Her name is Hannah. Hannah Lopez.
Hannah, as my co-fellows knew her, was the Sadako of my class. Yes, yes she was. Not that she was really scary or she comes from the mirror or whatsoever, but she crawled on the floor with her hair laid down just like Sadako.
The first time I saw her with that creeping and crawling, I really got scared. And of course got pissed, “Hannah, bat po ba gapang ng gapang?” I would usually tell her.
She would even go to the board as I talk and then point at my fingers without any reason!
Mid-second quarter when she changed. And well, sh became a little ‘calmer’.
John Llyod, Ericka and Jaycee went with us. Llyod was holding my arms while we were walking when Hannah began to run towards me and held my other arm.
“Gaya-gaya nakihawak kay teacher!” Llyod said.
“Eh siyempre maganda ako!” Hannah replied. It was unnecessary, but it really made me laugh.
I was supposed to visit Ericka, but her father wasn’t there. I decided to go to Hannah’s house since Hannah said they were neighbors.
They had a sari-sari store that helped their family in their daily basis.
“Ma’am bakit ho?” Her mom suddenly asked.
“Bumibisita lang ho ako para makita yung kalagayan ni Hannah dito.” I replied.
“Yung exams po ba niya?”
“Ayun na nga ho ma’am. Medyo alanganin. Mababa po kasi yung mga exam at quizzes niya.”
“Oo nga ho eh. Eh nagtataka naman ako kasi itong dalawang nauna sa kanya sobrang talino. Nagtotop.”
“Ah may mga ate pa ho siya?”
“Oho apat sila. Yung isa nasa PUP, college na.”
“Oo nga ho salamat sa Diyos naigapang. Yung isa grade 7. Pareho silang nasa top lagi. Eh itong pangatlo at yung sunod hirap magbasa! Yung dalawa di namin tinuruan magbasa, basta na lang natuto. Eh ang hirap magpaaral ng college. Isang daan kada-araw. Itong iba tig sampu lang.”
Yes, I know. My mother would usually tell me before if I could stop studying just to let my elder brother finish college and my younger brother finish high school, and of course I told her no, I could not… I had so many dreams then…
“Ano ho bang trabaho niyo?”
“Ito, nagtitinda. Yung papa nila mangtataho. Todo kayod buong hapon.”
“Buong hapon ho?”
“Oho, buong hapon may pang baon lang sila.”
She was teary-eyed when she said that. I switched the topic just so the conversation would be a little lighter.
“Kamusta ho si Hannah dito sa bahay?”
“Okay naman ho. Mahilig maglaro, pero nakakatulong sa bahay.”
“Sa school ho mahilig yan magwalis.”
“Ay oho. Mahilig magwalis at maghugas yan ng plato.”
“Sa school ho ganon din. Nga lang kinakabahan ako kasi minsan mas gusto pa niya maglinis kesa makinig.”
“Hayaan niyo ma’am. Baka late bloomer lang kasi.”
As I was explaining where Hannah’s weaknesses were, her mother kept repeating the term ‘late-bloomer’. I believed in that, or maybe I had my hopes in it; I can’t wait for the day that Hannah would bloom.
Student number 28, check.