An Open Letter To The Genius Jose Rizal, From An Average Student

Dear Dr. Jose Rizal,

I have never met you and yet I seem to have known you better than myself. The world seems to be praising you for the remarkable things you did for this country. For you are, as they say, one in a gazillion, the greatest man the Malayan race has produced, a messiah. I wonder what you feel whenever they speak praises of you? Do you look down on the floor, shake your head and suppress a smile? Do you secretly wish you could record every word they utter? Do you get tired of hearing it considering you’ve probably heard millions of it? I wonder.

You’ve written a poem when you were eight. Eight. At that age, I was still in awe of all the toys I could get my tiny hands on. Still questioning how the world works. Still thinking why the sun and the moon keep following me wherever I go. Still oblivious to the things that I wasn’t responsible for. Still a clueless and innocent child. But you, you were already writing about freedom and language. You even compared them to the birds in the blue of the sky. You also wrote a drama and, no surprise here, it was bought by a gobernadorcillio. At age eight, you were already patriotic. Heck, at eight I still didn’t know how to spell that word, let alone know what it meant. Then again, I’m still in wonder.

When you moved to Manila to study, you were still bombarded with praises and songs of the gods. You practiced painting, sculpting and a number of sports. You were active. Some people might have questioned your capabilities but you never let them get to you. And in the end, you emerged as the winner. You graduated with flying colors. I bet you were dubbed as a “walking encyclopedia” or “genius beyond belief.” So, if I was your classmate, I strongly believe that you wouldn’t remember me, because I wouldn’t have survived. I would probably have dropped out during the first semester, considering seventeen students already did.

You have travelled the world. And those places had the opportunity to gaze at and feel your golden footsteps. You had done immeasurable works like poems, letters, and researches. It must be astonishing to have almost all of the people that you meet along your journey look up to you in awe.

Truth be told, my mind doesn’t function like your mind does. I’m an average, not a genius. You’re at the top of the stairs and I’m still at the bottom. You have reached the top of Mount Olympus and I’m still gathering up the strength to climb. I don’t have the audacity to use my voice, to be able to be heard by many. I’m still mustering up the will to stand up for others. But I’d like to think that some day I will, because these things are not something you can have right at the moment, because these things are essential for a human being.

Historians have casted limitations on your name. You did this, you did that. You were here, you were there. And I’d like to believe that you are more than the person written on textbooks. You will always be more than that. In my life right now, you are one of my inspirations. No kidding. Your novels talk about the truth, and as a writer, I also like to write about the truth, because they are what the people need to know, what they need to understand. We are gradually succumbing to the idea of oblivion and ignorance, that it swallows us up and turns us into egotistical creatures. I know some people might have tried to repress your impeccable mind into a useless rock, but they couldn’t and they didn’t, because ever since the beginning your mind was already a mountain. TC mark

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