Last To-do List (Annotated)

Photo by Yanina Alison Baltazar/ THE FLAME

TO-DO LIST: May 31, 2024

0700: Breakfast. 

Kuya, dating gawi,” I said. Upon my request, the lugaw vendor prepared my usual order of plain porridge, tofu and egg. I wished I would also remember as well as he did. Garlic, chili oil and sweet vinegar; I seasoned well what I might not taste again as a college student. “‘Ya, ga-graduate na ako.

“Congrats!” he said before his practiced movements came to a brief halt. He set his ladle down and looked me in the eye with a melancholic grin, “Naku, mababawasan suki ko.” I smiled before reaching out to take the bowl. 

1500: Bacc Mass.

I sat with my classmates in the holding room; chattering as if we were waiting for the next class until we moved to leave as if it was our last moment together. We marched to the field, the pavement trembling with sentimental steps and nostalgic conversations. Then, the mass started and tears welled in my eyes as the sanctified hymn played its last note. 

I was pulled into a trance of memories rushing back, of terror professors, smoky pool sessions and all-nighters. Soon after, my uniform was covered with messages from my classmates, even from those I barely spoke to. 

As the mass ended, I sat still in my chair, looking toward where I should be going but staying where I struggled to leave. 

2100: Travel home.

Unlike every other thing I did today, I would still ride this bus again to the LRT station. As usual, I stepped and stood inside the packed vehicle. 

The bus moved and the conductor squeezed his way through the standing passengers. As he walked toward our side, I handed over a fifty-peso bill. 

Estudyante po.”

Right then, the conductor gave me the last 20-peso ticket I would ever get. Even the ride was special, after all. F

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