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My Chair Rocks

Is the world slipping into the ocean, or is it going up in flames?

/ 07:38 AM August 19, 2018

How about that rain! My first week home, and  there I was on a long trek to Antipolo for lunch to celebrate my friend’s 84th birthday.

It was not the ideal weather for a road trip. They named the tropical depression “Karding,” and it looked like it would never stop raining. It was coming down and even sideways.

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Lunch was delicious, Japanese, and the company delightful. But we broke away earlier than we had wished. There had been several warnings about the flooded areas we would have to traverse. And we worried.

Right after dessert, we said our goodbyes.

I am not your typical brave soul who ventures out in any kind of weather. It was one of those days that made you regret getting out of bed at all.

It was still pouring on our drive home and my heart froze when I saw Marikina River, with its brown churning water almost breaching its banks.

On the car radio, weather experts were comparing the rainfall to the torrential downpour of tropical storm “Ondoy.” The memory of that deluge filled me with fear. I don’t think many have forgotten.

The next day was just as gloomy and wet. The sun struggled to shine though the ominous dark clouds. It was Sunday, and we had lunch in my son’s high-rise condo. There was no view of the golf course. We couldn’t see the Makati skyline through the fog. It was not pretty at all.

For days we had nothing but gusty winds and nonstop rain. I feared for my poor bougainvillea and the tobacco plants behind my casita. Every so often there was a flash of lightning, a rumble of thunder. It frightened our dog.

The sun was out on Wednesday, finally. Is there more rain in the forecast? Please God, no more.

I wonder. Are we really getting too much rain, or are we just so totally polluted that the water has no place to go?

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The video taken of Roxas Boulevard at the height of the storm was nothing short of repulsive. Shameful, too. They say Manila Bay overflowed and brought trash from the sea. All that garbage rushing down with the floodwaters was sickening.

Let us not even talk about traffic. My friend spent six painful hours on Edsa to get to Alabang from Cubao.

And yet, in the middle of all the alarms and alerts, some people we know can only think politics. Recent front-page photos of new political alliances made my stomach turn. But let’s not go there.

How about those fires in California! People in the area are surrounded by smoke and haze. They have been cautioned to wear masks to protect themselves from unsafe air. Wild animals that live in the burning forests are running scared. They have been spotted in the middle of highways and dangerously close to residences.

Residents have been instructed to lock up and keep their pets indoors in case some forest creature comes wandering by to visit. They have also been asked to leave pails of water outside for the frightened animals that, aside from being panic-stricken, are also hungry and thirsty.

Many people want to know what’s happening: is the world slipping into the ocean or is it going up in flames?

We must pray!

Netflix time

Some of my friends decided to ride out our bad weather. They opted to stay home to play mahjong or OD on Netflix. I hear that the romantic adventure series from Turkey are exceptionally good. The Costa Rican lady who did my nails in Florida swears she has never seen more gorgeous leading men.

I am not much of a movie buff, but one afternoon in Seattle I watched “Mamma Mia 2.” I loved it. I have just one comment: Cher’s role was a distraction, totally unnecessary. The story was good without her. But the movie was delightful anyway.

The next day at home, I watched “The Post” and thoroughly enjoyed it. It tells about the Washington Post and about how a government can lie to its people.

The scenes were so familiar. The newsroom, newspapers rolling off the presses, the nerve-wracking sense of urgency, all brought back memories of my days at The Manila Chronicle.

I worked with funny, brilliant, often ruthless but kind people. It was exciting. One minute I was on top of the world with a byline and in the next, I was biting the dust with a typo. I learned about life. I learned about me. If I were to rate the “moments” of my life with stars, Chronicle time would earn a solid five.

Patching up the cracks

They say that friendship is as delicate as glass; that once broken, it can be mended, but the cracks will always show.

I had a best friend. Nena and I were young together. We had our first babies a day apart. We told each other our darkest secrets. We shared laughter, tears, life.

Then something happened. And the years flew quickly by. But when she recently became very ill, she asked for me.

In her room I saw only the semblance of the beautiful elegant woman I once knew. Her eyes were closed but she smiled when she heard my voice. I took her hand and talked about Jesus. And she squeezed my hand, tight.

An hour after my visit, Nena went home to be with the Lord. She found peace.

I am grateful. God gave us time to patch up the cracks.

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