The skies rumble against each other like they are their own enemy; inverted seas shake out water onto soil as if it were grains of sand clinging to thick tresses of hair. It’s raining again.
Having braved a just-wet Taft Avenue with the aid of a jeepney from the University, I manage to peel off the soles of my feet from the filthy sandals adhering to my skin. The dorm is pretty comfortable, almost toasty, compared to the unkind weather outside. Thunders are issuing from the lips of lightning and a vehicle activates its alarm in response. The rain is not your foe, moronic machine.
Raindrops thud against the roof, crisp peals of nature’s trolling or, in my case, little sirens of worry. The worst I have ever gotten with floods is to submerge my poor feet in them (when I was a kid, I even played in them—but that was in the province, come on), and that’s almost lucky compared to the many others who get to acquaint with street seas in ways I deem unhealthy, unhygienic and basically unwanted.
In 2009, I eluded the infamous typhoon called “Ondoy” which left the National Capital Region and some provinces drowning in distraught, literally and figuratively. Six hours of continuously (as far as I remember, the rain didn’t stop) dumping a month’s worth of rain. It was a really hard time for the Filipino people; it was a time of grieving for the lives lost and of reconstructing the destructed. A lot of issues surfaced from the floods that it brought, all of which were attempting to find the reason behind why it was that destructive.
My memory still clutches at the images of muddy figures that littered the sidewalks of Marikina. It is really fortunate that our house happens to be in proximity with Marikina Heights, because that excluded us from partaking in the actual flood. We only saw how it raged about in cities and provinces in television, we wrote about it in school, we committed its lesson to our memory, we participated in its aftermath almost religiously by attending medical missions, by giving relief goods to evacuees, by helping others clean their mud-bathed houses and even by going door-to-door to ask for donations (my friends did that part actually; I wasn’t able to join there).
One of the things the flood wasn’t able to wash away was the empathy of the people. Help was widespread like open arms about to envelop a beloved. It was one of the greatest things I’ve witnessed in my sixteen-ish life. The aftermath was an anthology of hopeful moments, sad-yet-recovering memories and incredible stories.
Almost two years later, rain falls from the sky like daggers, cutting through lives. Rain has become something to be feared of, almost like one of the very symbols of death itself.
Although I am not one who is fond of the rain, I have come to regard it as a symbol of hope. In its very drop, a thousand possibilities could spill forth once it hits hard ground, and one of them is the capability of people to unite and for once, be one and fight for their own, collective life.
To those who have learned their lesson, I am proud of you all—and I hope the lesson persists this time.