Life, Pessimist and Optimist

Flash fiction

Life opened the front door widely to Pessimist and said, “Go out into the world and live your life to its full zest.”

Pessimist looked at Life blankly and said, “The way is dark and long. There are so many unwanted elements standing in my way. How can I dare to roam in such a big world?”

Life, then sent a gust of wind to touch Pessimist for the wind was, after all, a sign of hope. The wind swept over Pessimist, trying to wake up his senses. “Look around you, people are all moving, they choose the good things. They have conquered the mountains, sailed the oceans and braved the sky to find joy in life. Go and join them”.

Pessimist sat with the chin on his hands. His legs felt heavy and his heart was weary. Hence he mumbled, “Alas, I was not born lucky, cannot do all those things. I was born under the wrong stars. The other people are born with golden spoons in their mouths. They will have little to do with me, there is no hope for me. “

Life led Pessimist out into a green field. There, trees grew in abundance all around and birds sang sweetly, welcoming the soft golden sunlight bathing the serene world. Beds of yellow and blue flowers danced under the vast sky. Bees and butterflies, flying high and low gathered honey. A gentle stream flowed across the land. Pessimist looked on passively, nothing touched his heart. All those were seasonal and would go away in winter anyway. Why did Life want him to stand in this wasteland?

Pessimist felt the throngs hurting his feet but felt nothing of the soft grass wet with the morning dew. He heard the crows calling ominously and wondered why the cuckoos called so loudly. Bees were flying over the flowers that he was certain, had little or no honey at all.

As Pessimist slumped in his place, looking sullen, a maiden came to fetch water from the nearby stream. She seemed to be sent straight from the sky, she must have been Venus herself. With her bare feet with toes like flower petals, she walked gently over the carpets of green grass. Her long braid swayed from side to side as she took her steps. The beautiful face was filled with innocence and seemed to be open to life and all its possibilities.

Life whispered to Pessimist, “I have brought this maiden to you for you to love. Help her fetch the water and slowly you will have a deep love affair which will fill your life with new meanings.”

Pessimist felt a dread for the challenge of meeting the maiden for he thought he had little to offer to her. So he mumbled, “ There are so many other young men with so much to offer, how can I stand before her? They have wealth and status and they have the immense strength of mind. I have none of those.”

“You have feelings in your heart, give her love. She is lonely and that is what she needs most. The human soul survives and thrives on love.” Life whispered to Pessimist.

“Oh I have tried to love people but they all try to use it for their personal gains. They do not love me back.” The pessimist said looking lonely and desolate.

Meanwhile, the maiden had reached the stream and daintily picked her way to the gently rippling water. As she was about to leave after filling her pitcher another young man appeared on the scene. He looked simple and yet had a very animated look on his face. On his face was an expression of eagerness like the endless flow of the ocean. He seemed to be the one who would embrace come what may and flow on forever.

The young man walked towards the maiden and offered to help her to carry the water. As they walked side by side they seemed to be sharing so many heavenly dreams.Their voices and laughter rang among the tress and flowers.

Life now said to Pessimist, “Look, that young man is called Optimist. I had left a door ajar for him while I tried to help you. But Optimist has opened that door wide and stepped out. He sets his feet before the wind and knocks on the doors of opportunities.”

Pessimist stared to walk away, hardly aware that to a great extent humans are responsible for the life they choose. As he passed by the maiden, he heard Optimist saying to her, “Tomorrow I shall be coming to this place, will you come too? Look at the abundance of nature here. I am thinking of building a home with plenty of flowers and vegetables. This is indeed a land of promise.”

Pessimist heard it all and mumbled to himself, “I knew all along that the grass is greener on the other side of the field. Why the maiden and I would have nothing to share. For the future holds no promise for me!” Life looked on, feeling helpless against a heart that did not open to hopes and dreams.

For the Pessimist the day was over. The late morning sun seemed to be hardly visible through a sudden gathering of clouds. There was nothing to do with this bad weather. There were two paths in front of him, one leading to his home and the other far away river port. Pessimist chose the former and slowly proceeded forward as if beaten by all the unseen forces.

Optimist meanwhile, had bidden adieu to the maiden with the promise of meeting her again. He too had two paths in front of him too. One led to the river port and the other to his home. He looked up at the sky and seeing clouds said to himself,

“Oh, the clouds will soon pass and the sun will be out. I will go to the harbor and meet the people who come from the other side of the river. They can tell me about the life on the other side.”

Life stood in the middle of the road and watched Pessimist and Optimist. Life, then took Pessimist’s hand and wanted him to wait for good things until the end of the day. Pessimist shook off that hand. But Optimist reached out and took Life’s hand and said,

“Hello there! Let us go and see what is in store for the day.”

Life smiled and uncovered all the paths that had been hidden with grass and asked,

“Which one would you like take to go on? All the roads are open for you!”

“ I will try out all the roads and see which one is best for me” replied Optimist and with a hearty laugh walked along. The Pessimist meanwhile lay in his bed, lonely and miserable.

“The day did not favor me today, it never does. All the luck goes to the other people” said he as tears fell from his eyes. Meanwhile, Life reflected on his two guests and said to himself,

“Humans are puzzling indeed, they are unsolved riddles.”

Tulip Chowdhury writes from Massachusetts, USA.

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Tulip Chowdhury

There are moments of magic and challenges in living this earthly life. May my wings soar through the blessed energy of the universe.