Saturday, August 11, 2012

Monsoon Night Thoughts

It was a Tuesday night. Power was out. It was too dark to read a book. My gadgets still had some juice, but I was saving them for the next day. That’s so I’d have something to do in case the situation wouldn’t improve. I slept unusually early that evening because there was nothing else to do. A few hours later, I woke up. Rain was heavy. It had been raining for days and nights, but the rain on this night was very alarming. Thunder and lightning made it worse.

I was sitting on my bed. I was carefully analyzing my room. Sleeping on the other bed was my brother. Sleeping on the floor were my father and mother because the neighbors were taking refuge in my parents’ room while their homes were flooded. “At least this chaos is making us closer,” I told myself. I couldn’t remember the last time we huddled in a room. 

I looked around. I was fixating at the door. I was wondering if I could easily unhinge it to make a raft out of it. Then, looked at the windows. I could easily break the jalousie if I needed to. We could exit there and paddle for our lives. I asked myself, “What should we bring?” If we brought our important documents, they might just get wet and illegible, making them useless. It would be better if we left them here and came back for them later. We’d better just bring ourselves. We could always buy clothes and other things later.

I thought, “What if we couldn’t survive this?”
My degree? Garbage. My money and gadgets? Useless. All the time I spent working out in the gym? Pfft. I wouldn’t even know if I would still have a name. People would probably just refer to me as “flood victim # 53.” Just part of statistics. What’s worse, my body would probably be bloated. It wouldn’t fit in any coffin, so they’d just stuff it in a body bag and throw it into a hole. I have never been afraid until that night.

When Ondoy hit the country three years ago, I was outside, wandering Shaw Boulevard for two hours. A friend came to help. We rode a jeepney, got on a big delivery truck, walked aimlessly, then rode another truck (this time it was PNP’s rescue truck). The next day, still on the truck, we found ourselves in Floodway, Cainta, one of the most heavily flooded places in the Philippines that time. During this journey, I was never afraid, perhaps because I wasn't confined in a small space. I didn't feel trapped. I have never been afraid until last Tuesday night.

I remembered Noah’s Ark. I thought of the Mayan calendar. In my head, I was singing an R.E.M. song, but I didn’t feel fine. “This can’t be.” I whispered. "I'm not ready yet." I hadn’t watched all movies listed on my fourth movies-to-watch-before-I-die list.

I couldn’t stand it. I got up, out of the room. I went down the stairs. I shone light on the water that was inside our house. The light refracted. Leptospirosis was imminent, but it didn't stop me from stepping into the water to see how deep it was…

The water barely reached my calves.

I realized that I had been thinking too much. Thus, I decided to go back to my bed and sleep my worries away.

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