Won’t Be Seventeen Forever

4th April 2014

To say that I was excited to turn eighteen would be a lie. I feel so old and I am now legally liable for anything that goes wrong or any crime I may commit. I am officially an adult. And while that should feel exciting, I feel nauseous just thinking about it.

First off, here’s a little background of what I do during my birthdays: I just hide in my room and sleep the entire day, pretending that this day doesn’t exist and just wait for it to pass by just like any other. I hate it when people greet me and I would really much rather prefer if they left me alone. I become the most anti-social person during this day every single year. Sure, I make a few exceptions, like when my friends greet me and we go out but most of all, I try to avoid this day as much as I can.

This year, though, is different. Firstly, my birthday usually falls during the summer holidays but since the school I go to follows a trimester curriculum, I don’t get the privilege or staying home anymore because I still have school (incredibly sad on my part) and the school year officially ends during the second week of April. And secondly, my best friends surprised me. Or attempted to at least.

Growing up, as a family, we would never really celebrate birthdays and it even came to a point wherein I refused to celebrate it at all. And in the years that followed, especially during my high school and now college years, I see people surprising their best friends and my friends surprising any birthday celebrant. Heck, I even became one of the executors and planners for said surprises. However, I always thought that no one would be sweet enough to surprise me or would even bother to make any effort to do that for me. Maybe it’s because I’m a bit stoic and refuse to acknowledge any form of feeling or attachment. Or maybe I’m just not the kind of person people truly value to even try and do something sweet for me every once in a while even though I hate cheesy and corny things. Or maybe people are scared of how I’d react. Maybe I’m just not meant to be surprised.

I had so many things in line for today: a reunion with my old classmates, another with my ASEC family or even just an opportunity to visit my late teacher, Mr. Ruel Soriano. I refused to participate in any of these things because, like I said, I become anti-social. I don’t want people to know that it’s my birthday. I don’t want to see people because I know they’d expect me to do something or have a party. But the main reason I told them that I couldn’t go was that I still had classes. Yet, I opted to spend this night with my best friends.

It started out innocent enough. It wasn’t even completely planned. I just asked Siobhan if I could go to her house and use their wifi for a bit since I don’t have any internet at home. I came in a bit late, around 5, because I was still at school and it was still so hot to go out. When I got there, she was going out and already in the car. I didn’t really want to stay at her house and use their wifi without her so I asked her where she was going, she just told me she was going out. I asked her if I could come but she told me no and said I should go inside and talk to her mum. It was a bit awkward actually but she assured me she’d only be gone for a short while. I shrugged it off because not 3 minutes later, I got a frantic phone call from a friend saying she needed someone to pick her up and so I pushed my best friend’s behaviour aside.

Later on, we decided to go to SM to do this Tin Can Challenge. I was going there anyway to get my photos taken for some requirements and meet my former classmates and my current classmate, John. When we got there, Siobhan asked me to call Daniella, my other best friend, and told me to just stay where I was while she went to talk to her. I already had a feeling they had plans for me but it didn’t seem that big to me so I shrugged that off as well.

When we got to the grocery store to buy everything we needed for a night of craziness, John and Siobhan told me to stay far away from them. I knew she was letting him in on the plan but I didn’t know what the plan was just yet. Later, when we got home, Daniella came and the fun began with the Tin Can Challenge. We weren’t even supposed to do it tonight but we just agreed in the end. I told them I had to be home by 10 because I still had an 8 am class the next day. I didn’t really expect to stay that long. I meant to go home at 11 or possibly 12 but I was having too much fun to just leave. It was fun and it was completely insane and a bit disgusting. So then, John pops up an idea that while we throw away the disgusting ones, we could just eat the good ones (i.e. strawberries, peaches, etc) with ice cream. So I stood up from my seat and went to the kitchen when Siobhan shouts I’m not allowed to look at the freezer. I was shocked, honestly because I usually just raid their kitchen. Haha!

After cleaning up a bit, the three of them were talking and sharing stories while I was on my laptop on the dining table talking with people and watching videos while searching for things to help me with my tasks for school. They were a bit distracted so while I was scrounging the kitchen for food (Mind you, I even had to ask permission if I’m allowed to open the fridge to get some milk), I’ll admit, I took a little peek in the freezer. And while I already had a big feeling as to what was inside, I just had to see for myself just what was in there that I wasn’t allowed to see. Lo and behold, a cake! The cake Siobhan picked up when I arrived at her house.

It was getting so much closer to midnight and I was shocked that no one was even looking for me or even telling me to come home yet. I just let it go. I considered it a free pass anyway. LOL. Then I noticed that they got quiet and started speaking in hushed tones. They had that look on their faces that completely gave away everything. That “innocent” look they give you but you know they’re actually planning something. So when John went upstairs to get the guitar and then Daniella said something about the drinks not being that good without the ice, I knew they were starting to put their plans in action. It was a bit obvious, honestly, the way they just crowded in the kitchen saying they need ice and not knowing where the ice was. Daniella did try to distract me and she talked to me and I didn’t even pay them any mind or bothered to look at the kitchen because honestly, it’s not that hard to look for some ice! The freezer is full of ‘em! So while I was ranting to Daniella, she suddenly goes to the freezer and I told her to stay put and listen so she comes back. And then Siobhan goes “Where’s the ice? Kukay, can you help me with the ice?” Daniella goes over there and I already knew what they were planning since it was already midnight. And being the blunt person that I am, I tell them, “What ice? I already know that’s a cake.” And they just drop everything and curse me for not even being able to play along. And I just laughed at them and they were so embarrassed, especially Daniella.

They were so mad because I they couldn’t even go through with their surprise! But in the end they just laughed it off and lit up my birthday cake (it even had a sparkler!). I don’t even know what I wished for or if I even made one. They gave me my presents, except John because he didn’t know. Daniella gave me chocolate and a jar of Nutella (which I actually saw in the drawers while I was scrounging for food in the kitchen) and gave a speech that involves her being…well, Daniella.

“Life is like chocolates. And Aya is like chocolates. And Aya is my life.” (Dayot, 2014)

Siobhan put this big box in front of me, a box I thought was filled with a present she told me she intended to give to herself, a box which I actually peeked in weeks prior to tonight, just to find out that it actually meant for me (now that, I did not see coming). Then she told me that they actually intended to surprise me at home by midnight if I went home early but I just stayed at their house. And I honestly just laughed even though I wanted to cry. My eyes were tearing up and everything! But I was just trembling.

So yes, I understand that this tale makes me seem like a bitch or even a callous person who doesn’t really appreciate any efforts or sentimentality. And while I am possibly the worst person you could surprise because I just cannot be surprised, I really did appreciate the effort they put into this. I never truly expected that someone would actually bother to do this for me because I wasn’t even expecting presents or for anyone to even remember (except them of course). And I am the kind of person who doesn’t like to be attached to anyone but I am so glad I met these people. I am so glad that they became a part of my life and that we’ve been friends for 11 years and we’re still going strong. And I am so thankful and grateful that I have these people in my life and that they actually tried to do something to make my birthday special even if it went against my wishes of being low key on this day. And I’ll be so sad when they leave and maybe that’s why I’ve been extra mean lately because in truth, I don’t know how to deal with goodbyes. I don’t know how to let people go when I’ve formed an attachment with them. But I really hope that we don’t even grow apart as we grow older.


And now I am just getting sentimental and sappy. So to conclude this, I’d just like to say that even though I officially turn 18 in 6 hours, I can safely say that the last few hours of 17 were great and if I count it, the first 3 hours of 18 weren’t so bad after all.


Aftermath of the Tin Can Challenge

Aftermath of the Tin Can Challenge

Because they love bananas.

Because they love bananas.



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