Essay

A cat pissed on my face on November 11, 2004?

This is her first appearance in my journal where I referred to her by her nickname. Earlier, when she ran for office as a Supreme Student Council (SSC) senator (the same election when her elder brother ran for SSC president), she came to our class as the representative of the Student Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy (STAND), the most left-leaning student party at the University of San Carlos (USC). It was the second election our BS Ed Physics-Chem and Physics-Math group witnessed as students, but we were not happy with the previous election because our polling place was at the USC South Campus and on election day we were supposed to have classes at USC Talamban Campus, kilometers away, resulting to our whole group’s being unable to vote. So I did not sugarcoat my words in telling her to cut her speech short so that we could go back to solving our physics problems – they’ll disenfranchise us again anyway. She did promise that she would inform the SSC’s Commission on Elections so that that problem could be looked into. There was a poll station for us double majors at USC TC that year. That night I wrote in my journal that I might just have seen the most beautiful woman I laid my eyes on, but I referred to her using her complete name. (That volume of the journal had been destroyed by me two years ago during my first phase of journal destruction; for the reason, read below.)

Two years later we were respectively elected as Vice-President External, and Hotel and Restaurant Management (HRM) Representative, of the College of Education Students Organization (COEDSO). By then she had transferred from political science to HRM, her real love. At that time, USC’s HRM program was attached to the College of Education, although within that school year it would be transferred to the College of Commerce, as it is currently attached.

As part of the orientation of newly elected officers, we underwent a Leadership Training Seminar (LTS) at the Bro-something SVD House in Bohol. That’s when our knowing each other’s names led to a certain kind of friendship and later intimacy, which stretched to almost nine years.

That LTS was the context why she first appeared in my journal referred to by her nickname. On February 29, 2004, at 5:05 A.M., she woke me up and the rest of the participants to prepare for the day’s activities. (She was acting two roles during that LTS: as a participant, being the HRM Representative of COEDSO, and as a member of the facilitating team, she being a Student Coordinator attached to USC’s Student Affairs Office (SAO).) The next entries after February 29, 2004 are as full of energy as a high school male just experiencing his first full sexual intercourse. There are even transcriptions of our SMS messages to each other for entire weeks – and this was before unlimited texting promos existed. On May 13, 2004, she said yes to me, but let me just go straight to the end: we broke eight years, ten months and 25 days later, on April 7, 2013. (I did not count how many times her name or allusions to her appeared in my journal, as almost everyday there would be something in my entry about her, my life practically revolving around her during that time.)

I was introduced to the idea of keeping a journal by my second year high school adviser and English teacher, Mrs. Arreglo. But although I bought in 1998 the notebook which became volume 1 of my journals, the real journal keeping started only in 2000, upon the encouragement of my fourth year high school adviser and also my English teacher, Miss Regis. They did not tell me to be more circumspect in my journal though; the journal, as far as I was concerned, was really just for my eyes only. Thus, my journal during my high school years listed which students abuse shabu and which ones prefer marijuana; also, which names appeared in the black book we recovered from a homosexual teacher. Notes about which girls/women could easily be seduced could also be found in my journal, as well as which wives were cheating on their seaman or abroad husband (one of the reasons that although many of my male friends from Daanbantayan are working abroad or as a seaman, I never really seriously considered that career path). This pattern of no-holds-barred commentary on people I met continued until my law school days, when I realized that exposure of the text of my journals, even if not done by me, could potentially result to negative repercussions for me. Prospectively, I changed my voice into something which recognizes that others may be able to read my work. Retrospectively, I went through each volume, listed on the inside jacket the names mentioned and the date of the entry where they are mentioned, and included in my last will an order for my executor to forbid publication of my journals until he or a person he duly authorized could ascertain that everyone named in the inside jacket of each volume is already dead.

After I became a lawyer, the time I had to devote to work seriously cut my time for introspection, which must be careful, of the day’s events. Also, when before it would have been exciting to note that I discovered that a friend is cheating on his partner, now I have to write about something else. Can’t write that so-and-so is cheating with so-and-so. In late 2015 I finally decided that for the sake of peace of mind, for myself and for everyone I come in contact with, I should stop journaling and destroy the journals that I already had. Instead, I channeled my writing to Facebook posts, thus, if you notice, the longer FB posts that I have started around December 2015. The journal volumes, scandalous memoranda of a time gone past, went into flames, although I was aware that there were certain volumes I seemed unable to locate.

It was only during the weekend, when I cleaned our family library, that I came across the seven volumes gone missing. They are for the period from 2003 to 2009 (a volume is not strictly one year – I was using the 500-page Speedway Record Book which you usually see being used by guards as a log book). Reading through them was a trip down memory lane. But there comes a point in a man’s life when he must sever reminders of his past, esp. those which would scandalize people around him now. So these journals would have to go. I’m done with the first one, and am near the middle of the second one.

But wait, a cat pissed on my face on November 11, 2004? WTF?

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