Sunday, August 23, 2009

The call

On the bus on a Monday evening, sitting by the window, glancing at the people walking on the street, Jack was wondering about life. More specifically: his own life. Single at 26, a decent job, still paying for his own small apartment in the suburbs, plans to buy a nice car in the near future…it wasn’t exactly a bed of roses, but it was not too bad, considering he had just started. And this is when it struck him, the inevitable and disturbing question we all ask ourselves from time to time: “am I happy?” He already knew the answer: he was not happy. But was he at least satisfied and content with the life he was leading?

His thoughts quickly went back to his University times, when life was tough, money was short and a nice car, an apartment of his own, vacations abroad, all these seemed commodities out of this world. And now, there he was, getting grip of all the things he had always dreamed of, but feeling that something had slipped away from him: his passion for life.

Now the days repeated themselves mercilessly one after the other: clock alarm, bus, office, lunch with co-workers, meetings with clients, bus, dinner alone and countless nights burning the midnight oil in his continuous fight against time.

His life could have been different, had he only set different priorities for it. At University he had friends, a beautiful girlfriend, many hobbies and a vocation: acting. He loved to be on stage, it was something that made him feel alive and something he thought he could never give up on. However, at University he studied Law, because his parents wanted him to. He himself knew that being an actor was not easy: it was touch and go whether or not he could find success following that path. He sometimes dreamed of striking it lucky, achieving great success on stage as well as on screen and striking gold. If that had ever happened, his parents would have had to eat humble pie and recognize his talent. However, that stroke of luck never came. On the other hand, as soon as he graduated he was offered many job opportunities in the Law field. Of course, he was sensible enough not to let go an opportunity that was in the bag just to run after something he would possibly never achieve. At first, he really thought he could have the best of both worlds: having a well-paid job during the week, and devote himself to his passion on his spare time. Spare time? He hardly remembers the meaning of this expression now… His job started to absorb him more and more and, after countless fights, he had to give up on his girlfriend, then it was his friends and finally he let his passion go. In a nutshell: he was living for his job. Better, he was living for the money his job provided him. He was following his father’s steps and leading the life he had always sworn not to lead…

As he was standing in front of his door, groping for the keys in his pocket, still thinking about his life and whether it was too late for him, the telephone started ringing inside. He had the feeling this was an important call, the call that would save him, the call that would show him he hadn’t burnt all his bridges with the theater world, the call of redemption. He quickly opened the door and dashed into the living room, grabbed old of the phone, pressed the green button and, panting, his heart racing, answered: “Hello?”

On the other side, a woman’s voice he knew very well, replied: “Hello, Mr. Brown. It’s Janice, from the office. I am calling just to tell you that Mr. Brandbury has anticipated the deadline for that project: you need to hand it in by Wednesday…”