On September 28 the storm Millenyo whipped the National Capital Region with strong winds and heavy rain. Halfway through the day, people working in the city were ordered to go home. On their way home, and days later, we would hear how they’d seen billboards along the length of EDSA were blown down and electric posts put to the ground by the merciless storm winds.
As the storm progressed on that day, our place in Cavite promptly revert to the Dark Ages, literally, as electricity was shut down. Gauging by the force of the storm, I anticipated a complete black-out in our place for at least a week, or two at the most basing from the past storms that debilitated the electric service in our place.
The problem when there is no electricity in our place is that it means there is also no water for us. The centralized water pump that gives service to us relies heavily on electricity as there is no generator to give power to it to pump water from the ground and thus supplies us with water for our domestic needs: for washing our clothes and utensils in the kitchen and bathroom. It also means we will have no means to do basic health hygiene like taking a bath.
The next day, like a joke from heaven, the sky cleared up. The day presented a hot, sunny one that kept us sweating inside our houses where the electric fans didn’t work. (Yes, after only a day of a passing strong storm, the electricity had still not returned.) The whole neighborhood was a packed of oily herd on the brim of doing a rain dance to wash away the collected dirt in our bodies.
Then evening came. I retired inside the adjacent house that we had and tried to spend the slow dark hours reading under a candle light. I heard a soft rain pelted on the tin roof. Before I noticed it and firmly sank into my consciousness busy with my readings, the rain that started minutes ago intensify into a heavy downpour sans the lash of strong winds. It was just pure rainwater from heaven pouring on the earth.
I heard my mother outside in the rain trying to fill every container we had with rain in frenzy. And when I went out to help her out, bringing an umbrella with me to protect me from getting wet, I scanned the street outside. Some of my neighbors were in reverie taking a shower in the rain; the teenagers running to and fro with pails and bringing water to their house. There was no doubt that I had to throw away my umbrella and partake with the blessing of heaven soaking the earth with rainwater.
I put away the umbrella and let myself got drench. And good God! The rain was pouring heavily to my heart’s delight. I ambled in the street bonding with my neighbors as we find roof gutters gushing with bitingly cold rainwater. I trained my eyes at the street and I could barely see the end of the street because of the downpour. It was like New Year’s day with the rainwater as the firecracker smoke and with the same celebratory mood.
For once, for at least an hour and a half, I became a boy again gleefully taking a bath in the rain. And to add to the experience, I was doing it – for the first time – during the night.