Chapter 5:


The Ballad of the School Hallways

In all of Seth’s six years as a teacher, he observed that there’s always a pattern on how each batch of students would distinguish themselves from the others. Like, for example, the Grade 8 last year—where Stephanie’s cousin Carl belonged—was a batch known for its intelligent, yet lazy, members, even those from the lower sections.

The Grade 8 for this school year—in Seth’s opinion—was emerging as the ‘musical batch’. He came to that conclusion because based from what he was seeing, from section Platinum to Juniper, a lot of students were musically-inclined. Class Platinum’s got several singers. Opal had a group of rappers, while Juniper students could play guitar and beatboxes in harmony.


As for Class Jade, Seth observed that they all could play a musical instrument, as well as sing together. In fact, whenever it was their break, Jade students’ favorite pastime would be gathering their circle of friends and do something related to music. A group was aspiring songwriters, so he could always see them bunched together in one corner of the room writing their songs. Some were watching music videos from their phones and singing along with it. Another would play a beatbox borrowed from Class Juniper and do their a cappella.


And for Kyle and Stephanie’s circle, they were an ‘all-around’ group. Seth had always thought they could form a band in their composition; Kyle and Stephanie could play the guitar, Kyle himself could also drop beats—either an impromptu one from his mouth, or from the beatbox, too. A friend of theirs, Ferdie, could strum the guitar and sing. And to complete the fourth member, Denver, could play the beatbox and drums.

As Seth himself loved music, he’d often head to their room and join in their ‘music jamming sessions’ during recess. While he’s not an expert singer, he could sing a few pop songs they knew as well. Not only did it ‘de-stress’ him for the next class, it also made Seth closer to his students, too. Well, there were times that they get carried away by their singing, that a co-teacher of Seth’s would come up and ask them to keep it down. However, though there were occasional hiccups, it was a fun experience.

Then, once they exhausted their ‘supply’ of songs, they’d end up talking with anything they had in mind—provided, the break wasn’t over.

“Sir, what do you think?” while the group was singing, Stephanie was doodling something at the same time. It was a figure of a girl, drawn in a typical ‘elementary’ school kid style with bad proportions, anatomy that was off, and a weird face.

Seth took the drawing book from her to take a closer look, “Hm…I think you can improve your art more if you study about the anatomy first.”


Without answering her, he got a blank piece of paper and drew a naked body of a woman on it, complete with a head-to-height reference (He just omitted the details since he’s not doing any erotic image).

“Ooh…” Stephanie couldn’t keep her reactions down to her teacher’s ‘doodle’. “That’s one sexy figure, Sir!”

Heh, if you’re into art, you have to study the naked human body,” he told her. “If you’re embarrassed by it, then you’ll surely have a problem.”

Oi, Sir! What’s that?” Kyle called out to them just as he looked at what they were doing, “Whoa! That’s a huge rack you just drew!”

“There are a lot of parts in the human body, and the first thing you notice is the breasts!” Seth countered with sarcasm. “Nice eyes we got there, Kyle!”

“He can’t help it, Sir,” Ferdie quickly joined in the conversation. “This fellow’s always been on the lookout for a girl to love.”

Hoh? Then if so, why not Stephanie over here?”

Kyle, Ferdie, Denver and Stephanie exchanged amused looks and laughed. Seth knew he missed something when he said that. It was Denver who corrected him…

“Sir, is Stephanie even a girl?”

“What?” Well, it’s not like Seth couldn’t understand what they were getting into. Stephanie may be a girl, but if he could comment on her behavior, she could qualify as a boy. No, physically, a stranger couldn’t mistake her gender; though she’s still in 8th Grade, this girl was already well way into her puberty years. It’s on how she carried herself that one could say that she’s a ‘tomboy’.

Nah, Stephanie’s a bro,” Kyle reached out to her for a fist bump, which she answered as well. “She’s my ‘wingman’, Sir. And I already got a target.”


“There’s this pretty girl named Daphne in Class Opal,” Ferdie explained. “Kyle likes her.”

Oh! That Chinese-looking girl, eh?” that student’s face flashed in Seth’s mind. “Ah yes, she’s a smart one, too!”

“Hear that, Boss Kyle?” Denver slapped Kyle’s back. “Even Sir Seth is impressed with Daphne!”

“Of course!” Kyle couldn’t keep his proud self hidden, “Told ’ya Steph! I know how to choose the right girl!”

“Yeah, yeah!” she countered, uninterested. “I think Sir Seth is teaching me how to draw, you know? Why would you interrupt us?”

“Don’t hog him all for yourself! I need love advice from Sir, too!”

Shoo! I’m first to approach him!” Stephanie waved her hand, “And we’re drawing; to hell with your love life! Fall in line, will you?”

“Tch,” Kyle could only click his tongue. “I won’t treat you to fishballs later!”

Ferdie, Denver and Seth were just laughing as the two of them exchanged threats and jests. But in the end, it was Kyle who eventually backed down. The two other boys asked him to come with them to Class Opal’s room to see Daphne, to which he obliged.


In the end, it was only Stephanie and Seth who were left inside Class Jade.



She showed her teacher the illustration guide he made for her earlier, “Can I take this?”

“Sure! I made that for you, anyway.”

“I see…” Stephanie’s sweet smile appeared on her lips, “Thank you for this!”

“I can also make you a guide for the male body. Should I?”

Hm? Can I have that too, Sir?”

“No probs! I’ll hand it to you later, after my class with Juniper.”

“Mwehehehe!!!” Stephanie’s smile suddenly turned into an evil smirk. “Now I can finally have something I can best Carl…”

“Seems like you’re too focused on beating him, huh? I do remember Carl’s drawings last year sucked big time.”

“Of course, Sir!” she chuckled. “Carl’s the most intelligent among us, so he’s the standard I aim to defeat. Not to mention, I hate his guts sometimes.”

“Hoh…” Seth gave Stephanie a head pat. “Just remember to take it easy, Steph. I mean, I’m not against you running after your cousin, but you also have your own path to take. Following someone can get exhausting, you know?”

“Yes, Sir! I’ll take your words to heart!” she commented.

Yep, Seth knew she didn’t take him seriously. But well, since he already said it, he was sure that Stephanie would have an idea of when ‘enough’ was enough. After all, Seth was not a stranger in these kinds of situation: he had seen a lot of students ended up with severe burnouts trying to reach the standard of someone else…