Gabriel; or Details in the life of an Average Man

Gabriel moved to Reykjavík in his twenties and married the love of his life, whom he’d met there. He grew wealthy, affluent, and was blissfully ignorant. Most of all, he acquired a zest and glee for life that others only pursued in passing. One day, for a reason unknown to him, after kissing his wife good morning, he left her in their manor in the suburbs, their two cars in their garage, and his office in the financial district. He left them for a young Swede he’d met at a meeting the day before. He loved her but he was not loved by her, and eventually his life ended at the bottom of an abyss he’d burrowed for himself.


What I outline above is perfect for an epitaph. In fact Gabriel’s funeral attendant, the only person who was present at the end of his life and the beginning of his death, wrote on his gravestone. “Here lies Gabriel, a loving, affluent man.”  


This is a formulaic narrative, in fact, this is every story you, dear reader, have seen or read. The information I’ve included is everything that has and will happen to Gabriel. Setting is established, background of the characters are given; there is a climax and a resolution (or lack thereof). I can leave the story there and let your imagination run wild with the intricacies of Gabriel’s life, and I would if there existed no profit (both psychological and financial) and pleasure in it for me. 


An adequate depiction, if you will, although abridged, of an average man’s life. Most of modern narratives depicted as “groundbreaking” are in fact about the most exceptionally average people, but the tale of Gabriel is not “groundbreaking.” Why? Something is missing. The embellishment, the connection, and interactions that fills a person’s life. The reader must imagine Gabriel and his wife Isabella, with her red ringlets and emerald eyes and slender and tall body that loved to relax in the sauna he’d built for her; his mistress Carin, with her ravenous straight hair and sky blue eyes and her nimble and petite body; his office with the large oak Venetian doors that lead to a view of the city and sea down the horizon, and his Windows in the centre of his mahogany desk and his red-bound leather chair he’d flew in from Italy. They must imagine his Mercedes S-Class with its 12 cylinder engine and 621 horsepower as compensation for Gabriel’s powerlessness. They must really feel and see his quaint but elegant manor with its white walls and modern art and marble kitchen floor. Those things do not exist without the reader, and the reader imagines these things only through precise descriptions of the details that encompass the life of a person as a whole. 


Paul Cézanne (French, 1839 - 1906); L'Éternel Féminin; about 1877; Oil on canvas 43.5 × 53.3 cm (17 1/8 × 21 in.);  The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles   Digital image courtesy of the Getty's Open Content Program.

Paul Cézanne (French, 1839 - 1906); L'Éternel Féminin; about 1877; Oil on canvas 43.5 × 53.3 cm (17 1/8 × 21 in.);

The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

Digital image courtesy of the Getty's Open Content Program.