Featured Person: Lyka

There are books with very interesting front covers that you decide to pick them up over the others at the bookstore. But when you finally start to read, their first chapters are so plain and uneventful that just thinking of continuing to read them actually bores you. So, you pay no attention to them. You try to read them but you really lost interest in continuing and you just put them at the corner of your shelf and forget them.

When I was in high school, the whole class sold me out to our English teacher and forced me to join a Storytelling competition outside of school. I objected but they were so persistent I had to say yes. I thought, “it’s okay it’s not like I’m going to win the elimination, anyway.” There was an elimination in the campus, then in the whole school before picking someone to join the contest. Bunch of students joined the elimination that I was confident I won’t even land a place. The day of the elimination in the 4th year campus came, and to my horror – I won.

            I was so nervous of what might happen in the coming days, or weeks, or months for me that all I did during the awarding was to keep a forced smile on my face. To comfort my growing anxiety, I said “It’s okay, it’s not like I’m going to win the contest at school ha ha.” The day of the elimination in the whole school came and to my utmost mortifying horror and dismay– I won, still.

            I’ve never felt so panicky in my whole life than I did when I was standing in front of our school’s whole faculty of English teachers, getting the certificate –imagining that in the coming months I’d be in front of hundreds of students, dozens of teachers –totally exposed, telling a story God knows what.

            I wanted to faint.

            My coach who also was an English teacher in the 4th year campus made me read piles and piles of stories she’d print out. We did the trainings after lunch. At first, they were kid-like stories that I got no problem telling. But as days passed, they became harder and harder it will take me an hour to read and actually comprehend them –only to tell them in not less than 5 minutes. Most were Edgar Allan Poe’s. The old English would want to make me cry right then and there at the middle of the quadrangle of the campus.

            Some stories will get me really excited. Some were actually so boring that reading them makes me want to fall asleep. Aside from those short stories, she also gave me a novel to read to practice my vocabulary skills to prevent me from grasping for words.

It was Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton.

            The novel was a bore I would actually fall asleep after reading a few pages. But its front cover was a bit cool I always end up picking it up every time I see it.  There came a point when I actually dropped it because I totally lost interest. After all, what 16 year old would read about genetically engineered dinosaurs eating almost every character in the book, right? When I read at night, I would have nightmares of a T-Rex chasing my butt and I would have to wake up terrified at 3 in the morning. Back then, what all I wanted to read was about how people fall in love. But I had to finish Jurassic Park.

            When I couldn’t take it anymore, I totally dropped it and I was thankful enough that my coach didn’t remember the book she had me borrowed. She was busy with stuff at school that even our trainings were sometimes postponed because of her meetings.

            The competition came and up until now, I could remember that it probably was among of the most nervous moments of my life, and also a bit disappointing. I wasn’t able to finish the story. After a month of practicing, I didn’t get to finish telling the story. Still, I placed 2nd out of the many contenders.

            But I got to finish the book my coach let me borrowed.

            A few weeks after, I decided to read it again. Apparently, I dropped the book nearly at its most interesting part.

            When I first met Lyka, I thought that she was pretty. Looking at her made me remember the movie “The Corpse Bride” that I watched one Saturday afternoon when I was in High School. The bride was so thin, she had really large eyes, and she had a pointy figure, but those characteristics made her even prettier, and she’s even dead. But unlike the corpse bride, I didn’t find anything interesting about her. So, I dropped her in my radar of people worth reading. Like the book I mentioned. At that time, I thought that she was a cliché literature like most people in the class. She’s pretty, and she’s also smart. She’s liked by everybody and she smiles a lot. She also has a funny side of her personality. But there’s nothing worth taking note of. After all, many people are like that. I didn’t bother to take a close look.

            But now that I look at it, I see that there’s something about her. It wasn’t just recently when I noticed this. When I decided to pick her up once more to figure out. She had something within her. I don’t know, a fire, maybe? She’s one of those very few people that seemed to emit a really strong sense of tenacity. And you’re not going to notice that unless you actually have her along for a long time. Unlike the others, you won’t notice her quick.

            I mentioned that when I look at people, I can’t help but think of what color they possess. Hers was a deep, deep scarlet. Classy in its splendor. Strong, persistent. Doing whatever it takes to get what it want, to get noticed, to rise above the others.

            Perhaps deep down, there’s something about the color scarlet that it didn’t like about itself. But someday, she will realize that she will need no validation to know and truly believe that she’s among the most beautiful, sophisticated colors there are.

            Like the book I read a few years ago, I was shocked to know that it was a bestseller.

PS: Jurassic Park has a movie that hit on the big screen.


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