled on the cold floor.
“Franz are you okay?” he asked. He helped me to stand up and pick up my book.
“Yes. I am okay. I’m sorry.” I bashfully apologized.
“It’s okay,” he replied while giving me the book.
“I bet that you are busy writing the script for the play. Can I suggest something to you? I do not think sleeping to finish that will help you to write a script. We only have four months to prepare.”
I listened to what he is going to suggest to me. He leaned near to me and started to talk with a modulated, calm voice. “Franz, you can just read the summary of it. I understand why you get the book because it will help to the dialogues and understand the story even more. But please don’t sacrifice your vacation for doing that.”
“Thank you for that. But I need to read this all because I want to understand the whole story and the motifs why is this written. No worries! I can finish a book in a week, depends on how long it is. I can finish this for… for nearly three weeks. Just in time in the resume of our classes.”
“Okay. If you also need some help in the props, I can help you to make the props on the play. I can draw and paint. I can also write a script so I can also help you.” He offered.
“I do help in the props and backdrop in the play. I also need to look at the theater where we are going to perform. Our teacher hasn’t announced where so I cannot plan yet on the design.”
“I am happy that you are already doing something despite the performance will be in March.”
“Thank you. By the way, what is your name?”
What are you doing Franz?
He was surprised about my question; he may not expect that one of his classmates does not know his name. He enthusiastically introduced himself to me. “I am Evan. One of your classmates. I am seating on the right side of the room beside Frida.”
“Hello, Evan! I am sorry, I am not good at memorizing people’s names.”
“It is okay. I do not even know all our classmates either. I only know Agatha and Frida because they are my classmates when we are the first year.” He stated.
“Are you close to Agatha?” I asked.
“Not that much. She is much close to noisy Frida, but I found her genuinely nice and kind.”
I found what he said funny, but I know that Frida was just like that, but she was very compassionate. After a little talk, I immediately said goodbye and leave for school.
On the other day, we have an experiment which is the most exciting day. However, I must endure six boring hours, sitting, listening to the discussion as they rush the lessons that cover our exam next week. Luckily, some of our classes already finished the discussion early so we just rushed the essay papers that we need to pass today. Some of my classmates brought their laptops to do it and print it later outside of the room.
However, I already finished my reaction paper and only needed to print it. I go out of the room while I saw my classmates crumbling to finish the paper. But,
“Franz! Are you going to print your reaction paper?” Agatha asked me.
Initially stopped and answered, “Yes. I already did it last night.”
“Can I join you as well? I forgot to print it earlier while on the way to the school.”
Therefore, the two of us going to the printing area in the library. Being with her at this moment is nerve wreaking as I am trying my best not to show any suspicious emotions to her.
“I wanted to know if you are solo a transferee here for the first year.” She said.
“I am studying in this school since Grade 4 when we bought a house inside of this village,” I replied.
She continued talking to me.
“Since you have not lived here before, where did you study before?”
“Somewhere in Quezon City. I am studying at a school in San Juan.”
“When is your birthday?”
“What last week? I do not even know that. Happy birthday by the way!”
I do not even know what I am answering right now. I did not even expect that I am telling some information about myself that should not be told to anyone, especially my birthday. It is forbidden for me to say that.
We are already in the library and printed our assignment. After that, we went back to the room and continue the talk.
“I am curious when did you start drawing and making beautiful artworks.”
“I don’t remember. I just grab a pencil and paper and draw something.”
“What do you draw most of the time?”
“Anything? Depends on my liking.”
After minutes, we finally arrived in our room.
“I first I am a bit afraid of talking to you. However, you seem to be good to talk with. IT is nice to talk with you briefly. Thanks!”
She enters first to the room and seat to her side. Meanwhile, I am standing in front of the room, hard as a rock. I am still internalizing what she has said earlier and thinking about all the things that happened merely ten minutes ago. I did not expect that to happen nor to speak enthusiastically like that. After I saw my teacher going inside of the room, I went in fast and immediately pass my assignment.
Finally, the chemistry class came. I happily walked going to the laboratory, excited to my new buddy. I can now enjoy chemistry experiments than before because I do not have a classmate that is always relying on me in every experiment, ending to me to do it alone.
Agatha greeted me, “Hello, Franz!”
Everybody in the shocked, gasping and murmuring.
“Franz finally spoke a word to us after two days!” someone shouted at the back.
“Thank you, Lord, for making him speak!”
“It is music in my ears after hearing Franz’s voice.”
Frida meanwhile went near to both of us and said to Agatha, “It is a miracle that you make him talk. How did you do that?”
“He obviously can speak. Just shut it Frida!”
Frida immediately went back to her partner.
“Don’t mind them, Franz. Let us put the things that we need here.” She commanded while putting somewhere.
While putting the materials in the table, she was looking at me. At first, I ignored it because she may be noticed something to me that I am not right. However, she is still looking can me for more than three minutes. I am hesitant to ask her but,
“Was there a speck of dirt to my face?”
“No. I am just getting used to the face of my new buddy.” She replied.
The teacher enters the room, we finally start the experiment. Checking if these liquids are acidic or neutral. The answers were explained to us by our teacher. We finished early, she thought other things like the right way of adding, mixing, and handling chemicals. After an hour we finally went home.
I walked together with Frida, and Agatha on our way home.
Frida was still surprised about what happened earlier, expressed what she felt to Agatha. “I still can’t believe you can make Franz speak just like that.”
“Franz can speak but not a casual as that. I did not expect him to talk everything about himself.” She responds.
We continue walking silently as we walk to our houses.
“I just wish that I am also living a walking distance than enduring a thirty-minute ride going to school and going home.”
“Where do you live?” I asked.
“I live outside of this village. Inside of the Makati Business District.” She replied.
Frida was shocked by what she had heard. “Why did you decide to study here? There are schools near in your area.”
“Frida, I have a scholarship in school because of volleyball. I wanted to help my parents, so I decided to accept it. Besides, it is still Makati anyways.”
“You wouldn’t understand what she is saying because you’re in her position Frida. You are lucky that studying is not a problem for you because your parents have good and powerful businesses. You can study at the most expensive schools in Metro Manila. That’s why I am thinking why you didn’t enter to Assumption.”
“Stop dissing me, Franz! I do not want to study there. And I am not rich, this my parents! I understand Agatha’s situation that why she is here. If I am in her situation, I would happy to accept it because it is a rare opportunity that an exclusive school will allow you to study there without thinking about anything that you need to pay.”
While she is ranting to me, Agatha went near to us and stop us from fighting.
I am the first one to arrive home.
I immediately opened the gate of our house and went inside.
The whole weekend, I spend the whole Saturday in the solitude of my bedroom, drawing, reading books, and sleep. I am only bothered to go outside of this room to eat, refill my drinking tumbler, and going to the comfort room. I also manage not to take a bath the whole and only manage to wash my face and brush my teeth. I can sacrifice my hygiene for the sake of my solitude.
The next day, I started studying for the second quarterly examinations. As this is a major exam, I must review it from the easiest to the hardest. I reviewed my notes until midnight.
Tomorrow until today, we have our examination. Some examinations are hard and confusing as others are easy, almost I can sleep on it.
After the examination, I finally I can sle… Wait! Tomorrow is the Christmas Party and I must buy a gift for the monito-monita (exchange gift). Therefore, I went to the mall to briefly buy a gift and waited for my father. I told him that I am in the mall to buy something. I also went to the wrapping area and wrap the thing that I bought. After that brought bread which I am going to eat while I am in my room. When I saw my dad’s car, I immediately went inside and go home. As I arrived home, I went inside my bedroom and do what I am good at, drawing. After that, I eat dinner and watch a movie on my computer.
Christmas day… the most irritating thing to attend. I do not like the noise that will possibly happen during the whole affair.
I am seating in the corner of the room and hide because I am shocked at how noisy they are. This is pushing me to the brink as I decided to go to the comfort room and compose myself. I remember my worst childhood memory where I saw parents fight, shout so loud, and throw everything that they see. I am still traumatized to it and I am afraid of the noisy surroundings.
When I got my composure, I went back to the room and look at them enjoying. After getting my gift, I immediately went home and started my three weeks of vacation. Because of this “trauma”, I never got a chance to look at Agatha and possibly interact with her for a short while.
I spend the two weeks of reading the Noli Me Tangere for me to understand the whole story. It is tempting to read the summary, but I control myself not to do such. I finish reading it in one and a half weeks. I immediately write the script, manage to finish it for four days.
Might be thinking whether I do not have time for pampering myself. After I read a book, I draw in my sketch pad or paint use a watercolor since this the one that I have. I also write poems and post them on Facebook or somewhere. This how I spend my Christmas Vacation.
My parents and siblings went to Laguna to visit our relatives there. I also did not celebrate Christmas with them. Instead, I spend my Christmas at my Tita Christine’s house. It was a bit sad because I am going to celebrate this occasion alone. But at least I was able to finish my school requirement just in time for our abroad vacation. We are going first to Japan next to Oslo, Norway, where my grandparents lived.
After nearly three weeks, I am finally back in the country. Just in time before for the resume of the classes. I also went back here empty-handed whereas I am carrying a lot of new art and stationery materials that I collected from the stores of Tokyo and Oslo.
I went early to school, seven in the morning. The room is still quiet, there are only six people inside the room. The brought out the printed version of the script of the play. I would say that in all the plays that we have done during my high school year, this is the most well-written script that ever done.
After forty-five minutes, my classmates arrived in the room one by one. As they arrived, I continued editing some parts of the scripts like typographical errors and misspelled words. A few minutes later, I able to finish the script and give it to Agatha.
“I already finished it while on vacation,” I said while giving the folder to her.
Her almond eyes widen in shock as she saw in front of her the script for the play. I do not know if she forgets about the play or is surprised that I can finish it for three weeks. I even did it while in my grandparent’s house instead of enjoying what the place can offer to me. Frida and Evan were amazed that I can do the script during the whole vacation, even finishing reading it.
Evan praised me while giving me a slow clap. “I didn’t except that you able to read the whole book during the vacation and even wrote the script for the play.”
“Guys, he did not join his family to celebrate Christmas to his father’s relatives in Laguna. He celebrated Christmas with us.” She told the two.
Agatha, meanwhile, scanning the whole script and looked to me while her jaw nearly dropped on the floor.
“You did this twenty-page script for three weeks instead of spending the vacation with your family or do your hobbies and relax. You should have told so I can help with this.”
“Don’t worry about me! I would prefer to spend time alone and do something important. That’s fun for me.” I said while trying to be passive-aggressive.
They are still in disbelief that I was able to finish it all by myself.
Therefore, when our Filipino teacher asked if we did a script or at least a plan for the play, Agatha just went in front and gave the folder that I gave to her. She was also amazed. “Out of my four classes, you are the only section that presented me something for your play. You already have a script.”
“Franz!” she called.
“You did this voluntarily?” she asked.
“Sort off. But he was the assistant leader for this play.” Replied by Frida.
I hear the class whispers of astonishment as they knew that we already have the script. Meanwhile, I stand up and went to her and shortly asked her, “Mam, where it will perform?”
“In the second auditorium. You are going to perform that. And please go to the faculty later so you can see the place where you will perform it. I know that you will be needing props to that.”
After that, we have a short meeting.
The whole class will get a copy of the script and must have this while practicing. Agatha finally chooses who will perform for each of the characters and what will the others do if they will not perform. She demanded me to have an assistant when doing the prop and background design for the play.
I choose, “Evan and Frida.” I know Frida can draw and paint. Plus, her house is big, so we can do it there comfortably. Evan, meanwhile, presented himself to help me. Therefore, I choose him. We still have a lot of classmates who have nothing to do, but they will need to be the extra characters or help me with the design.
After the meeting, we take twenty-five minutes and continue the class until classes were over three in the afternoon. Before I went home, however, I went to the second auditorium to look at how it looked like. I have my cellphone in my pocket, opened the camera, and captured the stage. I walked going out of the campus.
I have the weird feeling that I felt right now.
I hear the heavy stump of my feet, the silence of the surroundings giving my chills. Surprisingly, there are few people in the hallway, and I am not used to this. Normally during this time, there are a lot of people in this area of the school. The silence of this hallway makes me a bit nervous, thinking that something bad will happen. I ignored this instead and enjoyed the almost empty hallway. I am walking like in the beautiful garden as I saw Agatha in the hallway. I do want to greet her and say goodbye. As I walk near to her, I saw her talking to someone. She is talking to a guy, maybe a member of the boys’ volleyball team. The tone of his voice sounds nasty to my ears, flirtatious but admires it. She was not saying anything for a minute as she listens attentively to what he was saying to her.
When she spoke, the still uses her usual voice but something is different. I can feel that to every word she says, there is a passionate and unusual affection. I found it uncomfortable and irritating. My body, especially my feet felt weak. My stomach starts to feel a bit heavy and painful. All I can do is to run before she notices it.
I went out to the other gate of the school, much nearer to my house. I was allowed by the guards to get out of there. I run as fast as I can to escape this weird feeling that I felt. Deep inside, I feel heartbroken. My heart is crying and wanted to shout, but I am repressing it. Instead, I run fast until I stumbled to something. I did not know, it hurts so badly, it took my minutes before I stand up again. I cannot walk properly, my left foot hurts intensely. I tried to walk using that foot but, it still hurts.
I made a realization while walking uncomfortably, not all angels will fall to a mortal and be attracted to you as well.