One More Story

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Circa 1998, I was about to graduate from high school. I was sitting quietly at the back row while my English teacher discussed adjectives. As always, I wasn't paying attention. I can't remember but my mind was elsewhere.

Then suddenly, I heard what I think is the most important word: "Kenjie?!"

I stood up scratching my head with a facial expression wondering what's going on. Back then, I hated sitting close to the front, because I somehow felt my classmates talk shit behind my back.

Besides, I had been scared at the thought of being picked out to answer difficult questions. So, I pushed myself towards the back of the room. 

Apparently, I was still under my teacher's radar. Now she turned to me and demanded, "Stand up! Read the sentence on the board please."

She is beautiful.

I could feel my legs shaking. Everybody was waiting for me to move my mouth. And when I did, I knew without a doubt I read the above simple sentence with my worst pronunciation ever:

"Shye ees byoteefool."

I immediately caught everyone's attention. All I wished was to disappear in a flash. Just when I thought it was over, my teacher's follow-up question echoed through me, "Opps, not yet. Which one is the adjective?"

I panicked. I wished my face did not betray me, but I looked helpless and defeated. I looked around for someone who could help me out with the second question. But nobody moved a muscle.

As I was standing there, all I could see were people staring at me with stern looks as if I killed somebody. With my best guess flavored with my fucked up accent, I answered by asking, "Ssshe?"

I couldn't remember anything else other than seeing my classmates laughing to death. This experience I assume was one of the most embarrassing moments in my life.

I knew I could get over it eventually. What bothered me most was the fact that I couldn't pronounce words right. I groped my way back to my seat questioning myself. 

What did I know at 16? I knew with absolute certainty that I knew nothing. After all my years in school, I had learned nothing at all.

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