Chapter 1 - The Secret

I hated schools the most.

I was just having a splendid dream about my crush, who—by the way—was the most beautiful girl I found in that boring school when an earthquake woke me up. Not a destructive one, but it would surely spring you up and out of the bed and make your knees wobble.

Earthquakes were recently occurring here in Cebu.

It made me nervous because I was kind of an irrationally anxious person. A paranoid who always thought the world could end any minute. Not to mention, I was sentimental and sensitive. Yes, you could judge me, but you couldn’t actually judge me. I mean, you had never been with me my entire life, so how in the name of Karens could you say something negative about my personality? 

If you were to know me, though, there was only one notable thing that you would always remember. I had a natural sloth, and yes, I’d admit it. I’d love to procrastinate and not do things in haste as I believed all things would come in due time.

In fact, I was known as Josh the lazy bum; a title I earned that I didn’t like. My friends gave me the infamous alias, and even if I disliked it that much, I had come to terms with it.

Well, as far as I had known, I was still good with my life being a procrastinator and I had never felt rushing things. So, I’d appreciate it if people would leave me be and allow me to do my own thing.

Anyway, that quake made my adrenaline gland produce hormones faster than how I was always rejected by many girls I had confessed to, which made me storm to my parents’ room to wake them out of their dreamland fantasies. They were lovey-dovey with each other and they wouldn’t want someone to come in their bedroom, even their children, as we might catch them doing something that I had yet to experience; unless, it was an emergency. And it was an emergency.

Fortunately, the quake stopped after a few seconds, and all our worries evaporated. It was Sunday morning of January and tomorrow was the first day of school 2020. Just the thought of going back to school could put weights on my shoulders. By then, I’d start to slouch. School was as backbreaking as any manual labor. 

I had a great Christmas break and as much as possible I’d want to treasure the memory until it would last because everything good and memorable that happened to me would surely go numb when classes would resume. I didn’t want to go back to school right away because I had not had enough of my vacation plans yet. I’d still want to go beaching and mountaineering with my friends and chitchat for hours about anything. If there was one thing that I was not lazy doing—it was traveling.

And I knew that you might not have guessed it right, but I was not a student.

I was a teacher.      

This had given me more reasons to hate schools. When I was a student, I promised myself that I’d never, ever, be part of any school when I’d grow up. I wanted to become an architect, but money played a big role in being one. Being born to a not-so-lucky family—but a loving one—forced me to find a much cheaper career path.

So, here I was.

Don’t get me wrong, though. As the years passed by, I came to meet my passion for teaching halfway in my life, and so far, I was enjoying it. There were still some regrets, but I was keeping them from letting myself give up on this career that I had chosen. Luckily, I got another reason to stay, and I believed you knew what it was already.

It was just that I hated doing lesson plans. We’d make our LPs after implementing a lesson, which would make it not any more of a plan. It was more like a log: keeping track of what I had done in the classroom. It might just be me, though, because I was too lazy to do it, the planning, and I hated it when my lessons were already pieced and crafted. I was spontaneous in my delivery of instructions and the activities would change from time to time depending on the students’ needs, and sometimes the availability of the resources, but most likely if I was prepared or not. 

The bottom line was, I was liking teaching the more I taught, and I had to do something with my laziness if I wanted to keep it like that.

Of course, if given a chance to change career, I’d have done so two years ago. There was this friend of mine who offered to pay for all the expenses for my enrollment in Cebu Engineering and Architectural Arts University before. I’d like to accept it but, you know, Jef was not an ordinarily generous person.

Everything that Jef offered to guys had a price to pay on its own, and it was not monetary. He would help them when they were in need, but in some ways, he also needed something in return for himself. It was a kind gesture, though—the helping. I heard he got a rich history of dating guys, and another friend told me that he had had his eyes on me. I did like Jef as a friend, but I had not ever thought of being with a guy. In fact, I had someone that I liked now.

And had I told you my secret?

This secret was neither the nondescript secret stories that you watched in movies nor the ones you heard from radios, not even those you read from books. It was way bigger. It was, as what I wanted to call it, grandeur.

This secret was something that you would not believe the first time you would hear it. Well, there might be a ninety-nine-point-nine percent chance that you wouldn’t totally believe me. Nobody knew this, and I almost accidentally spilled it out because one of my colleagues asked us to share our deepest secrets. It might be so ironic for a deep secret to be dug up and made known, but she was an exquisite and irresistible individual; one you could hardly keep a secret from once she would ask you. The way she would talk alone could hypnotize anyone, and her smile was the Tezuka

zone that you wouldn’t want to be sucked into; unless, she was your crush.

You see, I had the power to imagine things out and make them happen. Whatever I’d think, for some reason, would become a reality.

Yes, you heard it right. And I might be also right that you might not believe me or wouldn’t even have the slightest chance to believe me at all. It was fine with me, though, because I knew that it was impossible. It only happened once, and what I envisioned in my mind during that time disappeared eventually, which made me doubt it for a hallucination. However, I had never been to drugs—thank God, I didn’t find it fancy—and I was a completely healthy individual, so that event was real. It happened during my seventeenth birthday.

It all began when they had brought my cake inside my room and one of my friends had tried to pour flour on my head. They were all singing Happy Birthday in an awful tune when Freddy pulled something out from his pockets and stretched his arms out. Luckily for me, I was able to think fast. I imagined that whatever Freddy would pour on me would be turned to assorted flowers. And, Voila! Different flowers decorated my bed.

All of them were stupefied, including me, which then turned into fits of laughter. They all thought I had done a gimmick there—I did magic sometimes with my friends, which explained why they thought I was pulling their legs—but they didn’t know that even myself was intrigued by it. Later that evening, when everyone was already gone, I immediately washed my face in the comfort room because it felt as sticky as hell. By the time I came back, my bed sheet was all covered in disgusting, wet flour where flowers should have been. 

The event made me think and experiment about what I did during that time. 

It didn’t happen again. 

No one knew what would come out of it, anyway.

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