Minority Report

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These two students don’t seem to know each other. They’re standing there in a hallway waiting for a class to end, or maybe just to get out of the rain.

Summer is over and life goes on again at school. It’s the rainy season now. Hot blank skies and death-ray sun are slowly giving way to heavy grey overcast and humid air thick enough to drink. And it rains.

In nations in the North, the end of summer brings autumn —fresh air, clear skies, cool winds. There, life takes on new zest and activity for a while; at least until winter comes again.

That doesn’t happen here. The Philippines has to wait until the wind shifts to amihan and the rains end.

Rain comes to Dumaguete from June through October or November. The air becomes cool but not fresh. Sickness increases. It doesn’t rain every day, but it might rain at any time. People stay close to shelter, in case it does. Beaches and open spaces are almost empty, even on weekends. Streets are less crowded. Action moves to malls, discos, billiard tables.

Activity in general becomes quieter; the pace of life, never speedy here, now slows down even more. People tend to move inside their lives in smaller circles than they do in summer, circles restricted to people and places that they already know. It’s not a time for major shifts. But it can be a time for reflection and internal change.

In Dumaguete, life picks up again in late October with the beginning of the holiday season. Fiestas, fashion shows, beauty contests all roll out in increasing numbers. People emerge from their rainy days; most of them go on living exactly as they did before.

But there are a few young people here still not crystallized into final form. These few come out of the season changed in spirit. Listening to the rain has given them time to think differently.

This girl is looking at a piece of paper; the boy is looking at his cell phone. They’re not looking at each other; why should they? They’re not related by blood; they don’t have the same friends; they have different places to go to after the rain.

But perhaps on some cool dry afternoon in December, they’ll recognize and remember each other on the street. They’ll smile at each other, and maybe something interesting will happen between them.

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