It was the year the huge tree at the far back of the school got uprooted from a fierce typhoon. Its roots got pulled up to one side but not completely, so now the tree lies sideways along a slope. My classmates and I would sometimes ride the tree like a horse, and I fell once and on my way down I had bitten my cheek and spat a teaspoon of blood, nothing serious but enough to scare some of my classmates.
I remember our advisory teacher then. There was really nothing special about her. She taught Science, and once she scolded me of not reciting what I learned in class but what I read from the book. Maybe she thought I was an arrogant prick… or maybe she was just having a bad day. I am guessing she was just out of college then. She was very young, cheerful, and there was a dreamy texture to her laugh that made you turn your head even if you don’t want to.
She was about to be one of those teachers that you get but soon forget. I say “about to be” because that same year, something happened… She discovered my knack for writing.
There was a press congress, a big writing contest, about to happen then and she needed students to join the competition, I am guessing not exactly to win but at least, to lose decently. She told me I was a part of it not because I was good in writing but because I was good in English.
So I started to write… and win… and I never stopped ever… and she started it all. I am pretty sure she had no intentions of plotting my life that time when the huge tree at the back of the school collapsed, but she did.
I saw her yesterday. I sat across her from the jeep and before I even hopped aboard, she was looking at me and smiling. She was wearing glasses now. She had mother’s hands. I know she is already a principal in an elementary school in town.
She asked me what I am up to and I told her I am still writing. She laughed, that dreamy laugh that made you turn even if you don’t want to, and I was suddenly looking back all those years when it all started… when all this started. She said if me writing meant I was not using my college degree, and I nodded. I added that I do not care and I am happy. She said I really loved writing.
And no matter what happens, in the story of my life, it will always be her who started it all…