Monday, June 11, 2012

What Happened to Eduard

"Eduard sat for long hours staring up at the sky in Brasilia, watching the clouds moving across the blue - beautiful clouds, but without a drop of rain in them to moisten the dry earth of the central Brazilian plateau. He was as empty as they were.

If he continued as he was, his mother would fade away with grief, his father would lose all enthusiasm for his career,  and both would blame each other for failing in the upbringing of their beloved son. If he gave up his painting, the visions of Paradise would never see the light of day, and nothing else in this world could ever give him the same feelings of joy and pleasure.

He looked around him, he saw his paintings, he remembered the love and meaning he had put into each brushstroke, and he found every one of his paintings mediocre. He was a fraud, he wanted something for which he had not been chosen, and the price of which was his parents' disappointment.

Visions of Paradise were for the chosen few, who appeared in books as heroes and martyrs of the faith in which they believed, people who knew from childhood what the world wanted of them; the so-called facts in that first book he had read were the inventions of a storyteller.

At supper time, he told his parents that they were right; it was just a youthful dream; his enthusiasm for painting had passed. His parents were pleased, his mother wept with joy and embraced her son, and everything went back to normal.

That night, the ambassador secretly commemorated his victory by opening a bottle of champage which he drank alone. When he went to bed, his wife - for the first time in many months - was already sleeping peacefully.

The following day, they found Eduard's room in confusion, the paintings slashed and the boy sitting in a corner, gazing up at the sky. His mother embraced him, told him how much she loved him, but Eduard didn't respond.

He wanted nothing more to do with love, he was fed up with the whole business. He had thought that he could just give up and follow his father's advice, but he had advanced too far in his work; he had crossed the abyss that separates a man from his dream and now there was no going back.

He couldn't go forwards or back. It was easier just to leave the stage."

- Paolo Coelho, 'Veronika Decides To Die'

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