SOTUS S: The Third Year and the Office Worker
SOTUS S, Lover’s Rule No. 14: Admit your love
There is a saying: “Rumours are only alive for three days”, not that people have stopped talking about them but that there is newer, more attractive news.
“Hey, you know, that John from the Purchasing Department, he got fired.”
“I can’t believe he’s embezzled millions from the company.”
“Yeah! I knew it. So that was the reason he appeared so rich, he changes his iPhone every time it comes out.”
“Nowadays, people, they’re so shameless!”
The topic of Arthit and Kongpop’s romance was quickly lost in the Ocean Electric LINE group and was replaced by the news that the company had officially announced the dismissal of the assistant manager of the Purchasing Department. Arthit looked at John’s empty desk and remembered a motto he had once told himself: “We have done so much for the company, it’s time to get some money back from the company.” But the wrong approach had cost everyone and he could only hope that John would turn over a new leaf. Just like someone who’s” reformed”.
“Arthit, I’d like to get Bonus for my desk.”
“Phii Earth’s desk?”
In the past, the workaholic sister’s desk was full of files, stacked like a mini pyramid. However, now Arthit found that a small space had been left, just as he had been told.
“I’ve got plenty of room for Bonus now.” Phii’s whole demeanor has softened and she seems to have adjusted her mood, letting go of some of the past.
“Life is short and I don’t want to waste my time on this ‘nagging’ thing.” Earth picked up her ex-boyfriend’s gift of a red fighting fish in a fish tank and her mind was free of all worries.
“You too, don’t let the time pass in vain.”
Arthit could hear the underlying message of this advice. Tomorrow is the last day of his internship. For the past week, he hasn’t seen Kongpop, as if he had completely disappeared from his life. It’s not surprising that Kongpop would do that, because even he wasn’t ready to face the man he’d cut himself off from. And if you think about it, they weren’t the kind of lovers who spent every day together and the times they met, it was almost always because someone created the opportunity for them to do so.
So it’s easy to break the ties without much effort. Not to mention, when he came back to the dormitory that evening, he found that room 507 next door was already empty, except for a housewife who was cleaning and preparing for the new tenant to move in.
Kongpop had moved out early, closing the door on all chances of reconciliation. In such a fatale love affair, had it been decided from the start that they were not the right match? If so, what is love made in heaven?
Arthit opened the door of room 508, entered the room and plopped down on the bed. He pressed the remote and turned on the TV to make the room less quiet. A remake of an old film was playing on the screen, the story was almost over and the hero and heroine were getting married with the blessings of their friends and relatives.
Is this the kind of love that is made for each other by worldly standards? And what is all this happening to him? The young man looked around his room a silver pen on the table, clothes hanging on the balcony outside the room, a refrigerator with a very tasty steamed egg, two gears of brown and silver on a thread.
If all these memories also made him feel the shyness of love, wasn’t this love? Arthit turned off the TV with a feeling of uneasiness and confusion, the more he stayed in this small room, the more depressed he felt. So he got up, went out of the room, locked the door and wandered aimlessly. It was almost six o’clock in the evening and the alleyway was bustling with people who had just left work and were looking for a place to eat dinner. Some were walking alone; some had a companion with them; others were holding hands, showing affection that might not happen to them.
He doesn’t even dare to introduce Kongpop as his boyfriend, not to mention holding hands. Actually, this feeling didn’t arise before the LINE group came out, or before he met Mr. Krirkkai but it has been there for a long time ago. It’s been there for a long time, since his first day in the Purchasing Department, when John asked him about his boyfriend. Could the truth be that he was afraid? Afraid to reveal to the world that he was in love with a man of the same sex? Afraid of being hurt by people’s scathing remarks and curious eyes? Fear of disappointing those around him? Fear of accepting himself? Arthit looked up at the evening sky. Surely the heavens wouldn’t give him any answers, so he picked up the phone and dialed someone – someone who knew him best. Soon, the call was answered.
“Are you off duty, son?”
Just hearing a familiar and caring voice, his heart was instantly warmed as if he were being embraced and soothed.
“How’s it going, are you tired?”
“Have you eaten yet?”
“Why don’t you go and eat? Did you eat every meal? You don’t eat breakfast, I told you it’s important” is the standard, “mother” chatter. He believes that all mothers in the world are exactly the same, no matter how old their children are, in their eyes they are always the ones who need care.
“Mom”, Arthit hesitated to start a sentence: “I” but in the end he couldn’t say: “No, nothing.” But just like in the old days, a mother is a mother, always keen to find the slightest hint of something wrong.
“Is something on your mind?”
“No, I just miss my mom.” ” If there’s a problem, don’t think about it too much, there’s always a way out. If you can’t take it anymore, just go home and take a break, relax.”
“I can stand it, your son is a great man!”
“Even the best needs encouragement. Mom doesn’t know what’s happening to you but no matter what, she will always be there for you.” Arthit’s heart was overwhelmed by his mother’s words. No matter what happens to him, there is someone who is ready to love him forever. Arthit talked to his mother for a while until she remembered that he hadn’t eaten yet and urged him to find something to fill his stomach.
Arthit talked to his mother for a while, until she remembered that he hadn’t eaten yet and urged him to find something to eat. Before the call ended, the caller said, “Take care of yourself, son.”
“You too, Mom.” The young man put the phone in his trouser pocket, when his fingertips touched something that had been accidentally brought out.
He pulls out a wristband with two gears, only to find the brown one left standing.
Where was the silver one? Arthit’s heart went cold, he searched through the cracks and corners of his trousers pockets, bent over the ground again and then went back the way he had come to see if he had dropped it somewhere.
But no matter how he searched, he couldn’t find it. Immediately he ran back to the dormitory, hoping against hope that he might have left it in the house. Just as he picked up the key to open the door, he caught sight of a glint on the floor – the silver gear had fallen just in front of the door.
There are things we seek for so long, only to find that they are close at hand.
Arthit clutched the silver gear lovingly in his hand, looked once more at the empty room next to him and finally made up his mind. Ocean Electric held a simple farewell party for the interns in the large conference room, with the participation of seniors from various departments after work, making for a lively scene.
It also showed that this year’s interns were especially appreciated for their abilities. Kongpop was standing near the small drink stand and although he was grateful to the seniors for doing their best to hold this farewell party for him, he was not happy at all. Ever since the day he returned the gears to Phii Arthit, his heart had been as empty as a huge black hole. But even without his heart, he still felt the pain, which seemed to have seeped into his blood and flowed through his veins.
His decision to move out of the dormitory yesterday was a hasty one, as he had done when he moved in, without informing Arthit in advance, just as he was always the first to act on a sudden impulse. Arthit is a kind person, is what he getting back just out of pity and sympathy from Arthit? Or is it because of Arthit’s confused? Or is it because Arthit is lonely and isolated?
Based on this thought, he was willing to leave Arthit’s side, leaving enough space for both of us to review the relationship and confirm our feelings once again. No matter what the final outcome was, he would accept it with restraint.
But even so, he still felt fear in his heart whenever he imagined that he was losing Phii Arthit. And at that moment, he caught a glimpse of the person in his mind walking into the conference room. One thought made him run to grab Phii Arthit and hug him tightly, while another thought made him realize that he shouldn’t do it.
While these two thoughts were fighting with each other, Naai’s voice called out to him from behind, “Kong, Phii is calling us to get ready, let’s go.”
The light in the room dimmed, leaving the stage to illuminate the special moment. The event was kicked off by a hostess,” Today, the interns have prepared a performance for the older siblings, please come up if you’re ready.” Kongpop moved two chairs to the center of the stage and Naai followed with his guitar.
“We practiced this song this afternoon, so please forgive us if we don’t sing it well.”
Naai innocently left himself a step up, to the laughter of the seniors. Kongpop sat in front of the microphone, he looked down from the stage, despite the darkness, his eyes were focused on someone, as if there was a thin thread connecting them and the memories were flowing through the thread.
He wanted Arthit to know that he wasn’t sad, that even though the days were short, the most precious moments in life were the ones he spent with his beloved. Naai started to play the guitar and the lyrics were sung:
“Hand in hand, for better or for worse,
for tears or for laughter, no matter how long it takes,
I’ll never forget the smiling days, the arguments,
the days and nights,
As the days we spent together, as everything, as the past,
as the best moments of my life, as brief as they were, because of you,
I was able to experience the songs and the gifts,
the old playbills and the letters we sent each other in the days that we were apart,
I still have the tired days, the comforting words, the images of the days and the nights, still the beauty that never changed as if it were yesterday.
The only difference in the depths of my memory is that now I don’t have you with me,
like all the days we’ve spent together,
all the good times I’ve had in my life,
even though they were short,
because of you, I’ve been able to experience wondering if you,
if you could hear this song, my thoughts I don’t have you with me,
like all the days we’ve spent together,
all the days we’ve spent together,
everything that happened in the past was the best time of my life,
even though it was short,
I was able to experience it because of you.”
When Kongpop and Naai finished their song, there was thunderous applause.
“Oh hey, with a voice like that, let’s make an album together, trust sister!”
The host’s quip made the two interns smile after hearing it. But this parting song is also very meaningful and touching in its choice.
“Now tell your brothers and sisters what they’ve learned from the internship here.”
Let’s start with Naai, the northern lad, slightly shy, clearing his throat.
“My name is Naai Veerawat and I’m from Chiangmai. From the first day I started my internship here, I felt that my world had opened up and that I had seen new things”.
“I’m really happy to be able to do my internship here, thank you.” When Naai finished describing the experience, he turned his attention away from Yong and the room echoed with applause. Then, he handed the microphone to his friend Kongpop, who spoke from the heart. The tall man walked to the center of the stage, with a gentle and elegant demeanor, not unlike his first day of internship but with a much more mature appearance.
“Hello, my name is Kongpop and first of all, I would like to express my sincere thanks to each and every one of you for taking care of me during my internship. Even though my time here was short, I feel like I learned a lot here…” Kongpop looks around the room and fixes his eyes on someone.
“Someone once told me that the workplace is different from the campus, not only is the social circle wider but you can also encounter all kinds of problems. During my internship here, I’ve learned to face problems and solve them, I’ve met brothers and sisters, I’ve made new friends, I’ve learned teamwork and I’ve gained a deeper understanding of responsibility. So, what I see in my work is not different from what I see in the university. If we learn to accept, to understand, to adapt, we can live happily wherever we are.”
Kongpop was still staring at Arthit, who was not even aware of this but he couldn’t read his feelings on his face, because… Arthit had his head down and was blocked by a lot of people standing in front of him.
Suddenly, a commotion broke out in the audience and the staff, who were standing tightly together, were pushed up by a man who, in front of everyone’s astonished eyes, rushed onto the stage.
Arthit grabbed the microphone from the host’s hand, looked straight ahead and announced in a resolute tone: “Kongpop and I are a couple”, which surprised not only Kongpop but also the office staff.
However, Arthit continued firmly,” A lot of people have been talking about my picture with Kongpop.”
The reappearance of this hot topic caused the audience to whisper, even louder. The man holding the microphone could feel his hands trembling but he wouldn’t run away.
“I confess that before, I chose not to admit my feelings because I was afraid, I was afraid of being looked at strangely but I didn’t know that my fear hurt my beloved but now I’m not afraid anymore, I’m brave enough to admit my feelings, I’m ready to announce them to everyone”.
Everyone in the room cheered, whether out of praise and blessing, admiration for their bravery, or a deeper contempt for them but none of that was enough. There was no need to take it to heart. All the people in the world were less important than Kongpop who gave him back a big smile.
The farewell party for the intern was over, they chatted and their shadows were stretched out on the night road.
“At first I thought I was going to be abandoned again.” Kongpop’s mind was still shaken by what had just happened as if it had been a dream, which he half-believed.
Arthit’s eyebrows were knitted together. He had just done the bravest thing in his life and they were still doubting him.
“Are you suggesting that I could love someone else easily?”
Kongpop quickly reiterated his position, “Me too! I’ve been thinking, even if I get rejected, whether I live or die, good or bad, I will never give up on Phii Arthit!”
They were both so serious about their love for each other and it’s a good thing they got it back in time so it wouldn’t be ruined.
“I apologize for my initial hesitation,” Arthit whispered. It can’t be helped, after all, he is a human being and it is natural for him to be confused when something of this magnitude happens and it takes time for him to overcome his fears. But when his mind is completely made up, he’s ready to move on.
“I’ll have to introduce myself to Mr. Krirkkai sometime in the future.”
“Hey? Why all of a sudden? Why all of a sudden?” Kongpop was surprised by what Arthit mentioned, because the subtext of “introducing yourself seriously” meant” revealing your identity as a lover”.
“I’ve been asked to do this by my husband, so I want to do it properly.” Arthit was exuberant as if he was the groom who was about to propose to the bride, even if the family was against it and was trying to prove that he was capable of giving the best to Kongpop as Krirkkai had asked him to do.
“I understand. I’ll have to introduce myself to Arthit’s family as well.” Kongpop is equally prepared, “From now on, wherever Arthit goes, I will go with him, even if he kicks me out.”
“Who gave you permission to follow me?”
Arthit moved closer to the other man, reached out with his right hand and hooked Kongpop’s hand resolutely.
“The road ahead, we’ll walk it together.”
With no one to guide them and no one to follow them in the days to come, they would grow up side by side. The late night moonlight from the sky shone down on Arthit and Kongpop and for a moment there was no sound, as if they were the only two people left in the world, holding each other’s hands tightly and feeling each other’s warmth.
Happiness filled Arthit’s heart and when he reacted again, his cheeks were wet with tears. It was crazy that after quarrelling for so long he didn’t cry and now he was just holding hands and shedding tears.
But Arthit knew very well that these were not tears of sadness, because the hand that held him tightly was trembling a little, expressing over and over again the deepest meaning of the heart: the softest place is the heart; the strongest place is also the heart.
And these two people’s hearts were already filled with the love they gave to each other.