A Visit to the City (6 MAR 2014)

Time to clear the head, what they call debriefing. These past few days
have been stressful. The issue is the noise. The issue is the work,
paltry as it is, that I still haven’t finished yet. The issue is the
smells and the heat. I can’t concentrate. Can’t sleep deep enough to
actually feel rejuvenated. Because I can’t concentrate, I slip up with
my work. I feel tired because of this. I feel hopeless because of this.
I really need the sleep.

There isn’t anything to eat. It’s all crap. Need more protein. Need to
actually start buying grocery myself to be healthy. The household must
not run through old habits. Something must be done. I should, now
thinking about it, apply this idea to myself.

Went to the library two days ago. I went to the city to pay for my
health insurance. Roamed the malls afterwards. Hours spent walking. Just
walking and walking. Haven’t bathed in a while. DOn’t care. Went to the
library. Was so tired and sleepy in there. I remember I haven’t slept
the previous day/s? Same problem I’m having now. Can’t sleep. If I only
I can have the silence. Silence is all that I really truly actually
need. This place is too noisy. Was nauseous that day, weird things,
hallucinations maybe I don’t know. So so tired.

In the PhilHealth office, after paying my dues for two quarters (1200p),
I sat in one of the metal chairs and started writing an application
letter for the Tzu Chi Foundation. I found out through Jobstreet email
alert that they were looking for an English writer. I managed to string
a few sentences together: xx [insert application letter text here]

In the Library, I flipped through these huge photo albums they have. Old
photos. The earliest ones I recall was from the 1910s. The photos were
huge, 12 x 14 maybe. Black and white. Creepy group pictorial one where
the girls all had the same hairsyle. So so many of them, just looking
all the same staring at the camera. Another photo, group photo, smaller
group this time, and there was this girl, she was so beautiful. Chinita.
Shoulder-length hair. I think she was in high school and the photo was
taken in the fifties. Another photo of a fluvial parade, Sta. Ana the
caption states. Another photo: the priest was white. Prominent people.
They were definitely the most boring among the bunch. Pageant photos.
The winning candidate is crowned and her name is something like Ester I,
or Rebecca I or something. There’s a number after the winner’s name,
that number is usually one. There was a 50s bird’s-eye view showing the
Magsaysay Bridge and the part of the city immediately facing the river.
It was so clear and ordered then. Guingona Park had these circular
pools, they were probably fountains.

The Library overall was a depressing place. It was stuffy and hot, and
what aiconditioned space there was was hogged by these two people. It
was mostly young people there – lots of high shool students, a
smattering of college students, and then the staff which numbered to
about five or six. I talked to a couple of them. Found out I can’t
borrow books because I am not from the city. Their collection was a bit
depressing. Lots of paperback books, romance books, they have an
encyclopedia, a volume of classics of western literature, not much in
the philosophy section besides religious books. The second floor has a
half-hearted attempt at a photobooth/exhibition sort of. There were
closed rooms. In the empty ones I saw boxes of books scattered on the
floor. Outside the library, on the left side of the front lot, was a
memorial wall for japanese and filipino and american soldiers who fought
during the second world war. There were Filipino-Chinese soldiers who
were listed in it too. The right side of the lot there was a swing and
slide. The slide was made of cement. The swing was made of metal. There
was a girl waiting there for someone, or maybe she was just pasing the
time. She was wearing a physical education uniform. The Main Library was
located at the very end of this long-ish stretch of straight road which
I walked from Gaisano Mall. It was hot that afternoon. After spending
time in the library, sitting in the yellow couch and easy chair they had
in the center of the first floor, I gave the librarian/staff my number
to retrieve my backpack. On my way out I saw a black Ninja motorcycle.
I walked to the entrance of the library and hailed a tricycle until the
place called ‘Arcade.’ I paid eight pesos. I walked the remaining distance
to the crossing and on the way there I bought a coconut shake being sold
by this man on a shaded bicycle cart. Twenty pesos. He drilled a hole,
using a contraption through the bottle then gave me the straw. The first
sip was glorious. So so cold. I caught a multicab to the Robinson’s
Mall. Paid eight pesos. I finished the shake while standing in front of
the mall’s entrance. I entered then walked and walked and walked for
hours inside. Looked at everything. I went to the bathroom there, and it
was the best bathroom of the day. The City Library bathroom was
just there. The PhilHealth office bathroom I used earlier was better
than the City Library bathroom, but it just didn’t compare to the
Robinson’s Mall bathroom. Everything was cold in that mall, and also
shiny and clean. The black tile in the lobbby of the movie theater place
was an elegant touch. The polished tiles reflected the orange electric
lights. They were showing blah movies. One was about Spartans, a sequel
I think to the 300 movie. In the native foods section, there was a
petite lady there who was so pale. Pearlescent smooth skin. She wore
huge black shades and was with an older lady. The older lady was taller
than her. In the cheap Japanese goods store, there was a rich-looking
older lady. She looked at the plastic bonsai shrubbery which were shaped
into hearts.

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About kara

I just like to read. Used to work in a library. My interests are horror and the gothic imagination, absurd and dark humor, urban legends, and other related unwholesome topics. I write short fiction sometimes. Older stuff: https://www.scribd.com/user/93209/narodnikkki
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