In a Philippine college culture where male students are expected to not be of six feet but of decent height—five feet and four inches for the typical Filipino male, Angelo finds himself an outcast.
Why not? Every day, when Angelo walks anywhere inside the campus, he moves past a lot of schoolmates who are ninety-five percent of the time taller than he is. The sixteen-year old teenager can’t help but notice how fortunate these people are and how they take for granted their gift of height. He curses the Cherifer company and its marketing maneuvers. Angelo stands a below average 5’2”, or maybe 5’1” when he is courageous enough to not be in denial. He is just as high as the normal-sized refrigerator he has at home, but at least no one doubts a refrigerator’s coolness unless it needs overhaul.
Meanwhile, Angelo loves watching movies, but that’s not the point. He loves dissecting the concepts and ideologies of a film, but that’s not also the point. The real point is, when he goes to movie houses, he gets a suspicious look from the ladies on the ticket booth. One time, he had to convince a personnel five minutes before the actual start of the film that he is really sixteen years old and he is permitted by the county’s classification board to watch an R-16 film of some sort. Of course he did not bother bringing a birth certificate to prove that he is sixteen. But thankfully, when he showed the personnel his college ID, he finally got a ticket to the bloody gore flick.
To add on his dilemma, Angelo doesn’t gain mass. Women would have loved to have a mass less than that of a sack of rice, but the thing is, he is not a woman. He weighs forty kilograms, and he does not believe that it is normal. He eats well. In fact, he can eat three cups of rice in one meal. He wishes to be chunkier. He believes that if he gains just a few more pounds, he would look appropriate—less likely to be bullied.
He is our protagonist, someone who can be mistakenly identified as a grade school pupil who just happens to find his way inside the campus. This protagonist spends much of his life looking what is above him. Unsurprisingly, he holds this certain hope for something—that one day, he also gets the chance to look down and take a peek on what is beneath and unseen. He might look trivial and little, but for him, his dreams are bigger than his physical self.
Angelo plans to be a broadcast journalist someday, someone who reports the news live on television. That is why he takes up a course directly connected to mass communication. He would love to believe that he is not totally a miscast; he believes he has acquired some skills, like voice acting and script writing. Angelo knows this is a tough road to take; he is aware of the field’s competitiveness. It is an industry penetrated mostly by the good-looking, attractive, well-built and yes, tall individuals. For the market sometimes, what can be seen by the naked eye matters more than what can be felt and understood inside. Angelo wants to be part of this market, even if the market says otherwise.
For now, Angelo resorts to the cliché—he focuses on his studies. And yet, he never forgets his Cherifer growth supplement pill before he goes to sleep.
He might still stand a chance to stand tall, who knows?
Editor’s Note: This is a writing exercise I submitted for my English 1 class. My professor gave me 28/30 for this article (yey hahaha!). The instruction here was to write a character sketch of any person. I was too lazy that time to interview anyone, plus, I realized that if there is one person I know best, ako siguro ‘yun. So I write about myself in the third person point of view. :))
P.S. I wrote this in July. October na. I gave up. Sayang ang pera kakaasa na tatalab ang Cherifer.