Second last day of school.
No one really said it, but these past few days, there’s been a lot of hints subtly dropped mid-conversation about leaving, even among our lecturers. But there wasn’t much emotion behind them, rather just a statement of fact. Less and less people turned up for classes, and by the end of classes today, most of us who did turn up for class gathered around to discuss our “last lunch” together on the next day. And then slowly, one by one, people left until it was only just Harris, Bellyn, Taliza and I at the pipes outside of NWG. We were quiet, and I was looking around the school thinking about how I’d probably never step foot into this place again after A Levels.
I’d had several abrupt awakenings in the middle of the night (circa 5 AM) when I’d lay on my bed in SMR just staring at my Wall of Stuff and the photos/posters etc I’d stuck on it in the dark and feeling so sentimental and melancholic and helpless about everything, especially since sleep effectively eradicates all walls I put up in my mind and I was particularly vulnerable at that hour of the night.
I don’t really know how to explain it, but I feel very detached from this form of sadness. I am aware of it, and I feel myself consciously doing everything I can to pay extra attention to every detail of my surroundings and what I’m doing to hold it longer in memory, but I have not been hit with the overwhelming reality of it yet. And I say “hit” because I can foresee that is literally what it will feel like, like a sledgehammer to the face and no room for you to breathe. I suspect that might probably happen tomorrow. Or even if it doesn’t, on the last day of exams. Or then again, maybe not ever. At this point, I’m not even sure what I am or am not capable of anymore.
Second last day of school also carries another meaning, however: an exclusive dinner event with our lecturers at Upstairs Café. Karu made reservations for a 5.30PM late lunch/early dinner, and by 4.30PM, Bellyn, Taliza, Karu and I were on our way there in Bellyn’s silver Viva. Mr Lee and Miss Cherilyn turned up after that, together with Zitian and Chok. And then Miss MC and Mr Ng too. Seeing our lecturers outside of the classrooms, it was like breaking down the walls of the college/workplace habitat and seeing them out of it (at a cafe, at that) was strange, but a good kind of strange.
Mr Lee was especially talkative, and incredibly funny too. Miss Cherilyn and Miss MC’s friendship dynamic was fascinating to witness, not that we didn’t know they were pretty good friends prior to this, but because we’ve usually seen them as separate identities: our Economics teacher and our Chemistry teacher. And Mr Ng’s banter was classic Mr Ng Banter as was in Physics lessons.
The food was as good as we remembered them, and the desserts too. There was a lot of laughing that made my jaws hurt and even my head pound a bit, which was why I initiated a challenge for myself to keep as straight a face as I can even when something was hilarious and I wanted to laugh. So if any of you thought I was acting weird halfway through, it was because of this.
I realised I will miss this, too. Classes with my lecturers, five days a week. Even though there were times when A Levels felt more than unbearable. Even though waking up for 8AM classes and finishing a school day at 3PM felt brainlessly exhausting. I will miss these four lecturers whom I’ve come to appreciate and grown rather fond of over the course of these 1.5 years. Regardless of what anyone might say, teaching is no easy profession and putting up with a bunch of rowdy teenagers like us doesn’t make the job easier, either. And that’s why I am very grateful that, more often than not, we are treated like individuals in class, rather than a whole general student body, as was often the case with some teachers in high school previously. Thank you, Mr Lee, Miss Cherilyn, Miss MC and Mr Ng, for everything you’ve done for us.
After the dinner, we said our “goodbye”s and “see you tomorrow”s and “I’ll be going for Maths class” before waving our lecturers goodbye. We then decided to go on a spontaneous trip to see the World’s Tallest Pencil apparently in the USJ area but couldn’t find it so we cancelled the trip and went home instead.
Overall, it was a really nice day, and it was a really nice Exclusive Dinner Event with the Lecturers and I really, really don’t want this to end.