Socrates – by Vikram Kolmannskog
(c) 2016, Vikram Kolmannskog
It’s an August Saturday, rainy and cooler. There is no imperative to be out, not for sun-bathing or swimming at least. It’s a much needed break from the chiseled bodies spread out along the Oslo fjord. I am tired of them, tired of myself.
For my own sake as well as others I will spend this Saturday on somebody different. I look up Socrates, and slowly I fall in love.
He is short, has bulging eyes and a flat, upturned nose. According to rumour, it is not merely his face that resembles that of a satyr, however. There may be less visible attributes of interest, including that something under his usually dirty and smelly clothes. He is often out in the city or at some party talking and flirting. He is quite popular among men such as myself.
I imagine him here with me now. More of him is revealed, the rumour is right, I surrender my body. And afterwards, we remain for a while in bed. Rather than a war with positions to defend and arguments to win, conversation becomes like a dance. His otherwise provocative questions and statements take on a more humble and sincere quality. Lying here naked and content, I listen to him and he listens to me, and we are both transformed. While no physical child can result from our day together, there is much virtue and wisdom.
Socrates believes that the unexamined life is not worth living. For this he is eventually taken to trial. To his accusers in court he says, I would rather die having spoken in my manner, than speak in your manner and live. The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our ways — I to die and you to live. Which is the better, only God knows.
Oh, and then his last words of course, about the cock owed to Aesculapius. If you can hear me now, Socrates, don’t worry. I will not neglect it.