9 MarchPosted: August 18, 2011
Sam is flying off to New York today. I know So-On is going to the airport to see her off. I feel a little relieved that she is going away. Maybe it will bring So-On to some sort of conclusion about his life and himself. Maybe it will change something between So-On and me.
Early in the morning, the doorbell rings. A bit tentatively. I assume Ogre will stumble out of bed to answer it, because none of us are early risers if we can help it. And this is way too early even for the worm-seekers.
Ogre comes and shakes me gently.
She whispers to me as I blink my eyes uncomprehendingly: “I think he’s been drinking all night. He’s stinking.”
So-On is sitting in our living room, with a stubble and red-rimmed eyes and misery on his face.
He looks up at me as I come into the room and gives me a sad smile: “Appi, sorry to have woken you up. I just didn’t realize how early it was. And I didn’t feel like going back home, so I came here.”
Me: “That’s OK, you know it. Did you come from the airport?”
So-On nods: “Sort of. Sam’s flight was at 4. She checked in by 2. I was driving around for some time. Then, I got tired. So … ”
Me: “You were driving around? You should have come in earlier.”
So-On: “I would have. But I just wanted to be alone for some time.”
Me: “Were you drinking?”
So-On: “Yes, while driving. Can you believe that?”
I can’t, because So-On is normally very, very fussy about these things. He cannot stand people who flout safety rules. But then, right now, he is not So-On at all.
Ogre brings in chocolate milk and some warmed up croissants and plain sponge cake. She leaves us to ourselves and goes back to sleep. So-On is dozing off over his cup of milk, so I fetch him a pillow and a sheet. He lies down on the sofa, and is asleep in a minute. I watch him for a moment, then go back to my bed, but cannot sleep.
Something had changed for me in that moment as I watched So-On asleep on the sofa, his fist curled up tightly under his cheek. The love that had held such a tight grip on my heart for ever so long seemed to loosen its hold and let go.
It’s not that I have stopped loving So-On, that can never be, but I just don’t want him for myself any longer. It is not resignation on my part, but yes, a definite realization that there can never be anything but friendship between us, and that in fact, now I longer want anything more than that. I feel as if I have lost 2 kilos. Lighter, and more agile.
So-On hangs around the house all day, being fed by Ogre and Etcetra and me. None of us speak much about his moping around. Ogre does not ask any questions, Etcetra too for once is tactful, and I do not know what to say. It is obvious that So-On doesn’t want to talk about what he is going through, at least right now.
He does receive a call from his mother during the day. He speaks to her briefly, tells her he is at our place and hangs up. It is only later in the evening, that he hauls himself back home, refusing the special dinner which Ogre is all set to make for him.