Finding Clarity - a fictional lesson in communication.
The scotch burnt his throat in a good way. He balanced the sail plan with the tiller lashed so the sailboat would rest quietly for the night. Her name was Clarity, written in lovely script across the bow. She was only 12 feet. Some might call her a dingy, but Jeremiah was in lust with her. Others questioned his sanity because he couldn’t swim a stroke. She was just what he needed when he dragged himself out of the office on rare occasions. Tonight was his night to sleep on the boat, several miles off shore. He was alone. He was lonely.
As the last drop of the malt whiskey trickled down his throat, Jeremiah was reminded of the small red droplets on the living room carpet so long ago. He closed his eyes to block out their past; after all, exactly a decade had passed. He poured another glass. He had promised his sponsor that he wouldn’t let this anniversary shake his sobriety, and then he promised himself that just one glass wouldn’t mean anything as long as no one else found out. He hadn’t meant to go this far. Drowning memories was the goal, but they were more vivid than ever. The minty sweet scent of her hair wafted to his nose. He longed for her soft skin and small hands. Instead, he held a cool glass of scotch.
At the office, they assumed that greed and a lust for success was what drove Jeremiah. Little did they know that his morning run was a futile exercise in running away from a life completely lacking in joy? Each acquisition brought more money, more notoriety, more employees, and then the office building was sold and a larger one constructed. Through all of this, Jeremiah couldn’t smile. He was somehow hoping that if there were enough money in the bank it would bring back his sweet Jessica.
There was a moment when he thought he was close to fulfilling his dream – and that was the moment he set eyes on Clarity. If he was a praying man, he might consider Clarity an answer to his prayers. He had never sailed before. Running hadn’t allowed him the escape he desired, and he was sure that the wind and the water would give him what he needed. Whether it was irony or one of life’s serendipitous moments, he bought Clarity in hopes of finding clarity. Tonight he was, fulfilling his dream of a secluded night on the water. Unfortunately, the answers to his questions were becoming all too clear. “I was such an ass, she deserved so much more” he sobbed as the waves continued to rock the little boat.
Two, three, and “what the hell” he blurted as he stopped counting drinks and wiped the tears with his sleeve. The rhythmic lapping of the waves against the boat reminded him of the last time he held Jessica in his arms as they danced to the sweet voice of Annie Lennox as “Why” played on the stereo in their living room. She had been trying to tell him. She was always trying to tell him. If only he had been the husband she deserved instead of being the man he thought he should be.
The house on the lake, the diamond earrings, he was hoping they would make up for the lonely nights. He promised that someday he would take time away from the office and she would nod as he convinced himself that she believed him. Why hadn’t he listened to what her eyes were telling him instead of those words? He knew what she wanted. She wanted his baby; she wanted him to be a husband who was available to hold her. So many times she had tried to tell him, and so many times his response was “someday sweetie, someday I’ll have more time”.
He could hear Annie singing the final verse “the years that we have spent and this is what they represent…” the tears rolled like a film reel with those final moments: bloody knife in the kitchen, blood trail, lifeless body of his one love, and the explanation. Was this his night of clarity or ultimate failure? Clarity lived up to her name. His life was finally clear, in those last few moments before the cool waves relieved him of his pain. He went the same way she had gone; he finally understood her choice.