This week’s IndieInk Writing Challenge was submitted to me by this talented and eclectic dude. The challenge: ‘Think of the last time you were angry with someone and made it clear to them how you felt. Tell the story of the dispute, except tell it from the other person’s point of view.’ A challenge, indeed. The answer to my challenge, issued in the form of a gauntlet thrown melodramatically onto the ground in front of her, can be found here.
It’s as if he’s forgotten that optimism and realism are mutually exclusive. He wants me to believe that things will be fine for him, that finishing this degree will result in something more than a few additional initials after his name. I know better and I know that he does, as well. The world is a dark place. People have agendas. They’ll believe whatever is easiest. Those are both his words and mine. I find this sudden Pollyanna-colored streak in him appalling. Dangerous, even.
These disputes between us have become commonplace over the years, there’s no denying that. The one thing that he can’t dispute is my consistency. I’m no hypocrite. How can he possibly believe that my motives are anything other than pure and involve his best interests? I want what’s best for him, but I know the limitations life inflicts. There’s danger in foreshadowing too much good that might come from any given situation. There is no primrose path. Hasn’t he learned anything?
Quit? I’m not saying he should give up; that’s not an option and I know better than to offer it as such. (Besides…where would he go and what would he do?) Suddenly, however, the possibility of failure doesn’t even register. And it needs to. Always. Doesn’t he remember? It was always failure that drove him forward and now it’s not even worth considering? When he finishes, he’ll be over a decade older than most others in his position. Does he really believe that it won’t matter? Talent and smarts are not the deciding factor in this society. He threw away relative comfort and a guaranteed pension for what? Fulfilment? He’s entering a world where he’s required to rely on others to see in him what he sees in himself. That will be his downfall and I’m unwilling to just sit back and watch it happen.
Always have an exit plan, I tell him, because when the life he’s rebuilt begins to burn, he will be his only savior. He knows that I’m right. Deep down, the narrative is written and he reads it to himself everyday. He has to know that I want what’s best for him, that this is tough love. He has to realize that I’ll never lie to him, even when he insists upon lying to himself.
Sir @ March 2, 2011