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HONORING MY MOTHER | A hard rain’s a-gonna fall

By Icoy San Pedro

AT the height of the heavy rain last night, a rotting tree by the main road fell and brought down with it, an electric post. Hours later nearing midnight, when the rain was finally down to a monotonous drizzle, the lull of a silent night, thankfully robbed of karaoke, yapping dogs and shrieking neighbors from a block away, had finally laid us down to a peaceful light slumber. Into that restful zone between wakefulness and deep sleep where dreams are just revving up. But only for a full ten minutes.

To describe what happened next, I’m reminded of a similarly-dark and silent night many years ago in a secondary forest in Lakewood, Zamboanga. Our Subanen friend and guide had woken and shushed us that we listen. About two hundred meters away, a once-dry creek violently awoke, creaking to the thunderous rolling of felled trees, huge rocks and all sorts of forest debris, signaling the crackling start of a frightening flash flood. Back to real time, a similar decibel of noise had come when our next-door neighbors had arrived. I kid you not, the comparison to thunderous noise is accurate, especially when you’re already half-asleep. Sadly, you’d would think one already has had a basic understanding of the civil world. Then you’re suddenly witness to a seemingly-unbelievable moment you’d least expect, the utter lack of even a bit of empathy for a sleeping neighborhood.

Relatedly, it’s also akin to witnessing people still going out during the height of COVID-19 two years ago, with nary a care in the world they might contaminate their love ones in case they bring home the dreaded virus. During that time, I’ve personally known of two instances like that with fatal results. Adding every bit together, nothing seems to make any sense anymore. 

Interestingly, some among us actually have unwritten criteria on what really makes for good neighbors. Living in suburbia, first among many is that we should mind own business. Truth be told, as far as I can recall, us pinoys do not want to be told what to do. This is why in the culture, being straightforward or honest, is often frowned upon as rude behavior and treated as a big no-no. Perhaps this is why “chismis”  or rumor mongering is common. It’s much easier not to be straightforward. As such, Maritesses of the world unite. 

Lastly, during the week before, I was on one of those modern India-made transports when a coed sitting next to me had her phone playing loud music.  After a while, when I politely asked if she had an earphone in her bag, she just frowned and moved further away to the opposite side of the car. Generational or not, I guess this is the new world. Get away, old man. Once again, I’m imagining thunderous rolling of felled trees, giant rocks and all sorts of forest debris, signaling the cracking start of a frightening flash flood.

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