In 2014, Franziska Garner had a fantastic idea to collect the stories of Anne's readers of how her books touched their lives, compile them into a book, and send it to her as a birthday gift. That little project became a reality, and I sent in my four-page story. Here it is...
As I write this the rain pours outside in torrents that would scare any tourist. We, the locals, are used to this: one moment the sun shines blinding and strong and the heat is unbearable. A fool prays for rain. The next moment a thunderclap and that prayer is answered with huge drops of water. The streets begin to form puddles then floods, the skies darken, the temperature drops several degrees. I was walking home when this happened. I did not even run. I'm not afraid of the roaring thunder, or the electric-skin-tingling lightning. An Irish friend, her first time here in the Philippines several years ago, was travelling with me when the weather likewise lost its temper. She cried out in the car, "What is happening to your country? This is the end! Everything will be washed away."
"Surely it rains in Ireland," I asked, puzzled by her reaction.
"Not like this," she attested.
Now the sun fights for its chance to reign in the skies, and I remember what my grandmother told me as a boy, "When it is both rainy and sunny at the same time, there's a tikbalang getting married. Don't go out to play." The tikbalang are creatures of lore, with the strong muscular body of a man and the hooves and head of a horse. They are deceitful, and often take the form of a gentleman. Brides are supposed to think twice if there's strange weather on their wedding day. Their fiancés might be a tikbalang in disguise.
Though now I wonder what woman would not be happy to find a man whose sex organ is the size of a horse's.
Anne, thank you for your stories. Thank you for taking me to places both dark and light, safe and unsafe, in your books. More importantly, thank you for the characters that have become my friends, heroes, aspirations and also the embodiment of my fears. I wanted to tell you how I've become your fan.
(To be continued in tomorrow's post.)