Like the Rain

an adaptation of Noni Queano's "Strange How the Slow Rain"

Elena is seen inside a nipa hut, staring outside the window. It is raining. Artemio comes in, soaking wet.
ARTEMIO
Thank god you’re here. You okay? You look cold, I left a jacket here last time, hang on.
ELENA
Where’ve you been?
ARTEMIO
The fields. Got caught up. Harvest season. There’s this coconut tree I was tring to climb -
ELENA
You were with her.
ARTEMIO
Yes.
(pause)
I never promised anything, Elena.
ELENA
To me, that is.
ARTEMIO
We’re here now.
ELENA
How are the carabaos, Artemio?
ARTEMIO
Still grazing. My son, Claudio, he was riding at the back of one just this morning.
ELENA
Proud daddy moment.
ARTEMIO
Yes.
(pause)
How is Sarah?
ELENA
Good. She’s been breast-feeding well. She’s with her father.
ARTEMIO
Strong rains, huh. You sure you’re not cold.
ELENA
I can trudge through the rain, Artemio. Do not mind me.
ARTEMIO
Sorry. I always remember you as that pretty girl I’d always pass by in school.
ELENA
You should have married me back then.
ARTEMIO
I would have, yes. But, Prostacio -
ELENA
Prostacio, indeed.
ARTEMIO
He had the biggest crush on you. He could talk about all the times you’ve looked at him and he’d blush.
ELENA
Little secret. I never looked at him. I looked at you, he was just beside you.
ARTEMIO
He’s moved to the city.
ELENA
Indeed. I saw him a few months back. He came for a visit when Tito Sergio was sick.
ARTEMIO
Alas, I don’t remember.
ELENA
You shouldn’t. When he was here, you were recovering from the coconut that fell on your head.
ARTEMIO
That was long ago.
ELENA
Indeed. He tried to find you but I told him you were dead.
ARTEMIO
Why?
ELENA
To not complicate things.
ARTEMIO
Elena -
ELENA
Artemio, do not. Prostacio is not important, he never was. Let him live his life in the city.
ARTEMIO
What of our children? My Claudio, your Sarah?
ELENA
Sarah has her father. Claudio, a mother.
ARTEMIO
Sarah’s too young.
ELENA
She’ll survive. I did.
ARTEMIO
I think of Claudio whenever it rains. I wonder if the wetness would make him sick.
ELENA
The wetness would make him strong, Artemio. Strong like you. Strong like me. Like we’ve become.
ARTEMIO
And the farms?
ELENA
Leave them. Perhaps someday when it’s safe, we’d come back. For now, it’s us. Just us, you know, Artemio?
ARTEMIO
Yes.
ELENA
I’m scared.
Thunder rolls and a flash of lightning is seen through the window.
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