It took no more than 6 months for the epidemic to completely overtake the population. The town of Nice became a place of bedlam and infection. Before the age of affliction, the people of Nice lived simple lives of natural ignorance, what the bards of old would refer to as bliss.
The people of Nice were peaceful but not blameless. The town carried a certain type of dark shadow that pervades a lost people. The sun answered its call of duty every morning and shone on the land, but there was no warmth to be found. Misfits were ostracized in a manner comparable to lepers of the Roman Empire. In a population of 3000 the people took to sex and drugs for fleshly comforts, all the more unsatisfied. They replaced the rock and roll for gossip and slander to the same affect, they were loud and cool. Temporary highs and lifelong problems thrive in isolated communities like bacteria in warm corners. Little prokaryotes multiplying and moving about, stomping around to prove they exist. These were the Nice people.
One, however, deviated. Born and raised in a land which served as all he knew of the world, and a place to which he could feel no more foreign. This boy of about 13, refused to indulge in the debauchery that held his people hostage. But as the Greeks taught us, heroes are often crippled with a thorn in their flesh, which if overcome by great efforts, becomes their greatest strength. Simon was blind, legally blind. The people of Nice seemed to have disagreed, treating the poor boy’s disability as an illegal occupation. As mentioned, being a misfit, he was shunned ridiculed and thus took to the reclusive ascetic lifestyle.
Through his humble living, he became well acquainted with loneliness. One of the perks of solitude, if I may be so bold to say, is the opportunity to center oneself and stay in touch with one’s surroundings. Simon was very aware, very present. Religiously every afternoon he would take long strolls around the land of Nice. Through the forests and the valleys he would walk taking great care to touch as we went about, adding a conscious purpose to every step. On his way home in the evening, he would stop by the town library and indulge in his favorite pastime, reading. He would spend an hour or 2 listening to audio books of the ancient classics in which he learned of relevant truths such as integrity and patience and discipline. Every book was a trip, a sweet escape.One theme prevailed his consciousness. The concept of faith fit his life like his favorite sweater, and he swore to never take it off. He became very enthralled with the notion of enjoying the fullness of life without sight. Although he was still human and his faith waned, his faith was his refuge and stronghold in the emotional desert he called home. Although the kids jeered and mocked at how he stumbled about the town like a new born fawn, his faith made him strong.
No one knew exactly how the disease came about but it moved swiftly and pungently. The infection was contracted through the exchange of bodily fluids and was marked by restricted mobility and loss of eye sight. It moved about the people indiscriminately, greeting both rich and poor. The people were blind and starving, sick and weak. They became severely primitive. All but one. Simon was blind but he was aware and thus could see. Word soon spread that there was one who knew the land and had found ways to feed. The people needed him, the same people who sang of their pleasures, shouted cries of survival. These were the Nice people.
It’s funny how these things go. The last becoming first. Again confronted by man’s curse of imperfection, Simon, with his new found power, contemplated on how best to avenge himself. He was well read however, and remembered coming across a warning about the fickle nature of power and remembered that it was his faith that had made him strong. A quenched soul has no room for revenge.
Simon from then on dedicated his life to his people who had once forsaken him what seemed so long ago, surprised with how quickly the human can forget having a heavy heart. Simon provided for them and sustained their lives in Nice for as long as he could. Selflessly he labored and although the people of Nice eventually fell to their illnesses, Simon lived on. Simon lives on, because his faith makes him strong. The spirit of Simon lives in me and you too, when you realize in irrevocable fullness that your faith makes you strong.