It's been three weeks and I haven't seen her. Not in class, not around campus. Where could she be? God, I miss my ballpen. I hope she didn't lose it, Ana would freak if I lost it.
Ana gave me that pen on our second year anniversary. Now, she's with George. That's love, I suppose. My pen doesn't change sides; in fact, we've been through some tough times together. Quizzes, long exams, finals, essays, poems, even love letters to Ana. I miss those times. My new Pilot ballpen isn't the same as the Cross pen. It has a different feel, a different weight, a different way of writing. I'm not the same person I used to be without my Cross. I had to find that girl! Where could she be?
The bell rang and Miss Marcela concluded her lecture by encouraging us to vote in the upcoming Barangay Elections. Wanda must've used up all her cuts by now. I walked up to Miss Marcela to ask her if she knew where Wanda could be.
"Um, ... ma'am, do you know if Wanda has dropped this course?"
"Wanda? Ah! My dear, she dropped this course during the first day."
The first day! The day I lent her my Cross pen. I mentally kicked myself, cursing myself for my stupidity. I kept my composure and asked Miss Marcela if she knew where Wanda might have transferred to.
"My dear, do you think I could remember what was written on her load revision form? I think not. Now, if you don't mind, I have to prepare for my next class."
Miss Marcela packed her dilapidated Philippine Constitution into her briefcase. I turned and left, thinking about how life is going to be more miserable. I heard someone calling my name. It was Miss Marcela. I turned around and faced her.
"I do remember seeing the Psychology department chairperson's signature on it, though."
"Thank you, it's as good a lead as any," I said. I quickly offered to help her carry her bags but she declined, urging me to go ahead and begin my quest.
I quickly hurried to the Psychology department and talked to the secretary.
"Excuse me, ..."
"In a minute," she said as she typed a few more lines into her computer. "Have a seat."
I sat on the chair opposite her and looked around the room. Pretty cozy department, with classical music playing in the back and the smell of coffee in the air.
"What can I do for you, young man?" the secretary asked.
"I'm looking for Wanda, one of your students."
"Well, ... I don't recall her surname."
"I think you have a problem there. Do you know what year she's in?"
"You definitely have a problem. You don't know her year, you don't know her surname, for all you know, this Wanda might just be her nickname. What do you want me to do now? Gather some psychics and look for her?"
"It's okay, I'll find her on my own. Thank you very much for your help." This secretary was too hyper for me. I started to get up when the door to the department chairperson's office opened. I heard two voices.
"Are you sure I can do what I want with it?" said a woman’s voice. It sounded oddly familiar.
"Definitely," answered an older female voice.
"Okay, thanks for taking time out to talk to me."
A hand gripped the door.
"Wait a minute, do you have one of these already?" asked the older voice.
"No, I haven't gotten any." The hand disappeared back into the office. The younger voice sounded familiar. Could it be? Could it be her? The door opened again and a girl stopped in the door frame. "Thanks," she said. I looked at the secretary but she had gone back to typing her work. I stood up straight and waited for the girl to emerge from the office. The girl turned around and let the door close automatically. I caught a glimpse of the Benetton bag slung over her shoulder. She waved good-bye at the chairperson and walked towards the front door. It was Wanda!
"Bye, Beth," she said to the secretary.
"Bye," said the secretary, not even looking up from her work.
Wanda looked directly at me and smiled. She had the most penetrating and sparkling eyes I had ever seen. And that smile! My legs started to wobble and I could not help myself smiling back at her. I stood there, transfixed. Before I knew it, she had already turned the knob and went out the door.
She didn't remember me!
The door slammed shut and I realized that if I let her go, I probably won't see her again. I had to get my Cross back.
"Hey, ..." I began to say, and rushed for the door. I pulled it open and just saw her turn left at the corner.
"Excuse me, miss..."
She turned around, her right hand clutching her bag. "Yes?"
"I don't think you remember me," I said. "Three weeks ago you were in Miss Marcela's class? Remember you came in late? Do you recall that you wrote in your journal that your boyfriend broke up with you, that you felt the your relationship wasn't going anywhere with him? Do you remember the pen you used? Well, I'm the owner of that pen and I want it back."
"Wait a minute! Have you been reading my journal? Don't you know the meaning of 'private' and that journals are under this particular heading?"
"I'm sorry but my curiosity got the better of me. You were very depressed and all."
"Oh! I recall now! You were the one who gave me tissue paper. The silver Cross pen? Well, ... I don't have it with me."
"Huh?" I almost fainted.
"Don't be alarmed, I just didn't bring it with me today. I could return it to you on Wednesday, right after Miss Marcela's class. Is that okay with you?"
"Okay, I guess that's reasonable enough. There's nothing else I could do, right?"
"You'll get your pen back, I promise. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to catch my carpool. See you!"
"I'll be counting the minutes..."
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