When we were in Algebra,
You faced my desk to ask if I had done my homework.
I nodded, rummaged through my bag and
Handed it to you without question.
You said thanks and
Went back to your business.
That was the first time someone needed me.
So I made sure I did my work, for you to duplicate
Until it became an Every-Tuesday-morning thing.
And I didn’t want to risk breaking such a sacred routine.
When I walked along the halls between periods,
You’d wave hello, turning me from a ghost into
An actual human being.
Your presence was so important to others
That your acknowledging me
Made me feel sort-of important too.
Everyone adored you. You were a gem in their eyes,
But a star, in mine.
And I started buying the same clothes you wore;
Denim jackets, Steve Maddens,
Even when my budget was scarce.
Everyday I followed your crumbs and
They kept me fed,
And the more I starved,
The more I turned into you,
All thanks to my Algebra homework.
But it’s true, what they say about how you should
Never get to know your idols,
Because one day I thought it’d be okay to
Pass by your locker and actually talk about something
Other than homework.
I guess you people forget easily,
Because the minute I touched your jacket,
Of the same denim material I was wearing,
You must’ve seen it as an attack on your popularity.
And everyone despised you for knowing me.
I guess your reputation was more important,
Because the next thing I remember was a slap from your
Manicured nails, and your glossed lips
Swearing, claiming you had no idea who I was,
And all I could do was let it happen.
I was crushed to discover who you were.
I looked up to you—
Too much that I forgot to look after myself.
I didn’t hate you for copying my homework,
Or palming my cheek,
But I hated you for fooling me,
And making me worship you.
You never asked for my homework again.
You never even dared look back.
You went back to your life,
And I withdrew to mine.
Well, I went back,
I’m not anything at all.
Photographed by Inah Maravilla
Styled by Neal P. Corpus and Inah Maravilla
Make-up by Aquinna Duyan and Nicole Valencia
Modeled by Chad Alviar, Manu Fernando, Rovin Mizuse, Geo Santos, Elejah Saiki, and Julia Velasquez
Assisted by Pamela Batac, Chelly Patalud, and Thea Torres