The story of Midsummer is one of the revered works in the Philippines. It is thematically based on the powers of attraction and gravitation that exist between two strangers, a young maiden, Mahinhin Filipina named Ading and a young Binata boy named Manong.
The unforgettable encounter takes place in a rural setting near a village well. The summer was intense in its exhausting and uncompromising heat. Manong, travelling with his bull and cart, arrived at the village well and found the comely figure of Ading to his surprise.
Truly representing the values and customs of the place and people, the author describes the hesitation and coyness that the two exhibit in approaching each other. There is intense heat in the ambience and it is multiplied with a greater sense of electricity between the two.
Ading throws a curious glimpse at Manong who is a bit more reserved and accords her comforting space and regard. He draws water from the well but is lost in the thoughts of Ading.
He shows an appearance of fledgeling romance as he worries about the state of her palms subjected to the callous wear due to the rugged ropes while drawing up water from the well.
There are physical cues of breaking the ice as Ading offers a muted smile. As he is consuming his meal, Ading draws nearer to him. The nerves are amplified and she spills water on herself as a result.
Here, the author instils sensual chemistry between the two. The drenched clothes of Ading capture Manong’s fancy while his muscular development makes Ading appreciates his strength and masculinity. Such explicit expression denotes a level of budding lustful gravitation between the two.
Gathering his wits, Manong helps Ading fill her jar of water again. Obliged and indebted to his help, she invites him to her house. She assures him regarding her mother’s sanction and he readily agrees to follow the damsel to her humble abode.
The ending leaves a notion of fanciful openness as the author leaves her readers to come to their own romantic conclusions. Did their romance end well into marriage?
Were they misguided into a fit of lust and miscalculated physical attraction into the love of substance and meaning? Did the girl’s family cause an uproar?
On the flipside, the brashness of sensual expression in the story also points to the flight of fantasy that physical attraction can breed in young people’s minds.
The fact that the two were perfect strangers and could hardly vouch for each other’s characters; their intimacy leaves an uncomfortable taste and highlights the youthful, hormonal-driven frenzy that often overpowers sound judgment and rational thought.