Wednesday, August 10

The Maroon Diaries

My throat hurts. I can feel each of the ten million bacteria copulating and multiplying by the second. This after I spent the entire weekend reading aloud a manual in my best imitation of a call center agent's voice with an Iowa accent. "Any questions?" Usually there was none; sixty pairs of eyes placed perfectly under well-waxed bangs and distressed mopheads stared at me. They nodded their heads, stabbed their Mongol No. 2 pencils into the wood and silently cursed me to just "turn to page 28 and begin."

Patience is not my strongest virtue. I fidget in my chair, fuzz with the forms, and when I can't take it anymore, I jump up and march between the rows. In two days and four sessions, I counted 46 pairs of Chuck Taylor sneakers, 13 Harry Potter backpacks, 6 Ipod minis, and one Assumptionista who resembled Pooh.

Given the chance to shake Pooh's hand, you'd take it gingerly, watch the blood in her wrist make its way back to her aorta and say "How do you do?" You resist the urge to feed her malunggay and ampalaya.

If the attempt was successful, the result would be Pooh Number 2, who sat facing the wall, in the second desk in a row reserved for left handed people. This Pooh was still a bit translucent, with a warm glow that draws you to her side of the room. She also had more meat in her bones. Her shoulders rounded out the sleeves of her white shirt which welcomed you to Bel Air Summer Camp. The seams were blue, and it went with her Roxy surf shorts and olive Havaiianas. As I passed her in one of my rounds, she was shading the oblongs corresponding to the letters of her name. She was one of those Annas --Anna Margarita, Anna Dinnah, Anna Corinne. This Anna smoothed her hair which crested in the soft waves of her ponytail. Her left wrist supported a white strip of rubber. On one side it said "One Big Fight!" in all caps, the other had the letters "ADMU" in the appropriate school colors.

Given all this, one wondered what Anna, this Pooh Number 2, was doing here, in this room where the windows were boarded up with yesterday's newspaper, the weak daylight creeping in between the pages where there wasn't enough masking tape. To while away the time perhaps, or a choice made because there's a wide green expanse that makes a good field for playing football.

Whatever it was, you resist the urge to stare at this apparition in your roomful of brown Madonnas, and train your eyes on somebody else. This time, your gaze lands on a girl whose eyesbrows were at least 80s retro promising to compensate for the unfortunate name of Brooke Shields.

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