Chapter 3 - Some stumbles.
After telling Kim about his entire journey, Kong told everyone that he was tired and would go to bed a little earlier.
The narrative brought not only kind and beautiful memories, but also remembrance of all the problems they had to faced and which he didn’t tell his grandson.
Already lying on his bed, looking at the empty space beside him, Kong recalled the emotional turmoil that both went through, when they found themselves in love with each other. P’Arthit didn’t want to talk with him, avoiding him whenever was possible, hoping to dulge their weird emotions. After all, they were two straight guys with feelings so far unthinkable. All the fights they had, all the fears and insecurities, all the jealousies and judgments of others for being two men. All the unfair professional persecutions, all the times when he thought P’Arthit was really near to give up on them How many tears were shed until all the gears (reference to the engineering course symbol) were engaged.
Kong immediately had vivid memories of two of the most difficult times in their lives.
The first one occurred when he was an intern at Ocean Eletric, the same company where Arthit was already an employee. During a celebration party on the beach, them two were photographed kissing and had the photo released inside the company. This episode aroused moments of tremendous amount of tension between them. Afraid of being bullied and lose the respect of his coworkers, Arthit decided to stay away from Kong, which caused him to much suffering and a painful feeling of rejection. As a result of all this uncertainty, Kong gave back Arthit the gear, the one that he took care of, saying that Arthit should stay with it until he was sure of their relationship again. The renewed confidence and certainty was finally manifested at the closing party of the internship. Arthit, in front of everyone, loud and clearly announced his love for Kong and revealed that they were a couple. A happy and loving couple. The gear yet took a few more days before Arthit returned it to Kong. Before doing so, Arthit had something to do. He ordered the two gears to be divided, his and Kong’s, and than jointed again as one, half of one to half of another. In this way, the gears would not be just their representation as individuals, but also the representation of their hearts connected in just one.
The second moment occurred when Kong got a scholarship to take a postgraduate degree in economics in China. Arthit was insecure, because he believed that Kong’s moving to another country meant the end of their relationship. This made him anticipate the end, breaking up their relationship before the trip, causing a lot of pain and suffering for both of them. However, on the day scheduled for the flight, Arthit appears at the airport, saying that he was sorry and that he believed in their love. This has inspired Kong to take a pair of engagement rings from his bag. He offered one to Arthit and immediately put the other on. Arthit kissed him in the middle of the airport, not caring about anything or anyone. That was the turning point of their relationship. From now on this was a commitment that would last a lifetime. And once again surprising Kong, Arthit showed a ticket he bought at short notice, so he could go along with him to China.
Already almost taken by sleep and lulled by memories, Kong was sure that his Ai Oon was standing right there beside him, looking and smiling. Almost asleep, he whispered:
- Goodnight, My Love!
As he had always done for years, Kong was one of the firsts to get up. That day was no different. He tidied up his room and went to the kitchen, where he used to prepare breakfast for him and Arthit. He did everything so automatically that he didn’t notice when Somchai, his eldest son, entered the kitchen and watching his father make coffee, said:
- Are you just making coffee for two? He said smiling, as he walked towards him and giving a kiss on his head.
As if it dragged him back to reality, Kong realized that he was, indeed, making coffee for two. Himself and his beloved Arthit.
- Sorry, son! I think the memories of yesterday were so strong, that I woke up feeling his presence and, for a moment, I forgot that he is no longer with us.
- No need to apologize, Dad. We all miss him a lot. Said Somchai, giving him a tight hug.
The day went by filled with excitement. The beauty of the place was indisputable. The joy of children running across the lawn made the day more colorful. After lunch, while everyone was getting ready for rest, Kim threw himself on his grandfather’s lap and, with his natural curiosity, asked for more stories about him and Grandpa Oon, causing everyone to laugh and looking for other things to do, after all, everyone knew that these stories were quite long.
- Remember that grandpa said we changed engagement rings at the airport?
- I remember, answered the grandson.
- So, when Grandpa Kong returned from China, do you know who was waiting for him at the airport, with a huge smile on his face?
- Grandpa Oon! The boy shouted, with the same joy in his voice as his grandfather.
- That’s right, Grandpa Oon. He gave me a big hug and said it was time for us to go home.
At that moment, Kong was transported to the past. He remembered the moment of his landing, when he found Arthit at the exit gate, waiting for him, with a huge wide smile on his face. They embraced each other warmly and for a long time, while Arthit whispered in his ear how much he loved him and missed him. Kong was returning home and was quite sure that a new life with the man he loved was about to start over.