I was in grade two when it was announced that my school JASMS was going to be converted to a mall. The school was moving to Batasan and that was far from where we lived. The move was going to be implemented the next year, so I could have stayed for one more year, but my mom decided to transfer me right away.
Ma decided to make me go to Miriam, an all-girls school where Ma and lola graduated. Lola was part of the first batch of Miriam graduates. The whole batch was as big as one class (forty plus students), and Miriam was still called Malabon Normal School.
When mama was in Miriam, it was called Maryknoll. The American nuns who ran the school did not allow the girls to have sewing and cooking classes because they felt that it contradicted the school’s mission vision on women empowerment. The nuns let the college students smoke on the roof of their dormitories. They were that liberal for an all-girls Catholic school.
I didn’t want to transfer to Miriam, but ma said that I should take the entrance test. If I don’t pass, then I will not transfer. I was planning to flunk the test, but it was too easy that my ego could not let myself shade the most idiotic answer. I remember one question that went, “Which one differs from the rest: a cow, a cat, or a tree?” I was like, “I’m grade two already, this is an insult to my intelligence, of course it’s the tree! Duh!” When my mom announced that I passed with flying colors, I cried.
I knew that most of the students in JASMS were transferring next year. I did not know where my crush, Matthew, was going, but I thought that if I were to transfer to a co-ed school, there’s a tiny shrivel of hope—a tiny shrivel—but at least a shrivel, that he might go there too. If I were to transfer to an all-girls school, there was no way in hell that we were going to be classmates.
I shared this with mama and my cousin Annika when we went to the mall. They both made fun of me. Jaja has a crush, Jaja has a crush, Annika said, taunting me. My mom started laughing. I threw a tantrum. I was on the floor crying, thumping my fists and legs as hard as I could. A lot of people were staring at me, but I didn’t care. I tried to keep on crying, but I couldn’t. Crying took so much energy in me that I couldn’t sustain it. I stopped crying. Ma and Annika were still laughing.
My transfer was complete, and I was devastated. Every night, for a very long time, I would take the framed class picture on my bedside table, and I would touch the face of Matthew, and I would cry. I would never see him again, and it felt so bad.
I was enrolled in Miriam, and I realized that it was so different from JASMS. In JASMS there was barely any homework. It was like once a year. In Miriam there was so much homework that I was stressed. The year ended and my mom told me that I was an honor student. I was stunned. I never knew I was smart. In JASMS, you’ll only know if you’re an honor student if you’re in grade 7, so until that time there was no way that I’d know that I was smart. My mom never informed me that I was smart, and I guess she didn’t know it either.
When the year ended, I found out that JASMS never completed their transfer to Batasan, but it was too late to go back. I didn’t know why I thought I couldn’t go back. I was miserable in Miriam, but going back to JASMS seemed impossible. I don’t know why I didn’t try to call my best friend Lara (I talked to her on the phone, so I must have known her number. I didn’t know Raisa’s number. I didn’t care for my friend Katrina) to find out where she was and what she was doing. I forgot all about JASMS. My transfer to Miriam was complete.
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Age of the Diary by Jasmine T. Cruz. If you like this post, please subscribe to this blog. Follow Ja on Twitter: ageofthediary. Email Ja at: email@example.com.