UP Manila suspended classes before 12 midnight. Now this is news. It is routine for this school to officially announce suspension of classes in the wee hours of the morning. Exactly a week ago, a tweet from the administration said that students would we have to wait until 4 in the morning for the official announcements. Because of this, my roommates and I, who by the way were deep into studying, felt comfortable in having an early bed time. And so, at 6 in the morning, we were all awakened by an alarm clock (Now, I don’t remember whose). Having the same thing in mind, the three of us bolted up to a seated position, hopeful grins on our faces. I was brave enough to say what was on our minds, “Does this mean..?”, but was too excited to check for the announcements that I didn’t even finish my sentence.
After checking Twitter, and Facebook, we were all smiling. It’s not that we didn’t want to go to school. Okay, so you got me, I didn’t. Seriously, it’s the middle of the semester, and we all need a break. WE ALL DO. But now the way I see things has changed.
Today, Lulu, Kate, and I were too lazy to think of ways to get back in Manila from Antipolo. I think that I’ll have to provide a different entry for last night (Ranz’s birthday party). Anyway, there were harsh winds, and even harder downpours that were obstacle-like. It has been raining since yesterday. I contemplated against going to Ranz’s party. Having been giving the go signal by my parents, I felt that the entire decision rested on my shoulders. And so despite the bad weather, I went. We stayed up late. Since all three of us were tired and busy, we woke up at 9 in the morning. We didn’t get up until 11, when Tita Rose knocked on the door to remind us that food was a physiologic need. We were too busy doing our thing that we remembered we might have overstayed our welcome. We didn’t notice the time until it said 4 PM. By this time, the rain was getting heavier, and branches from weak trees were falling.
It was a long ride(s) going home. But my last mode of transportation was the most memorable. It was still raining hard when I was riding a pedicab to the dorms, when I saw a homeless man in his carton-built shanty to make for a home. He had a candle as his sole source of lighting for the entire four-walled home. He looked at me as my transit passed his little house. I wondered how he will be tonight, remembering PAG-ASA’s warning that Sunday will bring us moderate to heavy rains. He had a dog with him. I thought at least he had company. But then, I also thought of the cons of having a company. That meant less share of food for him. Until I reached the porch of the dormitory, I realized that there really wasn’t anything I could do tonight. It’s seven in the evening, and I have to feed myself.
I didn’t feel like eating tonight. A knock on my dorm room came at 9 in the evening, telling us to get out laundries from the laundry area before the winds blow them. And so I did. I thought of the old man. I know that wet clothes are the least of his trouble. It’s the damp environment that the one window in his house is causing him right now that he’s worried about. I know. Did he have anything to eat? I didn’t feel hungry, but I bet he was, or he might at least have wished that he had something to eat to keep him warm.
My train of thought was interrupted when I saw one of the sisters (my favorite nun) was working. She seemed to be busy with evacuating the water from the open area because, apparently, the drainage wasn’t working. I didn’t have thoughts before saying, “Sister, do you need help?” And even before she could say anything, I helped her lift basins and threw water into the sink. I thought we had better use for the water that would soon become waste, but then it wasn’t the best time to tell Sister Magda that. She was too pre-occupied and focused. Soon, my other dorm mates joined us evacuate rainwater. I felt happy helping my favorite nun. Later on, she promised us desserts.
Another dorm mate came. She told us that there now is an official announcement. We rejoiced. I thought “God is really good. He knew that I didn’t do academic-related stuff because I was too busy attending a birthday party. Praise God.” Then my dorm mates began complaining about exams being moved, and projects being delayed. But of course, it felt almost sarcastic. A rest day is all we needed. And there I was again, thinking of the old man. Will there be anything, any announcement, that’d come to him that would bring as much joy as an announcement of class suspension. I think I will never know. But I sure hope that he finds his family, or someone who is much much braver than me, and more willing than me to help him.