Where the scientific mind gets creative (A blog of texts by the Creative Writers at Polytechnique)
jeudi 20 mars 2008
Portrait of a man
Mark could have done anything for a living. He was handsome, and funny, and modest, and lucid, too, for he knew all that. And Mark wanted to be a psychologist. When he once said so to his mother, the poor woman nearly fainted : “What! My son!” she said, as she had recovered. “Have I raised you and loved you to be a shrink ? What have I done, tell me, what’s the matter ?” But nothing was the matter, nothing whatsoever. Had she not been so short-sighted, Mark’s mother would have noticed for long that sparkle in her son’s eyes, and the enigmatic brown that framed them – those were not anyone’s eyes, those were the eyes of a deeply reflexive, meek and yet frightfully determinate boy. Whenever he went for a walk, Mark fancied observing the people and guessing what their lives felt like. Strolling across the town park, he attributed a depression to a young pale lady with a baby in her arms, he diagnosed an old wigged peacock of a man as suffering from an obvious inferiority complex. As for himself, Mark suffered from every mental disease in the world. At times he felt like a maniac. At others he dreaded a paranoid attack. He sometimes woke up in the morning with the conviction he had become a schizophrenic overnight. But most of the time, Mark was perfectly happy, as are generally those who do not expect extravagant things from their existences. Love had come, love had gone : he had picked it on his way as a gift from heaven. He had got used to heaping up the harvest of good days in the event of bad ones – and there he went along, unknowingly happy, pricking his elf’s ears and raising his pointed nose in the wind, a squirrel with the brains of a philosopher and the heart of an unborn child.