Picturesque

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A work of flash fiction which centers around a physicist who is always seen working at his window, yet he and those on the outside never interact. He is considered not to be picturesque on this stormy day, as a man looking out of a window holding a glass of scotch would be, because there is no mystery to his thought since it is written on the window in marker. It is at its heart a story about human nature and humanity's attraction to tragedy.

Submitted: June 19, 2015

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Submitted: June 19, 2015

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Picturesque

 

He was very nearly picturesque. He stood at the window and seemed to look outwards into the storm which raged on. Had he held a glass of scotch rather than a marker, had he truly been looking through the window rather than at the markings he had made on it, then he would have been picturesque. Then any observer would be drawn by his concentrated expression to wonder what thoughts the storm brought to the man as he stood there contemplating what only he knew.

Yet it was not so. For the markings betrayed his thought, though few would have understood them, as few had studied the physics and mathematics that lay there in front of the storm. Yet who would not recognize it as physics nonetheless? Truly, any who knew him would have told that this would be his occupation were they miles apart. Thus the mystery for the observer is diminished next to the man staring into the storm with drink in hand.

He failed to be picturesque for this reason. The observer would be free to wonder what the drinking man’s mind pondered, yet no such luck for the other. This for some reason causes all others to lose interest. And so he is not picturesque. And so is the cause for his isolation.

Now at this time it stormed. Yet at other times the sun shone and children and dogs played outside. Many people then walked by that window—women of high esteem, men of beautiful mind, children without cares and those with—but he did not see them for his equations. He stared at the window, not through it.

At least, that is what they thought of him.

He was perhaps more picturesque than they imagined.

He was poised on this stormy day with one hand—his left—on his cheek, his index finger extended while the others loosely curled. His other hand held the marker, also loosely, under the folded elbow of his opposing arm: his hair disheveled, his face tired.

At this time it is true that he looked not through the window but rather at what was upon it; yet it was not his equations which his eyes studied but rather his reflection. He studied the sweat which formed in clusters on his brow, the slight wavering of the marker as his hand shook, the redness in his nose and cheeks. His eyes darted between their sunken pits and the marker, which shook with increasing rapidity. He eyed the marker and knew at last that his equations could distract him no longer and he was forced to confront himself.

Or at least he had the opportunity to do so. As he had before at other times. Yet he never took it. He took, rather, his leave of the window and that which lay upon it.

Maybe now the others would care to watch. Maybe now he was picturesque enough; for now he held the scotch. Only not in a glass, but in a bottle. He drank away from the window, not daring to bear the sight of what it made of him. This was foremost to his desire to conceal his actions from those on the other side of the glass. He drank until all was black.

Now is his tale tragic enough to watch?

 

*****

The day passed, then night as well until the sun rose and took away the storm. It was now that the man awoke, sitting on the floor, holding his head in hand. After some time he sighed deeply and pulled himself to his feet. Then slowly, yet sure-footed as one in habit, he made his way to the window and took up again his marker and his pose.

This day was more beautiful, an artist’s dream even. The sun hung yellow amidst the blue sky while underneath the people walked by and the children played. And now he looked not at his window, but through it. And now he studied their faces and their smiles and laughter. And all the while his marker shook. Yet they paid him no mind; for they believed him to be studying his equations and they had lives of their own.

Who could say what thoughts these images of happiness brought to his mind?


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