What flashed before me was our last day at Esteban Abada, after I discarded my poetry notes and Seng took to our room the weighing scale he borrowed from Lyn, to help us find out if the books we were carrying would already exceed our baggage allowance for our flight back home. No, I told Seng in an unbending voice we used to assume when we were dead set at doing something they did not want us to do. I don’t want to pay for an extra baggage, I told Sengthong, everything that would exceed 10 kilos, I would have to hand carry, I said. So, we were taking out things from our baggage, even as we were weighing them. But we hoarded such an overwhelming volume of books that summer that I ended up with what I thought must be some 12 kilos of books in my hands. I put them inside a canvass bag, printed with a reproduction of an Amorsolo painting, and carried it to the airport like a rucksack. If Bryant had only seen me carrying that rucksack of books, maybe he would laugh. The load was so heavy, I couldn’t breathe after every six steps. It felt like all my internal organs would explode. I was already sweating all over. But I was very proud to let anybody notice, so, I made it a point to look natural, prevented my tongue from sticking out of my mouth, because I could hardly breathe. If you had seen me, you would think I was only taking a leisurely walk as I boarded the plane, you’d never think I was only pretending, taking the easy stride, with a bit of rest every six steps of the way.
That's how I knew how hard it must have been for you.