Talk 8 – Freedom

fiction about responsibility

Short Story

 

How are your parents, bear?
They’re understanding as usual.
They understand each other and they understand you, right?
And they understand the world.
You could say that. Why do you ask?
They are my role models. When I have kids I’ll try to be like them.
So your kids will be like me. So I am your role model as well?
You could say that.
We’re one short!
Yes, he said he was coming at first, but when I called him today he said he has a midterm tomorrow.
But if you drink before an exam, you are sure to pass it!
That’s what I told him but he doesn’t believe me.
Is he coming hiking in two weeks?
That’s what he said.
The value of his word has been diminishing lately.
Let’s hope for the best. He’s studying, it’s a good thing.
He is doing well, but that has nothing to do with his word. He must have known about the exam far in advance.
True. Let’s just lower our future expectations for his confirmations.
Noted.
The hike is on a Sunday?
Yes, two Sundays from now.
Where?
The place with the waterfalls.
The same place where we jumped from the twenty foot cliff into the waterfall pond?
Yes.
The same place we hid a bottle of whiskey in the cave?
Yes.
Are we going to drink it?
We’ll check if it’s there, but we are bringing wine. Whiskey and hiking hardly mix.
I agree.
True thing.
This flower painting is good.
You’ve been staring at it for a while.
I think it’s got me.
That’s what it does, it gets you.
Maybe I should get one for my lady!
We can go down now, the painter lady will be delighted.
Your lady likes paintings?
Not as much as she likes me, but she’s allergic to flowers. That painting will be a good alternative.
Good thinking, bear.
Can we go now?
Let’s have another whiskey and go a little later in the afternoon. She usually takes a nap around this time.
You know her schedule?
We bring her food sometimes when we cook.
You cook vegetarian?
Sometimes.
That’s a good thing you’re doing.
The cooking or the sharing?
Both.
I am trying to be like the bear. He has the least bad habits our of all of us.
I don’t eat that well.
But you don’t drink that much either.
My parents are balanced.
We know.
I know you do. They say the best way to get rid of habits is to eradicate them at the source.
Like never introduce them?
Yes, like they never let me watch television. We never owned a TV set. All my friends were talking about TV shows and video games. I could tell you how to grow potatoes and the fate of the tsar in War and Peace.
They made you read that?
No, they read it to me. We had book readings for an hour five days a week.
That’s awesome!
So now do you ever watch TV?
I watch art films sometimes.
There’s a book shelf in my laundry room, and I look forward to doing laundry because of it.
You did laundry today, right?
Yes and had a coffee.
What did you read?
A book about babies.
About babies how?
It was about a society of babies. I’s functional, but they cry and scream and mumble and get things done eventually.
Fiction?
Very.
Does your lady want babies?
Yes.
And you?
I tell her she should first get a plant, then a cat or dog, and if they grow happily – get a baby.
I can never give up certain freedoms. I have only to be enslaved by the next generation.
You’re afraid of responsibility.
I guess.
But responsibility is the biggest motivator.
But it takes away your freedom.
What kind of freedom do you mean?
The freedom to get up and do whatever you want, travel, move to a new place, live on an island for a while.
But you never do those things!
I like to think that I can.
It’s all in your head – fear. Your parents conditioned you badly.
Not everyone is lucky to have your parents.
True. But absolute freedom for which you’re aiming, but falling short of, is corrupting and unrealistic.
Why? I’m not hurting anyone.
You’re hurting yourself by not having attachments. You are loose and letting the current carry you. That way you cannot grow mentally or financially. Attachments – like wife, house, kids, football team to cheer for, a tree you planted and visit regularly and so on, they keep steady against the currents.
But I like to be carried by the current. I like the change it brings.
It’s a one way train that I left a while ago.
More whiskey?
Cheers to absolute freedom!
Cheers to absolute freedom being a cage in itself!
Do you know what the definition is of absolute freedom?
No.
What is it?
The whiskey philosopher!
Absolute freedom is never having to say: I am sorry.

 

next chapter: TALK 9 – COMPLAIN

previous chapter: TALK 7 – SPECIAL

all chapters: TALK

more by PETER ODEON

photograph by Will Langenberg

 

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