Rainy Day Melancholia

It’s been a lazy day and I thought I’d do some writing before the semester starts. Didn’t know that the story would end up this way. But I’m happy with it. Feel free to leave your comments about the story. (^^)

Through the Storm

The rain was pouring outside. In front of Abigail lay an open suitcase, sitting amid a cluttered mess of clothes, papers, stationery, stuff toys, and some unidentifiable objects. One unidentifiable object, hidden beneath some towels and sweaters, was letting out strains of melancholic melodies. The object in actuality was Abigail’s laptop, and was apparently trying to fill the room with music from Lisa Gungor, Brooke Fraser, and Nicole Nordeman. It was, however, considerably failing, since it was being buffered by the pieces of fabric sitting on top of it – and of course – by the rain.

Abigail let out a deep sigh as she turned to gaze at the rain falling on her window pane. It had started out as a mere drizzle that morning, but it was now coming down in sheets, threatening to annihilate the forsythia buds which were just beginning to emerge from the shrubs planted outside her window. She wished that the rain didn’t have to fall so hard. Then she wouldn’t have to worry so much about her beloved forsythia. And maybe then, she could go outside and dance in the rain, as she had done so many times before, during her childhood.

Still, the rain continued to come down in torrents, pouring over her beloved shrubs. Poor forsythia. Oh well. At least the survivors would have a story to tell once the storm had passed. Her eyes surveyed the poor forsythia buds which were desperately trying to stay alive in the midst the storm. She tried not to worry about them so much. They’ll survive, she thought to herself.

She turned her gaze towards the cluster of pine trees that sat on the open field just outside their house and saw an outline of a little girl standing beneath one of the trees. The girl was bright, bubbly, and full of anticipation, just like the forsythia shrubs planted outside her window. And, just like them, she too had faced some storms of her own, yet was strong enough to get through all of them.

The little girl, Abby, had always been a lover of the rain. Many people hated the rain but Abby simply adored it. Whenever summer would end and the weather would show the first signs of the rainy season, she would rush outside, without any umbrella or raincoat, and twirl around as the rain would start to fall upon her face and then continue to wash over her entire being.

Abby would often be interrupted by the sound of her mother’s voice ringing loudly through the pattering of the rain. “Abby! Get inside! You’ll catch a cold if you’ll stay out there! You have to remember that school starts in a few days! You can’t risk getting sick during times like these!”

Whenever her mom would call out to her, Abby would simply block out the nagging maternal voice and say, “I’ll be inside in a minute, Mom!” and continue with her fairylike plight.

Her mom would be outside in a few minutes, an umbrella in one hand and a towel in the other. She would wear a stern expression in her face as she would say, “Abby, it’s time to get inside.”

Abby never liked hearing those words, but, being an obedient daughter, she would consent and get inside as her mother lectured her about the health risks brought about by playing in the rain.

But Abby would never hear those words from her mom ever again.

She was 11 years old when her mom was diagnosed with cancer. Breast cancer, the doctor said. Abby never really understood any of it. All she knew was that she wanted her mom to live. She even made a promise to God that she would never to go outside in the rain again, if only He would allow her mom to live.

But God didn’t. A year later, one cold June afternoon, just as Abby was beginning her first year in high school, Abby’s mom passed away. Just like that. Despite a year’s work of treatment, she just… died. Just like that.

The rainy season began a few days after the funeral. Abby rushed outside at the first sign of rain. She had promised God that she would never go outside in the rain ever again – but that was if He had allowed her mother to live. She was dead. So what good was that promise now?

Her eyes were blurred by the mixture of rain and tears as she rushed towards the cluster of pine trees just outside her family’s house. The rain began pattering more intently upon her now, drenching her hair, soaking through her clothes. She threw herself on the ground and wept. It was the first time that she had ever felt such an unexplainable loss. And she didn’t know how to deal with it. All she had right now were her tears and the rain.

The rain fell violently on Abby as a figure made its way toward her. She lifted her eyes and thought, Mother? She blinked a few times and saw that she was mistaken. It wasn’t her mother. It was actually her father who was making his way towards her.

Her father.Abby never really took much notice of her father. Right now, she saw that his face was stricken with grief, but was filled with much compassion. He was coming towards her, soaked through and through, but with arms opened wide. “Hey, Abby… Don’t worry. Daddy’s here.”

With tears streaming down her face, Abby leapt towards her father and the two wept together as the rain poured over their grieving souls.

That moment under the torrents of the harsh June rain was a turning point in Abby’s life. It was the moment that she suddenly realized that she had a father.

It wasn’t because her father had been distant and unconcerned. Far from it. Abby recalled fragments of memory when her father would be looking outside with a smile on his face whenever she would go outside to dance under the rain. She also recalled instances when she would get home from school and he would be sitting on his easy chair reading the paper. He would always look up and smile at her, ready to hear about her day, but she would often just pass him by, thinking that her day was too mundane to share with such an important person as her father. And, during those days when her mother turned sickly, her dad would always look at her with compassion, but she never took notice of the comfort that she could have found in her father’s eyes.

But that moment, as he held her tight as sobs arose from her chest, she regretted all those times that she left her father unnoticed. But it didn’t matter now. Because he was there. And she was there. And Abby felt comfort knowing that she wasn’t alone in the world. She had a father.

“Abigail? How’s your packing getting along?”

A voice suddenly snapped Abigail out of her distant reverie. She turned and saw a man with graying hair standing by her bedroom door.

“My packing? It’s getting along…” Abigail smiled sheepishly as she wiped away a tear that had fallen to her cheek.

“What’s wrong honey?”

“Nothing… I was just thinking about Mom.”

“I see.”

10 years had passed since her mother’s death. Abby, who was now known as Abigail to most people, passed through high school and college carried in the arms of her father. He helped her through those tough times of adolescence, through those times of uncertainties, guiding her through every major decision. It was strange how someone whom she had taken little notice of for 12 years now had a big, big impact on her life.

Perhaps… perhaps like Abigail, it would take loss… or the death of someone to draw us close to people whom we have taken for granted for so long. Or perhaps it would take some unexplainable sadness… to open up our eyes to a Compassion that had always been there all along.

Abigail’s father sat down beside her and took some of her towels and sweaters, uncovering her laptop, allowing Lisa Gungor to sing “Paradox of Faith” without any hindrances or buffers. He placed them carefully inside her suitcase and said, “I’m sure Mom will be very proud of you right now.”

A few more tears fell upon Abigail’s cheeks. She was going to India in a few days to teach kids at the orphanages. It had always been her mother’s dream to see her daughter going to the nations, bringing them sound education and good news.

“Yeah, I’m sure she will,” Abigail replied as she turned to look at her father’s compassionate eyes.

He looked steadily into hers. “And I am too. I’m proud of you, Abby.”

The rain was no longer pouring outside. The sun slowly began to peer out from the clouds and began shining on the survivors of Abigail’s forsythia shrubs. They too had survived the storm.

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I Feel Change Coming

And it’s not just my slightly tanner skin.

 

It’s been three days since our plane landed at Clark Airport, three days since our arrival in the Philippines and I just feel… change coming.

 

Or rather, change happening.

 

On our first day back, I spent a moment of coffee release (or rather, blended iced tea release) with two of my friends (read: Melody Joy Gamboa and Frances Anne Tuanqui) at Café Antonio. We got around to talking about the Malaysia and Singapore trip and the lessons that we got from our grand adventure.

 

Frances mentioned that one thing that she learned about the most was us being royalty — us being sons and daughters of the King. Melody spoke about doing what she was created to do. Me? Madami. Haha. But I told them that the trip taught me a lot about me stepping into my call, about coming back from the land with a good report, and about friendship that goes beyond culture.

 

Now, a few days later, I’ve realized that I’ve learned more things apart from those that I’ve shared to my two friends.

 

First of all, I’ve learned about giving. I learned about giving every part of myself to a vision, no matter how much it hurt me. And I’m not just talking about finances here. I’m talking about time (come on, I can still remember the mito-poetika rehearsals that stretched on until midnight…). I’m also talking about talents (how on earth could I put more expression and emotion to my famous “as a fact” lines???). And not just time and talents. Service. Prayers. Everything. Every ounce of strength, every ounce of emotion, every ounce of me. But it was worth it all.

 

Secondly, I’ve learned about family. Family with the Filipinos in Malaysia. With the Filipinos in Singapore. I’ve learned to honor them more and to appreciate all that they have done. I really salute them for paving the way. In addition to that, I’ve also learned about the team – the Philippine delegates – being one family. That even if we were quite mixed (SOD, Humanities faculty – ganyan siya – and Mark – non sod but future sod, hehe) we could all work together as one. (Theme song of High School Musical 1 plays in the background – “We’re all in this together!!”)

 

Thirdly, as I have mentioned in my conversation with Frances and Melody, I’ve learned about friendship that transcends language, culture, and heritage. (Haha. I just quoted Sir Reagan’s script in Mito-Poetika there). I’ve made a lot of great friends during the trip, of which the most memorable was my long lost (almost) twin sister Azzah. Of course, who can forget Razi, Alyah (sorry if I get some names misspelled here), Des, Asielah, Alifa – err ruby – err ate Jane… I will never forget you guys! See you in cyberspace!

 

And lastly, again, as was mentioned in the Café Antonio conversation, I’ve learned about stepping into my call and coming back with a good report. I have had a taste of the promise land. And now I know that this really is what I want to do. I want to travel to nations, see places, try new food, meet new people – and most importantly – touch more lives. I was made for this.

 

That’s why I feel change coming. Because the way I see, the way I behold the future is not the same as before. My mind, my heart, and my spirit have all expanded in ways that I can not articulate in this blog entry.

 

But, as change is coming, change is also happening. Even during this post-Malaysia-Singapore-season-slash-aftershock I believe change is happening in me. Everything is being rearranged so that I can be equipped for my future.

 

And so I quote the lyrics of Lisa Gungor’s I feel change:

 

I Feel Change Coming

Lisa Gungor

I feel change coming.

I see the colors of leaves changing

To a beautiful sunset of yellows and reds.

So I lean my head back and take it in.

 

I feel change coming.

the warm summer breezes

have all blown away.

They’ve been replaced by the shiver and chill.

Of autumns own character.

I breath it in.

 

I feel change coming

And inside suspicion of some new season.
A wonder about what is about to begin.

So I lean my head back and wonder…

 

All my surroundings are telling me something.

One seasons ending but another’s beginning.

And somehow its similar to how You’re changing me.

Slowly I’m seeing change.

 

I feel change coming.

I see the colors of leaves changing

To a beautiful, beautiful sunset of the yellows and reds…

So I lean my head back, and take it in

 

I feel change coming.

Oh I feel change coming.

I feel change coming.

Yep. I feel change coming.