High school never ends.
This was the comment of my high school batch mate, Glenda, on my Facebook post about our class’ gatherings over the holidays.
I was at the grocery yesterday for my favorite locally produced corned beef. I was a bit sleepy; got home at past 3 a.m. following an impromptu karaoke at IT Park with some 20 batch mates. I had been feeling blue since I am already traveling back to Makban. So here I was at Pacific Mall trying to chase the blues away.
I was pushing my cart when a song by Oasis was played. It was Champagne Supernova, one of the anthems of our restless youth. Gallagher sung these lines:
How many special people change?
How many lives are living strange?
Where were you while we were getting high?
I felt more blue, missing time and again those 4 years between 1993 to 1997 when we were students at UP High School Cebu. But perhaps it was a different kind of blue. Something wrapped with gladness for the hangouts and catching up we had been having in the past 10 days. Something ribboned with gratitude because we’ve all grown in attitude, capacities, and friendship.
Doi and I were already joking about how we should be tired of each other already. Before and after the December 28 reunion, we had all these meetups and get togethers. Mostly to just catch up, sometimes to buy gifts and food for noche buena and media noche. We thought about the extraordinary bonds forged during those 4 years in UP sustained 24 years so far since we were first years clustered in sections Bartlett, Villamor, and Benton.
There were 120 of us who were admitted and perhaps around 100 remain in communication. I know that this continuing and growing relationship is not unique in our batch. This is typical of high school classmates who remain close friends across the years. Why do we continue to cherish our batch mates’ company inasmuch as we have new circles? Why is it that after 20 years since graduation, we still cling to the experiences of those younger years? We still can’t get over and we are totally fine with it.
I don’t want to rationalize but I can’t help but think about the unique events and circumstances that we all experienced as a batch. Our batch held UP High’s record for the most number of disciplinary cases. I myself got suspended for bullying. Of course this is something not to be proud of but boy did we have fun. We were a shrewd and extremely naughty batch and could it be because we were born under the Monkey sign in Chinese astrology?
We were raised at the tail end of Generation X, arguably the first breed of millennials. As adolescents, we were fortunately spared from the atrocities of the Marcos years. When we entered UP, democracy was in full swing and there were no more political instabilities and coups that hounded Pinoys during the previous decade. We grew up in a society that already knew peace and what we had was a huge playground for study, play, curiosity, and growth.
We were also there when the mall culture of Cebu began. We were freshmen when SM opened and during our sophomore year, Ayala followed. We killed Wednesdays and Saturdays in these malls. But as most of us were from poor families, we were mostly there to loiter, occasionally eating food left behind by other customers at the food court. LOL. And since we didn’t have mobile technology back then, we had hours and hours in the field drenched in sun, rain, mud, and sweat.
Alternative rock was the sound of our generation. I don’t really know if we understood what angst was. We just loved banging our heads, I guess. But we were there with our guitars and song books when Kurt Cobain, Alanis, Smashing Pumpkins etc. ruled the air waves and defined ’90s music. I don’t know about the rest but I had been listening to the same sounds all these years until Spotify came.
Or could it be that the academic ordeals our professors put us through strengthened us individually and as a group? We had quality education, we had quality teachers, we all had the essential exposures to prep us for real life. Lord knows it was never easy and I myself survived the likes of Physics and Trigonometry with a little help from my friends particularly generous seatmates i.e. Isagani. If I can do it again, I would gladly go through those ordeals and ace it this time.
I could go on and on about those 4 years and still not run out of stories to tell. There never was a batch as paugat and spirited as ours. We would be having our gatherings and reunions and still laugh about stories as if they happened yesterday and not 25 or 50 years back.
High school would never end.
Photo credit: Rammel Malinao | Clear Prints Studio