Never an early morning person, I’d force myself to wake up at 4:30 in order to prepare and be on my way to hear mass by 5:30 – the liturgical ritual, nevertheless, gradually ended up as ancillary to the celestial pleasure of listening to the angelic voices of the nuns singing beautiful hymns inside the small elevated church of our school convent.
At 6:00 I’d go down, drop my bag inside the classroom, and proceed to get some fresh morning air around the quiet grounds of Sienna College, before my schoolmates start packing the area for the flag ceremony at 7:00 a.m.
Spending four years of highschool in an all-girl school wasn’t absolutely fun because in elementary, I had a blast running or biking with the boys; catching dragonflies, climbing trees, and just plain hanging out with them. Although grouping and bonding with some funny queer girls in my secondary years were interesting, too.
Because of the torturous three-hour Chem or Physics laboratory periods not to mention our countless bible studies with the nuns, I decided on learning the “fine art” of cutting classes sporadically.
The air-conditioned library was one location I sometimes escaped to. Colorful, hard bound books on geography with breathtaking photos of the sky and natural scenery engrossed me. Women’s magazines that had been bookbinded also consumed my reading time. Unfortunately, there was lack of pocketbooks – as one day it dawned on me I’d already read the entire collection on the shelf so I ‘d no other alternative but to read them again. And there were instances when the librarian would tap me on the shoulder to remind me I had to go and not stay during class hours.
I began considering another escape destination —> Oh yes, the huge Glori Supermart which was a mere three-minute walk from the school.
But I would first have to trick my way past the security guard of our main gate. I thought of a simple one which often turned out successful: I’d tell him I was hungry and would request to be allowed a few minutes to buy banana-cue from a nearby sidewalk vendor. As soon as he let me out, I’d wait for him to get distracted by other matters and ensuingly sprint away from his sight.
My more effective tactic, however, was this: “My Dad is in there waiting for me,” while pointing to one of the many distant cars within our view. “He has to give me my pocket allowance for today.” Without miss, my (budding) talent for acting would triumph.
How would I be able to get inside the school again later? By entering the other gate which was situated in the front. Easy.
Miraculously, I somehow avoided getting reprimanded by the nuns. Or maybe they simply let my tiny misdemeanors slip by as they kept eye more on the noisy notorious girls who were suspected of secretly instigating forbidden meet-ups with the boys from our brother school. After all, I was basically low-key, looked wholesome, and passed all my academic subjects.
One day I bumped into a classmate along the corridors while on my way back to our classroom. “Where have you been?” she asked. I saw no need not to be honest so I replied, “Just outside.”
“You’re such a ‘now you see her, now you don’t’ kind of rebel” was her concluding remark which made me wonder if it was a casual one or not.