Early last month I visited the local Book Sale branch here in San Pablo City to check out what’s new. I’m always on the lookout for bargain stuff like comics, graphic novels, trade books, Star Trek books, Doctor Who books and magazines and so on. Once in a while I would come away with a gem or two, taking home graphic novels that I got for a tenth of how much they’re selling at major bookstores. They’re second hand of course, but I just like to read them and don’t worry about creases and folds.
Well, last month Ilyn and I saw this huge book standing out among the rest. It didn’t look like an ordinary book so we were curious. It turned out to be a High School Yearbook. “They’re selling these things now?” was our initial reaction.
It’s the Yearbook of Saugus High School in California, Batch 2004.
When we opened it, we were stunned at what we saw. The pages were filled with dedications to the person who had owned the yearbook. They were mostly dedications of friendship and love, with a few dedications of lust here and there. The owner of the yearbook wrote her name in huge letters on the side of the book. We saw her high school photo, photos of her activities, and a whole page dedicated to her from her parents.
I felt so sad and puzzled at how this yearbook, which the owner had obviously cherished, found itself so far from where it should be. I mean, the Philippines is probably the furthest in the world this yearbook could ever go from where she is. How in the world did it ever get here?
I knew we couldn’t let it go. The store was selling it for only 25 pesos. That’s just a little over 50 cents in US currency. It was just all so ridiculous. We decided to buy it and keep it. Not for ourselves, but for this person who used to own it. Whatever circumstances led to her getting rid of it, or being separated from it, we didn’t know. But it’s conceivable that no matter what she may be feeling now, she might want it back one day. And we’re here to keep it safe for her.
That is, of course, if she’s still alive. The thought did pass my mind. One reason why this yearbook would be sold off is if the owner had passed away and all her things had to be disposed of.
Curiosity about the yearbook drove me mad. I knew her name. I knew where her High School was. So I went online to look for her, if I can. I worried that something really bad might have happened to her. I kept thinking of what possible reasons there could be for this yearbook to be separated from her.
I finally found her on Facebook. I felt relieved to know that she’s still alive, at the very least. I knew it was her because I saw her in the list of friends from the profile of another girl who had written a three-page dedication to her. It was apparently her best friend. I only have access to her profile photo and name. That’s it. I could add her as a friend to find out more, but I don’t make it a habit to add people on Facebook I don’t really know. And specially not in this case when I don’t know the circumstances surrounding the yearbook.
So I didn’t add her as a friend. I simply wrote her a message that I got her yearbook, and that I would be keeping it for her in case she wanted it back. I also told her that if the loss of the yearbook is intentional, then she didn’t have to reply.
It’s been a month but there has been no reply. However, the day after I sent the message, she changed her profile photo. To me that is a hint that she got the message, but is telling me that she won’t reply back. And that’s just all right. I will respect her wishes. I guess I’ll just have to live with the mystery.
I will not divulge her name of course, even to batchmates of hers who may stumble upon this blog entry searching for “Saugus High School”. Sorry guys.
I know that somehow, someway, all this will be filtered into one of the stories I write one day.