Monday, October 19, 2009
the tides, part 8
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