Chapter Six — Simone de Beauvoir
“Socrates. Would you mind if we took a stroll into the garden? I would love some fresh air and stars.”
“Everything you can imagine is here for you at the Inn my dear lady.”
Simone takes Socrates by the arm and the two leave the ornate grander of the Great Hall, over the small foot bridge crossing the almost silent stream, and into the garden. The air is filled with the scent of jasmine and honey suckle. There is no moon but the black sky is filled with so many galaxies of stars that the darkness has to fight for space. The two sit on a wooden bench facing the lake.
“I love to come here Socrates and watch for shooting stars,” says Simone softly. “I often see you sitting on one of the benches doing the same thing. You are always alone. You seem to me a man of solitude and yet you are the Gate Keeper of the beautiful Inn and grounds with the most exciting and interesting people I have come to know. How does all of this happen my dear gentle man of all ages?”
“For your flattery, you shall receive an answer. This all happens by chance Simone.”
“Chance? I was just thinking about it the other night while waiting for a shooting star. What astonishes me, just as it astonishes a child when he becomes aware of his own identity, is the fact of finding myself here, and at this moment, deep in this life and not in any other. What stroke of chance has brought this about?”
“You are the stroke of chance who brings this about, Simone. The energy you give to being alive, to living your life, and inspiring others to do the same.”
“I do not know how much of an inspiration I am to others, but I do love being here. This is my life and it is in the knowledge of the genuine condition of our lives that we must first draw our strength to live and our reason for living.”
“Touché Simone, well said. Your reason and purpose in life came to you at a very young age. I remember my overwhelming joy when I learned of your second place finish on the National Post Graduate philosophy exam. At 21, you were the youngest person to ever pass the examination. Although so many factors in our lives are, that was not chance.”
“True Socrates. After the examination, even though Paul Sartre, my friend and colleague finished ahead of me, I knew my role in life was going to be intermingled with philosophy.”
“I know you do not think of yourself as a philosopher Simone and yet here we are two philosophers sitting on this bench waiting on the chance to see a shooting star.”
“Thank you Socrates. But tell me, please. How is it I am here? Is it by chance? I mean … Chance … has a distinct meaning for me. I do not know where I might have been led by the paths that, as I look back, I think I might have taken but that in fact I did not take. What is certain is that I am satisfied with my fate and that I should not want it changed in any way at all. So I look upon these factors that helped me to fulfill it as so many fortunate strokes of chance.”
“See you are a philosopher Simone. You see all the factors in front of you.”
Just then they both look up and see a shooting star appear and shoot across the width of the sky. It was the brightest star in the heavens and seemed to shoot on forever. Simone placed her head on Socrates’s shoulder as the fire flies floated above them and the frogs croaked them to sleep.
”I am so blessed by chance to be here.” She dreamed.
The Gate Keeper Of Inspiration: Chapter Seven — Stanley Kunitz will be published on Sunday, April 01, 2018.