Unexpected.


I woke up at 5:30 in the morning on the 27th of October. It looked like it was going to rain the whole day so I borrowed my younger sister Aeropostale jacket. This was when I had to leave early for school because I had to accomplish one of the requirements in Tredtwo, a course that I am currently taking up this second term. Each person enrolled in Tredtwo had to register online and choose what type of community service they wanted. I chose a non-series type, and since there was no slots available for any of the sections in the non-series type except for one, I enrolled in Materials Recovery Facility 2(MRF2), unaware of what it meant. Days after the enrollment, our professor in the said course had actually warn those people enrolled in MRF2 about what we had to do. It was about trash collection, segregation, and composting.

On the day of the orientation(the same day I watched The Phantom of the Opera), there were about 30 students enrolled in MRF2. I was really lucky that I had friends in that section, Rizza and Tin. We were asked to group ourselves into five groups, with five to six members each. So there was me, Tin, Rizza, Ana, and the other girl whom I forgot the name. Then, those groups were asked to draw lots, which contained our type of service, namely, planting, cleaning, segregation, composting, and livelihood.

Boy, Were we lucky! We were the last group to pick, so there was no choice but to pick the last one. We got ‘composting’, which was supposedly a man’s work. We were to decompose trash’. The moderator asked the group of guys infront of us if they wanted to exchange with us since they only had to segregate trash. But the guys ignored the moderator.

My groupmates were actually okay with it even if it was a man’s work. They were that optimistic. And it was okay for me, too. I mean, how hard could it be?

The moderator just smiled and told us to bring gloves. And some packed lunch. I took a mental note of that.

On the day of the community service, my brother also had an appointment in the Manila Doctors Hospital, somewhere near the United Nations Station,which was only three stations away from Vito Cruz,and my sister had to go to school to get some of her things in her locker at school. So we traveled by car. We left our place at 6:30am. On the way, I felt my eyes droopy since I only had an hour of sleep because I forced myself to finish and finalize my group’s take home quiz, which was to be submitted the following Monday. So I slept at the back of the car while the two of them were chatting.

I woke up because I felt someone nudging me. I fluttered my eyes to open only to find out that it was my younger sister. I realized that we were already on the parking lot of the hospital.

My sister and I tagged along in finding the room of my brother’s doctor. After enlisting his name, my brother offered us some cash for our lunch. My sister didn’t need one for she told us that she was going to go back to the hospital after getting some of her things. While I bought lunch for myself in KFC.

I arrived in SM Harrison just in time. For each section, the school had rented two jeepneys. I chose the one with the lesser, quieter people. We still waited for about 30 minutes since there were a lot of people who were late. Rizza went ahead. She had her father drove her to the community’s place. My friend, Tin, and I talked for a little while. I guess it was apparent that I was half-listening, half-sleeping while we were having our conversation. My reactions to what she was saying always felt like they fell a few notches short on genuine. So I told her everything why I was feeling sleepy and unenthusiastic. I told her that I needed sleep. She didn’t mind.

So, I slept on the way to Marikina. I couldn’t help it. I was that tired. I covered my face with a fan since I didn’t like that feeling you got when you think that someone’s staring at you while you’re asleep. I remember that it fell twice and I had to pick it up twice and sleep again. I wondered how I looked like when my fan fell on the floor. How much time it stayed there lying on the floor before I noticed that I was not holding it anymore. I hope they didn’t stare at me for long. For a moment, I studied what they were all doing. The boy infront of me, and the one beside me were also sleeping. While the girls kept on tinkering their phones. They kept on texting. Maybe pretending. While the other boys played on their phones. The place was silent, and I liked it. No one cared what the others were doing. Each had their own world. Mine was sleeping.

I forced myself not to shut my eyes anymore when I heard that we were already near the place. I was taken aback when the jeep halted and one of the moderators shouted that we were already at the place. One by one, we stepped outside the jeep. I scanned the faces of the people from the other jeep. Noticed that some guy with light brown hair, fair skinned met my eyes for a split second, so I looked away. I didn’t like meeting people in their eyes, especially if it was a boy. So I checked the place out instead.

It was actually very clean. Cleaner than what I had expected it to be. I thought that we were going to a murky, squatters’ area. The place where we were to commit our service was a park. From what I’ve heard, it used to be a zoo. It was hard not to believe since I’ve seen monkeys and ducks near the end side of the place. The place was loaded with green. You could see how environmentalist the people there were. I was exhilarated to see how there were no trash lying on the floor. I was also impressed on how they recycled an old car wheel to be reused as chairs, and tables.

From the time we got there, the moderators asked us to work already. I grabbed my phone from my pocket and read the time. It was already 9:41am. We traveled for an hour and forty minutes. I was also mistaken in predicting the weather. Turned out it wasn’t going to rain after all.

An old guy, about in his 60s, I guess, taught us how to work this machine that looked almost exactly like a tractor. Its purpose was to convert leaves that were segregated already by the those people who worked on segregating the trash into ground soil. I found it cool. Each of us from the team took turns in shooting the leaves inside the ‘shredding’ machine. We had piles and piles of sacks of leaves. I thought that it was impossible to finish them all off by 4pm, which was the scheduled departure time. Rizza volunteered first while the rest of us watched her. I was the last one who volunteered to work. I guess the man noticed how our progress was turning out to be really slow, so he stepped up to help. He worked really fast and didn’t mind that I was there infront of him, face-to-face, working with him, that some icky garbage goo kept on splattering on my arms, my face, and my jacket. I needed to wipe those off so I called Rizza for sub. She was okay with it. I took off my jacket and cleaned myself with a tissue. I swore that I was going to take a bath when I get back home.

After two hours, our team was already done with our part, so it was okay for us to go eat our lunch inside the room. It was actually an air-conditioned one, so I felt relieved. Nobody was inside the room except for our group. Guess we were the first one to finish. So, we ate and asked Kuya Vlad, one of the moderators, to buy us some KFC Krushers and Coke since we weren’t allowed to go outside the park. Each of us handed him a hundred peso. We talked about horror movies, and some suggestions on what series to watch. We bonded, joked around, and giggled.

Then, this group of guys barged in. I turned around to face the door. Two of them were half-naked, so I turned around away from them to not face them, and forced myself to ignore and forget what I just saw. They ate their lunch on the west side of the room, while we, on the other hand, were on the east side. Tin and I went to find the comfort room outside. When we got back, the guys formed a semi-circle and invited us to play with them. They said that they were going to play Killer. Rizza, and Ana heeded. I hesitated. I told them I didn’t know how to play. They said that they were gonna teach us. So yeah. I sat with the rest of them. Tin didn’t want to join. I didn’t know why. But we continued anyway.

I sat on the right of Rizza. On my right was this chubby, funny guy with glasses who didn’t bother to blurt things inside his mind, the guy beside him didn’t join the conversation much. He was really quiet. The guy on his right was the one who invited us and explained to us the mechanics. He seemed like a friendly guy, that I didn’t get insecure playing with them. Coupled with some background music on the phone of the guy on my right, there were no dead air. Next to him was a guy in a red shirt, who looked a lot like my second cousin. Infront of me was this English speaking dude, with fair skin, and cool clothes. He was my type of guy (haha). Except that he looked stupid. You know, those guys with cute looks but didn’t have brains? Those type of guys. Next were this girl whom I didn’t know the name, and Ana.

Playing Killer with them did manage to kill us some time. It was really fun playing with them. No one got out of place. I laughed hard core especially when the guy beside me and the friendly guy kept on cracking some jokes. I wanted to become friends with them, like show them the real me, and not get timid or anything. I played as a civilian a couple of rounds. I played as a police twice or thrice, maybe? I remember when I was the police, and the guy beside me was the killer. He only killed one person, yet I’ve managed to caught him after 4 songs. The guy beside me kept on bashing how the police wouldn’t show up. I grinned and forced myself not to laugh but failed. In the end, they thought that it was the other way around- I was the killer, and he was the police. I didn’t get to play Killer, though. I really wanted to be one cuz I would have gotten the chance to wink at them, you know (haha).

Then, our coke and drinks arrived. And the game shifted from Killer to Spin the Bottle. I got nervous because of what the dares would soon turn out to be, so our group quit since we pretended we had to pee. And that was how our bonding ended.

It was already 1pm, so we were asked to get back to work. But we were done already, so they told us to just spend the rest of the remaining time outside the room. We were going to leave at 2pm. Our group sat by one of the tables, while the guys went on to greet everybody. They really had no shame, in a good way, that is. They started befriending everyone. They were the life of the party. Then, this girl came near us to befriend our team too. If I was not mistaken, her name was Tricia. She started asking for our names, our college, and our course. And then she wanted to introduce the five of us to the five of them(the group of guys). She called them.

Here came the awkward part, I thought.

“Guys! Meet them!”, Tricia called them.

“Do you guys know each other?”, Tricia asked us.

“Nakalaro namin sila kanina lang”, Rizza answered.

“ANO?! Nakalaro niyo sila tapos hindi man lang kayo nagpakilalala?!” Tricia shouted at the boys.

“Oo.”, the guys laughed.

“OHEMGEE!”, she shouted.

I pretended that I was texting someone on the phone. I didn’t want any of this stuff. We were cool awhile ago. But I felt different.  Tin saw my reactions and made fun of me, in a joking manner. I giggled. I couldn’t look at them straight, well except for the one who sat beside me, and the quiet one, and the guy who looked like one of my second cousins.

They started singing in Acapella. And introduced their full names and courses. They all came from the College of Computer Science, except for Ron(not his real name. I’d be using pseudonyms for the boys for their privacy), the chubby guy  with the glasses who was beside me when we played Killer. He was from the College of Business. I knew it! He looked familiar. I only noticed that he was my classmate last term in my Marketing course. He seemed so serious and reserved back then. Guessed I’ve seen his “wild” side. I just didn’t know if he remembered me or not. Oh well paper.

Their names were Kenneth, the guy in red, and Ray, the quiet guy. I couldn’t dare face Bryan, the friendly guy, and Zone, the English speaking dude, though I’ve managed to glace at them every now and then.

It was then that I realized that we rode the same jeep as them when Tin suddenly asked me for reassurance. I shrugged and reminded her that I was asleep. In the end, she told me she was sure that it was them.

Then, it was our turn to introduce ourselves. Rizza, Tin, me, the girl, and Anna.

Shocks! From my point of view, it looked as if they were courting us! (Huhu!) I wanted time to speed up and end all of this.

At last, 2pm came! But we first took some photos first. After that, we rode our jeep. There were some mix-ups. They didn’t get to sit on the same jeep, with us, because some guys stole their place. I felt sad and relieved at the same time. I wanted to have fun and continue the Spin the Bottle game with them, like they’ve suggested a while ago. Too bad. It was, afterall, going to be our last time we’d see each other.

Call me feeler, alright. But I think I saw Bryan turned his back and glanced at our jeep. Our eyes met for a few seconds, and we looked away at the same time. After that, their jeep left. But everytime our jeep passed theirs or vice versa, I pretended to be asleep. They’d all yell out at us. They were really noisy (haha).

When we were at school already, I knew that it was the last time I’d see them since we came from different colleges, I didn’t even glance at them anymore. Tin, Ana and I headed off to the LRT station.

2 days after, Tricia uploaded the photos. Zone was not tagged at any of the photos, so I looked at Bryan’s profile instead. I learned that he likes watching anime just like I do. That kinda made me go crazy (haha). I also giggled at his “about me description of himself”. Night came and I noticed that in one of my notifications, it read, “Bryan R. has accepted your friend request.”

I got shocked and I felt my heart beat a little faster. When did I send him a request? It was unlike me to add boys in Facebook! I only remembered that this had happened to me once before and it was last term. And I was using my phone. It occurred to me that I accidentally clicked the “add friend” button rather than his profile picture and I couldn’t undo it. Oh well paper. As if we’d see each other again.

Minutes after we became “friends”, he liked the drawing I made on Sai. I wanted to say thanks but didn’t, seeing how many people were going to get a notification if I did.

Now, I think I saw him on my peripheral view just this week on Halloween when I was on my way home at the Yuch lobby. I think he was wearing a green polo shirt. I passed by him. But I don’t really look at people’s faces when I walk, so I’m not quite sure. But I think it was him. Oh well paper.

I’m just glad I got enrolled in MRF2 and met a couple of weird guys like them that made this experience an unforgettable one.

Look! I just made a couple of love teams because of the photo. ♥

From left to right:

1. Ron + Rizza = Ronriz

2. Kenneth + Girl1 = ?

3. Ray + Ana = Rayna :))

4. Bryan + Lira = Libryan

5. Zone + Tin = Zontin

What’s an issue maker? I’ve never told these to my friends but remind me to tease the four of them during our Tredtwo class. They all look cute as a couple. *evil laugh*

P.S. Here are some of the class photo!

-Ria

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