1. THE MEETING

I received a message from Ramde which immediately ruined my sabbatical. I sprang to my feet and went to the bathroom and took a bath. This uncalled for rendezvous of his always ruins my schedule, but I know he knows that I got nothing else better to do that’s why he wants to meet up.

After 15 minutes – yes, that was the only time I had to prepare – of gussying up, he was there at the gate. I went outside and hopped onto the motorcycle. We went to Cheyserr’s house to at least spend time with her before we start with our training at MMG.

“Huy, sabi ng kuya ko may training daw sa MMG. 3 months yata ‘yun eh. Niregister na daw ako ng kuya ko.”

I remember Ramde telling me about the training at MMG which will be on April. I’ve been to hell and back just by locking myself inside the house not being able to practice what I’ve studied for. I’ve been pestering my mom about VRH’s lack of interest in getting me as their trainee but still she insisted I wait for that time. I was glad – maybe even criminally happy when I got Ramde’s news. I told my mom about this and she immediately informed my cousin – who was a nurse there, to sign me up.

And then, here we are, spending the remaining vacation days we have left before we have our training. That night was pretty tiring, we talked about useless matters, laughed at our own expense and ate till our stomachs gave up, but nevertheless it was nice spending time with them.

We darted through the stairs. Anxious about coming late on the first day of the Didactic Phase of the training, we immediately found seats at the back. We were both glad they haven’t started yet. I overheard someone behind us – whom I believe was Ma’am Angie, saying something about the projector having some problems. The urge of wanting to help fix it darted my mind but I wavered the thought.

I scanned the room. There was Zepharine, Jece, Hara and Miles which were my classmates back in college. There was also Webster, Jose, Regine, Kyle, Jenine, Fred and some people I recognize but never knew their names (until today).

The room was small according to my context, it was painted red. There were pictures of the staff on the wall to my right – pictures taken from their excursions I think. And to my left was a hollow room, divided by a filing cabinet of some sort.

We started the day with a prayer. Ma’am Angie introduced herself to be the one who will be spearheading the program. She explained the mechanics of the training, explained the protocols and everything about the hospital.

We started with the lectures. The lecturers were also the staff nurses and doctors affiliated in that hospital.

Two weeks…two weeks was all I had to bear to sit through that mental torture I was about to go through. I loved it in the classroom, but this one is an exception. I can’t get through these people. I hated that I’m so near to them and that we have these shallow conversations everyday which is a waste of time. They keep on nagging me about my past relationship, how it ended and everything in between. It irritates me to even think of an answer when in fact I suppressed every possible answer to these kinds of questions.

I don’t like other people’s noses on my business. That’s why I don’t solicit any information about them, except when they opened up to me.

…to be continued.

JUDGMENT DAY 1

The sound of the alarm got off at around 4:30 am. I can barely open my eyes.

I remembered last night was like hell. I slept at around 12:30 am ‘cause I was the last one to iron clothes and I had to do some scanning of notes before I go to bed. That night, sleep was not coming around to visit, I couldn’t dose off into oblivion. My friends were like heavy machineries operating, working their asses off. They were snoring like there’s no tomorrow.

An incessant, shrieking sound of sirens caused me to open my eyes and eventually woke me up. My friends were all asleep. Lucky them! I went to the terrace to see what the entire ruckus was about. Just as I thought, fire trucks all over rocketing their way to the arson. I glanced at my watch; it was 3:10 am – great! Why does this happen to me? On a night like this? I rolled my eyes in disbelief thinking about what I have to go through tomorrow later.

The radio was in the background, with something like a Justin Bieber song on as I was preparing my things for the day. I was pissed that morning and everything my roommates were doing was unnerving, and also thinking about how stupid “the talk” was last night.  It punched me in the gut every time it pierces my mind.

“Uy! Mga nursing students raw ‘yung mga nasunugan kagabi.” My eyes widened in disbelief. Poor souls.

“Kaya pala ‘yung mga fire trucks kaninang madaling araw.”

“May mga SMU students ba dun? Anung hotel?”

“Sunny side up yata?” We all laughed only to hide away the sorrow we all felt that morning thinking it could’ve been us.

Finished. Fresh and ready. All things packed. NOA check. Money check. Folders and pencils check. Ready for breakfast.

Johnrey, Manolito and I went first, grabbed ourselves a table and went to the counter to get our pre-prep meal. Tapsilog. Nice. It wasn’t what I expected from a hotel but what the heck! I was really hungry I could eat anything.

“Ate, pahingi ng kape.” I heard from a distance.

“Kirong, agkape ka?”

“Wen Mokz.”

I gestured to get the coffee.

“Ilan?” said the beautiful hotel owner. I struggled whether to get myself a cup, since I know it’s gonna wreak havoc in my stomach which would cause a toxic gastronomical enigma.

“Isa lang po.”

Everyone was talking about the fire incident which was only a block away from our hotel. But in our table, all we did was laugh and tease Johnrey. After our appetites were satisfied, we went back to the room and made a pact.

“Pagkatapos ng exam walang magdi-discuss ng answers and questions kung hindi manlilibre siya ng pizza sa Greenwich!!!!” all agreed, went downstairs, checked out of the hotel and out of the building.

Every SMU examinee was outside waiting for the bus. The NCDC staff said our hotel would be the last to be fetched. Daaaaaww. I then saw Apling – a co-member of the MERT, and approached him. We started conversing about the fire incident.

“Ano daw ang dahilan ng sunog?” I asked for lack of interest in the news that morning due to a not-so-good mood.

“Dahil yata sa mga lumang motor na nakatambak dun. Motorcycle shop kasi ‘yung baba nung hotel.”

“Wala man lang bang fire exit dun?”

“Meron pero naka-lock. Tapos ‘yung hotel daw walang kabinta-bintana. Lumabas lang ‘yung mga survivors sa bintana ng CR.” Akala ko ba walang kabinta-bintana?

“Pa’no sila nagkasya doon?”

“Yung mga payat lang ang nagkasya …. . …” I shrugged, I even felt goose bumps. I stopped listening.

“Ganda sanang mag-rescue.”

Then these boys started demonstrating how to save them if they were there this morning. Cocky pricks.

Glad that conversation was over, I approached Maan and Owen. We were telling jokes and bidding each other good luck when I saw Bus No. 5 CLSU. Maan and I ran to where it was parked dreading the situation the NCDC staff told us about being fetched last. Phew! Two more vacant seats. Yey! We settled ourselves and put on our headphones.

Everyone has always something to say. On the bus, some were reviewing notes to the very last minute, some chatted about the fire incident and others were busy with their mobile phones. The noise.

Finally we’ve arrived, with all the knowledge that is about to be unleashed, I went to my testing room which was on the 4th floor, tired and calm.

The preceptor was nice judging from the smile she had elicited when I greeted her a good morning.

“Anong pangalan?”

“Pastores po.”

“Hmmhmhm. Seat number 16 ka, 1, 2, 3 …”, pointing to where the seats were.

I found my seat, thank you, and made myself comfortable. The room was painted in white and a wide, brightly painted green blackboard was in front. Two near-death ceiling fans were turned off and arm chairs stacked at the back. A typical classroom. How boring. I looked at everyone else in the room. There was this tall guy with long a hair holding an apple. Wish I had one. A girl in a T-shirt and black slacks chewing a piece of gum. So much for being strict, way to go PRC. Another one in a casual attire with a white envelope filled with chocolates and candies. Do you have to be so open about it? Jeez. Ang nakakainis pa, wala man lang akong kilalang kahit isang nilalang sa kwartong yun. Kahit loner ako, gusto ko parin naman ng kahit isang company na pwede mong pagsabihan ng worries mo, or just someone to talk to, to relieve the anxiety and stress you’re feeling.

“OK. Start na tayo habang maaga pa.”

Student # 15 is still not around. I’m very much uncomfortable about his/her tardiness. I hate it when there was no one seated in front of me.

I shaded all small letters to spell my name. I shaded – gambling my life and my future with it, wishing I’m shading it right – all those rumors about the board exam was really something, it gets in your head and stays there.

Test I – Fundamentals of Nursing. I dreaded the subject very much. I even forecasted this would be my lowest in all the 5 tests.

The other preceptor came and started distributing the last questionnaires, I then received mine and it read, SET B.

“Bago mag-start kukunin ko ‘yung brown envelope niyo ha?”

Before handing it to her I rechecked all shaded letters and saw Letter E in Pastores was not shaded! Oh good Lord!

Time starts now.

I opened my Test Booklet and started answering. I started traversing my unconscious mind and back for answers for an hour and 30 minutes. I had to decide whether to stay put and kill time or just get out of that God forsaken room and contemplate on my answers. I double checked again every number and submitted my papers to the preceptor and went outside. I grabbed my phone and texted my mum while my eyes started to shed tears. I told my mum the exam was so hard, it was as if I have not reviewed for the past 5 months. And in actuality, it was reaaaaaaally hard! I could swear, right then and there all my foundations of faith and hope were washed away by fear.

I went straight to our booth and grabbed myself a burger and a bottle of water which was our snack that morning. Everyone was so exhausted with the exam. At least, I thought to myself, I wasn’t the only one who thought it was really hard, out of the world, HARD.

Out of the blue, Sir James stopped by and bid us good luck.

“Kumusta ang exam.”

In chorus, “Sir ang hirap!!!!”

“Ah talaga? Be positive. Kaya niyo yan! Grab your license!”

“Woooohhh!” while throwing our arms in mid air, imagining ourselves in possession of our licenses.

“May tiga-Nueva Vizcaya na nakaligtas sa sunog. Nakatsinelas lang siya, tapos yung damit niya sunog sunog tapos ang dumi dumi niya. We took him in, pinakain ng merienda since kababayan naten. Wala daw siyang nailigtas kahit isang gamit except his NOA.”

“Isiniksik daw niya yung sarili niya sa maliit na bintana sa CR tapos dumausdos siya gamit yung alambre pababa. Hindi daw nagkasya yung iba niyang kasama sa bintana kaya hindi sila nakaligtas.”

We were all grief-stricken. I kept thinking, it could’ve been us, it could’ve been us. In my mind I could just imagine everything as if I was there. Watching them cry and scream for help, watching them while they suffocate, and be smothered by that thick black smoke. And then lie there, unable to breathe, still…. I shrugged.

It’s quarter to 10, off to the testing room again. Same old protocol, test booklets were given then again, the exam. I started off a little bit dizzy, maybe because I ate too much snack all my brain blood went to my gut. I hated that I couldn’t even keep my eyes open. The green blackboard hurts my eyes and when I look outside, it hurts even more. The sun was shining brightly; I was sweating like a pig. No one even dared to open the ceiling fan, is it out of order?

Exam-wise, it was easy. It was as if our reviewer, Sir Mallonga was behind me, telling me all the answers. It was like I was having auditory hallucinations. I smiled all throughout the exam. Then it’s over. I went downstairs to our booth thinking I’m gonna ace Test II.

The horror, our lunch was 2-piece fried chicken from Jollibee. I ate everything. It felt like my stomach was gonna burst and the seam of my uniform – oh don’t even start with the uniform! Everyone was talking about “how easy” Test II was. I coupled in since I’m pretty confident about my answers.

We were preparing for the exam when my bladder started to tell me I have to let everything out. It took us a hundred years to find a comfort room. Oh the relief! Off to 4th floor again for me. As I was walking along the path, I thought about my future. It was like everything flashed before me, my future, my life, my career and everything. I shivered. Is this some kind of premonition?

Test III – MS. Well, MS was my waterloo. The only thing I love about MS is when the topic is Cardiothoracic. Oh I love it. But then everything else is vague. During our review, I put almost all of my effort in this subject, I listened thoroughly to every word our reviewer says and jotted everything in my notes – – even the jokes. MS comprised two Tests in the NLE, Test 3 and Test 4. Logic is – if I didn’t do a good job in those exams, you know what’s next.

I was sitting there, sweating and I was very sleepy. I was in number 60 and I haven’t even shaded a single number on my answer sheet. It was the unholy hour. I couldn’t keep my eyes open and I couldn’t anymore comprehend what I’m reading so I decided to close my eyes for awhile. It was 2:45, that’s good. I’m on number 60, I still have some more time left. I closed my eyes and was relieved with the little darkness that was about to succumb. I opened my eyes, it was 3:12. I fell asleep! Curses and profanities dwelled in my mind as I answered the remaining questions. I looked back at some of my answers and damn that was really stupid to do since I answered most of them wrong (to my proper knowledge and belief). Cursing again myself for being so full that lunch. (I did mention I ate the 2-piece chicken right? I should’ve known better.)

It was exactly 4:00 when I finished. What a sigh of relief. I did it, but I do hope I’ll pass that test. All my energy was so used up I couldn’t even walk normally. I wanted to crash the sheets and never wake up. Thank God, Maan was already on the bus, I sat next to her and then took a nap. And when I opened my eyes we were already in our hotel.

I took the keys from the front desk, Maan following me behind. It took the receptionist ages to find our keys which pissed me off. Upstairs, the door to our room was open; I immediately checked my bags for any damages or things that might have been stolen. Then a man came out of the bathroom.

“Ma’am may inayos lang po kami.”

I just smiled. Ngayon pa nila naisipang magmaintenance kung kelan pagod ang mga tao. We were so adamant about crashing the sheets we didn’t even bother to change clothes. With our white uniforms and our stockings still in place, we went to sleep.

 

101 things you need not know about me

  1. mayabang ako. self centered.
  2. hindi ako kumakain ng seafood. sinasabi ko nalang na allergic ako para hindi ako pilitin. maarte ako eh.
  3. di ako mahilig bumili ng damit. yung mga damit ko bigay lang ng mga ate ko. kaya walang bago pag wala silang binibigay. kung bibili man ako, once in a blue moon. hehe
  4. i love uniforms. kung pwede nga lang magsuot ng uniform pag gumagala eh!
  5. i have temper issues. gusto kong sumali sa anger management.
  6. i am funny and smart when i want to be.
  7. tamad ako! as in super.
  8. i dont like doing the dishes. or any household chores for that matter. i can’t imagine myself being a slave for myself. haha.
  9. repulsed to dresses and skirts! im a man trapped in a woman’s body.
  10. i love caps, oversized shirts and sneakers. marami akong gusto pero wala akong pambili.
  11. ayokong napapansin ang mga gamit ko o mga bagay na suot ko.
  12. meron kaming banda nung high school. pero ngayon, broken dreams nalang ang kinahantungan nun!
  13. marunong akong mag-drawing. konti. hehe
  14. i am an impulsive buyer. kahit wala sa budget basta type eh, sige lang!
  15. i like to read
  16. i’m a music junkie. lahat pwede basta may significant bearing sa buhay ko o basta nakakarelate ako.
  17. nakakatamad kasing pumasok minsan. hehe. bad habit!
  18. dalawang subject lang ang na-enjoy ko nung college. science and technology (cute si prof) and philosophy of man (dito ako nagsimulang maconscious about reality and life and the people around me. dito nagstart ang  pag-reflect ko sa mga bagay bagay).
  19. i have the tendency to walk away –  when things are too difficult, when I don’t uderstand, when it’s too painful. i’d rather runaway than face them. wala kang makukuha kapag umiwas ka, but i’m a work in progress.
  20. I don’t give a lot of second chances. even to myself. *
  21. mahilig akong manuod ng basketball, pero i have no idea sa terms na ginagamit nila. hehe
  22. i’m a gamer. i can sit all day and play video games.
  23. i’m allergic to mornings. i do better at night. i hate waking up early. i’m a sleepy head.
  24. naiinis ako sa mga plastic. kung pwede lang silang itulak habang lumilindol, 50% na siguro nag naibawas sa population nila. at least di nila ako sisisihin, FORCE MAJEURE. hehehe
  25. i’d like to believe that i’m a perceptive person.
  26. madami akong friends, but only a few of them knows kung sino talaga ako. few? maybe none.
  27. i’m really a private person.
  28. Minsan sa NREV 1, Psychiatric Nursing ang topic, sabi nung lecturer, “yung mga passive-aggresive yun ung mga taong pag niyaya mong lumabas sabi nila gusto nila pero deep inside ayaw nila.” Tapos sabi ni Charlie bigla saken, “Cherie ganyan ka,” tapos etong si Albert, “Oo nga ganun ka!”
  29. i’m highly dependable. i like doing favors for others just as long as kaya ko and close talaga kami.
  30. buhay ko ang earphones ko.
  31. self proclaimed loner.
  32. i have frequent episodes of soliloquy. na-vo-voive out ko ang dapat na “inner monologue”. wala kasing matinong kausap.
  33. i have a fantasy in mind that aliens will spew their overlords and take over humanity and im gonna be the first to witness it! dibs!
  34. severely narcissistic and self obsessed. wag mo ng alamin. di mo kakayanin.
  35. mas gusto kong tumambay nalang dito sa bahay kesa gumala. im a home girl. sssh.
  36. gusto kong maging chef.
  37. frustrated dancer. walang coordination whatsoever.
  38. as in super! EXTREMES.
  39. i’m really a hopeless romantic.
  40. i love penguins! did you know that penguins search for their mate for almost half of their life and when they found them, they will be together forever? hangcute!!
  41. i scribble my thoughts a lot. i own a journal.
  42. i hate hello kitty. that cartoon is giving me the creeps.
  43. i am not inquisitive. i don’t ask, because i don’t want others asking me things about me.
  44. nung bata ako, lagi akong inaapi ng mga ate ko. battered child ako noon. mga brutal!!
  45. madalas akong i-compare ng parents ko sa mga siblings ko. sila lang kasi yung matalino, sila lang yung mabait. i have a low self esteem at wala talaga akong self confidence.
  46. ayokong nasisigawan. sino bang my gusto?
  47. ayokong hindi natutuloy ang lakad. kapag nag-commit ka, tuparin mo naman. naiinis ako sa taong walang isang salita.
  48. i schedule. “Che labas tayo.” titingin muna ako sa calendar ng phone ko. hehe
  49. madalas, mali yung mga nasasabi ko sa nacoconceptualize ng utak ko na dapat sabihin. kaya minsan hindi ako naiintindihan ng kausap ko. it will then be too late for me to realize i have already offended someone, and someone “got the wrong message.”
  50. ewan ko kung bakit, pero close mas comfortable ako with the company of guys.
  51. iyakin ako. umiiyak ako kapag galit at kapag hindi ko alam ang sasabihin ko.
  52. sana may rewind ang buhay? at irerewind ko sa araw na nabuo akong babae sa matres ng nanay ko.
  53. di ako therapeutic. silence lang siguro ang pwede kong ipagmalaki.
  54. ayokong sinasabi ng ibang tao na magbago ako. TARUPAM!
  55. masayahin naman ako sa tingin ko, pero marami akong repressed feelings.
  56. ayoko ng paulet-ulet.
  57. i like boys in general. gusto ko ng kapatid na lalake. teacher na lalake. katabing lalake sa classroom. katrabahong lalake. mga larong panlalake. gamit panlalake. pati characters sa game, dapat lalake!
  58. i have a high pain tolerance. masochist!
  59. madalas akong pre-occupied.
  60. di ako nagdadala ng payong.
  61. pikon ako.
  62. pangarap kong maging scientist nung elementary, nung high school marine biologist. no sweat ang mga science subjects. piece of cake! yabaaaang!
  63. ayokong ginagaya ako. sa gamit, sa favorite color at sa lahat ng bagay. pero mahilig akong manggaya.
  64. i like horror and comedy films. never sa drama. kasi humihikbi ako! waaaah.
  65. i don’t get things done on time. i hate deadlines. i cram.
  66. ayoko sa math. ang favorite subjects ko, history, science and geography. hehe
  67. fetish? arms… hihihi
  68. takot ako sa ipis, sa flying ipis at malaking spider!
  69. nasubukan ko ng magboycott dahil ayaw kong pumasok sa math subject ko.
  70. di ako naniniwala sa fate or destiny.
  71. nilalambing kita pag inaamoy kita.
  72. i worry, i worry that those people who’re precious to me doesn’t feel that i love them enough. that they matter to me.
  73. madalas gusto kong mapag-isa.
  74. i don’t take rejections and criticisms too well.
  75. ayoko sa madaming tao. feeling ko anytime matatapakan ako.
  76. matindi ako magmahal.
  77. a girl kissed me and she liked it. hehe
  78. matagal akong maka-get over sa mga sinasabi nga mga tao, mapabiro man yan o yung mga nakakasakit. masyado ko kasing mahal ang hinanakit ko eh.
  79. i don’t stand out, i blend with the crowd. ayokong napapansin ako. madali akong maconscious. nakakadebilitate kaya kapag lahat ng tao nakatingin sayo.
  80. hindi ako namimilit ng tao. kung ayaw mo eh di wag, madali lang akong kausap.
  81. mahirap akong suyuin. ang gusto kong suyo eh yung tipong magpapaulan sa labas ng bahay namin hanggang hating gabi.
  82. Pessimist ako.
  83. I’m comfortable working with strangers. I feel like I can do better when the people around me only know what I want them to see. Because the less they know, the better.
  84. I always wanted to have a big brother. But that can never happen so I’m really close to my boyfriends. I feel the need to be protected. I need to see a shrink.
  85. my favourite words are “selective and inevitable.”
  86. i suffer in silence. i don’t want an audience to my pain.
  87. i’m actually a dependent person, sabi ni Charlie “Borderline ka Che. You tend to cling masyado”. but I’m independent when the situation calls for it.
  88. severely directionally challenged! walang sense of direction. hehehe. pag ako kasama mo, mawawala tayo.
  89. i don’t excel in academics – I’m not dumb, it’s a personal choice.
  90. i drink alcohol when I’m in the mood. Never done drugs. Nasubukan ko ng humithit ng sigarilyo, 2 beses.
  91. i don’t know how to say sorry. If I said I was sorry, I mean it and I’ll never say it again.
  92. dream guy? yung marunong magluto, thoughtful, understanding, at higit sa lahat msarap…haha.. msarap magmahal! dream house? a minimalist design, preferably 2 floors with a veranda overlooking the ocean. dream car? ASTON MARTIN V12 VANTAGE Carbon Black Edition.
  93. i don’t have the most ideal family relationship (according to my context) that’s why I love my friends so much.
  94. selosa ako. no shit!
  95. i repulse guys who are in a polygamous relationship. have the balls to commit to only one woman.
  96. i don’t like explaining myself to people. minsan hindi din lang naman talaga sila nakikinig eh.
  97. dolce far niente? spending an afternoon with someone special and just listening to music.
  98. i love motorcycle rides. sana may motorcycle din ako para anytime i can reach perfection. imagine mo nalang yung sarili mo, at a highway, the wind brushing against your face, the only thing you here is the sound of the engine, your heart beat in sync nature. it’s like flying without wings…that’s absolute perfection
  99. gawa ako sa salamin. *
  100. hindi ako masaya. pakiramdam ko lagi nalang may kulang at hindi ako karapat dapat sa mga bagay at tao sa paligid ko