DISEQUILIBRIUMS. The Individuals. Chapter 16

Monday 19 December 2016
Time: 5:00 pm


Although my family live far from the city centre, on occasion we have visited friends of my parents who live in this sector. Almost all the floors were quite dark and filled with old furniture. I didn’t know what we might find in this house we were going to visit. I look at Sofia and then at the others. I can see we are all equally expectant.

The room is not very big. I would say that it is like a square with sides measuring 4 metres in length. It was big enough to accommodate a large four seater sofa and a dining table with six chairs around it. Next to the living room-diner, there is a kitchen and an office annexed to it. You can see that someone was cooking a short time ago. What surprises me most as I sit with the others and the man around the table is that everything is decorated in white: not only the walls, or the covering of the sofa, the tables and chairs, but also the floor.

We are all waiting. The man appears to be old, and quite tired. Yet, he has a penetrating gaze, which creates a certain air of mystery about him. He is covered from head to toe in a white tunic except for a pair of black boots he is wearing. Although a little hidden, mainly because of the hood over his head, I can make out that his hair is white and his sharp eyes a sky blue. I estimate that he must be in his seventies. Despite his wrinkled skin, I can see he looks after himself very well.

The man breaks the silence as he watches us:

“Do you know why you have come?”

We look at each other and nod. Sofia explains:

“Because they have given us a note with your address.”

The man speaks again, but this time with a slight smile:

“I am referring to the real reason for you coming here.”

Sofia looks at us. I don’t know how to respond or how to help her out. No one else says anything. Meanwhile, Samuel is looking around him, shamelessly inspecting every corner of the room, as if the conversation does not interest him. Erik and Elsa keep looking directly at the man. Sofia is rubbing her eyes as she always does when she is nervous. I am wondering how could the surface of the table be so white, without a mark, scratch or anything to indicate it has ever been used.

The man manages to surprise us when he stands up abruptly, moving his chair back and announcing:

“In that case, I cannot help you. Have a good day. Please close the door when you leave.” He goes to the window, pulls the curtain back and starts looking at the people walking on the street below.

After inviting us in, is he dismissing us already? What kind of stupidity is this?! This guy is mad! I look at his face. Sofia is the most surprised of us all. She looks uncomfortable, as if angry and about to explode. I have no wish to see her in a temper. In fact, she is the first to stand up, ready to leave. The rest of us do the same and follow her out.

As we are walking towards the exit, Sofia who clearly does not want to waste this meeting because at the end of the day we are here because of her, turns around, walks up to the man, shows him the note and, pointing to the rectangle drawn on it below, says:

“We have come because I asked a question and I was given a piece of a paper with this drawing.”

She falls silent as she holds out her hand with the folded paper for him to see.

It was almost ludicrous: Sofia standing while the rest of us are about to leave.

No. Not all of us.

I suddenly notice that Samuel has not even moved from his chair. In fact, he is at the table, typing something on his tablet.

The man turns away from the window, looks at the drawing, opens his eyes wide, then looks at Sofia, and with a slight twist of his head, raises his eyebrows.

Sofia regards him and says:

“I know what the rectangle is…”

The man quietly turns to look at Samuel who has stopped taking notes and is now holding the old man’s gaze. The freak shrugs his shoulders and gives one of his strange smiles. I say ‘strange’ because I can’t work out what he means by it.

At last, the man turns back to Sofia and looks at her closely. Smiling broadly at us, he motions for us to sit down again. Samuel smiles at each of us.

It is only when we sit down that Sofia finishes her sentence:

“… but I don’t know what the rest means.”

The man scrutinises us and, after sitting down again, says:

“Good afternoon, my name is Nicola. I am going to explain it to you.


Writer: Glen Lapson © 2016

English translator: Rose Cartledge

Publisher: Fundacion ECUUP

Project: Disequilibriums

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