Thursday, August 12, 2004

isolated rainshowers

I woke up early yesterday morning to have a head start on what was going to be a hectic day, what with the company audit, new projects, and some sidelines are kicking in from an unlikely place (ok, it's definitely not Cosmo). I was deep in thought in the middle of shampooing when the rain started suddenly. It pelted the hard plastic roof of my so-called flat with what sounded like really heavy raindrops, pounding on the roof like drumbeats, quite disconcerting when it's early on a Wednesday morning.

And then, just as suddenly as it began, the rain stopped. No tapering off, just an abrupt halt. It was an "isolated rain shower" in the strictest sense.

Some people come into our lives like isolated rain showers. They make their presence felt to such an extreme, and then, in the proverbial flash—which may take anywhere from three days to a year—they are gone. And we never hear from them again. They are phenomena that give us a taste of something new only to hurriedly take it back—with or without consequences, which may or may not affect us.

There seem to have been a lot of isolated rain showers in my life. There was Maite, this girl I met in Grade 3 who made the most marvelous drawings (to my Grade 3 eyes) and let me read her Elfquest books. Her family moved and she transferred to another school but I never forgot her. There was Jing, sometime friend and pen pal, from a time when I used to go to Ateneo for the summers. There was Neil, for whom I risked everything I had with A., a long time ago when there was something to risk and I was straining at the bit. It was a good thing I had to go back to Manila before I could do anything stupid, but he made me feel very special. Then there was Benjie, he who was my “second father” in high school, who encouraged me to dream and write. Then he was gone. Or maybe I was.

Sometimes what hits you though is an isolated rain shower and thunderstorm, the sort that just might cut a swath of destruction in its wake. In my case, it was Carl, that sweet-talking little man who seemed perfect to sweep me off my feet--totally sweet, wide vocabulary, loved Everything But the Girl, but a shame-faced liar and in a relationship. The warning signs were all there—you know how the air feels different when it’s just about to rain? Isn’t that just like knowing that someone isn’t right for you, but you still rush headlong into it anyway because there’s nothing to lose—which is like sometimes when it feels good just to walk in the rain even if you know that you’re going to get sick afterwards.

There’s a time when you try to get it back—that friendship, that feeling—but it’s not going to happen. The time for that was done; consequently you are the better for it, but it’s not something to which you should go back. I’m thankful for having known Maite, and Jing, and Neil, and Benjie, and even Carl—because I learned a lot from them that I probably would have never been able to unravel myself.

Ultimately, it’s up to us whether to allow ourselves to get affected by the isolated rain showers. Things aren’t going get flooded. You might get wet, but only momentarily. And after that, the sun comes out. It’s up to you to let it ruin your day—or see it as a little gift and reminder that the ways of the world are mysterious, and more importantly, you’re alive to see them unfold. Sometimes, just sometimes, it’s good to rush pell-mell into the pouring rain.


Speaking of isolated rain showers, we had a long one, and it was called Paavo. That was some of the best rain ever.

Last Song Syndrome : Why Can't I? - Liz Phair

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