Consider A Mountain

The complexity of simplicity.

He said it again, but this time out loud: the complexity of simplicity.

He leant back, ever so slightly, in anticipation of a response. He sniffed, gently, almost noiselessly, and ran his forefinger up the back of his neck. And then he blinked. Imperceptibly.

I, she said. Yes, she said, I know what you mean. She said.

He leant forward again, slightly, reached out for his glass but instead drummed a couple of fingertips on the table. He wished for a cigarette. He almost said his wish out loud, his wish for a cigarette, but he stopped as he wondered how interesting that would be. Quick, he thought.

What I mean is, he said, you can’t just dismiss something because you personally can’t tell, or fail to see, how intricate, beautiful and precise it really is. Deep down. It’s deceptive, you see, that kind of ease. It’s a hell of a lot more complicated than it looks. And that’s the trouble with a lot of things these days – everything seems too easy. You know, like anyone could do it.

He reached out again for his glass and this time tipped the glass to his lips and swallowed small.

Yes, she said. I think the problem is, although, what I mean is, that I agree, you know, and I can see that, yes, it’s, you know, like you say. But maybe not so, er, so simple. Not as simple as that anyway.

His glass whistled. From being almost empty. He ran his finger around the rim and listened as his glass sang. He closed an eye. Then the other eye. Then half opened the first eye and then both eyes. My eyebrow, he could hear himself thinking, I should touch it, smooth it somehow. But what if she notices? He touched his eyebrow, quickly, gently, and then rested his eyebrow touching finger on the rim of his glass. Up and down, ever so slightly, it tapped. Tip, tip, tip.

No, he said. No. I mean, not that simple, sure. I can see that. I think that what it is is that we can sometimes make generalisations that, while useful for capturing the overall sense and feel, fail us when it comes to the, ah, nitty gritty. It’s just a way of looking at it I suppose. Still, it does tend – overall I mean – to make the, make the, you know, the complicated look simple. And the other way round, obviously.

Yes, she said. Yes, obviously.

He leant forward, slightly, and backwards again, and looked. Looked at her, for the first time, properly looked at her. Her eyes were open and looking back at him. They were saying, those eyes, he supposed: do better. Do better, he thought. Try harder. Think. Not too desperate though. That line of his, that complexity of simplicity line. He should have. Oh, shit, it should have been simplicity of complexity, the other way round. Not complexity of simplicity. Maybe she didn’t notice. Say it again, say it the right way round.

He said, out loud: But yes, it’s, I suppose, that the obvious is all part of it, isn’t it? You know, like I said, all part of the simplicity of complexity.

Yes, she said. I think, I think that’s right. The simplicity of complexity.


About Paul Saxton

More information about Paul Saxton here: Follow me on Twitter: @paulsaxton
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5 Responses to Consider A Mountain

  1. You’ll have to excuse me my tardiness in posting – Rose has been bollocking me about this. I reckon it’s because she’s always on the computer. (And, as I keep telling her, I am Mr Lousy Critic Thing).We were sitting reading this and ‘While Ivy Twined About The Rigging’- and laughing at the yardies in ‘Ivy’, and the family stuff.We like the idea of the simplicity of complexity – Rose is interested in the other way round.

  2. Molly Bloom says:

    I liked the narrator’s explanation of the complexity of simplicity best. I don’t think he should have worried about saying it the other way round. I liked him better when he was speaking at the beginning, not worrying about his words at the end. It made me think of how self-conscious we sometimes are and how it is difficult to say things that we are really proud of. I can really relate to that, often jumbling up my words and getting them wrong and then feeling deeply embarrassed afterwards. I think you’ve captured that really well, especially in the bit with the eyebrows. That is a brilliant, subtle touch that I can also relate to.

  3. Molly Bloom says:

    We’re sitting here waiting for your next piece matey…

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    That’s a great story. Waiting for more. video editing programs

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