The rain and quiet


One can hear it, can feel it –  the rain and quiet of an afternoon with soft pitter-patter of droplets barely making it to the grounds, announcing the nearness of yuletide. It’s the season of calm, of children freshly fetched from schools playing some one hundred meters away and the occasional tweets of common jays foraging for rice crumbs in the compound. Some forgotten moments before the traffic rush people and feet again at 5pm, before tires screech to full stops and before the hustle and bustle of another day almost over, but not yet. There is a host of needful things to be done – lists, carryovers and yesterday’s errands – crying for one’s attention.


larawan ng isang open parking lot sa San Francisco area sa U.S.

Small droplets of rain were falling on the ground one afternoon/ *image of SF parking lot borrowed, not related to the post*


There’s something to be said for the season. Day times are generally hot and the gusts of wind come pleasantly humid. Yet, if one happens to be in an open parking lot before sunset, a shaded corner would gladly remind that indeed the season has changed. The vendors passing by are the same – same outfits, same greetings, same small talks. But their gaits have something about them – more energy, more anticipation, more hastes? More obligations, perhaps? More reminders of time passed and time remaining. More time to make or to catch up with? It’s hard to tell. A car instantly sped by, two employees in uniform walked fast, chit-chatting in a hurry, a delivery van parking its way into the area slowly – circling first, circling again. Several people started to mill about, in groups of three or four.


Suddenly, there’s commotion. Feet hustling. People running about. One man dashed in the center of the melee, a rather huge man in short-sleeved barong, looking much like a security guy. Several women and two men made way for him. He had with him a device, a tool of some sort. He was followed by two shorter men, one alert and the other, not quite. A circle was beginning to form around them as they bend down to scrutinize the fallen body. One of the men asked the people around to move 10 feet away. A woman security entered the semi-circle, clasping a logbook. She whispered something to the big guy. They both looked up, as though trying to size up something in the sky. They whispered to each other again and then, looked knowingly to each other. The big guy said something in low voice to his companion.


From a distance, siren sounds were closing in. One, apparently from a police car. The other, from an ambulance, some kilometers away. More and more people have come down from their buildings, it’s twenty past five. Men in their neckties, women in their dresses and several assortments try to make it through their regular routes in the parking lot. The surroundings has darkened considerably. The sun has set 12 minutes ago, but nobody noticed. Everybody was in a hurry. The traffic at the main avenue promises to be its usual. The delivery van was settled in its slot, its driver – nowhere to be found. Some of the curious onlookers have slipped away, many still had to clock out. But there were more who came by to ask what happened, what transpired while they were answering the phones in their respective offices, checking out the last-minute emails, sending out messages via LAN. What happened while they were putting away files and clearing the OUT trays? Nobody seemed to have the answer.


The soft rain has stopped. The wind has cooled somehow and darkness seemed to envelop the whole perimeter. Nights come early, a month and three days before Christmas. Several buildings far and near have opened their lights. The business district still feels and appears busy. A man with a DSLR camera was trying to make his way through the throng of people in the lot. There is no saying if those people gathered about were the same folks who were there 25 minutes ago. Policemen were already there, but they were not cordoning off the crime scene with yellow ribbon yet. They simply asked the spectators to move 15 feet away. Fifteen feet, this time. Also, they were waiting for the ambulance crew. The big guy conferred with the leader of the police in a corner. Meanwhile, his partner put a white sheet on top of the found mangled woman’s body. Then, the huge man went to the almost center of the crowd and gesticulated, seeming to drive the mob away.


The body has been dead two or three hours ago before it was put here. No one saw how it was done. It was raining… You may all go home.”


The man with the camera clicked his apparatus several times before the ambulance crew lifted the body onto the stretcher. The murmuring crowd dispersed as though on a clue. In less than five minutes, less than ten people could be seen in the open parking lot.  Only three cars and the ambulance on the way out could be discerned in the parking space that was full an hour ago. Relatives of the victim came last minute, delaying the vehicle’s departure. A minute later, there was hardly any evidence of the grotesque that took place. No sign that it has rained, either. Almost everything appear to be in their usual places. Once again, the place feels deserted. Only the quiet was hovering.


*Just trying my pen at fictions, folks. Not to spoil the season of giving, no. Btw, the idea came from the news items in the last two weeks. I would appreciate it if nobody would sue me. Yours truly has no money for the litigation. 😉 *



The Chills of December

larawan ng isang busy na avenue sa Kamaynilaan

Frenetic is the word people use to describe December/

They brush on us during early morns. Those breezes are sending signals – oh, it’s December. ‘Tis the season of parties, get-togethers, rush shopping and frantic gift-wrapping. It’s also the time to be visited by relatives (in ever-increasing frequency) and to be polite enough to return the visits. It’s that time of the year when you worry about your figure and the chances of you still fitting in those favorite jeans yet repeating to yourself that there’s still time for exercise in January. Yes, January. Next year.

So, before the sun is out, you get awakened way earlier than usual. The cold is something else. You turn off the aircon, the electric fan or whatever it is that you suspect had the temerity to rouse you from your slumber. You tell yourself that there’s still time – for a small nap before you begin the day’s grind. Then, you thought better and resolved to get going early. You could use a cup of coffee. You could use hot water for your bath. You could use some exercise. Really? Positively.

You managed, finally, to strap onto yourself something that could be taken as halfway decent. Why bother dressing up when about five hours of the day, you’re stuck in the December traffic? One wouldn’t think there’s a worldwide slump just by looking at the throngs of people waiting to get inside the malls. For sure, the GDP is going to register just fine for the last quarter. People tend to put away their worries and their cares for the time being to make way for the herculean task of salad-making and ensuring that the Christmas tree corner looks a tad better than it did last year.

Ultimately, you reached your first destination for the day – your appointment, that is. Only to find out that the person who agreed to meet with you – or vice-versa – could not make it as he/she is still stuck in the traffic. What to do? Raise your fist in objection? Or, your voice? Or, act cool and sound polite?

You choose the latter. It’s Christmas time, remember? After all, goodwill is always a good investment. And no matter how long ago you found out that Santa’s a farce, you still hanker for that chance to tell the world, “Hey, I’ve been good this year. I tried.” So, you declare peace in behalf of the appointment that’s been cancelled/reset/deferred and leave amicably. Yes, amicably.

As you await your serving of sausage muffin and your second cup of coffee for the day, you ponder on the fate of the “little girl.” She’s still going to get a good Christmas this year, with her family – together with the grandchildren, the in-laws and the cousins. Perhaps, the atmosphere’s going to be a bit subdued. No one enjoys having a Noche Buena inside a hospital. I bet the family of her predecessor did not relish the experience, either. But Filipinos are the forgiving kind. Come December, all our sins and transgressions are temporarily forgotten and we gather in embrace, fearful and hopeful at the same time – that the next year will bring us better cheers, if not better lives.

You estimate that there’s still an hour left for you to check up on your emails, go over letters (the traditional kind)  and type away some semblance of responses. You still have time if you hurry. The sun is barely up there. The clouds threaten to send down drizzles. The surroundings look gray, grayer than the buildings that line up the avenue. With the napkin from the fastfood restaurant, you brush the dusts off your shoes, take a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and button up your blazer. Truly, there’s a dozen cares that needs a lookin’ into. But the sudden rush of air that crushed into your nape and face as you make your way out of the establishment just sent you back suddenly to the Christmases of your childhood. When Decembers meant just that: ‘Tis the season to be jolly.

larawan ng halamang poinsettia

The jester jingle plant blooms majestically in December/