"Job offer? What job
There was silence on the line.
"Jess...Didn't he tell you?"
"Tell me what?"
I was sweating now.
"Jess...you know how my job is, right? I have shows everywhere. I was
doing this show in the UK and met some people I knew... and pulled a few
"You are killing me, Liz...can you get to the point?"
"Jess, I hate to be the one to break this to you...Rene has been offered
this excellent job in London. It's one of the best design firms in the
"Is...Is...he taking...it?" I asked every word coming out of my mouth with
"I've two tickets to London for next week Jess..."
What do you do when you see
the end coming? What can you do really?
I felt as if someone were trying to extinguish the fire of love in
within me. Someone just couldn't let me be happy. The eerie darkness of
the night crept all over my body. I wanted to feel the warmth of the
morning sunlight on my skin; as if that would change anything.
Nothing changed; the earth rotated once again as darkness melted into
light -and I was still feeling miserable.
It was 10:45 AM and I was now at the peak of restlessness.
I didn't know where I wanted to go, but I just wanted to get out. I took
the keys and opened the door.
He was standing there, desolate, as if he were visiting a house in
"I came as fast as I could," Rene said.
We sat facing each other, but I just couldn't look at him. I just kept
quiet and stared at a stupid painting on the wall.
"Jess, look at me."
"Look, this shouldn't have happened this way. I should have been the one
who told you this..."
"...You didn't Rene."
"I know. I thought it would be better for both of us if I didn't tell
I looked at him, bewildered.
"Were you going to run out on me?"
He stood up and sat beside me. He put his hand on my cheeks and said,
"Jess, I love you, you idiot. You know that more than I do. I can never
deceive you like that. Never."
My eyes were feeling funny. I was trying hard to postpone the
"Tell me something good Rene."
He hugged me and said, "I've made up my mind about the job offer." He
withdrew and looked into my watery eyes. "I've decided to let it go."
I didn't know what to say. I just pulled him towards me and hugged him.
"Listen, I've got to go now. I've got some paper work to do with mom,
but I want to talk to you more about this okay? Till then promise me you
won't think about this."
I didn't respond.
Thinking about Rene had
become a ritual for me. I realized it at the moment I tried not to think
about him, but just couldn't stop myself.
I couldn't take it anymore. I went to see him.
Liz answered the door.
"Jess! Come in!"
"If you're looking for Rene, I don't know where he has gone. His sister
seems to be missing too."
"Okay," I said about to leave.
"Why don't we have some coffee?"
How could I say no?
Liz was looking extraordinary today. She wore a brownish dress that
complimented her complexion. Her face was glowing with life. When I told
her she looked good, she smiled and said the sleep she gets on her bed
at home was somehow always rejuvenating. She had a show on the anvil in
a fortnight; today was her day off.
Her coffee made me nostalgic. It had that distinct taste and smell that
reminded me how Rene made me coffee every morning after every night I
had stayed back.
"Jess, I'm again sorry about what happened."
"That's okay; I had to know it one day."
"Has...Rene decided yet?"
I poured myself some more coffee.
"He hasn't told me anything yet," I finally said.
Liz sighed. "That boy is very intelligent, but really stupid! He
sometimes doesn't know what he wants."
Rene wanted me. That was the problem.
"Maybe he just needs some more time."
She sighed. "Tell me something if he never wanted this why would he work
"What do you mean?"
"I only got him the contacts Jesse. Even if I work in the fashion
industry you need to make your own dough. I think this started," she
paused, "...almost two months back. After that he has been working hard
trying to get into this company. They don't accept anyone without
experience, but they made an exception with Rene. He has been sending
them designs regularly. They will give him a special training for six
months to prepare him for the job."
I slowly absorbed what Liz was telling me. "He..never...He never said
anything about this."
How could he?
"I don't know what's stopping him! I really don't care if he says yes or
no, but I hate this I don't know!"
Liz didn't know anything. She didn't know what was going through Rene's
mind. She didn't know her only son was in love with the guy she just
made coffee for.
"I'll talk to him. He will make his decision soon...very soon."
"How can you be so sure?"
"Trust me. I think I know what's stopping him."
"I so want to kiss you
now," I confessed.
"Because this place is divine...it's sacred."
"You're kidding...aren't you?"
"No...I'm sorry Jess."
"Well okay...that's fine with me," I said and turned away. He could be a
Before I knew it he pulled me by my shirt and kissed me.
"Fool" he said.
And we kissed
I could still feel the wetness and tenderness of Rene's lips. It seemed
as if we had been there only a few days back. But in reality it was much
longer. It was the same spot on the highway, where we could see the city
lit up in the starless night. The two trees were gently swaying in the
Everything was the same and yet everything was so different. It was cold
outside and we had to stay inside the car.
"Rene..." I said.
"I've been trying not to think about this the whole day, but I just
can't take it anymore."
"What is it?"
"I think...I think you should go to London. You should take that job
"I don't know...don't make me say it again."
"Jess, you don't have to do this okay. It's not that important, I can
"Don't lie to me Rene. I know you've been working for it for some time
"What? How did you know that?"
"I talked to your mom," I said softly.
He sighed. "I told you not to think about this. And you went and talked
to my mom!"
"I went looking for you Rene. I...really think..."
He suddenly looked away, "I don't care Jess. I don't want to leave."
He was too caught up with emotions that he couldn't complete his
sentence. He turned away from me and kept rubbing his forehead. I was
seeing a side of Rene I had never seen before. I knew the strong Rene
who you could was never see shaken or uneasy. Don't misunderstand me, I
knew him for being romantic, sensitive and even cranky...but never like
It had started to rain. We could hear the rain drops pelting on the car.
"Tell me something..." I said speaking over the rain drops, "If you had
never met me wouldn't you go?"
"I've met you. So much has happened and I just don't want things to
"Rene, this is important..."
"...Fuck, I don't want to talk about this okay? I'm taking you home."
We didn't speak for the rest of the night.
I was walking around the
room trying to think, but my head was hurting from lack of sleep. Even
if I tried to sleep I just couldn't. I dialed Rene's number.
"Jess. I was just going to call you."
"I'm sorry too. Look lets not talk about it anymore okay?"
I didn't understand how he could postpone things to eternity.
Procrastination was not going to make this easy for any of us.
"Does El know?" I asked.
"Yes he does. How would that matter anyway?"
"I don't know. I was just thinking. How did he react?"
"How do you think he reacted?"
"Rene, listen to me. If I were given a wish, I would want you forever,
but this is no fairytale. This is life..."
"...Stop it Jess. Stop it! I've had enough of this. I don't think you...you
love me. If you loved me you would never want me leaving you..."
"You know what? I'm going to do what you say! I'm going to go. Why
should I stay when you don't even want me here?"
"Don't. You don't have to say anything anymore. I will do whatever you
say. You asked me to leave and I shall do that."
"I don't want to see your face or talk to you ever again!"
How can one define the intensity of pain? When the right words are put
together and are uttered by the person you love most, you get damned
with the most intense pain you've ever felt. After he stabbed me right
through my heart with that sentence I could hear his heavy breathing. I
closed my eyes anticipating that deafening click of the phone and then
the flat lifeless sound of the dial tone; but he was waiting. Waiting
for what? Another pang of pain hit my head as I fell on the bed.
"You know what Rene," I choked, "F-uck you."
And it wasn't him who caused the click.
I was a stupid gay kid who
thought I could make any cute guy fall in love with me with one sloppy
I grew up.
I realized love was a thing that other people experienced, something you
read only in stories and hear from friends.
I grew up.
I realized sometimes when you least expect it you are sucked into the
cruel ecstatic game of love.
I grew up.
I realized I was wrong about everything.
It is amazing what a moment
can do to a relationship that has lasted for days, months even years.
Fate laughs at you and strips you of everything without even giving you
a chance to grasp what is happening to you.
I tried talking to Will, and to Laura, but it was no use. I wasn't
talking to the person I needed to talk to. I knew he didn't want to talk
to me and I was convincing myself I didn't want to talk either. When
you're depressed you feel like you're in a big dark room with hundreds
of locked doors, but deep inside, you know there is life waiting for you
to move on behind that one unlocked door. This was one of those times
when you wanted to lock that door too.
Laura tried her best to get us together, but she failed. One day she
called me and told me she wouldn't be calling me again. She said that
Rene didn't like her talking to me anymore. Before hanging up she told
me he was leaving in four days time.
Why is that when you fight with hurt and anger the hurt always prevails?
Why is it that when you are separated from your lover no matter what the
circumstances are, you are bombarded with a plethora of memories? I
didn't know why, but I certainly was experiencing what any person would
go through after a break up. Break up. That's something I wasn't
prepared for. I was so foolish to have thought about our "future" but I
didn't think about the..."What if"?
Two days before he was going to leave, I was at the supermarket with
Will. She poked me and looked at me with a blank expression. I asked her
what her problem was. She turned her head.
I looked at where she was looking. He was standing there.
He was the same Rene I had seen for the first time at Laura's birthday
party. His hair was unkempt; he was wearing a pair of faded brown jeans
and a burgundy t-shirt on top of a plain white t-shirt inside. He was
indeed the same Rene. He looked at Will and then looked at me. When our
eyes met, he had that automatic smile effect on me. The look on his face
was enough to unbend my smile. He quickly looked away and vanished
behind a row.
I looked gloomily at Will and said, "That's not Rene."
I never knew love had a
secret contract with hate. Now I was trying to hate Rene to make it easy
for me to let him go. Not only was I convincing myself that I hated him,
I was imagining that this lame attempt to enable me to forget him was
It was late in the night of Day 3. Rene was to leave tomorrow. I didn't
I picked up the phone and my fingers slowly dialed Rene's number
Flashes of our previous conversation bore deep into my soul as my eyes
twitched. And then I heard his voice.
He was awake.
"Hello?" he said again.
I didn't respond. I couldn't.
"Hello? Who's this?"
It's me, Jess. I'm sorry, Rene!
I hung up.
Suddenly the phone started ringing. He knew.
After the fourth ring I
picked up the phone and put it back down again.
It was over.
I woke up late that morning
and wondered if Rene had already left. What if I had spoken to him
yesterday? Would things have changed? Maybe it was meant to end this
I sat all day locked up in my room. I needed to be alone.
It was 4 PM when I imagined that the main door bell rang. When it rang
again I knew it was real.
Suddenly, I had a feeling it was Rene. Something inside me exploded. I
ran to open the door. It had to be him!
I opened the door.
It was El.
"What the fuck is the matter with you?" he blasted.
I had no patience to talk to him. I started to close the door. He pushed
the door and forced himself inside.
"What the fuck do you want?" I shouted.
"Come with me," he said.
"I'm not one of your fuck faced playboys. Get lost!"
Looking once again at the sheer hugeness of El, I wasn't particularly
happy I said that.
Amazingly El was still calm.
"You need to come with me now," he said.
"What does Rene think of himself? He thought he can send you here and
El lost it with that.
He grabbed me by my t-shirt and pushed me on the couch.
He came close to my face and whispered, "Do you love him?"
I didn't answer.
He tightened his grip and shook me further. "I asked you Do you love
I looked down and replied, "Yes...I do. I do. I love him like hell."
"Do you know what's the difference between you and me?" he asked and
narrowed his eyes.
I looked blankly at him.
"Rene loves me. And that will never change. But it is you he will always
be with, you are that asshole the one Rene is meant to be with."
I struggled free from El. He stood up and relaxed.
He continued, "You think I'm some dumb fucked up shit hole, don't you?
Why do you think I'm here? I should be with Rene. I should try to make
him believe that you were just an illusion. You were too good to be
"Why didn't I do that?" he asked me.
Before I could say anything he answered his own question. "Because I
already did. I already tried that. I tried everything to make him mine,
but he is yours. And you don't even care."
"Just shut your sweet face. Don't think I'm here for you. I'm here for
Rene. I want him to be happy You get that?"
I didn't respond. I was too dazed. I wanted to run away from all of
"I'm giving you one more chance Come with me," he said.
I looked into El's eyes and the decision was made.
We made it to the airport
just in time.
El was running in one direction and I followed him as fast I could.
I stopped immediately when I saw Rene.
He was standing near a pillar with a small bag in his hand.
He looked at me and his face turned sour. He walked towards me.
"I knew you would come," he said.
"I didn't think I would ever see you again Rene," I cried.
"Me too," he replied, "I'm sorry Jess."
We hugged briefly.
"Leave everything. Come with me...right now. I want to take you with me!"
"Won't you do that for me?"
"Rene! I'm...I wish...I wish we hadn't fought. This is happening too fast. I
don't want you to go now. Forget what I said, don't go!"
He looked at me sympathetically. "Okay. I won't go."
I looked at him at amazement.
He continued, "Even if I wanted to leave Jess, there are no flights to
"What are you saying?"
"I'm not leaving today idiot. I'm leaving next week..."
"...Then. All this?"
I looked at El and he smiled at me.
"I knew we would get back, I just speeded the process so that we can
have one last week together."
"You fuckin..." I kissed him.
Rene did take that flight
to London one week later.
In those seven days I lived my life to the entirety. There was nothing
that stopped us from having fun. Of course Laura wanted to poke her nose
in at times, we loved her for that. Liz `understood' what was happening
finally, and she again started apologizing for what she did. On One day
she came to me and said Did you know that my son's boyfriend is
really cute? She laughed and quickly left the scene. Rene always had
a hint that Liz was finally accepting his sexuality, but this was the
first time she bluntly proved it. We were amazed. El was really upset
but he was trying hard not to show it in front of me or Rene. I felt I
was finally beginning to understand El. I promised Rene I would try to
be cordial with El and help him.
When he finally did leave, I did feel miserable. It had only been a week
since Rene left, and it felt like ages. Even though I was preparing for
the inevitable, there is nothing like experiencing it in reality. With
every passing day I realized the meaning of Rene Rebirth. With the
birth of Rene in my life I was born again. He was my angel who helped me
move on in life and forget Andy. He was an angel who I didn't cage and
keep for myself. How can you capture an angel anyway?
Life is like the branches in of a tree. When you look up there are so
many ways you can go. You choose one not because you thought it was
right; it's because that branch was made for you. I had made my choice
by influencing Rene to take that job. I don't know if I had done the
right thing, but I certainly knew I was meant to do that. I played my
part in Rene's life.
As for my life I was waiting; waiting for him to come back from London.
I was waiting for those six months to pass. I didn't know what was going
to happen to me in six months. I didn't know what was going to happen to
him. But I most certainly felt ready for life's weird ways.
Rene called me as soon as he reached London. He told me he missed me and
everyone like hell and wanted to take the next flight home. I told him
first to check if there were any flights back home at that time. We
promised to keep in touch through every possible means of communication
you can envision.
I was overwhelmed with so many emotions when I started writing my first
email to Rene. I wanted to express my gratitude, respect, adoration,
attachment, anger (He kept hiding stuff from me) and incredible love for
him. I wanted to write about every day how he made me feel different. I
wanted to write about every second that I missed him. I wanted to write
about my plans to study in London.
My email finally read:
I love you.
Still madly in love,
Writer's Note: I want to thank all my editors
who not only edited my work but also encouraged me with valuable
feedback. I've not concentrated much on the environment in this story
and clues in the story keep pointing to various cities on the US east
coast. So we will never know where Jess, Rene, Will, Laura & El actually
lived! I hope you've enjoyed this story. My sincere thanks to everyone
who has taken time to email me and appreciate/criticize my work.
Email your wonderful comments to