The Realist and the Romanticist

Stories

This is my take on Tyson Motsenbocker’s “A Kind Invitation”.

Somewhere, at some time past, there were two young boys, close friends who were together since birth. One day they were out fishing, reeling in the night’s dinner, when they saw far off two figures walking along the shore.
Now, as they got closer and closer, they could make out an older man and a smaller girl. Soon enough they could see their faces.
“Hello,” said the man.
“Hello,” said the girl.
“Hello,” said the two boys.
“My name is Time,” said the man, “and this is my friend. Her name is Love.”
“Won’t you come and walk with us today?” asked Love. “There are wonderful things just ahead and we want to see them with you.”
Both boys thought she was beautiful, something telling them her company would be just as wonderful as what was waiting. But one, the Realist, thought more about Time.
“Thank you for the kind invitation,” he said, “but I’m afraid if I were to leave this boat and come walk with you, I would miss out on all the fish left for me to catch!”
“I’ll gladly join you,” said the other boy, the Romanticist. “The fish can wait for another day, and there’s an adventure to have with you.”
The two boys said their goodbyes and went on their separate ways.

Many years passed and the boys had grown into men. They came across one another on the road one day, Love in the Romanticist’s hand and Time walking beside.
“Hello,” said the Realist.
“Hello,” said the Romanticist.
“Hello,” said Time.
“Hello,” said Love, now a woman, “We’ve missed you. Won’t you come and walk with us today? For it has been many years since we first met. There is still plenty to see together, and the sun has yet to set today.”
“I would. In fact, I have dreamt of such things. But the rumors of Time have become true to me, and life is too short to waste. There is much to do and the sun is to soon set for today. If I am to watch clouds with you, or see the world from mountaintops with you, then Time will speed up my days and I will only have seen you for a portion of what I could dream.”
The two boys said their goodbyes and went on their separate ways. The three traveled west, somehow speeding along with Time while avoiding the day’s end, and the Realist walked into the day’s sunset.

Many more years passed and the men had grown old. The Realist rested in retirement, but could never find lasting comfort. He had a face like stone with a memory fading like an evening sun. The Romanticist had his problems with age as well, but found himself as hearty as ever. His Love still held his hand like years before.
Now, Time met with the Romanticist and his Love for one final hour. They had been traveling west for a while, avoiding the day’s end. But eventually they came upon the east and saw their last sunset. They were happy, yet not perfect. But life was never about perfection.
Time then came to meet with the Realist. He was near perfect in all his work, but was less happy than his old friend.
“Hello,” said the Realist.
“Hello,” said Time.
“I’ve spent all of you dreaming of her,” said the Realist, “but never took the chance. I feared for my future. The irony. I tried making the most of you, yet I‘ve missed every moment I’ve ever longed for.”
“How true you are,” said Time. “You’ve made a grave mistake: seeing me as your enemy. I’m only here to help Love. If you have a need, I will find a way to provide.”
“Why do you speed up life when things are good, while you slow down on the bad and the mundane?” the Realist asked.
“That’s more so controlled by you, you know?” Time said. “If I had to answer, I’d say that’s easy. To make you ponder and appreciate what’s good more than you do what is not.”
The Realist sat in silence for a while, then begged, “Can I please go back?”

The boy reeled in that night’s dinner and noticed two figures walking along the shore. As he got closer, he saw they were an older man and a smaller girl.
“Hello,” said the man.
“Hello,” said the girl.
“Hello,” said the boy.
“My name is Time,” said the man, “and this is my friend. Her name is Love.”
“Won’t you come and walk with us today?” asked Love. “There are wonderful things just ahead and we want to see them with you.”
The boy thought for a moment, his pole in hand. He imagined a life where he didn’t take up this opportunity and pursue Love. He saw it as noble, as any man doing work is. But he also imagined a life where he did take the risk with these strangers. He saw Love as the most worthy pursuit. Why trade joy and trust for safety and comfort, when the latter things are never truly guaranteed?
“I’ll gladly join you,” the boy said, winking at Time. Love smiled and received his hand.
The boy would later become a man, and Love a woman. They both worked, but they worked together.

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