Lately, I’ve been wanting to write something, but I haven’t figured out what exactly. But it has to be something. Anything. I’m getting desperate. There are so many ideas to be conceived, inspirations to be had! Yet they all seem to avoid me. It’s Pascal’s fault, really. For the past few months of my life, he has deserted me. Yes, it’s true. He’s left me alone in the desolate waste of
my tired imagination…
And here I am, at a point in time when I need his sporadic inspirations more than ever. I need him to relieve me from the stress of the day—and he’s not there. Or, rather, he’s there, but he’s not being very nice. He teases me with the shadow of an inspiration and then takes it away before I can turn it into anything.
For example. (This is where the Almost-Encounter comes in.) The other morning, I was taking an early walk along a little-traveled portion of our road. I was minding my own business … when
an expensive car pulled out of a drive way up ahead. It was a neighbor (an unknown neighbor, at that). I waved cordially, as we are all wont to do when we pass neighbors on the street. However, much to my surprise, as the car drove past me, I did not see a normal, everyday sort of human being in the driver’s seat. No, indeed. I saw a very gruff looking man with a shaggy beard and thick brown hair that came down to his shoulders. His beard and his hair were so thick and
bushy that I barely got a glimpse of his face. To put it simply, he had an overall unkempt look. And when I waved, he seemed very reluctant to return the gesture.
The first thing that came to mind was Marlene’s story, The Closed Gate, a modern interpretation
of The Beauty and the Beast. (Not kidding, Charlie—it’s the first thing I thought of.) Here was this mysterious, scruffy looking man who I had never seen before. His house was very drawn back from the road, on a part of the road that is very little traveled anyway. He looked grumpy and untidy. Granted, there were no closed gates or stone walls or castle turrets … but, hey.
We’re talking about the real world. I was enthralled and I couldn’t believe what I had just seen. The thought came to me (clearly from Pascal), “Could he be a … real-life Beast???”
To make it even more mysterious, when he finally lifted up his hand to wave at me, he had a wedding ring on—which meant that he’d already found Beauty … but the spell causing his ugliness hadn’t been broken. (!!!) Not that that would make any difference to Beauty, of course, because his ugliness would never deter her from loving him. Nevertheless, this sighting of a
real-life Beast was captivating. Positively intriguing. What mysteries lay behind this man? What was his history? How came he to live on our road? Where was he going? Most importantly—how could this encounter be turned into a story?
This morning I saw the snazzy car again with its mysterious driver … only this time, the mysterious driver turned out to be not so mysterious. All traces of shaggy beard and gruff nature were gone. He was about middle-age, and he smiled and waved cheerfully to me. And although I do not distinctly remember a suit, a cup of coffee, or any other weekday artifacts, I remember being absolutely positive of the fact … that this man was on his way to work. Just an ordinary man on his way to work.
How … unexciting.
“Anti-climactical” is the term that comes to mind. And here I thought the man was good story
material. I ask you. Pascal somehow convinced me that I had seen a real-life prince-in-disguise-under-a-spell and teased me with the idea that an incredible story was at my fingertips … but
no, it was just a normal guy. In an expensive car. On a lonely road.
Pascal, what have I done to deserve such injustice? Come back to me soon … and stop teasing.