NOTE: The preceding story is mostly based on my original manuscript. I simply cannot remember how I wrote its final form, which I submitted to my dear Journalism teacher. When the whole matter comes back to me again, all these would finally be settled.
Once there was a young girl named Chit. She was a pretty little transferee from Somewhere High School. She transferred to our school, Anywhere High School, just last week. In a few days, the whole class of III - Marimar (the first section) has already been friends with her. The reason why she transferred we never knew.
One of my classmates, Dylan, kept on warning me about Chit. “Be careful, Boaz,” he told me. “She looks suspicious.”
I laughed at his warning. “Why? What’s in that girl that makes you feel that way?” I asked.
“Actually, I don’t know,” Dylan answered, “but… just be cautious!”
I still wondered why he warned me about such a ‘harmless’ matter. What’s more, Chit and I are friends. We’re seatmates, and we kept on talking about ideas that pop out of our minds, regardless of the fact that the teachers sometimes reprimand us for talking too much and our classmates seldom tease us, shouting, “Uyyy! Kayo na pala, ah.”
Well, everything changed one Tuesday, when our Geometry teacher Mrs. Whoever gave us a long test on triangle congruence, which was my favorite Geometry topic. Once I received my paper, I began to answer.
I didn’t mind Chit much as I searched my mind for the correct answers. But I could see Dylan, a row away from me, looking at me as if he was trying to say, “Be careful, Boaz. BE CAREFUL.”
I looked again at my paper. That was when Chit whispered, “Boaz, what’s your answer in number ten?”
I was surprised. “I - I’m sorry, Chit, but… you know, we don’t share our answers with one another,” I told her.
“Please, Boaz, tell me your answer… I just don’t know what to write here… please…” she pleaded.
“Chit,” I said, looking at her face this time, as if warning her. I shook my head as refusal to her request.
“Eh, sige na,” she said with her arms folded. “Or else, let’s forget that we’ve been friends.”
Half of me said, “So what? I’m just doing what’s right.” The other half said, “That’s just one item. Go, tell her na.”
“W - well, OK,” I reluctantly responded, “the answer in number ten is… triangle ABC is congruent to triangle DEF by ASA congruence postulate.”
“Yes!!!” she cheered softly. “Thanks, Boaz! You’re the best!” Deep inside I felt like Mrs. Whoever was looking at me with angry eyes.
Minutes passed, till Mrs. Whoever announced, “Pass your papers!” We passed our papers and started our usual lecture proper.
At break time, I went to the cafeteria alone. I never knew where Chit was at that time. As I ate my spaghetti, Dylan approached me with a large glass of Coke. “I told you, Boaz, that transferee is acting suspiciously,” he told me.
I told him what had happened during the test: how Chit had asked for my answer back then, how I refused and finally gave in to her plea.
“WHAT?” Dylan’s hands were already on his waist. “Boaz!!! Are you crazy? Why did you tell her your answer?”
“Dylan! I’m so sorry! I’m honest! I wish I didn’t do it anymore!” I let down the fork on my bowl.
“It’s OK,” Dylan replied. He put his hand on my shoulder. “But now that you know it, BE CAREFUL NEXT TIME,” he emphasized.
The next day, our papers were returned. I asked Chit if I could take a look at her paper. She gave it to me. We both got the highest score.
As I browsed her paper and mine at the same time, I felt so shocked inside. We had the SAME mistakes!
“It can’t be,” I told myself. I hastily returned Chit’s paper with a look of suspicion, which surprised her.
Mrs. Whoever then said, “Boaz and Chit got the highest scores.”
The whole class applauded but Mrs. Whoever intervened. “I’m not finished yet. They got the same score, SAME correct answers and SAME mistakes.”
Our teacher looked at us. “I’m very sorry, Ma’am,” I apologized. Then I cast an angry glance at Chit, whose countenance then fell.
Mrs. Whoever asked me to change seats with Jed, a tougher guy than I, who was beside Dylan. I never hesitated, since the whole class and I had already seen Chit’s true colors. Mrs. Whoever then conducted a sermon about not sharing our answers to anyone in examinations.
As she talked on, Dylan told me things that shocked me more. He said he caught Chit looking at my paper while our test went on yesterday. What’s more, she even passed my answers to the students of the second section, III - Zaido!
From then on, we, especially Jed, kept our eyes on Chit while exams went on. We referred to her thing as ‘Chit - ing’, which means looking at somebody’s paper in a test proper. As years passed, the term ‘Chit - ing’ became what you know now as ‘cheating’.
Is there anybody in your class who’s just like Chit? We send our warning to you: be careful!
February 23, 2008
*This short story was originally posted here.