It was a few minutes going midnight. He was sitting in bed beside my mother. Rage emanated from his face, while my mother looked at him, concerned of his blood pressure. I was standing at the corner, looking at the floor and not saying a word.
"Di mo ba alam na pwede ka mamatay diyan? Wala kaming kaalam-alam dito! Akala namin safe ka sa bahay ng kaklase mo para sa project nyo kamo, yun pala nagpabugbog ka lang! Sinungaling kang tarantado ka! Dapat sinabi mong gusto mong masaktan, para ako na lang sumuntok, tumadyak, at humataw sayo!" he shouted.
I thought I could get away with it. I arrived home at an hour past noon and went straight to my room. I told them to just wake me up for dinner. I said I was tired and still had no sleep because we had to finish our school project. When I went down to eat later at night, my father noticed my slight limping that I tried my best to hide. He immediately knew; he told me to show him my thighs. And voila. His eyes shot me a look that says, "Mamaya ka sa akin. Maguusap tayo." I guess he doesn't want to ruin dinner for my 3 younger brothers, so we just ate in silence. When my brothers were finally asleep, they called me in their room.
"Gusto mo palayasin na kita dito? Mukha namang wala ka nang pakialam sa mararamdaman namin! Umalis ka na lang dito kung ganyan lang! Bukas iempake mo na mga damit mo ha! Sumagot ka gago ka!" he continued.
Of course, I said no.
"Akala ko ba matalino ka? Ano ba mapapala mo diyan ha? Putanginamo! Pasalamat ka at inaawat ako ng mama mo! Kundi kanina ka pa nakatupi diyan sa sahig!" he growled. And he said many other hurtful things that if I recount it all, your ears might start bleeding.
After the awful sermon, I went back to bed and, for the second time in my life, cried my eyes out. I wept because I knew I had hurt them. I broke their trust as well. For the next few days, my parents gave me the silent treatment. Well, I preferred that more than being booted out of the house. After a week, they told me I am grounded and that they would monitor me closely. They copied my schedule in a bond paper and pasted it on our refrigerator, which means I should go home directly after school. I informed my fratmates and they understood; they said I should wait for the situation to cool first. So for almost 3 months, I had a very limited life. It was like the boring extension of the initiation rites. More of household chores, but no video games, no hanging-out at the mall, missing out on parties, and other stuff normal teenagers enjoy.
After enduring a long time of no extra-curricular activities, I got my freedom back. My parents finally softened and forgave me. However, things were never the same. Before, I could have sleepovers as much as I want, but now, I would have to answer so many questions first. And oftentimes, they wouldn't even allow me. In spite of this, I was still able to attend chapter meetings and community services of the organization.
A year had passed and our C.P. would soon graduate, so it was time to elect someone new for the position. And guess who replaced him? Me. It was a unanimous decision. I knew that no one among my fratmates had the desire of becoming a C.P. because of the big responsibilities, so they ganged up on me, including my batchmates. I had no choice but to accept. So what to do but make the most out of it, right? With the former C.P. as my adviser, the following are my accomplishments in my one year of term:
- I assigned Melo as the new M.I. for the incoming pledges.
- We had initiated a total of 20 new members. I was eager to do the stripping-off-of-clothes-when-committed-a-mistake task to the cute male pledges. Eventually, being a Lord pays off. *heeheehee*
- We conducted a lot of community services, such as:
- We visited several orphanages to give groceries and clothes.
- We adopted a Gawad Kalinga village. We helped in building houses.
- We had given free medical and dental services.As well as free medicines.
- We held several Operation Tuli programs in selected barangays. I was able to circumcised at least a hundred boys, all in all. Fortunately, I am not a pedophile, so I was never enticed. Besides, who would get aroused by a bloody peepee, right? The oldest I operated on was a 16 year old teenager who's got a huge dick. Though I think he's an effeminate gay; maybe that's why he's still uncircumcised at that age.
I got a call one day while I was on hospital duty. It was Mia.
"Batch, asan ka? May nangyari kay Josh," she said, sounding very worried.
"Nandito sa duty. Bakit ano nangyari? Ok lang ba siya?" I said, trying to stay calm.
"Di ko alam ang buong kwento eh. Papunta pa lang ako sa <name of hospital>. Andun daw ang iba ngayon sa ER. Sumunod ka na after ng duty mo," she informed.
"Okay, 1 hour na lang naman at uuwi na ako. Ingat kayo ha. I'll talk to you later," I said.
Upon arriving at the said hospital, I saw my other fratmates waiting outside the operating room. When I went inside, I saw Josh sitting on a bed. Beside him was his father.
"Uy batch, kamusta? Ano nangyari? Ano daw lagay mo?" I hurriedly asked.
"Eto tignan mo," he said, showing his gaping wound on the head that looked like it needs at least 10 stitches.
"Shit. Ano ba nangyari?" I said, almost cringing.
"Tarantado yang mga <name of opposing organization> na yan. Naglalakad ako mag-isa sa side walk papuntang school. Biglang may tumigil na van sa tabi, tas may bumabang 6. Nakilala ko yung isa. Si Yarrenas, yung na-kickout dati. Pinaligiran nila ako tapos pinaluhod ako. Gusto nila malaman kung ilan ba tayo lahat sa chapter at kung sino ang leader. Hindi ako nagsalita, kahit ano pang banta ang gawin nila. Nung mapikon na sila, pinagsusuntok na nila ako. Yung iba tinadyakan ako. Tapos bago sila umalis, hinampas nila ako ng dos por dos. Nung mawala sila, tumakbo na ako papuntang school tapos dumiretso sa clinic. At dinala na nila ako dito," he recounted, anger clealy evident in his eyes.
"Ano sinabi mo sa clinic? Malamang nagtanong ang mga yon," I asked.
"Sabi ko natumba ako at naumpog sa bato. Hindi naman na sila nagtanong pa. Batch, kelangan makaganti tayo. Sumosobra na sila. Kapag hindi tayo lumaban, baka mas grabe pa ang gawin nila. Sabi ni Papa tutulungan nya daw tayo," he said.
"Sige, gagawan ko ng paraan. Magpatahi ka muna sa doktor," I said before I went outside.
While Josh was being stitched up, we hatched a plan together with his father. After 2 weeks of planning and looking for Yarrenas, we found him alone in a mall, apparently waiting for someone. I had 2 of our burliest members dragged him outside to the darkest part of the mall's parking lot. Being the C.P., my safety was the highest priority, so I remained inside the car, while 7 of my fellow members were outside with Yarrenas; they were wearing masks. I'm telling you, he took a pretty bad beating sans the dos por dos. Josh gave him the final blows. Before we left him slumped and bleeding on the concrete floor, he told us a very important piece of information. Who told them that Josh is a member? Yarrenas said it was Samuel. That bastard. Not only he was a quitter, he was also a goddamn traitor. After a week, we did the same to him, but with additional punches and kicks. That should teach them not to cross us. Fortunately, they understood the message. Since then, they left us in peace. The last time I heard news about them was they were pestering another fraternity at school. What a bunch of losers.
After graduating, I became an alumni. I still join in the community services whenever I'm available, and I still attend initiation rites when invited. How about my batchmates? Melo decided to take Medicine in another school; he is now on his 2nd year. Josh migrated to Chicago after graduating; he is currently undergoing training in the US Army. Faye migrated to California also after graduating. She is already a successful nurse. And Mia is currently working in one of the hospitals in Las Piñas where her mother serves as the Chief Nurse. A long time have passed since we've been completely together. I miss them a lot.
Being a fratman has its benefits. Aside from the connections I had made, I also learned a lot from it. We have this saying: "Kapag naghirap ka muna bago mo makuha ang isang bagay, mas mamahalin mo ito at hindi mo ito basta madaling maiiwan." This is the rationale behind the whole hazing idea. And I agree. Allow me to give you an example. Let's say that my fraternity is a pretty girl that I fell in love with. My parents hated her, but I still courted her to prove to myself that I can succeed. I did everything I could to get her sweet 'yes'. Now that I have the girl I desire the most, do you think I will let her go that easily? Do you think after all I've been through, I won't be crazy in love with her?
If I was able to join the organization without any difficulty whatsoever, it would be pretty easy for me to eventually take it for granted or to abandon it once things get rough. But since I risked my life to be a member, I treasured it when I finally got in. Of course I wouldn't want to lose something of which I almost died for. That's why I didn't stop in spite of my parents' strong objection.
I am already used to hearing people tell me, "Ano mapapala mo diyan? Sakit lang ng katawan yan." or "Bakit ba kailangan ng hazing? Paano naging kapatiran yan kung nagsasakitan kayo?" or "Inaaksaya mo lang oras at buhay mo diyan." And sometimes, I don't even bother to explain or give a counterargument, because I eventually learned to accept that not all people can understand, much like the fact that heterosexuals will never understand homosexuals; they never experienced it being in our shoes.
Now, this doesn't mean that I want you to accept all of this. It's perfectly okay if you can't agree with me. You might say that I am only justifying something that, for you, is foolish and will never be right. And I respect your opinion if you say that I am. Though there's no harm in keeping an open mind, is there?