Friday, September 12, 2014

Life with Ja

He has been asking why I've been calling him Ja. No, he was not asking, he was complaining. "Ja, what do you mean Ja?" he began, "Who among your friends knew who is Ja? Do they pronounce it as Ja, like I do or J.A., as you do? But you don't capitalize each letter and put period into each so that they will pronounce it as J-A, instead of Ja. I'm sure, they pronounce it as Ja, I'm sure of it. So, who is Ja? By the way, who is he? Ja? His name almost sounds like Jack, if you put c and k in it.  I think they really think it is Jack.
Say Ja--as in Jack. They would think it's Jack. "It's not Jack!" I screamed at the top of my lungs. He knew how I hated that name. In our house, Jack is an accurst name, it's the name of the devil. "You're not allowed to speak that name in this house!" I screamed again. "That name is an abomination!" My voice, I think, reached as far as the mosque. It was still early. No one can be seen on the streets yet. "Then, who is Ja?" he asked, calmer now. "Tell me about Ja, then." So, I told him that Ja is actually J.A. Romualdez, the fictional name of someone who wrote a story about a catfish but has stopped writing long ago because he said writing is a hopeless enterprise. He nodded. It's easier for me to write it as Ja, instead of J.A. because I don't like words that are in all-caps. J.A. Romualdez has already assumed a lot of names lately, including Jamil Ahmed, the guy who frequents the stock market pages. I no longer wanted to continue. I felt I was veering towards another topic I did not want to talk about. But there's one think I am sure when I talk about Ja: he would never read this post and never will. He is the no-nonsense kind, you see, and had dismissed my writing as trash. While I--well, Sheilfa used to say I'm at my best when I'm murderously mad.

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