By Eunice Foo
Ties are designs in many patters and fashion style. It holds a certain meaning despite those who wears it daily to work, being part of the dress up for one to represent themselves on certain events or just a daily routine, for example, it may hold a hidden hint on one’s personality.
For Vincent, it was merely part of his job, including the speech that he had to give on that day.
He pushes the blue tie up slowly. Savoring its soft whispers, admiring its sleek and elegant material although it was just a plain tie without anything much to express him or as a matter of fact, any individual.
He looks at the full length reflection, checking for wrinkles on the clothes he had spent hours ironing. He checks his clean shaven face, smoothing his hand across his jaw.
He nods in approval and stares back at his reflection, only to find deep black irises with a tinge of gray staring back at him without any form of acknowledgement.
It was a silent challenge without a definite objective, a routine done each time before he leaves the house. A mini ritual that develops and takes form into a creature named Habit.
Of course it takes on a contoured deformity if it’s labeled as Bad Habit instead of Good.
He squints his eyes at the rising sun outside, clearly not fascinated by its arrival. He has and always will prefer the dark seeing as he’s more to being nocturnal than diurnal. He ran his fingers through his deliberately styled hair and sweeps unseen dirt off his blue shirt before he locks the door shut, badges clinking a faint sound.
The easiest part in this whole procedure would be the dressing.
The part where he has to scrunch his eyebrows, manage a sad frown and nodding at the right moment as an act of compassion; would be the challenging.
But mimicking emotions, he thought as he walks up the stairs, is what we beings do all the time.
A silent requirement known to all.
A sympathetic expression from a doctor.
A classroom full of ‘understanding’ stares during Math class.
The eyes. Where the vulnerability of the soul shines through in rare moments, there will be an exposure of raw emotions.
Of course, the expertise would be based on experience and particular knowledge towards humans psychology; their moment of weakness, the reason behind it.
And Vincent has nothing but experience and that possessed knowledge.
So he puts on a deep sorrowful expression as he stares at the frail old lady sobbing at the doorway while he stood on the porch. He wanted nothing more but to go inside and brief her about the incident before venturing on his way, unfortunately, she cries as soon as she opens the door.
Her withered body shakes uncontrollably like a leaf on a windy autumn day. Her pearly white hair is a mess due to the sudden outburst.
“I’m terribly sorry for your loss ma’am. He was a great person, both in his job and life.”
One of the difficult things about this occupation other than to present precise emotions at different moments would be the expressions in his voice which was supposed to mirror how individuals feel.
“Oh, I-I-..”She stammered, wet glossy eyes looking everywhere but him.
“He’s so young,” she whispers, another sob, “How am I going to tell Nyla?” She inhaled with difficulty, blowing her nose into a lacey handkerchief, with butterflies patterned on each corner. Every dry tears replaced with wet ones.
He continues to look down with a sad frown to express the said feeling and closes his eyes, trying to decide on a productive activity to pass the time, other than holding the lady’s hand.
A necessary gesture for an act of compassion.
A young lady comes down after hearing the commotion. Vincent bows to as a sign of respect, not bothering to offer a shoulder.
Now the porch is filled with whimpering and wheezing. Dried tears coat their cheeks, without any more fresh droplets. Just heavy sobs this time.
Another matter that Vincent has trouble grasping; the use of crying over something that is no longer there. Finding for any source of comfort is rather futile since what done has been done.
But he keeps quiet, still holding onto the sympathetic look as he took a quick peek inside the house.
Though he recognized several antique furniture from auctions, paintings that cost a fortune, all nicely hung near sofas and outside the dining hall, the atmosphere of the place was somber and was contrary to the exquisite looking materials placed around the house.
Clearly, the domain mirrors the owners’ state of mind.
The moldy walls give a strong contrast towards the lovely paintings and furniture. With sprinkles of dust visibly seen under the sunlight as the fan made squeaky sounds while it turns.
‘This place looks more like it’s for pigsties.’ Was what Vincent thought as he takes one more look of the house.
The way towards the staircase is dark and gloomy despite the blazing afternoon sun outside. Had he not looked properly, he would have missed that part of the house. Refusing to shiver from his own past thoughts, he shifts his gaze once more to the two ladies trembling in front of him.
For about a whole minute, the young one softens her sobs and clears her throat; a clear sign for polite conversations.
“It must be hard on you, being the bearer of this news.” She sniffles, dabs lightly at the corner of her tired eyes.
“It’s hard on all of us.” He comments back. Years of training has taught him the right words to say at the right time for the right person.
“You have my deepest condolences.”
She shakes her head from side to side and continues to wheeze lightly while holding the old lady close to her side, who had yet to speak a single word after minutes of weeping. Just occasional heaving sobs.
After refusing the need to hear the proper details and the strong refusal on Vincent’s persistence to deliver the news in depth, he gives a small bow and walks down the stairs, making sure his shoulders are slumped.
With a small click from the closed door as confirmation, he glances around to make sure his presence is out of any possible sight. Straightening himself, he walks in the opposite direction with an entirely different aura. After all, having poor posture is bad for the spine.
The silent walk at a languid pace and nonchalant manner, leads him to a café, his left eye twitches a little as the bell rang signaling his arrival. He places himself at the furthest corner after ordering some light snacks.
“…upcoming news concerning the death of a police officer, identified as Henry Jens.
Vincent’s ears perk up as the news go on, his eyes never leaving the television screen.
“The victim’s body was found two days ago in the North River and was identified that he was stabbed repeatedly with a sharp object. The police also found evidence that the victim was severely abused before…”
“Awful, isn’t it?” his attention snapped towards the waiter standing beside his table with a plate of food in his hand, shaking his head in disbelief.
“People are getting more heartless nowadays. I simply can’t imagine what the family is going through.”
Vincent continues to stare at the man, glancing at his plate expectantly. After a short while, the waiter changes his frown to a bright smile and places the food on the table, his previous disgust disappearing as if it was never there.
“Enjoy your food sir” he says, eyes sparkling with unspeakable knowledge that made Vincent unknowingly grips his utensils a little too hard on the table.
“Are you alright, sir?” The waiter asked. Vincent draws in a deep breath before looking up to see the waiter’s concerned expression, staring back at him.
This time, the waiter’s stare slowly moves to his right arm as he raised his eyebrows in curiosity.
Before his eyes could travel further down, Vincent flashes his signature smile before nodding curtly at the waiter. An unknown question lingers between them.
Wearily, the waiter ignores this and saunters off to the counter to serve the other customers.
Vincent switches his gaze back to the screen, his eye twitching once more as he eats his food silently. All this while, busy flicking a pocket knife with experienced fingers inside his coat, contemplating his next victim.