A Rainy Night


–A reply to Ian Salvaña’s Ekphrasis

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The dry earth has been covered with thick layers of dust. The sun shines its might during the noon and heat waves may sometimes be seen. Cabs and cars and jeeps have clogged the roads as passengers squeeze themselves in. Everyone’s in a hurry to escape the hotness of the day. The skin aches with the smallest exposure to the sun. Nights are warm and humid. Every persons’ lip seems to long for drops of cold water as their glands release sweat more than the usual. The world has turned too fast, as it accelerates, we become too heated, too warm. Almost at the boiling point. Almost…

We have prayed for rain. For too long, we have missed it. We have missed the sound of its crashing on our rooves. Petrichor when the droplets touch the soil. The showers on the eaves. The gloomy clouds and the cold breeze. Or maybe, we have missed the arms that wrapped us every time the rain comes. The nostalgia we feel as little droplets peek on our window pane.

Too many nights and days, the dry and warm wind and heat has made us all long for soothing.  We longed for rain like we miss the soothing tears that freely gushed from our eyes when we were little kids who cry because we did not get enough sleep in the afternoon.

And one night, on the city’s busy routine, people going home from work, vendors selling their goods at Roxas, some buying their dinner, and passersby flock the streets, small droplets were felt. Maybe someone realized it first when he felt the droplet on his forehead, and then another when she felt it on her hand and until the droplets were visible on the windshields of vehicles. Until they have made cracking sounds on the rooves. Until they started to make little puddles of water. Until they were no longer droplets but water gushing from cumulus-nimbus clouds above our heads.

The earth has now received the blessing -the water that filled up the cracks, the crevices, the holes in the ground. The dust that has thickened on the roadside of Cabantian will be washed out.

But it’s different.

We don’t remember the same rain falling for a very long time. Maybe long ago, the rain fell softly unable to create a sound as it hits the earth. Maybe it fell gently as we stood under one umbrella. Maybe it fell gently when we kissed under it. Maybe the rain has changed since it fell a very long time ago when the earth was young and unaware of the world that it is now.

The rain has changed after a long time, or maybe we have.

— We have.



Time Check


8AM. I woke up feeling unusual. For the past years, mornings were different.
From my window, the rays of sunlight peeked, as if a voyeur, who wants to eavesdrop into my room. I pulled the curtains to the side and unhinged the locks to open the windows. I slowly pushed the panels out and opened the windows fully.
Now the room was filled with light and warmth from the sun. Particles of dust float in the atmosphere. I slowly folded my sheets and placed them on the piles of used clothes inside the laundry basket. Then I put on new sheets to the mattress where we used to lay, where we used to snuggle the whole afternoon, where you rest your head on my arm while you tell me stories which now I don’t know which ones are true and which ones are not. It was unusual. The scent of the fabric doesn’t blend with the scent of your perfume anymore. Not anymore.
For the past 1095 plus days, mornings were… different from this one…
10AM. I pulled out the drawers. There were bottles of wine, empty bottles of rum, half-full bottles of gin. I took them out, stared at each bottle, one by one like they were vials containing some sort of memory. There was one full bottle, the one I intended to open the day you pass the boards. Obviously, we – or I never had the chance to open it. Then there were empty bottles, I don’t know exactly how many there are. Maybe, they are as many as the times when I felt empty since the day you said you’ve had enough. I placed them in a paper bag which I would take out to throw into the trash. All of them, along with your letters containing paragraphs of lies you scribbled so nicely.
11 AM — We used to have breakfast this time. We used to sit opposite to each other while we talk about our plans. But now, I’m only having coffee which I should’ve had a long time ago to wake up from all the illusions I have always chosen to believe in.
Finally, I can get out of the house feeling every part of my body is normal. I can feel my arms without imagining that you’re holding it. I can feel my hands without feeling that yours are intertwined with them. I can feel like a normal person which for so long I have never been. I can feel that I am enough and I have had enough.

Time has healed every crack, every fissure, and every wound you have left. So it is time, to write this last letter to you.

On a cup of vanilla chamomile

My eyes were closed with every sip from the steaming cup. I was thinking how a cup of hot water with light flavoring could soothe the troubles inside my head. I was wondering how a little green teabag could make the warm water taste so different.

I sipped some more.

The steam already fogged my eyeglasses. It seemed like the world just revolved between me and my cup of chamomile. Like how life revolved around you.

I took another sip.

The tea felt so warm in my mouth and the cup in my palms. It felt like the first time my hand held yours. The first time we snuggled down my couch one rainy afternoon. It felt like the first time. Yes, the very first  time.

I just held the cup close to my face.

The scent of vanilla was very comforting. It felt so smooth. ‘Twas a little whiff of heaven.  I remembered, I used to sniff your hair to guess what brand of shampoo you were using. And it always ended that I’d get the wrong answer because you changed your shampoo too often, like how your feelings change. But even so, your scent was very familiar like the hint of vanilla on my cup of tea.

I poured some more water on the teabag resting on the cup. It was the same teabag. It was the same tea cup. The same water I used. But it tasted different. The color was pale and unpleasing. It was not even steaming anymore. The flavor was lighter, actually, bland and almost uninteresting. So I threw the teabag and replaced it with a new one.

Maybe that was how I was to you.