Water, Please.

When reminiscing about the past, one of my mother's favorite anecdote about me is the day I entered preparatory school. She can still remember, perhaps too vividly, how nervous I was. I was not the kid who cried a river nor was I the kid who held on to their mothers' skirts, I was the heavy drinker. Yes, my mother said that I kept on asking her for water to the point that she even needed to buy another bottle for me.

I did not know what to do that time, obviously. I was five years old. The only relevant thing I knew that time was how to write my own name, and my name is made up of ten letters only. I was one of those children who needed remedial classes. It was really hard for me to read and write, I was always five-sentence away from my classmates when we were writing notes. My penmanship was an abstract art, too. I could still remember how I would see my classmates heading outside of the room while I was still seated beside my pre-school teacher who was guiding me, almost letter by letter, in writing. There they were, ready to play tag outside while I was still inside the room reading cue cards made of sandpaper through following each letter with my fingers. Those moments were really painful, at the truest sense of the word. The only thing I loved that time was these pattern papers (I never figured out what they are) which my teacher used to prepare for me. I had to cut them one by one during playtime and even when I got home. Those papers saved me when I was too lazy to play with my classmates or if I was not feeling sober to clean the dishes.

It is only now that I figured that maybe, my pre-school teacher detected early signs of dyslexia in me. And here I am now, with a double degree in Literature.

Ironic, at the truest sense of the word. You teach a child to read and write in the most vicious ways possible and she'll end up being an equally vicious reader and writer. For all the moments you almost gave up on me Teacher Elsa, when I could not spell the word food, when I could not read "plank", and when I could not write a single sentence without being gritty, good thing you did not "let it go". You are the best teacher I have ever had.

I was never the toast of the town, as you could read from above, I had always been the one with troubles. But I could be good, perhaps better than others, but I was never the best. I was always the second place, to the point that I already had this idea that this is going to continue to the image of me being a mistress. I was never the good girl as well. I wore shorts, slippers, and short skirts whenever I could. I had crushes, and at some points I got distracted by them. I had this one "friend?" who said I would get pregnant before graduating college. Unfortunately, you, I never even had a boyfriend to begin with.

I have had sleepless nights, loads of them, but most of them I had spent by merely slacking around instead of studying (at least, on the canonized sense of the word). I cut classes, loads of classes, most of the time because I see the subject phony but sometimes, just because I felt like doing it. I had teachers who found it preposterous that I was aiming for a university when I entered college.  Thank you maam's and sir's for making me angry that time. If not for that anger I would not have found PNU-Manila.

This entire experience taught me how to live and not just to merely exist. That for heaven's sake, I am a person, not a robot. This whole life would be as shty as it can be and all that I could do is to at least try not to be a shty person. That this is a one shot thing, you can never go back, so you would have to at least think about your stuff or learn how to accept rather than regret. That you would always be on the second place, so you would have to work harder and harder each day, but only for the thing you love the most and not just for a mere AAAAA+++++ in a minor subject.

That you would need thousands of gallons of water to fuel yourself up because everything would try to pull you down. The five-year-old Rhea knew this from the very beginning, but the 19 year-old double degree holder  writing this very post had just realized it now.

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