Saturday, August 6, 2011

Crab Mentality (Part 6)

June 7, 2010 3pm
   John Paolo Ontagio was tall and broad-shouldered. His haircut was just like Chalano's, but his hair was wavy. He had huge, dark eyes, and full lips. He was dark and handsome. He was a tough person, but he had a boyish face. He was the president of the Student Council, and was multi-talented. Chalano looked up to him like all the other students in their school did. Chalano believed everything that he said, especially when he referred to Chalano as "crazy" before their summer break.
   "Hey! Let's go," Kim said, grabbing Chalano's arm and startling him.
   Kim laughed, and said, "Startled? Let's go. I'm hungry. Aren't you going to the canteen?"
   "I'm not hungry, but, okay, let's go," Chalano answered. He picked up his black notebook and put it into his light green schoolbag. He put his black Dong-A pen into his checkered pencil case, and put that into his bag also.
   The best friends walked out of the classroom. Their classroom was on the ground floor. There were pillars outside. The pillars supported the classrooms above them, because the second floor extended beyond their classroom. To the right was an open auditorium. Chalano and Kim walked past the shadow of the second floor, and into the sunlit school grounds. Other students were leaving their own classrooms. The day was warm. The students were noisy, as usual.
   "I didn't get to go to the canteen this recess because I had a hard time with Math," Kim explained. Kim was a skinny 15-year-old, and he was as tall as Chalano. There was always hair gel on his hair to keep it very spiky (a la Naruto). His skin was a bit yellow in color. His family had moved from Taiwan for his father's business. His mother wasn't Chinese. Kim was a very talkative person. They had been friends since they were ten-years-old, and they liked to keep their schoolbags identical.
   Chalano was starting to tune out as Kim went on about Math. His thick eyebrows were crooked as he described his frustrations about the subject, saying, "It gets harder every year. It's going to be way too hard in college. Do you think you would be able to make it past college algebra?"
   Wait. That ended with a question. That means that I'm supposed to answer. But I wasn't listening. What was his question? "Yes," Chalano replied, trying to hide his uncertainty about his answer, and trying to pretend that he wasn't tuning out. I wish that that was the correct answer ....
   "That's the spirit," Kim said with a smile.
   [Sigh] Now, I'd better listen.
   "We just say that we could do something that we couldn't do, and we end up doing it. It's with how we think," Kim kept talking. "Emma definitely didn't look like she found it hard."
   Chalano smiled, "You were also looking at her?"
   "Of course, she's the only new student," Kim reasoned.
   "Okay. What was that on her hair?"
   "No, it's not red dye. She's half-German."
   "Hmmm."
   "Her mom met her dad in Germany. They were moving from place to place since she was young," Kim explained. "That was why she was never able to go to school. Then her parents suddenly decided to bring her to school because she should be about to go to college. Even though she've never been to school before, she passed the exams."
   "How did you know all about that?"
   "The other students talked about it; haven't you heard about that?"
   There was a wide parking lot on the northeastern part of the campus. The auditorium was on its southeastern end, and the canteen was on its northwestern end. The canteen was in an elevated, small building.
  "No, I didn't," Chalano answered. "What if they were just rumors?"
   Kim thought as they walked up the four steps to the canteen. The interiors weren't well-lit.
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