It was just late morning, the sun was not yet at its height. The fur bedding added too much warmth over my plain white shirt.
"Wake up, you need to wear trunks." My mom was waking me up.
It was not very hard to rise anyway. The sweat, the brightness of summer seeping through the windows. It baffles me so much why the windows bring too much light but not cool air, at least. Today was Maundy Thursday and it still brings me to laughter every time I think about a very lame joke about the day being both Maunday and Thursday.
I glance at the hands. It’s 11:40 AM. Not a very good time to start a day in the scorching heat. Temperature’s at about 30 degrees Celsius, not a sky full of clouds, I thought. People starting to pack the streets, Visita Iglesia just finished. I used to walk through 14 churches some years past, but I never prayed like how I should have. It was more of a fun walk and a slight tour for me, rather than a pilgrim. I wore flip flops while devotees walked barefoot on burning, coal-hot sometimes muddy or sharp ground. Everyone’s usually in their plain denims and white shirts printed with Jesus Christ’s image in monotone.
"You haven’t packed your bags yet! You’ll be leaving at half-past twelve!"
I am the kind of person who can be about a hundred percent conscious, instantly just after waking up. Other people would seem to be out of their mood, would rather not talk, or would just make a face like the whole world’s asking them to solve a math problem. I am the exact opposite. I can listen to the loudest music possible, or even check my Facebook without the chains from last night’s sleep. But not today. Maybe because of the heat, I am just sitting on my bed, piercing a hole in the ground with my stare not thinking about anything. Aha! Maybe I want to see who the devotees were today.
In my messed up sleepwear, I got out of bed, mussed my hair a little and went out. Everyone who walked, I know them by name. No one greets me, or nod. Give them a break. I thought. They were tired and they’re more than excited to eat their lunches, more than my excitement to take a bath.
Bath! I thought again. Why will I be going to the hotel today? I remember. There would be a water interruption and I’m going to be so doomed. But then, I also have a strong feeling like there’s still going to be running water from the tap, because I am usually lucky at things I’m not proud of getting lucky at, like having the first seats on the bus, or successfully opening a pack of M&M’s with mostly blue ones. I never won any raffle draws, or correctly picked the last number for the school’s group presentation, but I always get the most awesome book titles in second-hand stores or book sales, and just like today, yes, water on the tap’s pretty much unlimited.
Off to the bath I go. The water is awesome. It feels good to have cold water running down from your head to your feet. I would sometimes sing a little Lana del Rey song, or Beyoncé, mostly her ad libs on concerts and live performances. It makes me scrub myself a little more longer than when I’m doing my business solemnly. I think of the bath as a ritual and it feels too short and insincere without uttering lines from Beyoncé’s songs. I sometimes find harmony and contentment in things when I do it my own way. It’s my little idea of finding something special and extraordinary from things uneventful like washing dishes or sitting on a chair. I could go on and on all day about the weird stuff I inject in life, but right now I’m taking a bath. I have no exciting thoughts about the hotel. About what to eat there, or if I should swim, or just sleep, or if I could meet people. Then I thought I could read by the swimming pools. I should bring George R.R. Martin’s ‘A Clash of Kings’ with me.
The moment I got out of the bath, the temperature’s back, and like droplets on your skin magically turn from just water from the showers to sweat. I pat myself dry and put on my shorts that I just took off from the night before, like I’m not going anywhere. I don’t have to go to the hotel really, there’s water anyway. I don’t think I’ll be going anywhere at this rate.
I opened my laptop, checked some notifications, and listened to Sugababes. I stumbled upon a song called Lay Down In Swimming Pools. Sugababes as Siobhan, Mutya and Keisha debuted in 1998 and released their first album two years later. After the success of their debut single, and the course of their promotions for the album, Siobhan left, and Heidi took her place. The second line up’s a bit better for me than the first one since they released more successful singles and they sounded real better. Then after some years, Mutya left, and her spot were taken by Amelle. The line up started to change the group’s whole appeal. Now, Keisha’s the only original member left, and because of lineup changes, they had minimal success with their materials. As expected, Keisha was then eventually sacked off of the group, then replaced by Jade. It’s as if the original members had to graduate some time and be replaced by someone else. In a span of about ten years or more, the three original members got back together and formed a group called Mutya Keisha Siobhan and released a song that can be considered a flop. I searched for their name, and found out that they also released another song. The title was not very appealing and I already made prejudgments about the song. Who would listen to a song titled Lay Down In Swimming Pools? Well, I did.
I never paid attention to the lyrics of the song, but the first line, I wanna stay… proved to be too much powerful. I ended up staying and ditched the hotel thing. The summer heat begs me to lay down in swimming pools, or read a book somewhere near its vicinity, or drink cold and fancy coffee in the cafe, but then I didn’t. I laid down in my bed instead of swimming pools, and fell asleep after listening to the song for about seven times in a row.