Jim has more or less settled in his new life, new routines, new emptiness. Taking to it like duck to water though outwardly he gave an impression of one going through a rough patch, secretly he's beginning to enjoy his freedom. The severed responsibility from wife and kids. He has always been an introvert and this turn in his life gave him the social endorsement to be himself. No more putting up faces, no more pretending to enjoy companies he did not care for. He has an excuse, his divorce, the separation from the kids gave him immunity. Everyone would understand when he makes an excuse not to be sociable.
He poured his soul into his work. 24 hours a day. Only taking short breaks during weekends to see the kids, if they were on the same continent, that is. Otherwise, his weekend will be spent lazing around and working on his art. He has just discovered painting and found it to be soothing as he immerses himself in the colours and textures on the canvas. He lets himself go when he paints. Some were bold strokes and colours while some were muted monochrome and sepia. Once completed, left to dry then stacked in one of the rooms. This is his new world as he continue to heal from the pain. And the memory of that pain was revisited by a phone call.
It happened while he was on the way to a meeting. His mind pre-occupied with it. His agenda, the negotiations, the opponents, the back up plan and some such. When his phone rings, he just picked it up thinking that it may be his secretary making sure, as usual, that he is indeed going to the meeting - not that he ever forgets - she's just doing her job, annoyingly, Jim thought. But the voice at the other end is different and it spoke of pleasantries not formality. It took a second or so for Jim to be pulled back to the conversation at hand.
It was an old friend, used to be anyway. It was a friend whom he had helped get back on his feet when he was down and out. Someone whom he put his reputation on the line for. Yet, for some reason or other, once this friend got his groove back, Jim was dropped like a hot stone. No explanation, no nothing, just drifted off. Last Jim heard was that this friend does not like the way Jim was treating another common friend. Yeah right, some excuse. What hurts most for Jim was the fact that he lost a friend whom he had taken in as one of his own. He was angry at himself for being too trusting, for thinking that others would treat him like he would treat them. What a fool. No more. Thinking back, Jim realised that perhaps there was an element of jealousy and business rivalry that brought on the rift. The past is gone.
The phone call seems a bit too suspicious for Jim. No apologies, no nothing, just an out of the blue invitation to dinner. After years has gone by, numerous mobile number changes, a call for dinner ? Nah, even the memory is still painful so when the sms with address arrived, Jim replied in the negative. Inwardly, he thought, you got out of my circle by your own choice, getting back in is not as simple as that, if ever...
What exactly does this person want ? Jim just couldn't figure it out yet he was sure there is an ulterior motif to that invitation. How did he get his number ? As he recall, his distribution was limited when he changed his number. Have they been monitoring him all this while. If so, would not a friend have come forward when he was in the midst of the divorce. Why wait until now ? So many question, so many assumptions. The circumstances seems too suspicious and insincere. Worst of all, Jim takes this as an invasion which he did not take kindly to. If only, the call would have come with an explanation and a sincerity that he could accept.
That evening, his painting was made up of bold strokes of red slashes over blue and green blotches. Mesmerising mix of textures and colours filled with anger.