For almost three months since my return in this barrio life, summer has never failed to remind me that it has not really left for the rainy season. In fact, even in the middle of July, and now the beginning of August, it still feels like the warm, sultry month of April when the peak of power outages in Davao city had been the rage.
It is warmer for a pregnant woman like me. Like rosary beads, I am counting the days looking out for the rain to come.
Heading for my sixth-month mark, I constantly find myself panting for breath. I pant when I change my clothes after a cold morning bath. I pant during the bumpy ride on the old-rusty tricycle on my way to the local college where I am currently teaching. I pant as I walk toward the wooden, rustic office to prepare for the day’s classes. I pant when I wave my hands in the air as I discuss grammar, communication, research, and all the other things which animate my hands to do their own bidding. As I catch for more air to fill my lungs, I could feel beads of sweat running down my nape toward the bottom of my spine. Little strings of salty liquid also line up the wide expanse of my forehead, not to mention the dewy accent on my cheeks. I tried not to laugh when a co-teacher commented how I got cute, chubby cheeks which seem to invite people to take a pinch on them. The warm weather is not making things easy as I carry my baby around the summer’s day in the middle of July.
Returning in Bislig City since I learned of my pregnancy has been a decisive moment for me. Or so I thought. I have known that in Bislig the second semester of every year always draws in the rain and cold season. So, I readily packed my books, clothes, and all to return back home excitedly imagining for the fresh cold morning to rush me into eagerness for my pregnancy to come to its full term.
Rain seems like the next best thing that could happen to me as my baby grows bigger and my waist expands more to accommodate him inside me. To say that being pregnant brings the temperature twice the normal degrees is an understatement. From the time of my arrival last May until now, I have never prayed for the rain to come as intently as I have been doing. It seems as if I am trying to bargain with God and all His Supremacy to bring in the rain. In one of those reveries, I have asked to whoever wants to listen to take me where the rain hides. Beating my arms for the cardboard fan to summon even a gust of wind, I said a silent prayer for the rain goddess to check on me. I could bear the panting that comes along with my every movement, but the dampness at the neckband of my blouse, my arm pits, the back of my knees, and even that region that joins my thighs and the nether world seems to be inundated with sea salt. The clammy feeling of my skin seems too oppressive to bear—imagine extending this sensation for a whole week or month with only a cardboard material to take on every class period.
At home, the rusty electric stand fan is whirring endlessly in my room. It only takes rest when I leave for school. Hence, at times when I am just lounging at home, the fan has to be in its steady operation at tab number 1. Oh yes, I do not really go that far as reaching tab number 3; the large bedroom I have shared with all of my siblings and even my nieces and nephews who have come and gone from the family residence is cooled with just the fan. An air conditioning unit would have been the quickest way to lower down the sweltering heat, but acquiring it would be another story.
On a typical weekend, I find myself staying under the shade of a neighbor’s yard just across our house. I would be looking for clouds—the fluffy cirrus clouds which are indications of a possible shower to come later in the day—forming in the blue and white canvas of the sky. The distant chirping of the birds would have made the afternoon a perfect vignette for memories to build on my pregnancy. Yet, my arms have been exerting effort to make my cardboard fan produce the gust of wind it could summon while beads of sweat begin to form on the bridge of my now expanding nose.
However, there were really times when the rain would come visit, albeit scantily. One July morning, a quick morning shower had sprinkled down a drizzle on the gray concrete; then at night, when the weather has been really warm like today, a steady pouring of rainwater can be heard drumming down the iron roofs outside our house. In fact, I could even imagine hearing the pellets of rain calmly beating those of my neighbors’ roofs. On July 19, a really cool morning greeted me and extended throughout the day when the local holiday (for the Mangagoy Fiesta celebration) also brought in the rain enough for the canal water to stream down the river and wash off almost a month-long dry season.
But the next day, the July summer sun warmed up everything.
August has just started, and tonight, it rained. It has been raining since eight in the evening. I could just wish that the cold season would finally start here in Bislig. I have been on the lookout for the rain to come, and this second day of August is a welcome treat. An afternoon sun is alright, but it would be better if more of this cool, rainy weather will fill the day and bring us to a more rested night.
With the Yuletide season drawing near, my baby is also coming to its term. What an exciting way to celebrate these life events but with nature beating its tunes with health and strength in the rain.
I feel my baby moving as I relish on the thought of cooler days and nights to come.
Teresa May A. Mundiz is in Bislig City to prepare for her pregnancy. She teaches English subjects in Saint Vincent de Paul Diocesan College. She counts the days when the rain will come to her hometown.