tagRomanceProjecting the Wild Man

Projecting the Wild Man


Author's Note: This story was written some time ago. It became a sort of pet project, to be picked up whenever I felt like it. I am not sure if it is any good, but if you enjoyed the story, then my goal as a writer is fulfilled. Feel free to comment.


Projecting the Wild Man

From the Jottings of Anna Pollock

Spring, summer, autumn and winter. They were not only seasons which came and went. There was this transition period which de-categorized those trite words. Never could a single concise explanation describe a particular season. The lovely snowdrops inclined their petite heads first, trailed by the crocuses and yet while still enclaved beneath the soil, the yellow narcissus sprouted. The peak was a flirtatious dance between the miniature pine-like hyacinths and the tall, willowy tulips. That was the way I saw it. T'was was spring; and spring was here.

Listening to the beautiful piano music brought me back to the height of yesteryears. When now I see everything in colour, then I saw everything in black and white. I never took risks, never gave in to chances nor surrendered to destiny. For it was what I did not know of which frightened me. I shall tell my story, as accurately as I remembered it without the foresight of today's knowledge of what was meant to be.

I grew up safe and sheltered in the suburbs of a small town. So much small it was that it was very much the countryside except in name.

My life was a colourless sheet of paper except when duty calls for a decision. There was always a clear demarcation or what was right or wrong. Should a situation fall outside its boundaries, I took comfort in the shelter tactfully called ignorance. Do the wise not say that ignorance is bliss? Always there came a time when I could safely emerge from my shelter unharmed and untouched. I then based my actions acting on the consequences which had run its course while I was waiting patiently for the storm to subside. It saved me from making a personal choice. Subsequently I acted according to the right or wrong principle deeply embedded in me. The choice of actions which proceeded would be easy to make because it basically entailed doing damage control on a disastrous outcome which I had neglected to take control of while the situation ravaged still. I always got the spoils then, but I did not see it that way. I saw it as everyday life.

Everyday life was meant to be simple, not complicated. I was very tolerable of my life in all sense of the word. I had lived a life of comforting bliss before I stepped outside my boundaries of home and took the deep plunge. I plucked cherries during summer and grew bulbs during autumn. I derived my activities from the seasons. That which I ought to do I would have done. It was the ideal life. I could not say that I was unhappy.

I attended university in the nearest city which was an hour away. I would travel daily for classes. I had a deep resonance to home so much that I wanted to travel everyday eventhough my parents thought it silly to waste petrol. You see, I drove to and fro with the only family car. Perhaps they were not entirely precise in their innuendo.

Every time I was at home, I felt a sense of peace. My home was my oyster. I felt protected and safe. If ever I wanted adventure, there was this path with lots of bends and corners leading into the woods. It ended in a jagged cliff at the end of a clearing which overlooked the mountains and the Great Lake right below me. It was a precarious place to be standing. Strangely I felt safe because it was within the comforts of my territory.

I was attracted to the distorted natural curves on the trees and their drooping leaves. When the wind blows here, it does so with vigour. Given the barren clearing save for a few trees, the wind was unfettered and wild. It sweeps the few trees in the clearing without mercy. Yet these were the trees which swayed without pretensions; joining the wind on its cruise. They went with the flow. Resolute for survival, they prevailed through this uncanny method, however much beaten by the weather as could be. After a strong gust of wind, the leaves fell as if upon autumn's judgement. The branches which held the once taut leaves; now fragile and broken, come tumbling down at the slightest leap of the squirrel so common in these woods.

The view beyond the clearing was breathtakingly beautiful. I was always careful when I stood close to the cliff and I never lost my concentration here. Even when it came to bliss, I was still careful. I could not let go completely. I did not fail for want of try. I just could not lower my resistance enough to let go and be lost in the moment completely.

I would day-dream here of princes and princesses, of fairy-tale endings which put a smile on my lips on the darkest days. I was lost in my own world, yet so grounded that I blinked a tear away each time I opened my eyes to reality. I felt that I was not immersed enough in a fantasy.

The aquamarine in its cold waters, the pastel blue of the skies and the indigo hues of a Victorian pastoral on the mountain tops all appealed to me. It was here that every time I felt sad, I would come to cry my heart out. Then I would feel at peace. This was my favourite spot in the whole countryside. I felt notches more at home here than I did my own house. I was truly at home with the wilderness.

When I started working, I worked also in that city where I attended university. I had been doing administrative work which was basically data entry on statistics. Numbers and more numbers jostled my brain into a mechanical clockwork. I did however enjoy my job but felt that it could use a boost now and then. I constantly felt drowsy during my job as the repetitive work was without interest in the long run to me.

One day, I chanced upon a newspaper advertisement for a job as a company secretary. It was for a company which just set up a branch in the city. I applied for it; went for the interview and was told that the vacancy was already filled by a more suitable candidate a few days later. However the interviewer asked me if I was interested to become a personal assistant to the mayor who happened to be his friend. He felt that I was the perfect candidate.

I immediately said yes. I was proud to have made a good impression on the interviewer. He said that from talking to me, he gathered that I was meticulous and able to multitask yet I was flexible at the same time. This was the criteria for the job.

Despite the fact that I barely knew who the mayor of the city was and what he stood for, I decided from the moment the phone receiver was put down that I would do my best. I would make sure that this politician shone in public and walked the talk. He would be honourable and kind. He would be a role model to the public.

I did not trust politicians. So if I could, I would divert all my energy to make them trustworthy. It gave me an outlet to be busy. I wanted to be captured in the hustle and bustle of life. More so, I appreciated my unresolved ambitions. So I wanted to be on the go. To be more than I could be. It stood out like an obvious loophole that I had no inkling of what my wildest dreams were. Perhaps the job with this mayor would unlock some of my creativities which I was not aware I possessed before.

On the first day of the job, I walked right into the city hall without hesitating. I normally had some reservations about new endeavours I undertook. This time I handed myself heavy reprimands if I were to have second thoughts. I leaned forward. I knocked on his door. His receptionist beckoned me to go in following silence which seemed an eternity. There were no signs of occupation from his room.

"That means that he doesn't mind." she said.

Inside, I saw a man hunched over some papers. He was studying them intensely. He could not have heard the door open as he showed no indication of being aroused from whatever he was doing.

I closed the heavy rosewood door behind me, in turn causing a loud throbbing sound to be heard. It reverberated through the silence of his room.

It was purely unintentional on my part. I just did not realise how strong my hands were. I made a mental note to be gentler on the door the next time.

I unwittingly got his attention with the door. It was then he looked up, yet irritably. His eyebrows twitched. His nose flared. Yes, he had a rather prominent nose. That was the first thing I noticed about his countenance.

This particular mayor's emotions were all negative. Not only was he irritated with me; he had to scowl and shake his head rigorously.

I was taken aback; and also stepped back in the process; leaning against the door when it could not go back further. As my high heels had tried to tramp the door as if it were the ground, I was pushed forward in the opposite direction; which was to where this brooding man was seated.

He looked at me so intensely that I wanted to bolt. His green eyes plunged into mine like dripping icicles.

"You're deaf or something? Never, ever do that again. Do you understand? Oh, of course you didn't. You stand there like a stick insect. Yet Heaven knows what power you possess to make scratch marks on my door with that flimsy footwear of yours." He said, far too loudly like I was a great, great grandmother who was hard on hearing.

I looked at the part of the door where I hit rock bottom with my shoes. There was a visible white scratch caused by my heels.

"I'm sorry. This is the first time I am using your door." I said.

I guess it sounded silly but I just said it out. It was the truth.

"I can get some varnish to get rid of the scratch." I said, feeling bad about the whole scenario.

And I have yet to introduce myself to my new boss.

He crossed his arms defensively.

"And you think varnish works? Silly creature, it does not. You need a wax crayon to fill in the scratch." He said.

I had no idea what a wax crayon was but no matter. After all, I was called a silly creature already.

"No, you had done enough to my door." He continued, trumpeting loudly as if he was promulgating the King's wishes in a public square right in the middle ages.

With a funny looking hat and colourful costume, he would look right at home. It was how I imagined those funny characters in cartoons.

"It's hardly visible, being right at the bottom of the door. No one will look there." I said.

I was now quite defensive. It was strange, given that I am usually a docile person. I always went with the flow. I never felt the urge to justify myself or speak my mind in public. I felt that there was no need. My self-worth did not depend on being right to other people. As long as I knew I was right; it was enough.

"What kind of employee bangs my door the first day she arrives and then scratches my door with those power heels on her flimsy strappy shoes?" He said aloud.

He gazed directly at me. So much blue in his eyes. So much obstinate character and passion.

For a while, I was mesmerized. I could only gaze at his enigmatic face.

"No answer, huh? Just like I've expected." He said, grumbling.

"No, I have an answer." I said.

Drat. Why was I in a combat position of all days? I was highly strung by the grumpy arrogance which filled the whole of this man.

"Oh, you do? What is it?" He asked.

"No employee in her right thinking mind would do as I did. But then again, it was an accident. I didn't know, Sir, that your door could be so loud and hard. Being so, I didn't know that it could be that fragile not to withstand a tiny scratch from, like you said - my flimsy strappy shoes!" I said.

My answer caught him by surprise. His mouth opened wide. It would be the first of the many times I would surprise him witless.

Then, unexpectedly, he turned his back against me. He looked at the window and was silent for what seemed a whole hour to me. I could not see his face or comprehend his countenance.

When he was done, he faced me again.

"You're Ana, my personal assistant?" He asked.

He spoke with a touch of arrogance.

"Yes, Mr Wild. I am Ana." I said.

"You are Ana Poll...?" He asked, with a frown, trying to remember my full name.

"Pollock. As in the Alaskan Pollock. You know; the fish?" I asked.

Normally people warm up to me quickly when I tell them my name. It is quite amusing actually. A really down to earth name. They always remember my name. I used it to my advantage to make friends too.

"I see." He said seriously.

He did not find my name interesting or asked me if I liked to eat the fish. Normally people ask me that.

I moved towards him until I reached the border of his table and offered my hand. Yet he continued to look intensely at me. He withheld his hands. I realised that he did not want to have a friendly handshake with me. I was embarrassed and withdrew my outstretched palms.

It was then I decided that this man was going to need lots of training to be a role model. Why; he lacked even the basic courtesy to shake hands. To be a politician, he had to be cordial. Just as quickly a name surfaced in my mind like a light bulb. Grumpy, old man! I called him Mr Grumption. It reminded me of Grumpy, the dwarf in Snow White. The suffix at the end of his nickname I added because I felt him to be an abstract noun. He was in a category of his own. The habitual action of being grumpy in my opinion is called "grumption".

"I'm really sorry about your door." I said.

"Let's not speak about it again." He said.

He said it quickly and in a rather abrupt manner. I could have sworn that I detected a twinkle in his eyes when he said that.

"Okay." I replied.

"Sit down. I'll tell you what you have to do for me." He said, pointing to a chair in the far corner of his room.

Belatedly I realised that there were no seats in front of his table for people to sit when they were to talk to him. There was only this horrible, old chair basking in dust in the right hand corner of the room. Even then the chair was packed to the brim with loose paper and thick, ancient files that had withstood dusting.

I glanced at the chair and then back at him. I was unsure if he wanted me to yank the chair out the mountain of files or if this eccentric man just wanted me to sit on top of the whole pile while he gave a lecture from his desk about five meters away. Again I made another mental note to measure how far it was from his seating position to that corner of the room if I had the opportunity to do so.

I gazed at him with curious eyes. He intrigued me a lot for some reason. Yet the reason was probably that I had yet to meet someone as bad-tempered and rude as he was. Then I took in the enormity of his office. It felt like a dark, judge's chamber where serious decision making took place. Yet here I was in a cranky politician's room. In all my understanding, politicians are supposed to be witty, quick and chameleon-like because they dance to the tune of the masses in order to garner more votes.

The room had a musky scent. Everything was made of wood. There were different shades of brown for the furniture. The cabinets were a dark brown while the table was a pale hue. It was in fact the brightest colour in the room. The pathetic looking chair was the colour of maple syrup; reminding me so much of the branches of the trees in the clearing. I almost smiled at the thought and had to check myself.

That chair in the corner had a lovely shade but not in texture. It appeared to have stubbles all about it. The wood was peeling off and there were fine shreds of wood fibre clinging to the structure just like hair on the carpet; refusing to be vacuumed into oblivion.

Mr Grumption; how I liked that he should be called such. It really suited him. He had files and papers scattered all about his office. On the table, on the floor next to the table, next to the cabinets and even on the window sill which was heavily curtained with a shade of orange-brown. The colour of the curtains made the room look hot and bothered. No wonder he was too. What a shade to use to compliment an office. Orange is the colour of excitement. Brown is the colour of boredom and insecurity. No wonder!

"Ana, sit! How many times must I tell you? Or are you really deaf?" He yelled.

Instantly I bulged at the suddenness of his command. It had the effect of jerking me.

I looked at the chair. I walked towards it in four big steps. With some effort, I climbed up and sat on top of his files. They were half a metre high. They were so old I guess it would not have mattered. My high heels could not reach the floor. Its straps dangled and swayed on my dainty toes. I tried to keep them upright by stretching my feet inwards. I hoped that he was so busy yelling at me that he did not notice my stretched feet. It would appear so unladylike to drop my heels in front of him; especially after what they had done to his door. I also had this notion that showing ones bare feet was an intimate affair.

His eyes now dwelled deep into mine. They were a fiery green. His hands started to move upwards and towards the back of his head. He must have realised that it was childish to scratch his head. He immediately lowered his hands just as quickly as they reached for his hair.

"Are you crazy? Are you? Why are you sitting on my files? Are you that stupid? Can't you just place the files on the floor and then sit? Must I explain everything in detail to you? Are you nuts?" He was repeating himself; half of what he said was redundant.

He shouted, making great strides towards me with his arms outstretched. He was going to grab me, I was sure of that. Yet I could not bring myself to move. I was rooted to the chair. The extremity of the situation rendered my senses alert but actions delayed.

Without thinking, I crossed my palms over my chest and lowered my head. It was an instinctive reaction. Thinking back, I must have looked like a tortoise seeking refuge in the hard crack of a shell. He was so close me that I heard him breathe in and out heavily. I was expecting him to yank me away from the chair and perhaps topple me over his beloved files. Closing my eyes, I waited for that dreaded moment. Let it be over soon.

Yet nothing of that sort happened. Instead I heard him sigh and walked away from me. Surprised I opened my eyes. Then I regained my senses; prompting into action. I jumped out of the chair, landed on the floor with both heels, grabbed the files all in one go, placed them on the floor and immediately sat on the uncomfortable chair. I would have rather sat on the files as the chair was all hard, just like him.

He nodded as I looked at him. This time with an incomprehension. This is a strange man. He was really wild. Not only in name, but in actions.

"Finally, you understand what I wanted you to do. Just sitting down is so difficult for you. I wonder how you were able to convince Peter that you were the right one." He said.

I wanted to say that I did not even try to convince Peter that I was suitable for this job for I did not even know that this job existed in the first place. Peter, the interviewer for the previous job, just assumed I was. He never told me what a grumpy man his friend was. But I kept silent. I wanted this job. I told myself that I could do something different from old, administrative work. Grumpy, old men like him excited me. I needed a change. I was in my positive thinking mode this morning.

Perhaps I could even change this man. Mould him into what I want him to be. That was an afterthought though. The main goal was to do my job and the side goal was to make him a good, trustworthy politician. I kind of liked that challenge. It made me feel so awake and alive like I had never felt before.

I shrugged. I did not want him to know that I was not even applying to be his personal assistant and it was all by chance. I did not want him to feel that he was only second best. Strange enough because I did not even like this man. I guess I was brought up to be polite to other people. I never liked to hurt other peoples' feelings although they often hurt mine. Just like Ben, my ex-husband.

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