After a blistering humid day, around 10 in the evening, the thunderstorm brought heavy rains that poured over the green landscape that composed the Diliman campus of the University of the Philippines. I just bought some ice packs that time which I then put in front of my electric fan in order to have some cool air dispel the hot humid air which dominated most of the afternoon and the early evening. Finding out that my efforts became untimely and wasted made me want to do something to cool down.
And so I decided to give it a go. I grabbed my recently-bought bicycle and rode around the campus, deliberately soaking myself before the rain which reminded me of that fateful day of May, that same rainy day from 8 years ago.
I steered my bike towards the Kalayaan Residence Hall. That stirred some the memories that I knew for certain that I would never forget. I caught a glimpse of the lobby – still the same as it was 8 years ago. The memories were deeply burned into my mind that some afterimages somehow appeared before me as a certain emotion that welled up that time welled up again: anguish.
That time, 8 years ago, around the 3rd week of May, it was time for the dormers to bid farewell to the dormitory that sheltered them throughout most of their freshman year. My mom, who was driving our multicab, just arrived to fetch me and my things. But there was one thing that I would be unable to put onboard our multicab: my bicycle. So, I told my mom to wait for me at the parking lot of the UP Shopping Center, which was a few blocks away, as I would park my bike and secure it by the UP Ylanan Gate.
Just I was about to fetch my bike, something caught the corner of my eye. From the front door, I looked back to the lobby and I saw the girl whom I loved the most and pursued during the previous months chatting happily with my self-proclaimed rival who made me give up into pursuing her in the first place.
It was a concerted effort from him and his friends (I still do hold some grudges) to pull us apart from snatching away my supposed time together with her. Swinging between hope and despair, I read into what that girl’s reaction would be. I hoped that if she were to be given a choice, being on an official courtship, she would definitely choose me. But she chose them. And to pour salt into the wound, my rival would then confront me to tell that “May the best man win.” And he was proving to me that he was the better man, the one that she would be choosing.
So I started to gradually distance myself to her. That scene that I saw in the lobby was supposed to be the nail to the coffin. I pedaled my bike towards the Ylanan Gate. As if the heaven saw the anguish within me, the skies started to darken and the winds blew cold.
I walked aimlessly.
And yet I found myself at the UP Track Oval. It was the place where I told her that she was the most beautiful that I have ever met. It was the place where I expressed how much I loved her.
The supposed afterimage from that afternoon should be the one that was projecting before me.
But it was all dark and cold. And the rains started to pour in, not only from the clouds above but also from my eyes.
Within seconds, I was already soaked and totally wet. I climbed over the slope. And looked back to the UP Track Oval and shouted on top of my lungs:
ANO PANG IBIBIGAY MO?! SIGE! BUHOS PA! (What are the things that you wanted to bring upon me?! Go on! Let it pour!)
8 years into the present, I was on that same spot, recalling all of those drama. If the place was the same as it was then, then I would have sobbed. But the UP Track Oval is no longer there as the completion of the construction of the UP Sports Complex is on its way.
I pedaled my bike once more and felt the breeze and the rain splattering on me. That reminded me that I used to take a stroll around on my bike during typhoon events. It reminded me of my passion of chasing after storms. It was that passion that brought me to the Academe.
Now, that there are two vacancies for the position of instructor in the UP Institute of Civil Engineering, people were encouraging me to apply. Of course, it would be best fit for me, as I still needed to supervise the CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) simulation that I was running on the computers in the Institute which would last for months, and my research expertise lined up with their current set of research agendas. But still, I was in doubt and reluctant to submit my application files, for I was rejected already thrice during the past four years. I cannot bear to be rejected the fourth time. I was already threading into not actively contributing into the Institute as my significance was being chipped down little by little and I was now beginning to feel of disdain and disgruntlement of some students whose research were criticized heavily by me during the research progress meetings. With that situation in hand, I always felt out of place.
Should I turn in my application?
On the other hand, I turned the handles my bike and veered towards the UP Oblation to check once again whether the girl whom I supposed to meet would be there.
That girl invited me to a one-night stand.
I treated it as a joke and went along till the talks to meet were made. Of course, on-lookers were concerned on how far would the joke go. But a one-night stand was not the one I came in for. Well, to give you the context about my views on that, I stopped dating the last girl that I dated because of the reason that the developments would most likely end into “that”.
I was clinging on to that tiny bit of hope, that the girl whom I supposed to meet would be the girl who has a similar name as that girl from 8 years ago. I knew that girl would make that kind of joke and I knew that she would not mean it. And so, by 9:10 pm in the evening (an hour before the rain), I waited. 9:10…for it represented September 10, the days that we began to talk to each other four years ago. I returned there during the rain at 10:25 pm. 10:25…for it represented October 25, the day when the events described in the Missing You series happened four years ago.
But I was all alone in that meeting place. So much for a false hope.