An Underlying Current

Submitted into Contest #99 in response to: Begin your story with somebody watching the sunrise, or sunset.... view prompt

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Fiction Romance

It's like staring at a masterpiece, an artistic impression upon a canvass of infinite blue.


Far into the distance, the sun dips lightly into a horizon of ocean, casting a magnificent glow of coral across the cloudy sky above and the foamy waters beneath. Wisps of tiny clouds float wistfully across the warm glare of the solar, gargantuan orb.

The creator of worlds is not only an excellent alchemist, but an endearing artist as well.


The remarkable display of color throws dancing shadows upon the creases of her majestic face.


"What if she finds out before you tell her?" The interweaving sound waves of crisp wind and gentle ocean merge beautifully with the sullen chime of her lovely voice.


"She won't," I reassure her patiently. I have to be patient with her or I'll scare her away. She is so fragile, so self-doubtful, so self-critical. I can almost witness the dark and destructive tendrils of guilt ripping her insides apart. 


My Asanas.


She is dark and intense without truly intending to be. She is raw and real in a way that I've never observed in anyone else before. She is naïve, but can be surprisingly insightful. She is simple on the outside, but her depth moves my entire being.


"How do you know what will happen?" Her bottom lip quivers, a glimmering tear coming to the end of its trail just along the top of her lip. I can't help it. As we sit on a thick cloth atop the white, loose surface of sand, I pull her into my arms and press my lips to hers. All I want is for Asanas to be happy. I want to make her happy and right now, all I can think of is the stimulation of her delicate senses. Asanas offers little resistance, and this boldens my resolve.


There is no place else I'd rather be and no one else I'd rather be with.


I'll always remember the day I met Asanas, my soulmate.


```


SIX MONTHS AGO


Friday evening.


"Will you please just grow up!" Sandar shouts from the threshold of the bathroom door, flinging the towel I'd been using in my general direction as I am getting dressed. "I'm not your slave. All you have to do is hang the damn towel up. Hang it up!"


A mighty flare of scarlet, braided hair swings rashly, dismissively, as my wife of nine years turns her back on me and walks back into the candle-lit bathroom, making certain to bang the door behind her.


For me, candles are a symbol of both love and pain. At first, there was only love between Sandar and I. A point once existed in our relationship when the orange flame of our passion flickered in surreal excitement. The vibrant, flickering flame has now turned into a blue hue of sullenness, swallowed up by the pain resembled by the spermaceti that has insidiously formed in our marriage.


I fear that the flame that sparked the life of our marriage has just been utterly extinguished by the engulfing wax. All the love we used to share has turned into pain.


In burning resentment, I saunter towards the velvet-hued cotton cloth and pick it up. Sandar has won.


She has won at a dire cost.


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We are supposed to meet Dre, a real-estate agent, at seven-thirty this evening. Some meeting about an interior designer who did not pay enough attention to detail, and as a result, is not satisfied with the outcome of the kitchen theatrics. Sandar is adamant to see the current state of our prospective home. Dre will provide the house keys for us to keep over the weekend. Final decisions will be made by close of Monday.


I do not feel the excitement that my wife has been expressing about the move. I drive the car in silence, and although I am not looking at her, I can visualize her flaring nostrils as she thinks of something else to deplore me for.


"The way you're going on, Lorenso," she begins after exactly nine minutes of utter silence. "I swear you're planning to leave me for someone else."


I can feel the arch of my eyebrow rising high. Against my better judgement, I shoot a reluctant glance at her and take note of two vertical lines etched into the middle of her forehead. Dark, thickly-rimmed eyes stare suspiciously at my well-groomed face, and I try hard to hold the composure that is threatened by my lividness towards her presumptuous statement. 


"Why do you say that?" I ask as politely as I can. My tolerance for my wife has waned irredeemably. At times, I am surprised by my own lack of patience towards her.


"You're giving me the silent treatment again," she complains in that voice that tells me that her voluptuous lips are pouting in displeasure.


Of all reasons. "Your focal point needs improvement," I say matter-of-factly, taking care not to look at her again. My gaze rests dispassionately upon the road before us. A van with a Playboy sticker and pounding music flashes past us in the opposite direction of the freeway. Streetlights illuminate the inky road beneath us. Cluttered trees and animal farms have gradually given way to residences, shops, restaurants and one-way stops.


"But this is what I'm focusing on!" She whines.


The thing about me is this: I am extremely strict on myself when it comes to areas of focus. I seek to give my attention to things which make me feel good. It does not matter what it is - as long as it makes me feel good. Sandar is the opposite.


"it's not meant to be an attack, Sandar. I am not cheating on you. It will help that you stop feeding the nonexistent tales you tell yourself in your head. It is not only unpleasant for you, but for me, too." I say in a calm manner. I have no wish to be a reactive person. My wife is a handful, but she does not deserve my rudeness. I wish she would learn from me and my treatment of her. I wish she would show me the respect that I try to show her every day.


"I don't believe you," she counters.


"That's because you've already convinced yourself that I'm lying," my voice pitches slightly. It is exhausting to do this.


"Lorenso," she touches my shoulder. A desire to cringe flares up suddenly. Once, her touch awakened my senses. Today, all it does is cause a flight reaction within me which I can't seem to shake. Sandar's behavior has eventually extinguished my passion for her. This is our sad eventuality. She continues to speak as I truly realize this for the first time. "I feel so unheard by you. Could you just pause and listen for a second?"


The woman is as incessant as a colicky infant. My resolve to take the "calm and collected" route begins to shrivel at the already-chipped edges. " I AM listening! All I've been doing is listening to you. Could you be any more selfish, Sandar? Have you any idea how you've been weighing me down? Could you for once stop pointing a finger at what you think I've done-"


"Do NOT shout at me!"


"Then it's best we do not speak at all." 


My teeth grind as the heavy weight of our toxic relationship sinks its influence upon my weary soul. Within me, a gush of reactive energy surges across my throbbing veins, earnestly searching for an outlet. My hands clench around the black-steering wheel, the middle of which a display of four adjoining silver circles is crafted. The destructive energy within me wills my fist to impulsively pummel the flashy logo with my left knuckles. An old Toyota classic ambles groggily ahead of us and I impatiently flick the indicator to let the driver know that I am speeding past them as soon as the chance arises. I need to get out of this suffocating situation before I lose my sanity. The driver flashes back in acknowledgement.


"Was that really necessa-"


"Sandar," I warn. "Please, just shut up."


"I will NOT shut up!"


"Yes, you will!"


We are screaming at each other again.


I have labored tirelessly to keep myself from reacting this way. I am a good man despite my shortcomings, I know this. I have become the gentleman who no longer employs aggression in any way. I try to be good to my woman. I listen to what she says, and despite her claims, I actually do understand where she comes from most of the time. Perhaps in my determination to counter my past aggressive tendencies, I have fallen into the clutches of passivity. I had not seen it that way until now. I have been allowing Sandar to mistreat me all along.


The Sedan in front of us comes to an abrupt stop. Sandar gasps as I slam my foot into the brakes. The Audi, her gift for our ninth anniversary, bumps the back of the Toyota with considerable force. I flick a panicked glance into the rearview mirror and sigh. No car is trailing us.


I kill the engine and shoot a glance at Sandar, landing my eyes on her striking features. The thick make-up bordering her hazel eyes is beginning to smudge as lonely tears trail their way down well-structured cheek bones. The blazing braids which match her ruby dress are held up in a fancy coiffure, exposing a long, jeweled neck and tiny, adorned ears. She looks as diminished as I feel, as unhappy as I am. We are both too tired to even react to what has just occurred. My desire for a more fulfilling relationship combusts within me.


I can't do this anymore.


A rapid tap at my window startles us both. An image of a stunning, sheepish-looking young woman greets my gaze. I stare helplessly for a while before Sandar nudges me to open the door. The wind ruffles my long hair as I step out of the car. I notice her eyes first. They aren't scarred by black, smudgy substances. Her lashes stand out with detailed clarity even under the dim glow of the streetlights. Her grey irises draw me into a world of frozen volcanic eruptions, of icy blue spatter suspended eerily in mid-air. It is a world which makes no sense to me, but draws me in nonetheless.


"Sir," a wary voice rings musically into the passing wind. I imagine its caressing tones being carried away and landing as whispered lullabies upon the ears of the aggrieved. "I'm truly sorry for this. I'm just a learner, see?" A long finger points at the highly conspicuous "L" sign stuck at the rear window of her car. "I know that it does not justify my mistake but before you rightfully bite my head off for destroying your car, please acknowledge that I could use some kindness from you instead?"


A hooter bellows impatiently behind us. I turn in time to observe the sharp swerve of a minibus into the opposite road.


"We're in the way," I say gently, observing the grey strands of her hooded hair. The front edges of her grey coat are crinkled under the nervous grip of her fair hands. Grey jeans and boots array her legs and feet. A stud sparkles on her left nostril and brown lipstick embellishes her small lips. She is likely in her mid-twenties, a decade younger than I am. I feel struck by her and I know that I've already made up my mind to invite the young woman in grey into my future experiences. Her beauty strikes me, but it is not what draws me. What draws me is what lies in her eyes. It is that senseless world, a world distorted by unmoving paradigms.


I want to make this swift. I ask her what her name is while shooting a sideways glance at my ever-sulking nag of a wife.


"Asanas," she sings.


Asanas. An alluring name. "Asanas, I'd like to grant your wish today and show you the kindness that you deserve. I'll let you off the hook if you agree that I drive you home and arrange a tow truck for that rundown car of yours."


I am staring into her eyes, and she stares back. There is a current beneath that stare, an acknowledgement of my intentions. I have no measurement of her capacity to pick up energetic signals, but she appears to be responding in a manner which suggests that she's a woken individual. She is highly self-aware and is therefore aware of others. I see this in her, and I see that she is observing the same truth about me. There is an intrinsic exchange which happens between the two of us which tells me that our paths are intentionally merging.


I observe slight reluctance which is quickly overridden by some kind of internal resolve. A delighted smile stretches across her entrancing face before she finally breaks eye-contact and shoots a quick glance at my visibly upset wife.


"Don't worry," I assure her. "We just had an appointment. But that can be easily postponed. I'm sure a car accident is a valid enough reason to bail under any circumstances."


She loosens the grip on her coat, but I still see glimpses of nervousness in the way that she's biting the inside of her lip and fidgeting her left boot.


I can tell that a lot is being processed in that head of hers. A lot of conclusions are being drawn. She has already analyzed the situation. Despite all the reasoning ricocheting in her consciousness, she makes the decision which tells me that she understands exactly what I am saying in between the lines.


"I'll be right back," she chimes before rushing off into her own car. I walk back into Sandar's car and shut the door. The energetic disparity between the two women in my midst is disorienting. I immediately feel stifled and uncomfortable in the Audi, but my mood has slightly lifted.


"I'm letting her off the hook," I say to Sandar, staring forward into Asanas' car. 


"So you're just going to let her drive off?" My estranged wife bites with an accusing tone.


"Not necessarily," I respond. "We may have to drive her home and arrange a tow truck to fetch the car. She's just checking if she can restart it."


Sandar does not like what she is hearing, but I placate her quickly. "How many times have I shown you kindness when I could easily have been rude and unhelpful?"


Her mouth opens, but the words remain unspoken. A wise decision.


Just then, Asanas opens her door and hastily slides out. She approaches us with a visibly troubled look upon her face. Smiling inwardly, I roll down my window and listen to the words I know she will say.


"I'm sorry, but it won't start. My apartment is about thirty minutes away from here..."


And so it is.


Dre is not bothered at all by the appointment postponement. He and Sandar are to meet up tomorrow at close of noon. I have declined to be present, and as I did, Sandar's displeasure at my decision was almost palpable. The welcome presence of Asanas seems to effectively combat Sandar's constant flow of word-vomit. Neither the grey lady nor the scarlet vixen seem at ease.


"Please drop me off at home first," my wife's voice breaks the thick silence with words that make me rejoice. Impassively, I nod my consent.


You see, I am not a bad person, but I'm beginning to see that Sandar is. Asanas' sudden appearance in my life, as brief as it is so far, has made me realize that I've been missing out on ample happiness and excitement, holding onto a relationship strung together by strings of old, murky memories of what we once had.


I look into the rearview mirror. Asanas gives me a smile of reassurance and encouragement. I smirk back slightly, full in the knowledge that my deliberate coaxing has led a girl to leave a perfectly functional car in the middle of a busy road, and she has done so not only deliberately, but with excitable eagerness. I have later learned that she had intentionally initiated the collision in what she affirms to be "out of pure instinct."


"I love going with the flow and doing what my intuition says, no matter how seemingly foolish," she confessed in one of our engrossing conversations. "It always proves to be worthwhile."


How synchronized it was that on the same day that I completely fell out of love with my wife, that I met a woman who compliments me on so many hidden facets.


Six impassioned months of secret rendezvous points and long, riveting phone calls between Asanas and I has led us here in this paradise, in yet another rendezvous point. As naked Asanas snuggles securely into my wholehearted embrace, I witness as the last of the sun dips into the distant horizon. She sighs blissfully, and I know that my ardent attempts to pull her attention away from my nagging wife are successful.


"Our world is ours alone," I tell her often. "Pull your attention away from anything but you and I, and our experiences will flow favorably."


She understands where I'm coming from. I know this. But a silent question still burns, unspoken in both our minds. When do I finally gather the courage to officially untie the knot with my imprisoner and begin my life with the woman of my dreams?


I tuck the question away before it catapults a series of unwanted thoughts and emotions, turn my senses to the nature around me, and allow my beautiful Asanas to allow her worries to melt within the scorching cocoon of my loving arms.

June 25, 2021 19:46

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