The wait

Modifié le : 2017/12/26

Life is absurd.

– Par­don me ?

Louis turns to his inter­locu­tor who, like him, is wait­ing for the arrival of the metro. His skin is pale, his hair beau­ti­ful­ly curly, his eyes blue, sad, fixed on the depth of the roar­ing tun­nel. Louis wants to smile at him because he thinks he is hand­some, but the man obvi­ous­ly does not address him.

– Life is absurd. I don’t believe in God.

Amazed, Louis tried to find an intel­li­gent answer, but the arrival of the train is immi­nent and peo­ple orga­nize them­selves around the posi­tion­ing marks on the floor. Louis imi­tates them. The stranger does­n’t flinch. Louis gen­tly grabbed his elbow so that he could clear the cen­ter of the marks. The man jumps, stares blunt­ly at him, clears him­self, turns his heels and disappears.

The train emerges from the tun­nel, pass­es in front of them, then slows down. Already the doors are open­ing, the pas­sen­gers are leav­ing, then those who were wait­ing are rush­ing in civil­ly. Louis, once again, imi­tates them. Before the doors close, he sees the man with the des­per­ate look sit­ting in the steps, dis­turb­ing every­one. He’s prob­a­bly wait­ing for the next train, Louis won­ders, hop­ing that no one will stop him from com­mit­ting the irreparable.

Three mechan­i­cal notes announce the start. The doors are clos­ing. The irrepara­ble ? The train is already run­ning at full speed, the pas­sen­gers’ hori­zon is now fac­ing the pres­ence of oth­ers. Many have their eyes fixed on the screen of their cell phone.

Louis some­times thinks about the irrepara­ble, but it is only thought for him. The man on the dock seemed to be feed­ing on it. Louis clos­es his eyes, lets him­self be rocked by the jour­ney. The train slows down, a self-con­fi­dent voice announces the name of the sta­tion. The doors open, the mer­ry-go-round starts again. Louis expects the inter­rup­tion of the ser­vice. The doors close, the train leaves, noth­ing dis­turbs the peace of mind of the passengers.

Louis watch­es them. He’s used to it. A place becomes avail­able and like no old per­son, no hand­i­capped per­son seems to want the chair, he sits. His body is still asleep. He’s hun­gry, has­n’t had break­fast, because it’s blood sam­pling day. He hates this annu­al rou­tine that reminds him that he is get­ting old­er and that, one day or anoth­er, he will be told of unex­pect­ed complications.

An old man enters the train. Louis gets up to give him his place, but the man gives him a proud sign that he does­n’t need it. Despite his age, he has no dif­fi­cul­ty main­tain­ing his bal­ance while the train restarts. Louis gets up any­way because he leaves at the next station.

Now he is hur­ry­ing among the peo­ple who are hur­ry­ing. As they leave the sta­tion, many are rush­ing into bus­es and oth­ers, like him, are head­ing for the hos­pi­tal across the street.

By push­ing the revolv­ing door, the mem­o­ry of the sad man resur­faces. Life is cer­tain­ly absurd. Louis does­n’t believe in God any­more. But he’s hun­gry. He can’t wait to get her blood drawn. It is with deter­mi­na­tion, and also anger, that he presents him­self at the recep­tion. The lady in front of him smiles as she accepts his health insur­ance card. She asks him to sit down. The wait is about an hour.

He silent­ly curs­es but thanks her. He has no choice any­way. The wait­ing room is already almost full. He spots a free chair between a big man and an hand­some, two oth­er chairs near three ladies chat­ting between them. He opt­ed for the pres­ence of the hand­some who did not greet him.

He takes the time to accli­ma­tize to his chair, looks for three long min­utes at the room clock, placed above the entrance, the sec­ond hand is much too slow, accord­ing to him. His bel­ly is rumbling.

The hand­some man, on his right, turns to him :

– I’m hun­gry too.

Louis smiles weak­ly at him, then resumes his obser­va­tion of the slow sec­ond hand. He takes a deep breath, tries to look side­ways at the hand­some man, sits straight back in his chair, clears his voice to give him­self courage.

– Tell me, he man­ages to say, do you believe in God ?