The Invisible Hours

In a Jesuit institution, one appreciates the love of God and of country because the insignia in our school uniform boldly states "pro deo et patria" a latin phrase declaring "for god and country". I had always stared at that insignia and studied every detail of the design. The very minute I got hold of that high school uniform, I felt ecstatic because for every child, Ateneo was a dream school, it was where the rich men’s children gained their education.
Truly indeed, there were lots of them rich kids in their huge basketball shoes and rubber wristwatch protruding gravely from their little gangly arms. I could see that even in appearance they were different from each and every one of us. They always had skin so fair and tinges of foreign look.
My first day in school was not a good memory. I had bought this orange pants a month ago thinking these were such garments the hip American kids wore, those Bronx black kids used when they were break dancing. I was a huge follower of the strut and breakdancing movement that caught the whole world at that time.
While we were in the flag ceremony, some kids from behind snickered and I heard him mentioning the color of my pants. I should have been gone to the city jail instead of school he said. I heard that because they meant it to be heard so I felt so conscious and sweated for the rest of the ceremonies. I tore that pants later on so that I could use that at home, at least, my money did not went for naught.
In my college years, I stayed with Ateneo and planned to master politics or literature when some student assistant led me to my scholarly perdition.
" You are taking A.B. Political Science while others are struggling to enter nursing" the student assistant from the admission office quipped as if she was so bored with her job that she could not help but interfere in some poor lad’s career.
" What’s wrong with the course", I answered.
" You have a very high entrance score and you could take just about any other course", she suggested and I thought she was waiting for my acquiescence with bated breath. I could see the white of her eyes as she stared worrying for my life.
"I am planning to enter law school" I said, " It is just a preparatory course"
"You could take Accountancy then" she insisted and added " it has law subjects in it"
I examined the curriculum and indeed four entries there read "Business Law". As if just to do away with her pestering, I agreed and sign in with the batch of people who wanted to count other people’s money.
At home, I reconciled my earlier decision with the uncertainties of the future. I assured myself that it was for the better because if things would not work out right, I could always slide into counting money in banks or some institution. I could even go on business myself and be proficient with money. But it turned out; accountancy was not just about counting money. It was full of worksheets after worksheets that test the patience of the students, while it was supposedly to be merely a stepping-stone for me towards another course. I lacked the patience and discipline that I performed miserably at school. I did not decided to change course anymore because I felt my intellect were enough to wrestle the course even with the minimal attention to it. Whoever says that an accounting class was not a bore must have been a fanatic of numbers. We always had to determine the money of some Mr. X or Mr. Y and see if the profits he raked in were properly reported or not. Then Mr. Z somehow had this factory and we must advice him at what price to sell his goods. Then there were the banks that we had to reconcile. It was a merciless subject that I never really cared if banks reconcile or just kept on kicking at each other’s butt.
I spent a lot of time in the library instead. While my classmates was carefully putting entries into their ultra-neat worksheets, I dived into the world of Russian literature- of Feodor Dostoyevsky and of Tolstoy- into world history and philosophies, and into those American textbooks who were not wanting in graphics and designs, full of school yards and prairies and colonial houses made of Oak.
I joined the school paper to further stifle the general boredom of classrooms. I must have questioned enough inquiries as a reporter that in my senior years I took the rein as the Editor in Chief. I learned to make more poetry because the ones submitted were simply crap. Well, not all of them at the least. I would hide in some other name to fill a section full of serious literature. Each issue was always a labor of love that I would stay alone in the pressroom up to the late evening to get some editing done. I kept the greater load of the works, burning hours after hours doing the dirty stuffs, integrating issues with more than two of my pseudonyms. I kept every member of the publication at bay. I was not a good administrator despite my writing skills that a friend declared that the publication was a one-man magazine. I sort of took offense at that, but it somehow gave me a feeling of invincibility.
From my unfinished and ongoing autobiography "A Prophet's Life".
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