Imagine yourself walking in an upscale suburban neighborhood. It’s late evening. Through the bay window you can see well lit but otherwise darkly furnished room. Looks like an old-fashioned library. There is a late middle age man sitting in a partially unfolded recliner with his elbows on the armrests, hands steepled and his chin resting on them. He is dressed in green scrub suit. A surgeon? He is quiet, his eyes are open, but he doesn’t see anything. Thinking.
Now imagine you are an invisible man, who, like a boulder penetrating the ice surface on the lake, can go through the walls without any damage and noise. You squeeze into the room. The surgeon doesn’t hear you and he can’t see you.
It’s quiet. You look around. The room looks like a classical library from the past century. Two of the walls are covered with books. Not too many empty spaces on the shelves. He must read a lot. You look at the titles. Many art books, books about music, architecture and history. An eclectic mix. There are also books in another language, which you don’t understand. All you know they don’t teach this language in high school. There are family pictures, some in elaborate frames. His wife and four children. All good looking and happy. He must be a family man. You look around the shelves and one thing strikes you. There are not many novels, but quite many “how to” books. He doesn’t read much fiction. Probably all his life concentrated on bettering himself professionally and as a business owner.
On the shelves you can see small statuettes of Hippocrates and Pericles. There are also graphics from ancient Rome: Forum Romanum, Colosseum, Pantheon, Trajan’s Column. The surgeon must be an ancient history lover. On the wall you can see framed contemporary photographs of cities of Italy. Still the same culture.
You look around and on the shelf you can see the statuettes made out of small brick-like pieces of glass with inscriptions “For the Chief of Surgery…” and “For the Chief of Staff…” He is probably active in his hospital’s medical staff functions. There is another plaquette “For the Physician of the Year…” His peers must respect him.
Then it hits you, you hear the voices. But there are not your voices. You are hearing his thoughts. They are tumultuous, noisy, in contrast with the quiet scene in his library. He is tormented. You realize he knows that his professional career is coming to the end and is not sure what to do with the last trimester of his life. The kids are out of his house, his skills and stamina are vanishing and future is uncertain.
He thinks of what had happened in his life so far. His entire life was all about reinventing himself. He has a music degree from a far away country. He won national championship in his favorite sport. Twice. He came to this country despite political and cultural obstacles and made it. He got married and has a family he is proud of. He has vast interests in arts, history, languages, philosophy. Loves to travel. Loves to go to gym. He is proud when someone calls him a “renaissance man”.
Then you hear that the surgeon was struck by a thought. His face lit up and suddenly he sat up in his recliner. He realized that his life had left him with stories. Many stories. Actually he is convinced that the life, any life, is made up out of stories.
He is rich. He will tell stories of his life. One way or another. He needs to reinvent himself once again. He will find the way. He just charted the path for the rest of his life.
While you are seamlessly leaving his library, you know he will make it.