Daily Prompt: Enthusiasm
“Enthusiasm, my dear, is your most beautiful asset,” he assured her. “Don’t ever let a greying world dull what still shines.”
Yet a thick grey fog did linger a long while, dimming whatever light still dared to shine through it.
So they adapted to that toxic haze. It became a grotesque sort of mask, disguising even the loveliest of sights.
They all wore that same foul mask bred out of that same toxic place. Why wear it, though?
Adaptation. Acclimation. Assimilation. “Preservation,” they said.
Things grew more deplorable than anyone cared to admit.
Fortunately for them, that thick haze limited visibility. God forbid one should catch a glimpse of his own ghastly sight!
So the town spiraled in fits of dysfunction. Despair spawned from the haze. Depression flourished in silent desperation.
But their roots had grown deep and their senses worn dull.
Enthusiasm still thrived somewhere, somehow. In some small corner of that bleak little town.
There were some lights that never went out…
Or maybe that was just a rumor. A rumor ignited by a belligerent outsider, overwhelmed in their dimly lit, crowded, usual bar.
That’s where they all stayed, though. In that tiny toxic town, in that dimly lit bar. Why there, though?
“Preservation,” they said.
Things might have been dark, and habitually mundane, but there they survived. Not risking the unknown. Not searching for a belligerent rumor, not sun-drenched in light.
But that outsider left his mark. Overwhelmed or overflowing? Panicked or passionate?
Whatever it was, he was raving like a lunatic! On and on about his family, his work, his travels, and his friends! Nary a trace of misery could penetrate his blinding radiance! Not even inside their toxic, smoky, dark bar.
He spoke to a few locals, so brazenly chipper.
Eyes rolled and tongues mocked. In annoyance and out of envy.
But a few curious minds dared to engage. Not just to mock, but to change his foolish ways.
They dissected the paradox of being human, lamenting their fates. But also proud, in a way, proud of their plights.
“Look,” he said. “You’re not nearly as unique as you believe. You’re not half as good or as bad as you think. You’re merely a human being sharing human experiences with other fellow humans. You’re only here but a brief while. Your environment can change you, or you can change it. For better, or for worse.”
“That’s the only choice you get… Be a lotus flower. Or be a weed.”
“The lotus, you know, it’s a stunning work of art! The most splendid of its kind grow out of the deepest, most vile, inhospitable pits of mud. Out of that darkness though comes a most coveted bloom.”
“That’s not all that unusual though. Weeds grow in austerity too. Liable to grow so mighty they overshadow the most beautiful plants in the garden. Taking over everything in sight.”
“But no one, not ever, has taken pride in a garden full of even the mightiest and prettiest of weeds.”
“The trick is to look for cracks in everything. Find the light vying to get through. You don’t win by overcoming others. You win by overcoming darkness. That’s why we cherish the darkest nights, illuminating the brightest stars.”
“So take a lesson from the sky! Enjoy the beauty around you. Don’t crush the light others emit to establish dominance. You only win when you create light in yourself and extract it out of others. A sky with a million stars outshines a sky with just one… even worse, one with none!”
His ramblings died down, patrons moseyed home. But one girl stayed until last call; one last drink for her one final vow.
Before her journey homeward bound, towards that light that never goes out.