The man in the window

Modifié le : 2019/08/06

When I arrived in the neigh­bor­hood in 2008, I already noticed this man liv­ing above a con­ve­nience store. It is dif­fi­cult to miss him because his win­dow over­looks the exit of the sub­way. He seems to do only one thing, rocks him­self while read­ing. I don’t know him a tele­vi­sion, because I don’t see the enter­tain­ment gleams it would have pro­duced in his apart­ment. A radio may be gut­ting its infor­ma­tion or its nonsense.

The man is invari­ably dressed in the same way, in Mar­cel, sum­mer, and win­ter. I’ve nev­er seen him look out the win­dow, don’t guess at him any trou­ble or idle­ness. In fact, I don’t know him at all, and I could­n’t rec­og­nize him if he were even stand­ing at his door.

The feel­ing of pity is the first to express itself in me, but I tell myself that it is only one of the many pro­jec­tions we make to hide our unat­trac­tive real­i­ties. The man is, of course, lone­ly, per­haps a night watch­man, as depict­ed in fic­tion, who waits only for his time to leave, because it is true that when I pass in front of his house, dur­ing the day, his win­dow is silent.

A week ago, I spent three days in a row out­side this win­dow, just out­side the sub­way. The man was­n’t there, it sur­prised me. I wor­ried and imme­di­ate­ly thought that he had died, that he had been dying for three years, that he was rock­ing qui­et­ly and that the shad­ow had final­ly reap­peared in his life. Then I thought I was real­ly too stu­pid. I don’t live on a reg­u­lar sched­ule. My move­ments are ran­dom, except on Tues­day, choir night. So how could I believe that the worst had hap­pened to this man of whom I know noth­ing, espe­cial­ly not the val­ue of his life ?

And then, the next day, there he was, cradling. I could feed my thoughts into the mill again.

All this could be a thin illu­sion. That man could be a poet, a schol­ar, a man who has cho­sen a sim­plic­i­ty if it is not vol­un­tary, it is at the very least accept­ed. The risk of error is immense. All we have to do is ring his door­bell and ask him to tell us about his life. I prob­a­bly care too much about the house of cards I built around him. Besides, that’s not the way peo­ple sound. They won’t answer you, and they will think you’re crazy or a thief.

To tell you the truth, I’m a mad­man. A nice guy who prefers to invent real­i­ties over peo­ple. It is as harm­less a hob­by as rock­ing at your window.