Rain, and other things

Work is endless. Rain starts to pour. My back aches. It's March. My birthday has just passed.

In my deathbed, I will remember Los Banos as a place where rain is nothing but a daily disturbance. The place treats it as a necessity, like breathing.

This morning, it rained hard for the first time this year. The streets weren't warm enough to smell of dank soil, or wet earth.

My first day in Los Banos as a student, it was raining. The campus tour guides tell us to always bring umbrellas. The day after that, I didn't buy any umbrellas.

Then, college life: the sound of rain spraying lightly on the tight drum-skin of an umbrella; calves sprayed with mud; reams of handouts with edges wet and soggy; heads facing downward, feet trudging slowly, heavily, wary of the slippery streets; smoke billowing out of mufflers, mixing with thin rain.

It's about dining under the shed of a carinderia, sipping some warm soup; or the sound of feet shuffling on makeshift rugs, cartons from milk packages.

Or feeling on your wrist the heavier drops of rain coming from the trees--look at them, drops hitting your forehead, your eyes. Or huddle in warmer spots like laundry stalls, convenience stores, computer shops.

Or feet getting colder from air-conditioning, in a large class lecture hall.

It's about the bare bathrooms I lived in during college, about staring at the last fabrics of tissue peeling away from the roll. Or the dorms I've lived in: mattresses on the floor, TV tuned in to Family Guy. Or a roommate playing the guitar on a rainy day, when cockroaches are coming out of cracks near a stack of blue books, manuals, exercises.

Or the rush of water from PVC pipes.

Or outside, a cat running for shelter.