My first experiences in a college dorm were ushered in by my three roommates in Yakal.
I had the unfortunate chance of meeting the first two guys we will call X and Y, X was a Chem major, Y was a shiftee from the College of Arts and Letters. X was a chain smoker, he was puffing when I came in the dilapidated room with my bags. Smoking was totally against the rules, but I kept my mouth shut.
“Hello.” I nodded to X.
“Anong pangalan mo ‘tol?” said X.
“Dave.” I extended my hand.
“Ano college mo?” Y emerged from behind the partition. He looked like the emaciated version of Jimmy Santos.
“Siya ba papalit kay Mike?” X asked Y, ignoring me. He started blowing smoke rings.
“Dun ka sa taas na bunk, ‘tol.” Y pointed at the only empty upper bunk.
I nodded meekly and began emptying the contents of my bag inside my closet. The mattress was threadbare, it had a very suspicious stain which looked like vomit, and smelled like it to too.
I muttered under my breath to suck it up. Getting into a campus dorm took a lot of effort and I’d certainly save a lot of money because a boarding house cost about a thousand bucks more. I went to UP Shopping Center to buy a bucket and a dipper because the dorm manager required it.
After dinner by myself, I started walking the next few blocks ungracefully with my new bucket and dipper in hand. When I got to the room, it had a solitary fluorescent lamp by the study table flickering; the back of the room was in darkness.
I jumped as the door suddenly opened and an unfamiliar guy walked in. I was afraid I might have gotten inside the wrong room.
“Uy! Ikaw ba kapalit ni Mike?” He smiled.
He moved closer to the light.
Damn, he was cute. He had some sort of chin dimple, and the first thing I notice was that he was wearing maroon shorts that I’ve seen only varsity people wear.
“Ah, oo. Dave pala name ko.” I managed to stammer.
Turned out we both went to Melchor hall (he took up Civil Engineering and engineering students used the 1st-3rd floors, while the College of Architecture was at the 4th and 5th floors). He occupied the bed at the bottom bunk, just below me, which kind of sent a tingle up my spine.
I was right, he was one of the varsity players. I heard him open his closet and he lifted up his shirt and got a towel. I pretended to read my novel as I faced the other way and tried to ignore him, which was hard really since every time he sat on his bed mine moved.
“Pare, pwede palang humiram ng tabo?”
“Oo ba, nasa ilalim ng study table.” I said, turning around.
I saw him smile sheepishly, shirtless and looking so fine. If my heart was independent from my body it would have leaped already. I didn’t know it, but I was smiling like an idiot for the rest of the night.
The semester went like the usual. Living in the dorm was quite alright, even if I don’t get that much privacy and quiet. Those times when we do architectural plates or if I study for a major exam, I make it a point to work during the wee hours of the morning when everyone is asleep. X and Y can be pain in the ass especially during their noisy guitar sessions, which could have been forgivable if either of them could sing or play guitar.
The bright spot for me was when Harry was there. When I did computations for Elementary Surveying which involved sine and cosine, I asked his help and he obliged. It was in his turf, I guess. It was doubly hard for me because far from being mathematically inclined, he was leaning over, his chin almost touching my shoulder as we sat closely and it was very ticklish where the warmth of his breath would touch my skin (kilig!). He was good with numbers but his hard biceps kept brushing against my arm as I tried to input data into the scientific calculator, I kept messing it up haha.
In return, I swore to become his total slave. Kidding. Well, he wasn’t the usual dumb jock so I couldn’t offer much help except when he asked which shirt looked better on him for a night out. He also had no girlfriend, but obviously he is a catch so many girls flirted with him to no end, luckily the ladies were off limits in the male section of Yakal bwahahaha! I swear if the guys brought home a girl to the dorm I’d scream bloody murder.
One of X’s most brilliant ideas was to hold a party right after Final exams, and by party I mean three bottles of smuggled Ginebra San Miguel with a few of his cigarette butts stubbed on my study table. Y had a classmate over who was in charge of “tagay”. Harry was there, plus me so that made five of us in total.
We were on our third round of passing the plastic cup with pure gin, when I started feeling tipsy. We swapped stories about profs, gossiped about the girls. Well, Harry mostly just nodded along as X spilled the lewd details.
Maybe it was the alcohol I felt so acutely running beneath my veins that made us all chummy. By our fifth round Harry was leaning on to me, there were gin blossoms on his face and he was slurring his words. I was still listening to their stories. We all decided to crash past 2am. X didn’t make it to his bed, he fell on the floor and promptly fell asleep. We left him there. Y and his classmate tried to pass through the window to leave the dorm because they lock the main doors at night.
I helped Harry to his bunk, when he suddenly spoke.
“Tabihan mo ‘ko.”
Uh oh, I know that look. My heart pounded so loudly, I thought the whole dorm would wake up and storm in.To be continued here..