Parhelia

parhelia_sundogAs a landed immigrant in Canada some 20 years ago, one particular sight during wintertime displeased and delighted me. The object of this contrasting emotion was the bright circular spots seen of the opposite sides of the sun. Mock sun, they call it, accompanied with luminous arcs and bands. Later, I’d know it as Parhelia or Sundog. The following is my story about it.

Mid-afternoon parhelia pokes you a frank as you walk in the frosty pathway. You see the twinkling parhelia as if doing acrobat in the air. It taunts you of hope. You feel insulted. What hope? Drawing juices from your dehydrated dreams? As in the desert hallucinating for an oasis?

The throbbing pain in your frozen feet whizzes you away like a speeding arrow to your destination, the Employment Center. There, sea of faces, Employment Insurance Applicants greets you. They are your comrades. This place seems your escape, panacea, and haven. Way back home since you were born and until now, your sanity is torture by scarcity.

You wonder. What would be today’s whining of the crowd. High interest rate? The surging of the Canadian Dollars? You hear Brian Mulroney’s Free Trade Agreement with the U.S. builds a consensus.

You do your ritual, surveying new job postings. Like bees to a honey, as people swarms with you looking at the few posted, oodles of foreign breath, mostly bad drowns your spirit. The sharp fang of “survival of the fittest” needles you. Darwinism at its best. “Life sucks!” you say. Before, you are choosy in your job hunt. You can’t afford that now. Tossing your chances between slim and none, you list the codes of the three meanest ones. You feel ashamed at your choice. However, pride wouldn’t get your stomach filled. You queue yourself up to the employment counsellor line, the fourth line, just newly made. You hear her say ‘next. That’s you.

Cecilia! You whisper a shout. You can’t be wrong. Small world. Years tone her beauty. She’s still an instant poetry. You feel lump in your throat as her eyes rotate in un-mocked surprise.

Has your passion for Mao Tse Tung and Lenin mellowed? Still a fetishist of solipsism? Machiavelli and Voltaire, you hero still? Her questions like rapid spurts of bullets burrowing hard to your soul.

Many moons back, in the tropic, she is your comely lady pounding you the bounty of Christ’s Love. You just laughed it off. The trick of fate again. Not the parhelia, but the eyeball-to-eyeball collision. Ah!Your long lost love! She’s something and you’re nothing! She’s a pedestal and you’re a wayward stone.

“Sure you want this job?” She asks when her nostalgic questions bump the dead end.

“Sorry. No.” You say. The scene so overbearing. You thank her and leave.

In the frosty pathway outside, you amble away your humiliation. You suddenly stop in front of a snow-covered Maple tree. You see its hungry skeletal frame, its twigs and branches spread-Eagle like stretched arms begging heaven for spring. You transfix your head skyward, musing. You make the most sensible decision in your life. As you walks again, the brilliance of the parhelia as if dancing appears. This time your anger is gone.

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