I have to leave for singles’ group in about an hour, but before I go, I feel an urge to tell a story. Here goes, from the top of my head…
The Mathematician and the Artist
In a room full of people he stands silent without mirth or grief in his eyes. He looks this way and that, calculating the faces of those around him, as if they were mathematical figures and not forms of flesh, he’s adding up this flirtacious blonde with that brawny fellow in the corner, dividing by the curly-haired girl who sits nearby with a soured jealous expression on her face. He watches others move in circles around the room until striking upon some conversational common denominator, into which they add their two cents, and then comes the art behind the math: will the semi-circle already present expand to allow the newcomer? and should they do so, will they now form a pleasant, healthy circle of talk, or will they create an oblong oval, complete with pregnant distance to express the mere politeness of their welcoming? He waits and calculates. The oval forms. He smiles.
Ah! Here’s a new one, just come into the room, a young man, around 20, smiling at several other young ones and occasionally coughing into his sleeve. The Mathematician watches and counts his steps–the young man of 20 sees an acquaintance and gives the manly nod in that direction, his friend is standing amid four or five pretty young ladies, shortest distance between two points but the young man instead takes a rounded arc before joining the group–a subtle deception to hide his immediate and apparent interest in Girl #3. They’re talking now. You could keep time by the mild, amused laughter of Girl #3…one two three four–laughter–one two three four–giggle. Ridiculous.
The Mathematician cringes and turns toward his drink instead. He gazes into the plastic cup as bubbles form along the roof of his soda. He begins counting bubbles to avoid counting the moments of his loneliness. Thirteen, fourteen, twelve, seven, ten…
On and on he counts. That is, until she enters the room.
She pauses at the threshold, the room is full of wondrous strangers to her. She has never seen anything like them, so beautiful as they laugh and shine, console and mourn, smile and flirt. They move with ease and freedom (how free!), power and grace, and for all her stone and oils and watercolours, she knows she never shall make such a thing so soft, so strong, so fluid as these strangers are! She sees burning brilliant in their eyes what her paintings and sculptures would dare to name with simple sounds like “love” or “peace” or “friendship” or simply “life,” words too small to possess the divine light which blazes here! She is humbled as in the presence of Masterpieces. She longs to touch them as a child.
And so into the room she passes. Her movements are an art of their own, she carries her body with grace and breathy softness, simply adorned, swinging gently into the room of perfect unknowns. The lights of the room fall along her as if their glory were made for her, to bring her light. She walks in beauty, like the very first night, the only night of which all current nights are but an echo, the night in which stars became and released thier glory, the moon grown as a newly birthed blossom in the sky. Oh yes, she walks in beauty.
The Mathematician sees her and Life escapes him a moment as she comes, he feels his heart skip a beat, one-TWO, one-TWO, everything’s fine, on–… time…space…a collision between zero and infinity, between Nothing and Everything, meet in a person who defies figures or laws–she is pure Imagination expanding his heart! …and then he remembers himself, and the beats resume.
But something is different. The silence in his heart has left–somehow this young woman has changed the regular clockwork beats from mere numbers into a song! He cannot conceive how it was done, he only knows it is. He moves and lives, he moves out of the lonely corner and to this piece of art, this Artist who has made music of his soul. He smiles again, now a sincere smile. The Mathematician meets the Artist.
Off to singles I go! (smile)
CPW 5/21 = Bryan Ellis
Do I laugh, or say “wow”? It’s beautiful! Off the top of your head?? And, boy-oh-boy, what a way to start the night. *laughing now*(But it makes me want to be something, too…)
“Oh this ole thing….” You’re a funny guy Daaaaaaahv.
hurray for chesterton 🙂
Ok so the book’s on the list. I’m definitely planning on reading it…along with the 47 other books…(not quite, but almost!) So we’ll see if I get to it, and if I do I’m sure i’ll enjoy it and ask you for more.
I am waiting for this artist to enter some room I am in…or perhaps I am the artist and the nameless she, the idea of whom is an ever present spectre that haunts me is the mathematician…alas, I fear it is not to be…
*laughing* Well, okay, but now I’m curious why you came up with that.I actually meant that I wanted to be something better than I am. To be like the girl, the Artist, in your story. Enjoying life, enjoying people, enjoying God’s creations. It’s easy for me to forget sometimes that people are God’s creations, too. Even the ones that are so hard to love you can hardly see any beauty in them. So your story inspired me. I laughed when I read it, because you wrote it right before singles’ night (that still makes me laugh), but it made my heart serious, too. It made me want to be beautiful on the inside.
I feel much the same as PennyDaisy in reading this. And I think “it’s perfectly lovely the way you talk about girls.” 🙂
That is a lovely story. I especially enjoyed it in the british accent that is running through my reading head after listening to audiobooks much of yesterday. I think I’d like to have a british accent; is it just me, or do they not just have a wonderful way with words?