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Wednesday, June 6, 2007

HELLLLLP! I gambled my brother's tuition fee.

It Started With Table Tennis...

It's just recently that I realized I have an 'obsessive-compulsive' behavior. I tend to be so engrossed with anything that draws my interest.

When I was a high school student, I got the chance to learn how to play table tennis. In my first month of familiarization with the sport, rarely did I go home right of the batt from school. I would end up playing table tennis at a neighbor's place not minding whether I have had dinner or not. Still with my school uniform on, I would play table tennis with some friends, college student-boarders until past midnight. I would go home hungry but satisfied spending the night on table tennis. Never mind the homework and the school projects.

Oftentimes, I would sneak in to the house through my bedroom window since my dad's rule is to close the front door at around ten in the evening. I didn't have the guts to knock knowing that my dad would just nag me about getting home late, so as much as possible I had to make a stealthy entrance to the house. Funny thing, I even had to leave my shoes outside the window so as not to make noise once inside my room which is just adjacent to my parents' room. Once inside the house, I had to do my evening ritual of walking in the clouds, there should be no sounds, no footsteps, as I would grab some food in the kitchen to my room.

Spending Money on Volleyball

More than a decade ago, I was enjoying myself as one of the youth leaders in my small village in Baguio City. During my summer vacation, I would see myself in one of the adjacent parks around the village selling ornamental plants, cacti, and succulents to tourists frequenting our city. After doing business-talks with niggard customers and customers from Manila arguing whether pine tree seedlings could thrive in there, I would leave my plant-stand and head for my friend's house.

His name is Michael and his parents at that time were working abroad. He's got a younger brother named Marlon. They became two of my closest friends in my teenage years or in my younger years. Eventually their house became our rendezvous. Without knowing, around forty other youngsters had been regularly meeting with us there and playing volleyball in a nearby playground. We became close friends and we became a solid group. Though we tried to establish a dynamic youth group that could lead other youths in the village, we were notoriously known since most of our members were smokers, alcoholics, out-of-school youth, etc. Still many people believed in our group and we knew we didn't go beyond our limits. I became so attached with this group that eventually Michael's house became my sanctuary when I decided to stowaway from home.

In the afternoons after quitting my selling in a nearby park, I and my friends would meet and play volleyball. Most of the time we would bet on a bottle or two of family-sized cola. I would always end up paying for my group in case we'd get lost. It soon became an addiction, that I would go to the extent of inviting other teams to bet with us on a monetary basis. I would spend all the money I earned from selling cacti. My mom did not know of it. She would wonder though why my remittance was not that much and I had my alibis.

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