It’s raining, it’s pouring

Talk about answered prayers. The past couple of weeks saw the whole nation gripped with fear of a drought, and in church after communion and before the final blessing, a special prayer for rain to come is sent heavenward.

The people knocked, and heaven answered, sending luscious, generous drops of rain here and there, admittedly maybe too much because classes have been suspended five times in two weeks because of it. Then again, maybe too much for us is just enough in God’s eyes. After all, He knows best. And the children are not complaining.  I see them everywhere, playing under the rain like it was a big, majestic shower made just for them.

* * *

It is raining in mid-August and already I am thinking and dreaming of Christmas. This always happens to me, at the same time every year. Back when I was in college, come August I would be playing Christmas songs on the car stereo, thinking up Christmas gifts and packages for my loved ones, wishing very prematurely for a fully trimmed Christmas tree. I always indulge myself, letting my mind go where it wants, if only because it is strangely beautiful, Christmas songs and thoughts on wet, gray August days.

* * *

It is a rainy night and I am curled under white sheets, sleepy, but I refuse to give in.  I just started on a new book I bought, Poet of the Appetites: The Lives and Loves of M.F.K. Fisher by Joan Reardon, and I cannot, will not, put it down. It is one of those books that I cannot seem to get enough of; as I go deeper and deeper into the story I cannot wait to finish it but that being so, I also feel sad that at some point I will get to the last page. Short of reading it all over again like I sometimes do with books I really love, I know the pleasure will end at some point. There will be other books to enjoy I know but it will be a different journey altogether. Yes, I am already sleepy but still I press on. I am enjoying the graceful voice of her words as she writes about the woman whose books and style of writing I so love. I am enjoying this book as much as I do the rhythmic murmur of rain as it falls down and splashes across our closed bedroom windows. I have drawn up the shades and I could not be in a better place — on my bed, with a great book, sandwiched between the daughter I adore and the man I love; where I do not only hear rain, I see it, too.

* * *

It is still raining at midnight and I’m craving a sandwich, any of the ones I have tried and grown to love over the years. The decadent Liberty Condensed Milk-in-pandesal and butter-and-sugar sandwiches of my childhood; the grilled cheese sandwiches I loved at first bite; the fried chicken from Max’s that Richard buys just so we can chop it up and pull apart the meat, then mix it with Ladies Choice sandwich spread and diced celery for the best chicken sandwich filling ever. I also am craving Marilu’s homemade cheese pimiento sandwich, the same one she serves in the canteen in the Bench head office, and Mommy Susan’s (the mom of Gelli and Janice de Belen) tuna with celery and mayonnaise sandwich filling.  I also desire the simple hard-boiled egg and mayonnaise sandwiches that Tita Liclic used to make into baon during picnics and trips via Sulpicio Lines back in the early ‘80s, the generous filling peeking naughtily from beneath the slabs of bread that always threatened to smear the corners of the mouth and drip down the chin with every hungry bite. And then there is the unassuming, underrated tomato sandwich: just four perfect slices of fat, juicy fresh tomatoes, sprinkled with rock salt and pepper on toasted bread — a testament to how something so simple can really be so great.

* * *

It is raining and we have started fixing our garden. We have removed the slabs of cement that punctuated the space in neat rows and have planted Bermuda grass in its place. Juliana and her friends will have more space to play and softer ground to fall on, and Richard and his friends can practice their baseball drills, pitching and catching to their heart’s content without any encumbrance. The landscape artist will start beautifying the space and in no time at all I will have the green space I have so wanted for quite some time now. Yes, soon it will be the green, lush carpet I dream it to be.

* * *

I know I will wake up to another rainy day tomorrow and already I think I will feel like enjoying cups of hot chocolate made with Alpine milk.  Somehow it tastes different when it is with Alpine milk. Oh, the sweet smell of rain. It is pouring but I’m not complaining. All the stories and memories it unleashes always make for a sentimental kind of happy.

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