One Day, She Met A Man – A Short Tale
One day, while walking outside, she met a man. Or maybe it was a ghost of a man yet to be, she was never sure.
He was throwing his hands in the air, shouting for “Justice!” and “Freedom!” and “Love!”
She asked him, “Hey, Mister, why all the noise? Are you upset?”
He replied, “I’m on fire for Justice, I hunger for Freedom, I worship a God who IS Love, and the world is so messed up!”
So, she handed him a drawing of a heart, representing passion and feeling and all the connections to others that emotions can engender, and said, “I see that you are full of passion. Now go on and look for ways to put your passion to good use in this life.”
Time passed and she saw him again on a city street.
He was talking to the air, asking “What is the point? With all the evil and suffering and corruption, why bother?”
She turned to him and said, “Hey, Mister, what matters most to you in this life?”
He scratched his head and thought a moment and said, “Reason and thought, which lead to philosophy. Applied philosophy which leads to logic. Applied logic which leads to math and science. Applied science which leads to improved medicine, better technology, and a better understanding of how the universe works.”
“So, that’s the point for you,” she said and handed him a drawing of a Phi, the first letter of the Greek word for Philosophy and the symbol of the Golden Mean used by scientists to represent one of the constants in nature that we recognize when we say something is beautiful. For the universe is beautiful, even in its applied philosophy.
A third time she met him. This time, she was the ghost, having passed on herself months before.
“How am I supposed to continue without you?” he asked. “We often said that we were two bent trees, leaning together to hold each other up. Now, I have to hold myself up without you. I’ve lost my balance without you here. I’m like a pendulum swinging constantly between passion and logic, sorrow and reason, philosophy and feeling.”
She replied, “Love is unending. It is infinite. My memory will sustain you. Life itself, as long as it remains to you, can be your balance. Take this third symbol – the Ampersand. It represents the broken infinity that is life.”
In the days that followed, he thought about all that she had said to him. Knowing that memory lacked persistence, he decided to have her words inked upon his skin so that he would not forget the wisdom of what she had said.
This is not my usual style of writing, and I’m not sure that I accomplished what I set out to do with it. In any case, this piece does explain the symbolism of my third tattoo.