The original title for this story was “Bored ft Jimmy Nevis” because I wrote it when I was bored, waiting for my husband to finish a sound check with Jimmy Nevis. That’s about the only truth in this story. The rest is leaning toward a freaky, almost creepy take on having a personal relationship with Jesus. Enjoy.
I had absolutely nothing to do. I had left my bag, my snacks, and my books in the car and was sitting outside Saint Yves in Camps Bay, listening to the familiar notes of a sound check. My significant other was in the band. I sighed. I usually didn’t mind the monotony of ore-show protocol. Everyone setting up, getting ready for a few hours of entertainment. Today was different. I was wearing a bright mustard shirt – long sleeved – and was boiling in the afternoon sun. I moved to a shady area and pulled out a cigarette. As I watched the smoke swirl around me, I thought of all manner of things. Mostly about the future. I had been introduced as ‘my fiancé’ twice already and wedding plans floated through my head now. Eventually I looked up and began surveying my surroundings. It was a beautiful day and perfect for a swim in the surf. The turquoise sea beaconed me. As if, I thought and a small chuckle escaped my lips. Tonight Jimmy Nevis would be playing and despite him being something of a rising star and South African pop sensation, I has never heard of him until about a week ago. And I wasn’t all that impressed, to be honest. Yes, he had a smooth, syrupy voice and an edgy style and a few good hooks but nothing really drew me to his music. Nothing exceptional stood out. He seemed like a lovely guy though, and it looked to me as if he’d make it in the industry…whatever that means. At any rate, I was there because I needed a break from work and had taken a half day off. Not that I was working hard. Being an editor for a marketing company has its ups and downs. Sometimes there are busy days when you just cannot afford to leave your desk, even for lunch. And sometimes there are lulls. Long, boring lulls with extended smoking breaks, chatting forever during tea breaks. Not to mention some incredible antics! We were having an amazingly dull lull in work flow this time around. We had even gotten to the point of drawing our own portraits and pasting them on our manager’s wall. Not to mention running up the internet bill watching YouTube videos. The upside of this was a more relaxed atmosphere. And bonding with colleagues.
Nevertheless, here I was, sitting on the steps watching my cigarette smoke swirl around me in the insipid heat. Suddenly a deep voice behind me said, “You’re wasting your life, you know.” I shaded my eyes and turned around in my seat. The owner of the voice wore a pure white toga, held in place with a single, golden brooch. He wore a fresh, green laureate on his head. How it hadn’t withered in the afternoon sun was beyond me. And I was sure he wore nothing underneath the toga. He had John Lennon shades, which he removed as he extended his hand.
“Gonzales,” he said. “Jesus Gonzales.” I was at a loss for words as I shook his hand.
“Sorry for the outfit,” he said, “I’m rehearsing for my part in the show tonight.”
“God, I thought I was actually seeing Jesus in the flesh,” I laughed, finally finding my voice.
“You are,” he said. He put his John Lennon frames back on and smiled jokingly.
“And I guess that’s why you’re telling me I’m wasting my life?” I asked, sarcasm dripping from every word.
“Yep.” He offered no other explanation,
“So how are you so sure I’m doing that?”
“You work in a dead end job, you’re waiting for something – obviously – but you’re not taking action to make it happen.”
“And you know all this because…?”
“Because you look it.” He leaned toward me fervently. “You have the look of someone who’s hungry for more.”
“Aren’t we all?”
“Point. But you look particularly hungry. The first thing that eats at your soul is dissatisfaction at work. Then dissatisfaction at home. Or vice versa. Everything stems from that.”
“And you don’t think I have problems at home?”
“Maybe…but people don’t like talking about personal things to strangers. Unless the stranger happens to be a shrink.”
“Sure,” I answered, sceptical.
“Look, I don’t wanna burst your bubble, but you looks unhappy. Profoundly unhappy with something. I’m not God, but I’ve got the gift of perception.” He paused. “Yeah, let’s call it that,” he said after a long moment. We stared at the calm blue sea for a few minutes. He was right about everything. I was profoundly unhappy. Not with my family. Alright, with my family, but that was a given and something I couldn’t change. But I was more unhappy with my ‘dead end job’ as he called it. I sighed.
“Look,” he said, suddenly breaking the silence, “Shits going to happen that will rock your world, but you have to be prepared for it. If ever you want help, give me a call.” He removed his Lennons one last time and gave me a strange look before flicking a business card into my hands. Out of his toga? I wasn’t sure. It was a plain white card with traditional typewriter font in the centre.
Weird number, I thought. I shrugged. “Thanks I guess,” I said, looking up. But he was nowhere to be found. Gone without a trace. Now generally I don’t believe in supernatural encounters – I’m a cynical, untrusting source- and fact- orientated journalist after all – but there are a few unexplainable events in my life. This night well have been one of them. But the card hadn’t disappeared into thin air so this guy sure as hell couldn’t have. I climbed the staircase and checked the parking lot. Nothing. Not a soul. I climbed back down again and peered over the balcony. People were rushing to and fro down the boulevard but there was no toga-wearing laureate in sight. I shrugged again and turned away. My fiancée walked towards me. Sound check must be finished, I thought.