It is about non-financial benefits he gets from his job. He said when his company produces a new advertisement; he gets the chance to recommend few names to the production director. He is a good friend of Jerome. Most of the time, people who got recommended by Jerome ended up getting the contract. Because of Jerome’s influence, half of Colombo’s modeling talent is in his friends list. If you go to any major event in Colombo with Jerome, you don’t have to buy tickets to get in. Either he already got free tickets or finds someone who can let him in. Jerome always lived among beautiful people.
I only other hand, have no daytime job. After A/L, I decided to stay home and look after my parents business interest. I have to go through dozen of bank statements every day and shoot questions to various people. Best part of my job is I don’t have to wake up early like others. Usually it takes about 3 to 4 hours to go through the bank statements and send emails. Before me, Sajith used to do this. After he left the country, mamma took over. She spent entire day doing this and hated it every bit. She was relieved when I came in. I haven’t seen Mahappa every get involved in this. Although he was part of the family, he lived like a stranger. Maybe he was smart enough not to get involved in family business. He was a jovial person and lived a happy life. Mamma wants me to take more active role in the business but I haven’t done that it though.
I went to the washroom and the kept door open. We have to be at the college hostel before 9 and it is already 7am. Asitha had to cover one of his friends at clinical, so he asked us to come early.
‘What’s up with Gunasekara’ I asked when he showed up finally.
‘He wanted me to come in the afternoon for some urgent work, but I refused. That must have pissed him off I guess’ Gerome started brushing teeth.
‘Of course it must have..who would not want to take a day off on Monday? Did you convince you are sick’ I asked.
‘That’s the point..I don’t have physical pain anywhere, so I had to fake it. Didn’t think I did a good job though..for sure I need a doctor’s note to show him tomorrow..Gunasekara has a long memory and doesn’t forget conversations like this’ he said.
We had a quick breakfast and left home at 7.30. I am not used to wake up this early so I was still feeling sleepy. Jerome took the driver’s seat and we joined the rat race to Colombo. On a weekend Ragama to Colombo doesn’t take long, but this is Monday morning office and school time. I was looking at all the vehicles that are heading towards Colombo. Some travel comfortably seated in air conditioned cars while others travelled packed like sardines inside busses. I should be grateful of what I got I told myself. When we turned into airport road and I fell asleep.
I dint dream, but got tangled inside a maze thoughts. I should relieve Jerome from my bondage. I get the feeling he is not looking anywhere as long as I stay with him. I don’t know what I want from him or anybody right now. One thing I know is I am not ready for a committed relationship. I have gone out with girls in the past and enjoyed the outing. Since I joined schools’ senior swimming team I have slept with countless guys. With all that experience, I am still not sure who I am really. With all that experience my life is hollow and I feel lonely. Do I want the emotional support from a girl or physical satisfaction from a guy…or is it other way around..I cannot figure out. Often I thought my sexuality is like the colors in the rainbow. It just that I cannot figure out which color I belong to. Some days I felt like Red and other days it was Indigo. The next day I was Green. With so many permutations, I was lost. I wished things would be clear but our role in this world is anything but. Sometimes I felt we all are just pretenders and live according to what the society dictates. No one seems to have the freedom to according to his or her wishes. Instead, it is all about live our lives to make someone else happy. So far none of these contradictions bothered me. I lived my life the way I wanted and got most out of it. Sometimes I felt invincible and hoped it would continue like that for rest of my life. I was naïve and had no idea what was about to hit me. And it did hit, I woke up. We have parked the car in front of St. Anthony’s basilica church at Wattala and Jerome was running towards the car.
‘Why did you stop the car here’ I asked when he got inside.
‘I went to put some money into church till’ he replied.
‘Why is that? You never do that before? So what’s so special today?’ I was wondering.
‘Nothing, It just crossed my mind when I saw the church..you were sleeping. So I didn’t bother to wake you up’ he started driving again.
‘You are acting weird by the way’ I had the last word. Maybe he is really afraid of something.
When we reached Punchi-Borella medical faculty hostel, Asitha was waiting for us. He took us straight to his room and inspected Jerome.
‘Don’t worry machang, this is just a common skin rash. Just keep the area clean and apply this cream twice a day’
He pulled his drawer and gave the ointment to Jerome.
‘Oh one more thing..this is a contagious skin disease. So you didn’t …since you had the symptoms, right?’ he looked at Gerome.
Gerome looked at me with a guilty face. Asitha got the message.
‘Randi, you can use the same cream but only if you get the symptoms..Asitha said gently.
We said goodbye to Asitha and took to the roads.
‘I know you won’t get this Randi.. I made a promise to St Anthony to keep you out of this’ Jarome said in low voice.
So that’s why he stopped by the church in the morning, I told myself.
‘Its’ just a skin rash and maybe you got lucky this time..So just be careful next-time’ I preached.
We didn’t talk much till we arrived home. Much has already changed since the morning, I thought.
Part 3 next.
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