The old room is long gone now, but the window is still there. The old office of the Louisian Courier (official student publication of the University of St. Louis) at the 4th floor was torn down years ago. It gave way to the bridge that now connects the library and the E building. The entire back wall was torn down but the left wall was left untouched. The wall where the window is located.
I can still remember how I use to stand infront of the window looking down the covered walk. Watching the going and coming of the students through the front gates of the University of Saint Louis Tuguegarao. I remember how the falling leaves of the old Acacia tree pass before my before my eyes before it gently hit the concrete pavement below. I can still remember the countless times when I was thinking of something to write. How I stood infront of the window, trying to draw inspiration from the outside world through its rectagular frame.
I learned some basic lessons on how to play the games of life inside that old office, with that window as a witness. I remember, I was peaking trough that window one day when when my former school paper adviser and mentor- Dr. Ferdi Cortez (he was not yet the the adviser during that time) told me, “You are doing the right thing. It is easy to look for inspiration when every question lies down there and you are up here looking down.” He told this to me out of jest. He was on his usual playful mood that day. I smiled about it, but I know deep down inside me that he is right. Birds eyeview. That’s how they call it. It’s like being an observer in a game of chess. The players don’t see the scenario as clearly as you do when you are just the spectator. From that day on, Everytime I was looking for answers, I consult the window.
The window became the silent witness on everything that happened in that old office. I remember my first Editor-in-chief, Rex Lallata. and I remember the after dark bull sessions inside the office. I remember how I was put to a hot seat infront of the editorial board for an interview that turned out to be an initiation of some sort. I remember the informal tutorial in using Adobe Photoshop and Pagemaker from Rex. The tutorial that I later used when we both worked in a printing press. We were passionate with the school paper. To say that we are a devout louisian staffers is an understatement. It is on that room the we ploted how to confront the school administration about our rights with only the campus journalism act as our only ammunition. We pushed as hard as we could and got away with it. looking back today, It all seems funny. Yet, come to think of it, I learned so much on that entire experience. So much that when I was selected as the editor, I thought I knew everything. I felt invincible.
It’s infront of that window that I finally understood the difference of winning and losing, and how they are not so different after all.
Today I visited the University. I passed infront of the new Louisian office on the ground floor of the San Jacinto building. The new office got a window but it’s still in the ground floor. I saw new faces discussing old student problem. Then I saw that old plaque gathering dust on top of our old cabinet. The Award for Best Student Publication for Luzon during the First CHED Press Conference in Laguna. That was during my first year in the publication. Rex’s golden year, our golden year. I looked for Dr. Cortez but he is not around. I made my way toward the stairs, racing myself straight to the 4th floor. My legs has aged a little but it still feels good running up the old familiar stairs.
The old room is long gone now, but the window is still there. The old feeling coming back after all these years. after several minutes of standing infront of that window, I descended the stairs feeling renewed. I did what I came there to do. But I still need to do one thing before I go. I went directly to the Louisian office. The staffers are still there. Still discussing the same thing. I barely nod at them and went straight to the cabinet. I pulled out my hanky and wiped the dust off that old plaque. After cleaning the plaque, I went out without saying a word. Their discussion stopped abruptly. They are all staring at me not comprehending what just happened. They will be asking each other who I was? and they will discuss what I did. They will ask some questions. They will try to look for answers. But it will not be easy. To find the answers, they would need to dig deep to that years old magazines, or maybe ask Dr. Cortez or Mr. Jimenez or maybe, Just maybe. They will need to consult the window, as I did eons ago.