The sun was intense in my room. It had grown hot and humid.
I had forgotten to close the blinds last night, and the cooling system seemed helpless in the heat. I rose late into a dull day, lit a cigarette, and stared menacingly at the air-conditioner.
The maid hadn’t come in, but it didn’t matter. I prepared coffee and called the ofﬁce. The secretary chirped on the phone. Her bright spirits almost compelled me to go to work, but when she assured me there was nothing really important for me today, I told her I wouldn’t be coming in.
After taking a shower, I turned the TV on; dull morning programs.
I grabbed the car keys and left the place. ‘Good morning, sir,’ the guard smiled.
I looked up at the blazing sun and then at him, ‘I sure hope so.’
The car was hot; my forehead had begun to sweat. I hated that.
Painfully, the air conditioning fought against the heat.
The trafﬁc! — suffocating, annoying.
How come the radio played dance music at this hour? I changed to jazz, imagined a group of sweating, tuxedo-clad musicians struggling with their music in this heat.
I drove to a friend’s’ place. ‘I’m bored, sick of this heatwave, let’s go to the beach.’
‘I’ve got to ﬁnish some work.’
‘We’ll take some friends along,’ trying to tempt him.
‘I’ve got to...’
‘Forget it.’ I left him and drove to Tamara’s place.
She was at the ofﬁce. I went to Zack’s house, down the lane. He was at the ofﬁce.
I called Lyn. Her baby was crying, I could barely hear her.
Even the beaches would be hot today, I thought to myself and went to a steakhouse.
A hot, juicy steak, on a hot, sweaty day!
Mountains. I’ve got to go to the mountains. Can’t be back by tomorrow... I’ve got to remember the ofﬁce. Perfect!
The shopping mall was almost deserted. I bought groceries and a Japanese Spitz.
The puppy was fun. It stood on my lap, putting its tiny head out the car window. And peed on my jeans.
I drove back to the house, changed, and drank some chocolate milk.
Even the bright decor of the house looked gloomy and out of place.
Later in the afternoon, I called Lyn again. She said she would come over.
The sun was almost gone now but the spirit of the day was still dull. Lyn and her baby came and hugged and kissed the puppy. They named it Onyx, and soon had a game to play with her.
I picked up the latest issue of a business weekly.
It just wasn’t my day.
We took our dinner at a Mexican restaurant.
Lyn sipped her drink while her daughter and I learned Latin songs. Before midnight, I dropped Lyn at her hilltop home and drove moodily down to my place.
Life was so full and yet so meaningless. I raced a few cars, found I wasn’t in the mood and slowly prowled the streets towards the carnival.
Familiar faces. ‘How come I always end up here?’ I wondered falsely, cheating myself. It was a make-believe world of fun and joy. The only bond was money.
Soon I was bored again and went home.
Back to bed... There had to be more to life than this. I lay brooding for a while — more by choice than impulse, I called my parents. My father’s sleepy voice answered.
‘Dad, I’m sorry to call at this hour. If you and Mom are home, I would like to come over for the weekend. Thought it would be nice to get together.’
I guess he understood, ‘I’ll invite your brothers too.’
Onyx came whimpering.
She was too small to climb up onto the bed. I realized I had forgotten to feed her, had not even bought the dog food. I wondered what she would eat and decided bread and milk should be safe.
We sat on the rug as I watched her eat. She was fascinating. After ﬁnishing her food, she licked her lips with her tiny pink tongue, and equally fascinated by me, came to me for a closer look.
I rubbed her head. She licked my ﬁngers and bit my thumb.
‘Don’t get physical, Onyx!’
She quickly tore up a pack of tissues. When I rushed at her, she started a game.
She would hide behind the furniture and when I caught up with her, she’d chase me. Soon, she proved her proﬁciency as an interior decorator by re-arranging my rooms. We did have our differences of opinion but she prevailed by barking at me in her barely audible voice. I was glad I didn’t have to pay her for her services.
After a while we both got tired.
She shared the chocolate milk with me while sitting on my lap, and peed again.
I scolded her, changed once more and tucked her in bed with me. I talked to her for a long time. She stared at me in disbelief, confusion, and amazement.
Maybe she actually understood, at-least she pretended she did.
‘Clever bitch!’ I laughed.
The day’s dullness was gone. Life was so rich again.