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Waiting For The Sun - Chapter 2

Here's the second chapter. Enjoy.
Chapter 2 - Submission

10 am
It's been a week since the run. He's at work. Although he limps, he can walk properly now. At night there are leg spasms and cramps. He waits for the mental anguish to come. It didn't. He's been called to the Managing Director's office, probably for a hairdryer treatment. He opens the door and asks for permission. The director asks him to come in and take a seat.

Director: How are you?
Vinnie: I am fine *fake smile*
Director: *sighs* you had been absent from work for three days in a row without informing the office. Also your number was unreachable. We know you were sick, but you have to report. That is mandatory.
Vinnie: I am sorry I didn't do it *flat voice* *unconvincing*
Director: *nods* there have been concerns about you from your superiors. They say your level of performance has fallen. Something's wrong?
Vinnie: No, nothing is wrong, it is just a phase, it will pass. I request you to bear with me.
Director: Of course, we will. But it is a matter of concern. I saw you limping the other day. You have to stop overexerting yourself. You need to concentrate on work too.
Vinnie feels anger in him, pure white-hot anger. After he did all the overtime, double shifts, and three days he skips work and he is a bad example? Fuck you, he wanted to say.
Director: But I am sure it will pass. *smiling cautiously*
Vinnie realizes that the anger must have shown, hence the cautious tone. Poker face now.
Vinnie: I intend to work hard. I always did and will do, work hard.
Director: *sweet smile* I am sure you will. Now about that sensor you were developing... Vinnie was passive after that.

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5.30 pm
The first thing he did when he reached home is go online and check for messages. It did becomes a routine for him. He really wonders what to do at home. Addiction is a bad thing, they say, good or bad. It's been a week and he feels an itch to turn on his laptop and connect to the Internet. That someone in his head is back. He says, "Maybe you have a job offer in your email inbox. No need chat, just open your Inbox." He starts to sweat. Maybe that someone is right, he might have got a mail from a recruiter. He can't miss that. He shakes his head. He kills that someone in his head again. Die till we meet the next time.

He changes his clothes and brings his boxing bag out. He wraps his knuckles with the bandage and punches away. Even though it is hurting his thigh, he doesn't stop. He keeps punching. Ten minutes into it and he is sweating. The pain in his legs subsides a bit and he feels empty of the anger. He comes into his room and sit cross-legged on his bed again. He closes his eyes and looks inward. Today is different day, he can see some light far away. It's an unstructured light. It seems as if there is a huge kaleidoscope in his mind, making the lovely images in his head. The geometry of the patterns enthralls him. Then she is there, looking at him, standing in the greenery, and staring at him. And the only thing he wants is, to look back at her. But ties isn't real, he says to himself. She's just an illusion, not real. But he can't take his eyes off her, so he does the most difficult thing, he opens his eyes and comes back to reality. He curses, since he cannot even meditate now.

There is sweat appearing on his forehead, so he wipes it off with his hand. He thinks, maybe these are withdrawal effects and they will pass. He thinks, it is purely physical, and need not worry. He can sense the agony at the periphery, calling him.

So he gets up quickly and limps his way to the kitchen. He tells his mother that he will cook dinner. So he starts cooking as always. He has a look of fierce concentration on his face. He is aware of every slice he cuts, every crackle of the spices frying in the pan, all the different aromas of the food. He tastes everything in regular intervals. He wants it to taste perfect and it did. In the end, he is happy with what he accomplished. He feels spent.

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8 pm
After dinner, he insists and decides to clean the dishes. He cleans every utensil as if it should look new. After washing, he carefully dries them with a dry piece of cloth. As he is tired, he looks at the time. Normally, this is too early to sleep but he makes his way to bed and sleeps.

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3 am
She is there on the gondola, maybe in one of those European cities where there are gondola rides. She is enjoying it. He can see the happiness on her face. Genuinely happy. It is early morning and a layer of mist hung on the surface of the water. The boat cut through it effortlessly. He looks at her again and realizes she isn't looking at him. He turns and sees her... His fiancee rowing. She is smiling at him, and he is smiling back at her.

He woke up with a start, gasping for air. He realizes he is sweating profusely. He wants to have fresh air so he goes out. The night air is cool and it is not raining tonight. He breathes deeply and realizes his eyes were wet with tears. His throat felt dry, his chest is heaving with the air as he breathes deeply. So he sits down on the wet ground and tries to calm himself. He has to get away maybe go swimming in the dam, maybe go hiking or camping alone. That is a good challenge, the fear might just overwhelm the grief. He realizes, today is Thursday, so he decides he should go camping to the forest alone. Maybe that might calm him away from the civilization. Maybe he can escape from her there. He decides he will leave in the afternoon.

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Next Day 3 pm
After a lot of convincing, his mom finally agrees. She is concerned about his legs because he still limps. He waves it away, saying he had been through worse before. He kisses his mother goodbye and starts walking. The hike to the campsite itself was almost 12 kilometers. He walks briskly, warming up his legs, so that the pain diminished somewhat. Although he didn't take the road alongside the temple, the goddess is standing there at the turn he takes to the temple. She gives him a thumbs up. He shakes his head and walks on. After walking a few mills he looks back, and she isn't there.

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6.30 pm
He sets up the tent, gathers the wood and put out a campfire. It is getting colder by the minute. Thank God, it's not raining. He wonders if the goddess has a hand in that. He frowns as he comprehend the meaning of that thumbs up. The campsite is located on the lakeshore and is surrounded by hillocks. He climbs one which is high and has less trees on the top. He looks at the sky on the horizon, it is crimson, because there were clouds there, but he can see the sun setting. The sunset looks beautiful. It suddenly reminds him of the times he had told her, that the sunset almost looks as beautiful as she did. And how cruel could this sunset be, as it is crimson.

The loss suddenly hit him. He realizes that he can never say that to her again, that she is more beautiful than this setting sun. He realizes that his loss is profound. His mind has hidden it all along in denial. He drops to his knees, his face in his hands, and cries for the first time since he disconnected. He sobs not caring how helpless he looks right now and that there will be no lakeside cottage. And he will not grow old and fat with her and there will be no pier where they can enjoy sunsets like these. These were the dreams, his dreams that will not come true now.

He realizes he isn't himself all this long. Some part of him belongs to her, and with her, it had left him. He cries for that. He knows that he has to let her go and accept the fact that she will not be with him ever again. Night falls and he doesn't realize it. He isn't aware of the darkness enveloping him, it is as though it refuses to envelope him. It's as if the darkness waits for him to stop crying before embracing him.
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Published: 1/3/2014
Bouquets and Brickbats