eK! is electronic Kabalen, a web-exclusive Kapampangan journal of ideas

joanna carlos
joanna carlos IT TURNS out that I am living in a symbolic ambivalence. I have been for some time now, ever since that wonderland called university, and I imagine myself with both feet instead of the feeling that there is an appendage missing from me. No bother. Whatever needs fixing can be fixed. There is always a solution and we can all calm down... I'm not losing my head over issues with my leather shoes being soaked in rainwater or the fact that I wish I had done more with my life. I'm 24 years old and I know how much more advanced I could be... in every sense. I had all the time in the country's four seasons to read up about the entire universe and then some. What now?

I did not shoot it out the window. Why would I do that? Life happens. There are many more colors to ignite my life. But what about youth? I treat friends as though they were owners of a parcel of my soul and I'd gladly entertain them anything.

The shoes were left near the back door to dry. Outside was my pink umbrella. Inside, I felt warm since I was now wearing a purple sweater from Polo and amidst that feeling everyone gets when it rains, I am acutely aware of the responsibility I have in certain matters. 24 is adult age. I haven't changed one bit. I still would do things someone younger would. That means purposefully blocking those loud cars in Clark, Pampanga—the one place where the screeches are infused with immaturity. I braced myself for my adventure.

It was raining steadily for some hours and I was indoors. The sound of the water dripping down the air conditioning. How could you ignore the warmth in the air? The hush passed among my companions as we registered the timely weather with the mindset that it would be another thing to conquer. There were many things on my mind. I had wrapped up and then neglected to bother with a piece I had finished. It felt great. That same high you get when you're involved in a project that means: You aren't such a wastrel.

Those black flats were painful on my toes and I felt corns and calluses which didn't bother me during my ballerina days. I could still stand on my toes whenever. I did that exact same thing in front of the entrance to an Italian-themed restaurant in Clark Friendship Hi-Way (incredibly enough, the venue of another strange occurrence which I wrote about in "Movement"). That place... so long. Just a simple straight road that is scantily lighted. The words are power words: Asia, Pub, Bar, KTV. If you take everything in with the intention of discovering between the signposts, then you'd be streaming through the vision that is that specific road. They sell all sorts of things there. Filipinos are polite. They don't really delve too deeply into such scenes. It's because we're Catholic. I myself am rather Orthodox and I frown upon seeing women dressed like that, feeding only their bodies and exercising their souls with the connection they would undoubtedly have, so poor, so young at heart, so needy, with the foreigners who look at them and think—well I don't know what they think. You? Would you do that to a local? Is that how you experience other cultures? Let go and let the spirit of the ages move you. You can't do that on your own.

If you are into science, you'd hear warning bells about my language. It's automatic and dry like cheese. I don't think too highly of my writing and I am equally critical of other penmen. I won't share the writers I admire because it's a secret and I don't want to be a disappointment to people even if this falling of their shoulders is ever really so minor.

I know that this piece has been about me bragging about my coolness, but this is originally a personal article of mine that I wanted to share. eKsite is about Pampanga, and to weave in the rain and Friendship Hi-Way is a testament to fact that I am Capampangan, through damp cardigan, through dilapidated footwear.

There's this exciting part about going to new places and really feeling the experience, listening to the vernacular, remembering people. I once thought that I loved people most. They move me but so do places. I've only ever shuttled between two countries in my life. Different the way cats and dogs are. There was my inspiration who must by now be scared of me. I move through crowds, dark mangy places, see homeless people and despite knowing what to do, move on. The person I met recently, the enigma whose difference sparks wars, walks away but sometimes looks me in the eye. I try not to listen too much to my internal panic but I know that this rain, friendship, darkness, and discomfort was explained the moment I chose not to return the curiously offhand glance. It meant nothing to either one but the tension was heavy and abnormal. I let the Hi-Way wash sin with sin.


[About the author. Joanna Carlos considers herself Kapampangan, having grown up in an atmosphere in which the dialect was distributed freely among locals and expatriates here and abroad; thereby she ingested it like the smell of dying sampaguitas, the sound of cicadas by moonlight, and the sight of lanterns, ablaze in the sun, that decorate the city. She is dedicated and compassionate, and is interested in many things. After leaving the KSA, she has then immersed herself in the folkloric society of Pampanga. Joan is kindhearted and generous. Yet she has her pet peeves, her Lilith moments, so don't be a "cold-hearted capitalist" and irritate her, because even then you wouldn't realize who you are up against. Her writing was honed throughout the years and so has she. Joanna, then, is an amalgam of the child and the present, accepting, just..]

-Posted: 8:30 PM 6/20/13 | More of this author on eK!
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