Nanay cried again yesterday. I have only seen her cry twice in my life. And this time, it was because of the rain. And the thunder. And probably the lightning, too. I think Nanay has always been scared of storms. And it was really scary, the storm last night.
I’m also scared of storms. I always worry that the thunderclaps would make me go deaf, like my friend Alicia. I talk to her by writing on little pieces of paper. I asked her once if it was hard, being deaf. And she said it was. I wanted to ask if the thunderclaps made her go deaf, but I didn’t want to be embarrassed if I was wrong. Alicia is my friend from school.
Another thing I’m scared of during storms is the possibility that the rain might drown the whole world. I don’t know how to swim so I’ll probably drown with the world, too.
It was two hours after dinner when Nanay cried. We had Jollibee Chickenjoy (my all-time favorite), and I had warm milk after. It started raining right before we ate. Every time the sky growled, I felt the ground shake. The heavy pouring of rain drowned not just the streets but also the sound from the cars passing by. It reminded me of the sound of the bullets in a war movie I saw with Tatay. Nanay and Tatay had a fight that night because she didn’t like me watching violent movies. It was a year ago, I was nine.
Nanay tucked me in bed around eight last night. She kissed me on the forehead and I said I love her. I do, more than I love school breaks. The thunderclaps grew louder, like it was getting nearer. And the gaps between the flashes of lightning and the thunderclaps grew closer, too. I wonder if they have anything to do with each other. As she put me to bed, I could feel the shaking of Nanay’s hand every time a really loud thunderclap went.
I wanted Nanay to stay and sleep beside me. But she had work to do. Instead, I pulled the sheets over my head and cried silently. I was ashamed. I’m a boy and I cried.
I tried to stay like that as long as I could but a really loud thunder hit the house. It was louder than any thunderclaps I have ever heard. I think it made me go deaf a little. I couldn’t take it anymore so I got up and went to Nanay’s room. That’s when I saw her cry. It was the second time I saw her cry. It made me sad. Nanay hugged her sheets tightly with her shaking hands. Her eyes were closed but tears still spilled out. I pleaded to the thunder and told it to stop, but it didn’t. Maybe it’s deaf, too?
The first time I saw her cry was the night Tatay didn’t come home. I don’t know what happened, but Nanay told me that everything was going to be fine. I think they had a fight that night, too. I don’t know what they were about but I think it was because Tatay always came home late. She said that Tatay isn’t going back anymore but we’ll be fine. I don’t like Tatay anymore because he made Nanay cry. He was the one who told me not to make girls cry yet he made her cry. I really miss him sometimes, though.
Sometimes, I like to think that Nanay was scared of thunderstorms because it was the sound from a war between battleships in space, and lightning were explosions and laser beams. And when Tatay was still here, she had his arms around her whenever there were storms so she won’t be scared. And sometimes, I like to think that when he didn’t come home, it was because he was drafted for our planet’s space army to protect the world, or something like that, and that Nanay cries because she misses him.
I’m not really sure. All I know is, I have to take care of Nanay.
I decided to stop crying and wiped my face. I’m a big boy. I’m not supposed to cry. I went to Nanay’s bed and sat beside her. I held her hands tightly, but not too much because I was afraid I might hurt her and make her cry even more.
“’Nay, everything’s going to be just fine,” I said. I felt helpless but I knew those were the right words to say.
Ivan is a student of BS Architecture in the University of the Philippines Mindanao.