The Writer and The Physicist: The Meaning of Courage

Once, there was a teenager who wished to escape puberty by the time the first twin pimples popped out near his nostrils, and he hated the fact that the silly idea of removing them with the sharp ends of the nail cutter was something he could not accomplish, because, local aged men told him that if one tries to remove those pimples, the person most likely will face love misfortunes.

The teenager did not believe that, of course, because he thought that the beliefs of these men belong to that of the medieval ages.

In short and honestly, I am that teenager.

However, my mentor, John, a British old man (he’ll be turning 76 next January, but his memory is sharper than my own), long-time quantum physicist and retired professor, is an exception to the rule, because unlike any other people who existed in my life, he was, I think, the most open-minded of them all, which led me to considering him not only just a wise mentor, but also as a grandfather.

When I revealed to him that I wanted to be a writer, he was the first one to laugh horribly, because, at that time, I was at my peak of mathematical learning (he calls me “genius”, by the way, and I do not know why). Anyway, since he cannot do anything to alter my dream, after each of our sessions, he would find a little to share to me some of his vocabulary skills and his knowledge in essay writing.

A year ago, I thought of writing a novel, and I wished to find inspiration to write one. I came up to his room and asked him about courage.

“Courage is best exalted as one conquers the roaring waves when he may choose to pass the serene seas.” I said.
“I disagree.” the John said. “Courage is waiting for the storm to end and for the waves to reveal their silence.” he continued. His cough was terrible lately, I noticed.

“That is patience, Sir.” I affirmed.

“Oh! Have I told you that I already finished?” he said. Then, in a jiffies of staring at each other’s eyes, we burst out in laughter.

Then he slouched his back again against the new black chair we bought that morning. he took deep breaths as he glanced at the window. “Because whenever there’s a storm, you have to muster lots of courage to stand the cold during the evening and the uncertainty of sun shining by tomorrow or not.” he said. When I thought that he was right and I could not add anything up to his argument, he dozed off to sleep. Meaning, our conversation is finally over.


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