Vish sat on the wall that separated land from the ocean. It was a wide wall, and he sat dangling his feet towards the water.
He had a job in the docks, a small job that paid for his food and rent, but little else.
He sat munching on his sandwich, weighed down by a feeling of hopelessness. This week would be his last one on this job. He was a temporary hire for the busy season.
Seagulls swayed and danced above, around the water; the water itself, blue and timeless, a mute spectator to his melancholic mood.
He felt bitter as he looked at the busy port, and the hundreds of people who worked there. Was there no job in this big place for him?
He had stopped with high school and had joined his uncle’s business as a tailor. He had learnt on the job and come to love the satisfaction of sewing a beautiful frock or suit or trouser to perfection. He was in his early twenties when his uncle passed away and the tailoring shop had to be closed.
From then on it had been this way, one temporary job after another, where one just followed instructions.
The loud blare, as a ship left the docks brought him out of his reverie; the pain intense, as he contemplated the next week.
He had to start all over again. His money would soon run out and he had to find something quickly.
He finished his lunch and walked back, to the mundane task of dragging cartons up and down, only stopping for tea and coffee breaks.
That weekend he was set free, nobody expected him to report for duty, nobody believed he could be of any use, nobody knew or cared if he had had a decent meal. His mom lived in her village, content with the few dollars she made as a domestic help.
As he walked back and forth on the high street, checking if anybody was hiring shop assistants or anything else, he heard three women talking animatedly as they waited to cross the traffic signal. They were quite loud, and he heard one of them talking about their children’s costumes for a play that had to be altered by the evening, and their desperation that no tailor was willing to take on this rush job.
He decided that he had allowed life to slip by thus far, without focus.
Before he could stop himself, he had gone up and told the ladies that he could do it for them but for the fact that he had nothing, no support, no infrastructure, no money, absolutely nothing, except the skill to alter the costumes.
The ladies looked at each other incredulously. One of them saw his face; and couldn’t quite place the expression on it – hope, resolve, grit? She couldn’t really say. On a whim, she said, “I have a sewing machine at home, will you do it?”
Three hours later, he had managed to complete the job to perfection, leaving three very happy moms behind. They had compensated him well and had given him a warm meal.
As he walked home, for the first time in years, he felt that maybe things would work out for him. He just had to wait for the right opportunities and seize them.
A couple of days later as he poured through the newspaper, circling the Jobs Vacant section, his phone rang.
The voice said, “Mr.Vish?”
He said, “Yes.”
“We are calling from the Little Flower Nursery School, we were given your contact by Mrs.Samuel, who spoke highly of your skills in tailoring. We have our annual school concert coming up and would like you to sew the costumes. Could you please come and meet us?” the voice said.