I completed serving the corporate disciplinary action last 17 September, but I have yet to report back to work to claim my identification card as stipulated in the letter. As you might have noticed the Grey Ribbon is no longer included in my yesterday’s post and I hereby lift my self-imposed incommunicado status, although I am fully aware that the threat of a legal action against me in order to protect management’s interest is still very much on my mind.
I was busy yesterday following up some important personal documents. In the afternoon, I and my three-year-old son went to the city and window-shopped, which was all I can afford, nowadays. During the span of the disciplinary action of 15-day suspension plus the uncounted two Sundays, making it a full 17 days, I observed that my son’s eyes sparkled brightly. Whenever I changed my house clothes to something presentable, he now asked, “Where are we going?” instead of his usual, “Office?” or “School?” These were usually my destinations whenever I dressed up. I also discovered that at his age, he now chooses his own clothes to wear, and there will be a barrage of arguments if I suggest otherwise. Now I know how hard mothering is if you are the father! Hail to all mothers, especially if they are rearing three-year old tots!
During my self-imposed incommunicado status, I also was able to chat through SMS with my other two boys, who were studying in my home province. It was as though I was really near them. The younger one even said his good nights before turning in for bed. At one time, he bid his good night at 01:30 a.m. and I replied: “That’s not Good Night, but rather it should be Good Morning!” He assured me that both he and his older brother just had a swell time watching some ‘Battle of the Bands’ at their school, and it ended late but that I should not worry because they don’t have no classes the next day, which was Saturday. That was really assuring.
In retrospect, maybe what happened was a blessing in disguise. Had it not, I might not have become the instant apple-of-their-eyes to my sons. I would have been the present-in-body, but just the same, an absent father. Previously, when I came home from work, instead of playing or spending quality time with my three-year old son, I was in front of my Compaq notebook finishing some office reports needed the next day. The past two weeks, moreover, my son and I spent watching his favorite Power Rangers or playing with his various action figures, toy cars, a dozen balls or simply reciting his ABCs or trying to scribble his name, which was kilometric just like his elder brothers. From the day I realized all these, I vowed to be THERE for my sons, no matter what happens. They are all I have to live for. Of course, above them is the love of my life, their mother. Incidentally, during all these, my wife had successfully been hired for a foreign-based employment. She is now in Jeddah, earning her keep and trying to keep the family finances afloat during these tough economic times. I even joked that she left me for another man [her employer]! We usually talked during her time-offs, but with a five-hour time difference, she worried that I am losing my sleep. I countered: “It’s better NOT to sleep than NOT to wake up!”
The two-week unscheduled furlough gave me time to think about my life priorities, as well as what the future holds. Yet, I worry whether my co-workers will welcome me back or had I committed such a flagitious act of disloyalty that they would avoid me like the dickens and never talk to me again? If that is the way they think it should be, then so be it. They are entitled to their own opinions. I am not hoping for a red-carpet, but a simple smile might break the ice. Far ahead, if the company pursues its legal action, I must prepare for that one, too. For now, I recused myself from publishing what actions are open to address my predicament.
Today is a no-scheduled work day; tomorrow is a Sunday. On Monday, 21 September, is supposedly a Muslim holiday, the breaking of their month-long fast. Thus, on 22 September, I might enter the hallowed grounds of the company which meted me 15-day suspension for bringing something to the open and declared it “detrimental to its business interests.” Unfortunately, I have not pursued my other job applications owing to the fact of tight finances which was consumed during my wife’s job-hunting.
Some might ask, “Why go back in?” All things considered, the current situation do not offer me an alternative, thus I am going back where I once were. I have no idea whatever happened inside the plant during my unscheduled absence and it is as though I am “coming in from the cold,” as John lé Carre once described. Some of you, readers, might scoff at the fact that I have neither sought exculpation nor retaliation here. All these were discussed in a two-part post entitled Written Explanation, but upon advice by a lawyer-friend these were not to be published in «The Grey Chronicles» for now. Maybe someday when everything becomes clearer, all will be explained and posted here in due time. For now, let these things remain what they have been or charge it all to experience. Experience, as they say, is really a great teacher.
Or maybe things might improve. Things are not what they seem to appear. Always optimistic in a sense that there can never be any way that these things remain as they were. From being down, the only way is up. Out of darkness comes enlightenment.
Yet, for me, for the past two weeks, everyday is an ordinary day.
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