DURING the latter part of the 90s, we have lived for a while at a tiny village subdivision, in a rented house that was constantly flooded whenever it rained very hard. As only my own Piscean version of tough luck would have it, it had also been just like that exactly in the 70s when I was singing in Manila. In short, I think water just loved to follow me around.
In Imelda’s city of man, I really must have had a magical watering stick for choosing prime lots that flooded easily: Quiapo, near San Sebastian Church, Dapitan near UST, and then San Juan near Kalentong.
For those who have experienced staying in those flood-prone areas, I am pretty sure that they are just too familiar with that slow rise of mad anticipation once a downpour suddenly breaks into song, ala-typhoon pitch.
Alas, experiences like that had been quite traumatic and are permanently etched in me, especially now in these pandemic days, with December tropical depressions drumming at our roof, as though in HD and Sensurround, and then rolling left and then right, like mad cats and dogs on a rampage.
At least, unlike others, my personal experience had not at all been as bad. There are those whom I know who have experienced the pain and anguish of evacuation, while their houses and possessions had gone down flash-flooded waterways and rivers, then unceremoniously out to sea.
In a sharper and much-brighter contrast, the perspectives of children on the subject of rains, are so different from that of the old folks’. This outlook might as well have come from another world, which I suspect strongly. With these cherubical ones who can boast of unadulterated fun, who can ever forget childhood frolics in the rain?
Even during my teens and then during a small part of NGO work when we did a survey on ancestral domain, I have had the extremely unique and rewarding experience of camping, and then trekking for many kilometers under a torrential downpour in the forest.
However, nothing really compares to crazily running from waterspout to waterspout along Ponciano Street or at our neighborhood and mothership in Belisario, even in high school.
In this COVID rains, I can only look at our neighbor’s kid as he runs within the confines of their space while his daddy watches. Sometimes although rarely, other kids from our block do the same, thereby strengthening the idea that there’s a play-bond between rain and little tots.
Lastly, in this time of twilight, when even the slightest draft can bring about fits of discomfort among old people, the childhood pleasure of being one with the rain is, at last, all but over.
What’s worst, in this time of lockdown, it is better not to be within earshot of passersby when a slight cough escapes us. It might be misconstrued that you are, positive, but not really in a positive way. You get my meaning.
These days, certain words, like the rains, can mean other things to other people.
HONORING MY MOTHER
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