I Played Mary, He Played Joseph

The hoop was three times as high as Matthew, but that didn’t stop him from playing basketball. Grade seven girls were weakened by his charm, and everyone knew that was like being worshiped by the gods. They would watch him play, and they’d scream when he made a shot. Once he finished playing basketball, the girls would follow him around the campus until recess ended. We didn’t have lunch because our classes were half day. If we had, I bet those girls would have stalked him until lunch.

I envied those girls. They could follow him around and not look stupid because they were older than he was, so their dotting was done in a joking way. But I was seriously falling for him, and I didn’t want him to know what I felt inside.

I would wait for him to come back to our classroom. His chair that was a few rows away from mine. I would look at him, and just keep looking. If he happens to glance at my direction, I wouldn’t turn my head away. I’d keep it still, and simply shift my eyes to the ceiling, to the floor, or to anywhere else.

That’s the key to staring at somebody and not getting caught. Don’t turn your head away when that person looks at you because it’s harder to get away with head movements. Eye movements are quicker, so they are harder to catch. Plus, he already saw you at the corner of his eye, which prompted him to check whether you really were staring at him or not. If you turn your head away, he’ll notice that your head changed from its original position. He could not have seen where your line of vision was originally directed at, so if you just look elsewhere, it will seem like you were staring into space instead of staring at your crush.

December arrived, and our teacher told us that we would reenact the birth of Jesus. The teacher asked Matthew if he wanted to play Joseph. He agreed. The teacher turned to me and said, Do you want to play Mary? I had a crush on Matthew for so long, so this was the perfect opportunity to spend more time with him, but I froze up. I thought, Baka mahalata ako if I say yes, baka isipin ng mga classmates ko na I only said yes because of Matthew. So I said no.

I went home, and I told my mother about this. My mother assured me that no one would jump to the conclusion that I like Matthew if I agreed to do the play. I wasn’t convinced. Then she said, Alam mo the prettiest girl in class is usually the one picked to play Mary. I told my mother to call my teacher right away, and tell her that I agreed to do the play.

I was so nervous. I kept praying that they haven’t found a replacement for me.

Matthew and I practiced for the play. We had no lines. There was a voice over, and all we had to do was to walk from one part of the stage to the next. We were arm in arm, and I was holding a fake baby. It was a doll that I borrowed from my cousin. It wasn’t a cute doll. It looked like a Tiyanak. So much for sweet baby Jesus.

During our first rehearsal, I forgot where I was going because I got distracted. He was so near, and I was touching him, our arms linked together. When we realized we were going in the wrong direction, I got defensive, and I was like Ikaw kasi, mali ung pinupuntahan mo! He said, Ikaw kaya ung mali, sinusundan lang kita! We were fuming at each other, so unlike the perfect couple that we were pretending to be.

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