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Clara Romance

Graduation

The Mayo-Matias Free and Just Elections Law is a thick book. And its own subject. Andres Miguel had it with him all the time; he read it, highlighted from it, wrote down notes about it, semesters after he had taken and aced that course. It was cute, but then when some people called him out on being an election law nut, he became more discreet about the hobby. Lourdes stopped reading the law with him after a year or so. It was boring at best, and also none of the words on the page seemed to change no matter how many times she wished they would.

She didn’t want to, but she mentioned that thing they didn’t want to talk about, finally.

“You realize that you won’t find a loophole,” she said.

He was reading a provision about the educational attainment requirements of public servants at the time. His notebook had a diagram and question marks beneath some key words. Just question marks, no loopholes. “We’ll find something.”

“Whatever it is, if there is one, won’t apply to us. We’re exactly what the book is trying to prevent.”

She took Election Law, too. It was required not just in 513 but all schools, even private ones. It is the law credited with “fixing” things, ushering in a new era that now defined her life as MLR2 and his as AMJ3. In a nutshell: Only one politician per family. If your family already has one, the next eligible family member is the one born after the official’s death. Not the end of their term, but the end of life.

Prospective candidates must have gone to public school for primary and secondary education. They must have a degree in Public Administration. Must have TLS/PSO metrics of at least 75 on average. Must be at least twenty-one years old.

Which they would be, the following year.

His pen stopped in mid-air, and it felt to her like an accusing finger. “I’m bothered that you’ve given up like this.”

“Smarter people than us wrote this, argued about it, and made it history and law.”

“Yes, and you and I are the stellar examples of the system they made. We’re everything they want us to be. They should be proud of us.”

“Oh they will be. Who are we going to freeze, my family or yours?”

It was an argument that they never had, but might as well have. They both knew how it would go.

Andres Miguel’s family will not agree to it, to be frozen out of public office due to marriage. Only one other sibling of his was eligible under the election law, but his TLS/PSO metrics were low. He would never make it past mayor. The family’s only other chance, a cousin with metrics in the 80s, nixed her chances by choosing to go to a private school in the south.

And no, how dare they even think of freezing out Maria Lourdes’ family. The legacy of the first Maria Lourdes, beloved former president of the Republic, rested squarely on her shoulders, and hers alone. There was no one else eligible on her side.

It was an argument that they never had, but might as well have. They both knew how it would go.

But they weren’t the first to ever encounter this. People did as they pleased, affairs continued, families fell.

“I’ll find something,” he said.

It was sweet. But graduation was coming, and like she told Mel, she knew it had to be over by then. She wasn’t dumb. She wasn’t a 94 TLS for nothing.

 

She can be wrong, apparently. She has no regrets.

So much to think about already, beyond today’s ceremony. She has a schedule. Her family will be celebrating for weeks. She has speaking engagements lined up, and actual work waiting.

The next election is not for two years, but campaigning never ends.

She knows that he has a similar two years all plotted out for him. They stopped talking about it some weeks ago. She didn’t want to emphasize the dread.

Her parents think she is rushing a philanthropy project, the night before graduation. It was laughable but she had to try it, one last big sneakout before she gives it up. It’s worth it.

“Ten,” she tells him, as he takes his coffee.

“Of course,” he replies.

They haven’t slept.

The ceremony is grand, but it is so because of donations of families counting on their 513 graduate. Future local government officials, future governors, senators, maybe a president.

If their metrics are high enough.

If they are fortunate enough to be chosen and loved by the people.

The sixteen students in the honors class are called first. As early as now every 513 graduate has a job, an advocacy, a brand to be built, and the ceremony is its debut. They proudly announce where each student will serve. She almost forgets to pay attention when her Andres Miguel is called to the stage.

They announce that he will be starting as an intern in the Senate. It’s a big deal, and there’s a round of applause. They ask him under which esteemed committee will he be working.

“Election Law,” he answers. “I am passionate about refining election law, and am honored to have been selected to work under Senator Solis.”

Senator Solis, one of his uncredited internships in school. He isn’t lying, election law is a passion.

MLR2’s own spot in the Youth Council is received just as well, but these people have no idea what they’re celebrating.

Later, in the chaos of the happy crowd, Andres Miguel risks giving his Maria Lourdes a very public hug.

“I’ll find something, Lucky,” he whispers. “Or I’ll make it happen.” She has no doubt.

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Head First, Fearless

Mina V. Esguerra learned everything she needed to know about writing romances from Sweet Dreams novels and the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series. When not working as a communications consultant, she writes contemporary romance, young adult, and new adult novels. When not working and writing, she’s hanging out with her husband and daughter.

5 Responses to “Extraordinary”

  1. Mark Jude Matammu

    Now this is totally a story worth anyone’s time anyone will surely enjoy this as much as I did!
    AS EXPECTED FROM THE ONE AND ONLY MS. MINA The author of chicklit books that I collect! 😀

    Reply
  2. Joyce Iquin

    Maria Lourdes and Andres Miguel’s story was very heart warming. My heart was awed by this short story although it is short, Mina V. Esguerra put a justice to this story it was truly worthwhile! Every line was heart felt indeed. I had this feeling on my chest on the conflicts I truly had mixed emotions with this story!

    Reply
  3. AM Bergado

    I love how they try to derail the destinies that have been written for them. And I love how duty brought them together and keeps them apart. Love love love these ambitious people. Thank you for this wonderful story.

    Reply

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