It was half-past when I arrived at the dorm. An old woman by the name of Mrs. Lopez, or “Mrs. Lupet” as what other dormers would call her welcomed me in the receiving area. By her looks I can sense already how strict she is. We went upstairs where the rooms are located. She showed me my room and went on telling me the house rules. Doors and gates of the building closed at . Lights out at . No drugs. No smoking. No drinking. No girls. No fighting with other dorm mates. She said whatever grudge we have with other dorm mates we should settle it outside. She asked me if I understood perfectly the house rules and if I have any other questions. I just gave her a nod.
I decided to lie on my bed for awhile and take a rest. Even if the travel time took a little less than the last time I went here in
Minutes passed by and my eyes began to give up. But even before I could really fall into slumber, I heard a knock at my door. “Oh, c’mon, the witch is here again”, I said to myself.
I opened the door, and it was not Mrs.Lopez. A guy by the name of Kiko stood in front of me. I thought he was from the other room and want to make friends. I told to go back in awhile if he wants to chat or get along and that I need to rest.
“Oh, didn’t Mrs. Lopez told you?, Kiko said.”
“Told me what?”, I answered.
Kiko told me that he was my room mate. I felt a little dumb for a minute or two. Why didn’t I think about that I have a room mate, when there are two beds in the room.
I said sorry to him and started a conversation. I noticed that he has an acoustic guitar with him. I asked another dumb question whether he plays. He answered me back with a simple yes. I continued with the conversation, but it felt a little awkward. So I decided to stop and told him that I need to sleep.
I woke up sweating. It was around 6PM says my watch. Kiko was not in his bed. Wondered where he is, but suddenly I heard someone singing and playing the guitar. Thought the sound is coming from the balcony. Yes, there was a small balcony in each room in the dorm. I thought Mrs. Lopez could not stop guys our age from smoking, and so in order for her patron students to come back and renew their contracts with her she placed a little balcony in each room. It has become sort of a silent attraction for the student-smokers like me.
I went to the balcony and there I saw Kiko. Heard him singing a song with these lyrics:
‘Cos if one day you wake up and find that you're missing me,
And your heart starts to wonder where on this earth I can be,
Thinking maybe you'll come back here to the place that we'd meet,
And you'd see me waiting for you on the corner of the street.
I kept on thinking about the title, and there it popped out of my head, “The Man who can’t be moved” by The Script. How would I forget that!? It’s the song playing on the bus when I was on the road traveling to
He stood up and said I maybe hallucinating or that I am on heroine. He said I’m in no position to tell whether he is good or not. He walked through the room and into his bed. I thought, I’ve created another awkward scene.
I followed him. I asked him if he had dinner already. He answered me back with his simple yes. I asked him again if he has plans for the night and invited him to grab some beer after I had dinner. But he declined. He said he needs to sleep early for his class tomorrow. And so I went alone.
The following morning, I rushed to the bathroom to take a quick shower. Damn, I never thought living away from the house would be that hard. Yes, I won’t be hearing my mom yelling at me to fix my closet, but no one’s there to yell at me to wake up for my class. No one’s there to cook for me one decent meal.
As expected I went to class late. Luckily I wasn’t even called in the recitations and the professor was cool enough to forgive me for being late. He seemed to have deviated from the usual power-tripping and terrorizing professors out there.
I went home at around 6PM. Knocked at the door, but no one’s opening it. So I had to get my keys. All the while I thought Kiko’s still out. But I heard the sound of the guitar again coming from the balcony.
For the second time I sneaked in. I heard he’s singing a song with these lyrics:
Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life
I thought I’ve heard the song before. Kept thinking and thinking, until I figured it’s “How to save a life” by The Fray. I’ve heard it on the nearby restaurant where I had dinner, during my first night at the dorm.
His voice is so soothing. I felt like I’m listening to a new record. I decided not to interrupt him and continued to listen. I felt that the emotions are really flowing. I felt that the song was instrumental to what he is actually feeling right now.
After finishing the song, I hurriedly went to my room. I made it sure not to give him any clue that I am sneaking in. I thought he’d go to bed right away but he didn’t. I thought he’d play again but minutes gone by, all I heard was silence. I never knew what happened next. I fell asleep.
My life away from home became routinary. But I never expected that it would be this fun. I mean I get to meet new friends in school, get to enjoy some of my classes with cool professors and sometimes make out with women. Well, of course outside the dorm. But one thing that thrills me more is when I get to listen to Kiko. The way he plays his guitar and the way he sings his heart out is so moving. There’s a certain high that I feel when I get to listen to him. A certain high which marijuana or heroine could not even give to me. It felt like I’m playing the game of “Name that tune” or “Don’t forget the Lyrics” everytime I sneaked in at him.
I don’t know what is it with Kiko. I can’t explain how I could connect with his songs when I hardly get to start a conversation with him. I am not even sure if he’d open up for me when we get to start one.
I’ve been hearing a lot of gossips in school about Kiko. I’ve heard that one time in his Laboratory class, he didn’t have any partner to work with so he did an experiment by himself. It appears that he had really established a certain distance between himself and other people. I wondered how Kiko could live in total isolation. It’s like he has considered it as his way of life. I couldn’t think of anything that might give whatever enjoyment Kiko feels when he’s alone. Well, I do get to enjoy solitude once in awhile but I don’t think I can stand it more than twenty minutes.
One night, I tried to sneak in again at him. I heard he’s playing a song that seemed to be new to my ears. I listened intently to figure out the song. I heard that the lyrics were:
I was inviting, her into my heart
But she was out riding in some other man's car
She was my night time, thought I was her star
Guess I was wrong, but see I’m strong
Won’t take me long for me to move on
I tried to think where I heard the song, and it occured to me that the song was played in the frat party I attended. It’s “Go On Girl” by Neyo. I figured that his version was far different from the original that’s why I had a hard time thinking what the song is. His was an acoustic version. Turning an RnB into an acoustic soulful version was brilliant. That night I became a fan.
From that time on I religiously sneaked in at him. He continued to impress me with his renditions. Everytime I listen to him, I am relieved with whatever stress school is giving me.
It was the exams week. As I look my class standing, I need to get an A to pass Physics and a B+ to pass Calculus. Damn, I thought how am I supposed to get them when I can’t even stay up late to study.
I tried to drink a bottle of energy drink to stay awake for my exams the following morning. As I am about to start studying, I heard the strum of Kiko’s guitar. He’s playing again. I tried to ignore it but it’s just so inviting. I sneaked in him again. I thought a few minutes couldn’t hurt my Calculus and Physics.
The song’s a little bit weird right now. I’m not sure if I heard it on the radio or watched it on MTV. There’s some reggae feel to it but sounded more like alternative to me. I heard that the lyrics were:
So don't treat me like a puppet on a string
'Cause I know I have to do my thing.
Don't talk to me as if you think I'm dumb;
I wanna know when you're gonna come - soon.
What The Fuck! How could I not know the song. I just heard it the other night when I was hanging out with a girl I met in the bar. It’s from the legendary Bob Marley! It’s “Waiting in Vain.” Without noticing that time is passing by and ignoring the fact that I have to study for my exams the following morning, I stood right there and enjoyed the song.
I took the exams in Calculus at 8 in the morning and Physics at 3 in the afternoon. Good thing there was a break in between I got to review for Physics. The day was so stressful I thought I just want to go home and hit the sack.
But who could resist Kiko’s songs? Songs which are heroine for me. I sneaked in again at the balcony and started to listen. The strums of the guitar seemed a little bit slower. There’s a tone of sadness in his voice as he sings the lyrics of the song.
There is freedom within, there is freedom without
Try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
Theres a battle ahead, many battles are lost
But youll never see the end of the road
While you’re travelling with me
I didn’t have a hard time figuring out this song. From the first note, I know it is “Don’t Dream it’s Over” by Crowded House. A song which truly means a lot to me. It brings back a lot of memories. Memories which shattered me into pieces.
At that moment, my heart melted. My eyes went gloomy, and I felt that tears start to cloud my eyes. Kiko momentarily paused. I know he felt I was just right at his back. But he continued. He went on to finish the song and paused for a few seconds. He moved his head towards my direction. He then stood up and approached me. He tapped me on my shoulder and started to start to talk.
He started to open up. He started to be as bold as everyone else, not taking great care not to touch on certain things. He told me his story and I told him mine.
I learned a lot from him. Things which no one would ever think a guy his age would have been exposed to. Experiences which no one would ever imagine a guy as aloof as him would have encountered.
I didn’t notice that we are talking for hours. I can’t believe I engaged in such conversation. The melo-drama is so much a no-no for the type of guy in me. But Kiko and his songs let me burst out the emotions I’ve been keeping for quite a long time.
By the time we went out to our beds I can see the first ray of the sun beaming at us. I thanked him for his time. I thanked him for his songs. I thanked him for trusting me with his stories. He did the same. He told me how glad he is to have shared the night together as good friends.
The following morning, I was awaken by the knock of Mrs. Lopez on my door. I looked at Kiko’s bed but he wasn’t there anymore. His bed was fixed already. His closet was empty. I wondered where’d he go.
While scratching the corner of my left eye, I opened the door. Mrs. Lopez greeted me a good morning. I noticed that she was accompanied by a guy. Mrs. Lopez started to introduce me to the guy. His name was Francis.
I asked Mrs. Lopez where did Kiko go. Mrs. Lopez went on confused. She asked me who the hell I am talking about. I told her that Kiko was my roommate and that I was just with him last night. Mrs. Lopez told me that I might be dreaming or something. She even sounded suspicious that I might be taking pot in the dorm. She told me that all throughout the semester I don’t have a room mate. I was speechless. I didn’t even know what Mrs. Lopez is saying after telling me that. Her words seemed to have mixed up and do not make sense. I can hear her voice reverberate in the four corners of the room like it was coming from the ground. I almost fainted.
I sat down in my bed while Mrs. Lopez tours the guy and tells all the crappy house rules. I catch some air and drank water. I found myself laying flat on my bed. I looked at my watch and found out it’s already . God, I’ve fallen asleep again. Mrs. Lopez wasn’t in the room anymore. I thought I might have been asleep when she left and didn’t want to wake me.
I looked at the other bed in the room and it’s still fixed. Same as it was that morning. I stood up and went to the closet beside mine. I was about to open the closet but I heard a sound coming from the balcony. It was a strum of a guitar, I thought. I walked my way to the balcony to find out who’s making the sound. It was Francis.
* TIRED OF CAMPAIGNING.. So Back to blogging muna.. :)