As the professor passed the corridors of the university going to his next class, his attention was caught by the blown-up pictures of two students posted on the bulletin board. Their faces were very familiar to the professor. On top of the pictures were the names of the students; below were the words: REST IN PEACE!
The professor proceeded to the room for his first class but only one student was there.
“Where are the others? Weren’t they expecting me today?”
“The others went to the wake, sir. I’m waiting for the others. The dean gave his permission for us to attend the last night vigil for James. His body will be brought to Romblon tomorrow morning. The body of Kim has already been brought to Nueva Ecija.”
The professor hurriedly checked his class index cards. The names on the fifth and sixth index cards matched those of the students whose pictures were placed side by side on the bulletin board.
Three other students from the other classes entered the room and asked the professor’s permission to allow them to go to the wake as well. They said they have already been given the permission of their other professors as well as the dean.
The students relayed to their professor the mixed reports, rumors and speculations regarding the death of their two classmates: James was the boyfriend of Kim until they broke off recently. They reportedly checked in an apartelle room on Thursday evening to settle the matter between them once and for all. And then, they allegedly drank poison. The girl died first; the boy had to cut his wrist when perhaps the poison he drank was not enough to cause his death instantaneously. The bodies were found only when the roomboy forced his way into the room when the couple failed to check out after the 12 hour time ran out.
The professor vividly remembers the girl who for the past two weeks sat on the second row, middle seat during class. She was listening intensely during the lectures, she nodded when she understood it, and would frequently smile when the professor cracked jokes. She would raise her hands when she knew the answers to the questions the professor asked or when she had questions she wanted the professor to clarify or explain further. The professor had always looked forward to Kim’s smile as the basis whether or not the class understood his lecture.
During the first months of the semester, James and Kim sat beside each other on the third row, right side of the class. But recently, they sat away from each other. James sat wherever any seat is available and he was not very attentive in class. At that time, the professor did not notice whatever the problem was with James and Kim. Or if he had sensed any, he did not pay particular attention to it.
The professor looked at the index cards once more. Both students scored 85% on their recitation and both were absent on August 2, 2010. James missed class for the second time on September 1, 2010. Now, both cannot attend the professor’s class anymore. In one way or another, they will be missed. The professor then prayed for his students.
James (July 29, 1983- September 10, 2010)
Kim (February 23, 1992 – September 10, 2010)