It was in high school that we were told that the end of the world would come in 2012.
I was part of the homogenous class, the crème de la crème, the star class, the honors section. Call it what you may, but it was simply a section in my high school history that had different (read: more strict) teachers, challenging syllabus, pressure that makes your forehead sweat blood, and extra questions in final exams that irked me and my habit to nap after a test.
It was probably Ms. Pagtalunan who taught us that. She told us that Mayans had accurate ways to predict things. And one of their predictions was that the world will end in 2012.
That learning plus around 30-odd ones (including centrifugal force and the proper way to walk when you’re in heels) stuck to me up to the present.
That also gave me bouts of panic—while buying my favorite mango shake at the canteen, while picking up my black Jansport bag from the stone benches, while eyeing my crush from the second floor classroom window, while answering an inhumane set of “For Homogenous Class Only” questions during Physics finals. Belen, my high school barkada, also couldn’t shake that thought. Even in conversations when we were in college, we would revert back to those four ominous digits in a hushed tone and wonder if it’s really true.
Now there’s a movie depicting the end of the world aptly titled 2012. When I first saw the trailer, I thought “Why, hello panic attacks. I’ve missed you.” And then I learned that there is also some sort of talk going around in the digital sphere about it. This is not good. My deal with Belen was to sweep this knowledge under the rug, and forget about it, that we would never share this information to others. I never expected it to be part of mainstream life.
Remember that other end of things prediction last year? I remember calling my sister on my mobile one evening and instructing her to stock up on water, biscuits, and batteries. Lots and lots of batteries.
Screw those predictions; screw those stubborn digits.
A fatalist, I scream inwardly, afraid of the end of the world to come in my lifetime and my children’s lifetime. Because I still haven’t danced jazz onstage ever since Grade 7. Because I still haven’t found my career path. Because I haven’t learned the more complicated turns and jumps in ballet. Because I still haven’t told my dad I love him, and I still haven’t talked to him about my daddy issues. Because I still haven’t told my mom I love her, and I still haven’t talked to her about my mommy issues. Because I still don’t have an orphanage under my care. Because I still haven’t saved children. Because I still haven’t done bungee jumping and learned to surf. Because I still can’t psych myself to watch horror and thriller flicks. Because I still haven’t learned to play cello. Because I want to go to Japan, and imitate scenes from Lost in Translation. Because I want to dive and swim in the seas of our country. Because I still haven’t found my own paradiso perduto. Because I still don’t have a garden of fire trees. Because I want to organize a fund raiser for a friend with a life-threatening back problem. Because I’ve yet to embark on my pilgrimage. Because I’ve yet to have funding for my dream livelihood program for a community. Because I’ve yet to build my dream library. Because I’ve yet to win a literary award. Because I’ve yet to finish Eco’s The Island of the Day Before and Joyce’s Ulysses. Because I’ve yet to attend a Coachella concert. Because I’ve yet to imbibe the elegance of Gwyneth Paltrow, the cockiness of Victoria Beckham, and the mystery of Cynthia Alexander. And some more reasons that are just huge for words.
I hate endings. And this particular ending makes me want to wet my pants, and fear for the very marrow of my life.