Monday, October 19, 2009
Note : The following is an original story by the author. While he believes in the idea of intertextuality, he is also a firm believer of the concept of intellectual property, and will invoke his rights under the Copyright Law to the full extent, should his story be subjected to acts of plagiarism
Theo found himself walking to the same spot he’d been yesterday. The sea is utterly still and silent this morning; no gulls flying overhead, making noises to break the soft monotonous thud of his feet crushing sand. Even the breeze seems to be at rest, apparently drained from the all the ruckus it made last night. He looked skyward to see the clouds finally parting. Light is streaming from the torn part of the sky, gently kissing the still waters of the sea. The sea, for all its outward calm, seems to take delight in that special attention being given by the sky. It is sublime. He only had to will his eyes closed, fearful the emotions welling up inside him would spill over the landscape and taint it black.
It was a match made in heaven. His friends and officemates think so. Even Reema, after countless arguments over the phone, seems to finally think so, too. Clem was, and remains to this day, his one and only love. After all those years spent in solitary confinement in his job, and whatever semblance to a social life he managed to put together by attending those monthly meet-ups of the different online groups he belonged to—wherein he wasn’t able to hold conversations longer than five minutes anyway—he finally met someone who laughed at his jokes no matter how corny or badly delivered he thought them to be. He fought for Clem’s acceptance even though it broke Reema’s heart. Reema being the older one felt answerable to their dead parents for her only brother turning out to be gay. For Theo’s part, it broke his heart to see her sister blaming herself for not guiding him to the “right path”; though he had to stop mid-air, arguing the rightness and wrongness of paths, when Reema mentioned the subject in passing over Christmas dinner—for she finally agreed to invite Clem over, after five long years of pretending her only brother was just plain choosy when it comes to the girls. Seeing Reema in after-dinner small talk with Clem last Christmas was probably the best gift he received in years from his sister. Whatever it meant, he knew things were turning out for the better.
And then it had to happen.
Or rather, Jed had to happen.
Jed is Clem’s officemate who joined work a few months ago, taking on the teaching load left by one of Clem’s co-trainers who resigned late last year. He has a straight-forward-go-get-em attitude that comes offhanded at times, but paired with a killer smile and rough-hewn, moreno look, comes off as a major swoon factor for most of Clem’s girl officemates; only, Jed has set his eyes on Clem early on in the race, and the ladies are left with no choice but to be spectators in the unfolding game of seduction. Clem knew this, in the lingering stares and the unsolicited smiles during coffee breaks, and in month-end departmental meetings that made him uncomfortable to the barest of his bones.
Jed is as talented as he is good-looking. He plays the saxophone after office hours in a local bar some two blocks off from work. In one instance when the group had one of its night-outs to watch him play for the first time, he went on to dedicate the first number in his act to Clem, much to the surprise of everyone. Clem blushed and remained pretty much stunned the rest of the evening.
The following day, they were pretty much an item in talks at appointed gossip corners in the office, with the girls giggling uncontrollably whenever either one of their subjects would pass them by. They knew of Clem and Theo being partners for years; with Theo coming by at times to pick up Clem for dinner—but just the same, a blossoming office romance is too good to be wasted. Jed was practically puppy-eyed, incessantly hounding Clem that day, and Clem was a picture of restlessness.
Restless as he is restless, now.
The calmness of the sea did little to ease Clem’s distress; after all, an overcast sky hanging above them betrayed the picture of serenity it desperately tried to paint. The boatman, whose voice struggled to rise over the din of his motorboat, told him of the sea’s anger last night, with towering waves threatening to engulf some of the makeshift bars situated at the foot of the cliffs. He nodded in the boatman’s direction, pretending to listen—but his mind is adrift, lost somewhere; on a boat cradled by the waves, amidst a different kind of storm—one where he has little hope of surviving, or coming out unscathed.
<to be continued>
photo credit - http://www.designcommunity.com/forums/gallery2/d/24969-1/office.jpg
Chinky Mae came to the library last week, as i was talking with two other officemates at my table. He asked for my immediate supervisor, one whom he came to know through me when we were still friends. He didn’t look in my direction, smiling his sweet chinky smile, as he was asking them her whereabouts. In fact he didn’t look at me at all, like i wasn’t there in the first place. My officemates were quick to give him the information that my supervisor was currently out of the room, to which he politely said thank you, and left as quickly as he entered. After his exit, my officemates looked perplexed, and went on to ask each other his surname, and in which department he works, precisely. They’re probably thinking why a mild mannered gay man would approach them, as they were talking with an equally mild mannered officemate who hasn’t yet revealed publicly, through a prepared press statement, his sexual preference. As none of them apparently knew his surname or where he worked, exactly, i supplied the needed information with the word yata after each data. It’s almost two years now, since he started ignoring me. in my heart, i still longed for a return to our old glory days, meeting at the bat cave in the afternoons just to check on each other’s loves and lives. Now i know that moment is never coming back at all.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
I bumped into a jogging colleague who works in the nearby bureau last Thursday, at the corridor that was turned into a tiangge in line with our office’s founding anniversary. I’ve been running an errand for Krissy Mae, and was supposed to be researching at the bills and index division but since it’s the founding anniversary, i thought a little slacking off wouldn’t hurt much. So i chided him, saying that i saw him at the greenbelt cinemas during the last day of the Spanish film festival. I saw him and would have approached him but i was so veyklah that time, what with the purple sarong i borrowed from Dee to wrap around my shoulders on account of the coldness of the greenbelt aircon. And i don’t really feel like socializing that time, other than with my regular clique whom i’ve already come to treat as family—i was with Shattershards and Dee that time, when I saw jogging colleague talking to an elderly man during the intermission before the second screening, along with a woman in middle age. The man simply looked clean to me, with his white polo shirt and khaki pants; but Dee suspected otherwise and jokingly posited they’re an item themselves. My jogging colleague simply reeked of so much gay potential. Hes’ single, well into his 40’s, with so much fashion sense—he can easily put to shame any seventeen year old when it comes to wearing a jacket with style. Heheh. He asked me why i didn’t call his attention the night i saw him. I simply told him that i didn’t want to bother him, as he was in the middle of an animated conversation with his companions. My alibi somehow worked as he didn’t bother asking me anymore, and went on to discuss something that clearly bothered him, from the way he looked. he told me that he saw a high ranking officer in our office strut his stuff in the greenbelt cinemas sometime during the duration of the film festival. When he said the word high ranking, i immediately had an idea of who he had in mind, exactly. It’s already a common knowledge among old timers in the office, of Codename Fiona’s sexual preference. There had been a time when he had been notorious in the use of company vehicles to cruise for fresh meat; as an old-timer himself and ex-friend Chinky Mae told me, when we were still friends. Of course, if you are one hundred percent certified knowledgeable in the art of sniffing out the gay man’s stench, it’s really not a problem. When i said that jogging colleague reeked of gay potential, codename Fiona has already reached his fullest potential, and with flying colors, mind you. So all i had to say was Fiona’s true name, and jogging colleague’s eyes went gaga with the glitter of a sex scandal queen. I mean, it looked like he was truly horrified, as he went on to recount all the bloody details surrounding the circumstances of how Fiona “danced” upon meeting one of his friends at the cinema lobby. in this regard, i somehow have my reservations regarding jogging colleague’s sexuality. What if he’s really straight, and chose the path of single blessedness for some reason we cannot fathom? After all, he’s a member of a Christian group in our office, and attends a regular meeting somewhere in mandaluyong. But isn’t Piolo a member of a Christian group too? He then proceeded to ask how i knew of Fiona’s sexuality. I told him i just heard it from old timers who knew, like urban legend passed on by word of mouth. But in reality, i just cannot bring myself to say that i saw Fiona in the same dancefloor where i had been dancing about four years ago, along with hundreds of gay men gyrating and sizing each other up to the beat of a Madonna song. And what really mortified me was the fact that i had to say “good morning sir” the following morning, when he showed up at the library to ask Krissy Mae some stuff regarding our journal subscriptions.