SIGNS, SIGNS EVERYWHERE A SIGN

Submitted into Contest #112 in response to: End your story with a character standing in the rain.... view prompt

6 comments

Drama Fiction

Her name is Abigail, the most exciting and desirable woman Tim has ever known. Abigail breezed into Tim’s marketing firm a little over 6 months ago as a 22 year old intern fresh out of college. With her swimsuit model appearance and vivacious personality, she quickly became the topic of ever office rumor. In short, every man wanted her and every woman hated her. Being the center of attention came naturally to Abigail. She shrugged off the office politics with a playful-nonchalance that made her even more irresistible.

Tim was never a religious man. What he believed in were signs, or more succinctly, cosmic signs from the Universe when it was trying to convey an important message. Unfortunately, Tim was oblivious to the song selection on his car radio on his way to work: Before He Cheats; Unfaithful; and Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under? So Tim didn’t think twice when he accepted Abigail as his assistant. To him it was business as usual. Their relationship started off innocent enough. They were professional towards one another, following office protocol with regards to proper workplace behavior. But somewhere between their late night assignments, lunch dates, texting, and long drawn out phone conversations, they developed a pseudo-affectionate relationship. Several coworkers began calling Abigail his work wife. Abigail was tickled with her new title. If anything, it made her even more familiar towards Tim. It was during this time that thoughts began to swirl within Tim’s mind: a late night assignment turning into a torrid love affair; a lunch date segueing into an afternoon delight; and a phone conversation leading to a secret tryst.

THE SECOND SIGN WHICH TIM FAILED TO NOTICE.

A change occurred within Tim. Inexplicably, he felt young again, more vibrant. He dug out his old weights and boxing gear from his garage and took to working out like a man possessed. Morning jogs before work became his daily routine once more. With his new found energy and vigor, Tim surprised his wife with spontaneous bouts of love making like in the days when their relationship was still new. It was as though Tim had woken up from his midlife coma and sudden came to life. Everyone noticed Tim’s transformation. They asked him for the secret to his miraculous rejuvenation, the source of his fountain of youth.  

THE THIRD SIGN WHICH FAILED TO DRAW TIM’S ATTENTION.

Tim’s wife, Carrie, tells him about the events of her day. But all Tim could think about was Abigail playfully straightening his tie and telling him, with a flirtatious smile, how lucky his wife was. 

A neighbor bragging about his prized orchids brings to mind the memory of Abigail gently touching Tim’s thigh and whispering softly in his ear during a meeting.  

At a grocery store, a woman determines the freshness of a cantaloupe suddenly reminds Tim of Abigail running her hand down his chest and stomach asking him if he has been working out. 

Abigail occupied Tim’s every thought, every dream, every waking moment. At first, Tim was elated with his awakening. It was refreshing and INVIGORATING. “It’s all harmless fun,” he would rationalize to himself. Little did he know that his harmless fun would evolve into genuine feelings and unspoken desire.

Tim had unwittingly created a monster; a fiend that ruled his life, his will, his sanity. He wished he could simply flip a switch and turn off his growing obsession for Abigail. “You’re a happily married man,” Tim kept reminding himself.

THE FOURTH SIGN. WILL HE FINALLY PAY ATTENTION?

The day Abigail announced that she was returning to college to pursue an MBA was a bittersweet moment for Tim. Deep down inside, he didn’t want her to go, but at the same time he felt a great sense of relief. Tim hoped that in time Abigail would become nothing more than a distant memory. Then his life would return to normal.

Tim’s reprieve was soon shattered when Abigail came to him in confidence. She told Tim that he was the reason why she was leaving the firm. Abigail found men her own age to be childish and immature. She made a decision to stop dating so she could focus on her career. Her romantic life would have to wait until she was ready to settle down. Everything was going great, she was right on track, until she met Tim. Being with him made her realize how good it was to be with a real men, a mature man who knew how to treat a woman. It was agonizing for her to be so close to him and not be able to express her true feelings. She suspected that Tim was beginning to feel the same way. Abigail thought it best that she left now before the situation got out of hand. But before she left, Abigail gave Tim a piece of paper with a written address. She informed Tim that she would be in that address for a few more days. “Just one night,” Abigail whispered into Tim’s ear. “That’s all I ask.”

Abigail’s proposal is the reason why Tim stood outside on his driveway holding a large garbage bag. The putrid stench of old Chinese food and rotting fruit assaulted his senses. Tim’s mind, however, was too far gone to care. His breathing was out of control and his heart felt like it was about to burst from his chest. The breakdown occurred when Carrie remind him about their upcoming family dinner. It was their son’s, Zack, turn to add to the legacy—a 180 year old potato stew recipe that originated from the time of the Great Famine. Each generation of Tim’s family added a new ingredient to the growing dish. Tim’s father took great pride in adding bacon. “Bacon just makes everything taste better,” Tim’s father would often tell him. Tim himself introduced rosemary, an ingredient that went well with roast potato.

It was a proud moment for Tim. He saw his son’s addition to the family recipe as a rite of passage. Then he remembers the piece of paper (with a written address) burning a hole in his pocket. His thoughts instantly went to Abigail. He imagined her waiting for him, alone, in her apartment. It would be easy for him to slip away under the guise of work. His wife wouldn’t suspect a thing. "I've played it safe my entire life," Tim thought to himself. "This could be my one chance to step on the wildside. Just one night of indiscetion." Tim gazes over at his wife of 28 years. The woman who has loved him unconditionally through thick and thin. The mother of his two children whom he adores more than life itself. His anxiety level spiked to a boiling point. Tim grabs the garbage bag and tells Carrie that he was taking out the trash. In truth, he just needed a moment to clear his head and calm his nerves.

Staring at an empty garbage bin on his driveway, Tim is reminded of an instance, while a plane is racing down a runway, when a pilot has to decide whether to lift the wheels and commit to take off, or shut down the engines before reaching the end of the runway. In aeronautic terms, it is referred to as V2 or Victor 2. Standing outside, holding onto a large garbage bag, while obsessing over a piece of paper in his pocket, Tim knew that he had reached his Victor 2 moment. His runway was coming to an end. He needed to make a decision now before it was too late.

As if to punctuate his constant lack of foresight, a darkening sky above grumbles and groans. Suddenly it begins to rain. Raindrops fall upon Tim's head and shoulders, causing his shirt to cling to his skin. A calmness settles over Tim. He smiles knowingly as he tilts his face up towards the heavy downfall. "Are you trying to tell me something?" Tim asks an unseen entity.

Tim takes out the piece of paper from his pocket and exposes it to the rain. The falling raindrops blotch and smear the ink written on the paper. He realizes, at that moment, why he was still holding onto the garbage bag. There was one more thing he needed to throw away. Unceremoniously, Tim tucks the piece of paper into the large bag then drops it into the garbage bin.

The rain picks up in intensity. A wind slams into Tim causing a stinging icy-wet sensation to spread throughout his body. He welcomed the coldness and discomfort. It almost felt like a consolation of sorts. “Bring your rain. Let it fall down upon me,” Tim states emphatically. “And wash away my sins.”

September 24, 2021 20:43

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6 comments

Zion Hintay
21:39 Sep 28, 2021

Damn I wasn't expecting the ending, I thought he'd go through with the affair. Well written as always. One spelling mistake though: “Beacon just makes everything taste better,” I think you meant to type bacon. Other than that, another great piece.

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Rodrigo Juatco
00:43 Sep 29, 2021

Right thanks man.

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Francis Daisy
03:00 Feb 14, 2022

Powerful! I love, love, love the ending! The idea of the rain washing away his idea, temptation, and sins is so...refreshing. Perfect ending to a perfect story! One typo I noticed: Just one night of indiscetion. - I think you mean "indiscretion"?

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Rodrigo Juatco
18:22 Feb 14, 2022

Thank you so much. And yes "indiscretion." Missed that one. Lol. Thank you again.

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Keya Jadav
01:38 Nov 27, 2021

Wow, this is so beautifully written. Every incidence is inculcated so neatly, successfully forming a link between the alternate realities. I am glad of what the protagonist finally decided in the end. This is a great story Rodrigo!

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Rodrigo Juatco
02:45 Nov 28, 2021

Thank you so much. I appreciate your comment.

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