When I was a grade 5 student, I approached Fr. Dalumpines, FSC because I was a desperate kid. The guards won’t let me out. They told me there’s a school-wide activity that merits everyone to stay inside the campus. Compulsory. I hated that word. Actually, the guards didn’t tell me anything. They just brushed me aside without explaining. Who am I to complain? I was just a fragile little kid with no say in this democratic society.
I was desperate. My family was going to the beach and they are leaving without me, because the guards won’t let me out. I didn’t care about the rules. Screw the rules. This is emergency. I just wanted to cry out of frustration. My heart was desperate. My mind was desperate. Even my feet were desperate. They carried me running towards the closed open space that I call my second home, but at that time I called my only prison. They marched to a random beat in hopes of finding something, anything; a solution. Maybe a launch pad that will hurl me over the walls and out. Freedom!
Instead I saw Fr. Dalumpines from the corner of my eyes, as I was frantically looking for that launch pad in the hallways of Highschool county. Perhaps the post adolescents had that kind of technology. But I saw hope in Fr. Dalumpines, FSC. And I mustered all my courage and chutzpah or hutzpah, and approached him. Most kids would go near him and give him a mano po. He was legendary for being more child friendly than your regular van, whose only evidence of such is a bumper sticker which suggests so.
With that knowledge under my belt, I negotiated. But an 11 year old can only say so much to a 111 year old school president. The man’s 100 years older than me, and that’s how far away he is from allowing me to go outside. He could have given me the exception. Because I was desperate. Because back then, it was an emergency situation for me. Forget that I didn’t have puppy dog eyes, or that I was sweaty and smelly from all that running. He could have been lowly enough to sense that I was too depressed for my own age. I was getting the age equivalent of stress of a mother scolding her son for being too indifferent. Well that is me now, but that was me then.
And so I left unsuccessful. The father dismissed me, even more than the guards did. The father had absolutely nothing to do with me. Oh yes he did, but only if he wanted to scowl and frown back at me. Maybe it was because I didn’t give him the mano po. Maybe I wasn’t cute enough for him. Maybe he was just having a bad day. Whatever the reason may be, that tiny incident really left a prejudiced mark on my head.
Because of that incident, and only up until last year, when I met a really cool FSC, I have always had, at the back of my mind, the prejudice that FSCs were snobbish, self-centered, and had absolutely nothing to do with unlovable kids. This view diminished over the years, and now it’s totally gone, but all those years of having that prejudice in my head were indelible. All those years, I had it in my history that these FSCs were discriminating. And it’s just sad, but I’m just glad that the arrow of time is pointing forwards and not backwards, and that the issue of approach vs avoidance is finally settled for the good. Father Dalumpines, FSC, I forgive you, even if there’s good reason to believe I don’t have to forgive or be forgiven for anything.