Tonight, the office expects me to rise above the knee sprain that slightly crippled me for a solid week and bright up the back-breaking black hole we all love to loathe. If it were as tragic as my kneecap dislocation and meniscus tear episode almost two years ago, I would be asking for one more month to fully recuperate. Since I felt 1.) blessed my poor knee wasn't that messed up this time, 2.) obliged to work on my backlog and 3.) impatient to finally execute a 7-day overdue world premiere of an ukay ukay find, I found myself eager to go back to work. In fact, I, renowned for my consistent tardiness, left an hour earlier than the usual. That way, I can have the sweet silence in the workplace by myself to focus on my tasks. Oha!

On second thought, this afternoon's rehab session practically made the swelling in my right knee disappear. I felt reeeally better and stronger to conquer anything after. My therapist-turned-friend reiterated the rehab doctor's instruction for me to use a single tip cane for walking and, knowing I'm too kikay to be seen with such in public, advised I may use an umbrella instead. She also hinted she was not happy to see me again in the confines of the hospital. So I better take heed!

I removed the folded umbrella from my huge bag and practiced with my own Lost in Translation umbrella before leaving. I found it not sturdy enough to rely on and dismissed the idea. Before pushing the gate door open, I paused to deliberate if I must recollect the folded umbrella. Considering the great amount of sunshine today, I deduced I would only use it as canopy on my commute home. With my sunglasses already deposited in my bag, I changed my mind. I was in a hurry, remember?

To my shock, the skies started throwing a river of tears and occasional yet frightening thunderbolts while I was in a jeepney en route to Talaba. I realized how scared I was when a fellow passenger gave me a will-you-calm-down-please stare after I muttered, "This can't be happening,"

A few feet away from Talaba, the traffic light turned red. I was tempted to linger inside the jeep to remain dry but, knowing my inability to leap like a frog if the lights go green, I thought it will be more risky if I do so. Neither was I confident I could sprint from the jeepney stop (near Tropical Hut) to the bus stop (to Baclaran and beyond) on opposing ends if it were Aguinaldo Highway that separates them. I opted to step down as gingerly as possible and limped to the nearest roof I can find.

Traffic light went red, green and back. Other motorists came and went. The water continued to rise. I felt the downpour coupled by the harsh winds on my back and my lower limbs. The longer I stood there, the more I got reminded of the energy I exerted in walking from my residence to the waiting shed outside our subdivision because I couldn't locate a pedicab. I can also hear my orthopedist's voice, asking me to avoid any weight-bearing activities, namely prolonged standing position. I felt the corner of my eyes water in self-pity and desperation.

Then, I saw the old man part his curtains to observe the direction of the wind. Since I took too much space, it was inevitable for his eyes to meet mine. We exchanged smiles. My instincts urged me to beg for help right away but I wasn't sure if I appeared trustworthy enough. I convinced myself that the rain will cease very soon. And I can still go on. It's all in the mind!

However, I could not tolerate the chills and the growing fatigue on my knee anymore. I knocked on the door and inquired if I may take refuge from the hellish rain. He readily agreed even if I was just about to explain my knee sprain. I didn't wait to be asked to be seated anymore. I claimed the nearest monobloc chair I saw and placed my waterproof bag on the other. Amidst my sighs of relief, I managed to inform him why I badly needed a seat. NOW I can update my Facebook, Plurk and Twitter status!

From my vantage point, I saw the entry of water to the main door and the exit door. He said it was the first time such thing happened and blamed the recent road construction for such instant flood. By the time his wife arrived, the rain remained unabated and the water pushed its way inside the house. She even asked me to move from the monobloc chair to the couch so I could stretch my poor legs and feel better.

After I had declared my whereabouts for my contacts on the abovementioned social networking sites to know, I realized the other functions of my phone. I sent messages to my parents that I was stranded and an old couple let me in for the meantime. To my surprise, they responded with a call to locate me so they can pick me up. That's when I realized I need a new phone. Evidently, this is NOT for emergency cases! I've dropped mine countless times already to the point that I have to put my callers on speaker phone so I can hear them. All the time! When I drop them again, the phone is reduced to Lego bricks. Except that they're far from cute.

Just like an answered prayer, both my parents appeared outside my temporary igloo for tonight and showered the old man with words of gratitude. I felt tears of joy well up in my eyes before I thanked him for the nth time. It was such a reassuring moment to see my parents and the spoiled furball rescue me.

Now that I'm in the warm comfort of home, I felt sorry for the indoor pool I left behind and the inability to assist them move pieces of furniture earlier. Someday, I will be able to swing by and express my gratitude one more time. Thank God for kind souls!

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