“Tell me, Ja, do you know how to pray?” I asked Ja this afternoon while I was taking a break from writing.
“Why?!” he asked.
I shrugged. Then, I said, “Last night, I was in panic. I had to edit five chapters in one sitting and I had to finish a three-part story about rice and the global financial crisis. You were all asleep but even if you were awake, I was thinking no one could ever help me now. I was really in big trouble and I needed some help! I was on the verge of madness. I was afraid I might snap. I wanted to pray but I don’t know how to. Now, I realize, it pays to learn how to pray.” I paused. “So, I’m asking you now, Ja,” I said, looking up at him, “Do you know how to pray?”
For a moment, Ja looked at me, stunned. He just came home from a trip downtown and he still had that handkerchief wrapped around his shaven head and there was something in the way he peered down at me through his thick glasses.
“Yes, I know what you’ll do!” Ja said, suddenly excited. “I know you! I can imagine you praying to Buda!” He pronounced it as Buda, as in Bukidnon-Davao. “Yes, Buda! And all sorts of Gods! Of all shapes and sizes! Including Mickey Mouse!”
“Ja!” I said.