Fifteen, going on Sixteen.

Of prom dresses, and the licence to Excel.

When i was fifteen, the early marriage of lisa bonet to theo huxtable’s nagging no-no, weren’t atypical to the rest of our interactions in real life. Across the pond, we understood that serious matters were afoot. We are at the age of decision-making skills-up monitoring to (what we now know as) the rest of our lives.

Looking back, it is a hazy shade of rose-and-grey : it’s a hard-core science school element to assuage the times that we don’t live in our Strange island, to gather up our national waking up that we were normal teenagers. Thus, Prom.

Pins and needles were sending me into cathartic exalt of what happened that summer. That was an epic year, and only because we needed to accomplish so many things, in so little time. I had to get my prom dress, (which my mom actually came home for), and then go to court hearings (for technicalities), and then make a beeline for the beaches on our way to sixteen, college, freedom, and a proper apex to our tech-science-experience that sufficed the trials of the ages. Paresthesia was not going to get in the way of accomplishing this.

That summer, the sun hit hard and we hit the indoors with the keyboard to learn the hard bits of navigating Excel sheets. Exciting. Last summer, i actually navigated mozart and arias, as well as some physics that weren’t meant for 15-year olds. I also did summer school in dance, ballet, and jazz recital at the end. (My poor friends had to come and see me on that one.) But i think overall it was a good balance of nerd and arty nerd pirouetting that peeled off the burnt-out skin of a junior high school scholar.

And the hard reality that t-minus less than one year when school was back on - it hit that the SATs and DOSTs scholarship exams were next in line. Knowing now that i aced both (or at least very amiably to my very personal goals,) i can safely say now, more than ever:

Anxiety, can be your friend. (Um, scuseme sir, where’s my coffee?)

This is an ode to Chayong - who’s my mentor, and who always was and forever will be the **bambam to my zackisparks* - who patiently read with me the adventures of Jose Rizal’s slippers as a 3-year-old, who drove me at lightning speed in my dress to prom, who was my partner-in-Excel-sheet that summer of ‘88, and without a doubt, probably terrorising some poor slow-schmo in Canada as we speak…*.



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