“They said love your enemy, what if you take it literally?”
‘Mail’ said by the courier to the office of Ms. P.S. (post script), a pseudonym used by the writer, who gave pieces of advice to her own magazine— the L-Magz. Ms. P.S. opened the envelope and get the thick papers.
‘My God, how long…’ she said amazingly.
A colleague approaches her. ‘You have to read it… no excuses… don’t you see my table, lots of papers to read also…’ this guy put the cup of coffee on Ms. P.S’s table.
‘Thank you. I know I have to… but this is really… really long…’
‘Trust me, read it. Like what you are saying, in our work the moment we begin reading we have no choice but to read it until we finished it.’
After that guy left her, she started reading it.
“Dear Ms. P.S,
I wanted to share you this story of mine. Let me begin this by saying, destiny is really tricky and always make our lives like a joke. Now here is my story: I began writing when I was in high school, when I choose to become a member of our school paper just to challenge myself to write. It was my teacher who introduced to me the campus paper and the one who encouraged me to write.” Ms. P.S. read aloud.
A sudden flash of memories tickled her heart…
Like a lightning that constantly igniting…
Painful though… but it was her funniest memory…
For without any thought—
From that splash of lightning
It directly hit her heart.
She continued reading…
When I first entered the publication office I knew there are people in that room who hated me to be with them. One of them is Linzie, one of the best in the class, and the current editor-in-chief of the Harbinger, the official student publication of our school. She considered me as her best enemy inside the class. She always thought that I could sue her away in the top rank. Of course her friends also hated me.
Our adviser and I went in front of the other staffers to introduce me to them.
“He is Chry and I am sure you already knew him. He is one of the best in Junior and I think some of you here are his classmates,” our adviser told my new found club members. She looked at me, “Chry I believed that you are aware that Linzie is the current editor-in-chief of the publication.”
“Oh! Welcome to the club, Chry. I hope you will enjoy your stay here,” Linzie said gleefully and with pretention of course.
“How sweet of you my classmate. Of course I will enjoy my stay here besides it is a wise decision of me, because we will have more time to spend with,” I replied.
With that short conversation, I could feel the tension. Linzie is a very good pretender it just so happen that I get used of her get-ups. She is very obvious that she doesn’t like me in the publication. Perhaps she is thinking that I could be a threat (again!) to have her position. The truth is I am not interested in her position. It is all hers.
Our adviser smiled at us. If she only knew that there are tensions between Linzie and me.
The other members stand from their sit. They took a break just to welcome me. Linzie went back to her sit and looked at me strangely as if I have done a big mistake to her. I have this feeling that despite of Linzie’s presence I will still enjoy my stay in this organization.
After that brief welcome, I began to work. My first task is to write an essay about the feeling of a neophyte writer of the publication. Actually, I don’t know where to begin. I had thoughts in my mind but it is hard for me to pen it out. I looked at my fellow writers; they are really serious of writing. They silently writing and don’t want to be disturbed.
I started writing the title of my article. I let my pen to scribe, but I usually rubbed out my pen in the paper. After doodling my sheet I’ve come up with two titles. I am choosing between ‘A Thought to Remember and My Single Thought. ‘A Thought to Remember’ sounds like Nicholas Park’s novel ‘A Walk to Remember’, so I have decided to choose the other one. ‘My Single Thought’ is a very common title. It has no creativity and does not catch the attention of the readers. I wrote another title. I wanted to emphasize what I felt of becoming a new member. THOUGHTS OF A NEWBIE. The word newbie is very casual. Kent, one of the writers, told me to try another word for newbie, so he gave me the thick dictionary of the publication.
“This book is very useful to us. You know what? This is where we check our grammar.” Kent said. “I think this one is very important in this office.” I told him after I received the book.
“Precisely.” He came closer to me and whispered, “The one who is not using this book is Linzie. She is very confident of her English. And I don’t wonder why she heads this publication. She is really genius in this field.”
“I don’t wonder as well. Even inside the class she excelled the most.”
“I thought you both competing inside the class.”
“There is something you should know about me. I am not into competition. I just did my part as student. I study well and that’s the least I can do.”
“Another thing, I could sense that there is tension between you and her today.”
“Wow you are a good observant. You have seen our behaviors.”
We are in the middle of conversation when we heard of Linzie. She looked at me intensely. “Hey Kent and you Mr. Novice of a kind are you done with your task?”
“No. Chry just ask something and he just borrowed the dictionary,” Kent replied
“A ! By the way — Linzie whom you are referring as Mr. Novice,” I asked.
“You — “
“Are you deaf? Yes you — remember you are the only novice here — a neophyte — a newbie.”
Suddenly something sparked in my head. Why not? Linzie gave me an idea. I don’t need to use the dictionary to look for another word for newbie. THOUGHTS OF A NOVICE HARBINGER — sounds good? For me I am satisfied enough for the title. I owed this to Linzie, for giving me the idea of the title. It made me realized why Linzie called me a novice of a kind—that is— to emphasize that we are not of the same level; that she is my superior. Though it sounds discriminating, she is still a blessing in disguise.
“Is there any problem Chry,” Linzie asked me. I didn’t utter any words I just gave her a smile. As usual she reacted as if I deteriorated her mood. I didn’t get surprise if she acted that way.
I returned to my work and started all over again. My fellow writers have not spent more time writing their articles. They are excellent. Really excellent writers and I am just very thankful for being with the highly acclaimed intelligent people of the campus. This will make me a sort of them.
Finally, I had graduated myself from the self-torturing title of my article. Huh! It took me hours before I finalized it. What more of the body? I finished it after days of burning oil, though Linzie told me that I have to finish the article that day. June is also there waiting for us. He is the layout artist and responsible for the preparation of the dummy before transferring it in our computer. Of course, he has to see first the articles so that he could prepare the dummy layout.
In our working it can’t be avoided to have trashes around; these really irritated my eyes. So what I did, I initiated to have a general cleaning. I started it in the table where I was assigned. My colleagues watched me while doing that stuff. Of course, Linzie’s face was scrunching up and wrinkling his forehead.
“You don’t have to do that to impress people around you,” Linzie said.
“I am not doing this to impress people. It is just that I wanted to work in a clear area.” I calmly said while putting all her trashed papers in the plastic garbage.
“We used to work in this office with that mess.”
“But me I am not. I can’t concentrate doing all these things with garbage surrounding me.”
“Then this is not the right place for you.”
“That is the reason why I am clearing the area for me to have a place here.”
“Okay if that is what you want. How about removing all the dust?” She asked, voice toned down while eyes are snubbing.
“I don’t remember that removing dust is part of being a member of the publication, unless if we all stand up here and have a general cleaning. Isn’t it a good idea?” I asked my fellow writers and from their face, I could read that they also wanted my plan.
“That is a brilliant idea Miss Editor-in-chief. You are really smart. Shall we start cleaning all the mess including the dusts?” June, who is facing the computer the whole day, uttered teasingly.
We all started cleaning the area. Like the usual thing, Linzie was looking at me. She had no choice but to help us despite of her strong negation. She has a good image to protect as an honor student, and has to project that she is after the good will of the publication, so she has to be good to us. On the first place she has to thank me for acknowledging her, for having this original idea of mine to clean the office. Oopss…shall I have to call it an office if the cabinets, windows and furniture have thick dust? Documents not filed properly? Actually a day is not enough to finish all these.
Trophies from various writing competition caught my attention. It is displayed in the mini cabinet hang in the office wall. There are plenty of those. Interestingly, those are not just awards; those were won in some prestigious writing competitions. Usually those are from Linzie’s victory. Like what I always saying, if speaking of skills and talents, she is really has it and truly the best among us. Actually, she is a member of seven organizations, yet still able to participate in all the extra-curricular activities in the school. Despite of her achievements she is still insecure of my presence. I am not that threatening. The only club I joined is this publication. I don’t join competitions in writing because I know that I am poor in this field. I can’t dance, but I do a tribal dance—an Indian dance maybe with the ‘hoola boola’ onomatopoeia thing. I can’t sing but I know many songs. I can’t paint but I knew people appreciated my abstract drawing. I am really less in talent. But don’t think that I know nothing. I know how to go along with people who hated me. My exposure to Linzie’s obvious annoyance is definitely an evidence for that.
Linzie came near of me. She was holding a rugged and tattered cloth, which she used in wiping the dust. She whispered in my ears. “What is in your head to join this highly acclaimed publication? Do you know how high our standard is? How did you pass the series of examination? “
“On the first place it is my right to join here. Besides Mrs. Reyes highly recommend me to fill the position.”
“Then that must be mean you don’t undergone exam?”
“That is unfair for other writers.”
“How come? You are appointed writer as well and don’t take exam either.”
“Because I belong to pilot section.” I proudly said. “Then that answer your question why I don’t take exam.”
“Oh! That is nice of you… but still you irritated my eyes. You know that?”
“Of course I am aware of that. Isn’t it obvious on how you treated me even in front of others? “
“No doubt why you are trying to get everything I have. The fame, the nobility — the everything in me.”
“Why should I have to get something from you that do not exist?”
“You really want to start a war.”
“A cold war maybe — hmmmm since you are the best among the class and to attest that self-claimed of yours, may I ask what are those countries noted for its cold war?”
“Such a silly bustard question — you rotten Raflesia arnoldi”
“Ow — I remember raflesia is the largest flower in the world. I learned that way back in freshman. Don’t think of me having a brain like you that is near the size of Pandaca pgymea”
“I thought you are genius it would be better to compare your skin to a Ptericarpus indicus because of your rudeness.”
“You are really challenging me.”
“Have you challenged?”
I turned my back to her. At my back, I could sense her intense anger to me. I went back cleaning the cabinet, which I left for a moment because of Linzie’s usual-hatred approach to me. She was still at my back filing some papers. Beside the books I am arranging, I saw an unopened air freshener. Everyone is busy with the task which I originally think. It seems they found relief from the boring moment they had from facing those blank papers. There was no one to ask if I can use the freshener because they are distantly away from me. Linzie was the nearest. There is no harm in trying; maybe she could give me a good response. More to the point my question is very simple and answerable by YES or NO, unless, she will begin another flair up between us. Still, I asked the Linzie’s permission.
“Can I used it?” I asked her.
“Why? Have you forgotten to spray cologne that is why you want to use the air freshener as an alternative?”
As expected, she won’t give up of beating me, though there is nothing to beat from me. She has everything— the beauty, the talent, the skill, the wealth. Well, these things not came from me. She told people that she had all these. What would I expect from her? I just enjoyed seeing her burning with anger every time I talked to her. I loved it when she got mad at me. I am sure she enjoyed saying something below the belt against me.
Instead of expecting answer from her, I still open the freshener. She didn’t react when I opened it in front of her. I sprayed it in the air.
“It is stinky in here. Someone might not take their bath this morning,” I said loudly. Everybody heard it. They laughed at me excluding Linzie who chose to go outside to smell fresh air.
From the window I saw her taking a deep breath. She seemed weird, inhaling afternoon air. Is the air in the afternoon really good to the lungs? Maybe for Linzie. She needed the air most especially there was me who is suffocating her.
With the talents that she had, Linzie can be a writer, a singer, a dancer, or whatever. I don’t have any idea. I think she could have a good fortune because of her talents. She has all the assets to have a very good job. If asked whether I wanted to see her again? Yes, I would love to. I missed throwing below the belt words to her. It seems like we are in a soap opera and we are the artist—she, the protagonist and I, the antagonist.
You know what Linzie became the spice of my life in the publication. Whenever she rejected my works, I think of it as a challenge and quitting is never my option. I am sure that rejection is something to do with her personal issues(ssss) with me. The more she pushed me away in the publication, the more I will push myself to be a good writer. I don’t need to satisfy her to publish my write ups, besides our adviser is there to consider my works.
Linzie is responsible for the preparations of our newspaper. She is not a good leader she is like a boss telling us on what to do without even asking for our opinion. My fellow staffers are afraid to negate her. There is no democracy if it is her who will lead the publication. When I took it any longer, I confronted her. I told her that we are not robots or puppets, controlling by her.
I understand my fellow writers for not submitting their works on time. They went to school not because of publication but because they have to study. Publication is just part of studying that nurtured our skills in writing, but how these writers able to learn in this field if their superior is inconsiderate and a dictator? I am one of the writers who received criticisms from her and I am not surprised about that because I knew her ever since.
Maybe I hated her but I love hating her. Before, I thought I am just enjoying her hatred. Until I realized that I should end up that enjoyment, it is no longer funny at all. We are not a kid anymore. Hair started growing in our privates. Our voices changed— hers getting thin and mine getting growl. Letting her hating me is my personal choice though it is not funny at all, I enjoyed throwing lines to her. Lines which are full of anger and abhorrence.
I have no idea during our high school years if she had a boyfriend. I never heard of her, dating someone else or fetching her from their home. Maybe because of her snobbish approach that is why those cute guys around the campus don’t take risk of courting her. They might be afraid to experience her annoyance to people. Until I saw her. That was many years ago. She became a successful writer in a known magazine. And I, a successful publisher. Ironically, I am the publisher of the magazine where she worked. Days passed, we saw each other more often. She noticed that I have changed a lot. From my lifestyle, fashion from my feminine gesture to a masculine one. Things went well, and we developed a relationship.
I don’t know why until now I am still thinking of her. Thinking of her bad attitudes. Thinking of her nuances. Her memories have left forever in my heart. On the day of our marriage I am hoping for more memories to make that LASTED FOR A LIFE TIME.
Hey you, will you marry me?
You know me already
A sudden flash of memories tickled his heart…
Like a lightning that constantly igniting…
Painful though… but it was his funniest memory…
For without any thought—
From that splash of lightning
It directly hit his heart
Ms. P.S. folded the letter, Kent, the one who gave her the coffee, came inside her office, ‘I told you Linzie, you have to read the letter.’ She just gave him a sweet smile.