Fiction & Creative
Fun vs. Responsibility
By Alanna Tieschmaker
Volume 1 Issue 8
June 8, 2021
Image provided by Inc Magazine
I open my eyes to see a pitch-black room. I rub the sleep out of them wondering if the blackness is just spots in my eyes, but the room stays dark. I slowly move up from the cold, hard surface I had been lying on. What am I even on? When I look down, there is nothing underneath me except more darkness. Feeling my heartbeat thump, I reach my foot out and slowly lower it down, expecting to lose my footing. Instead, I see my shoe land above the void, slightly below my perch. Slowly, I shift my weight on it, half-expecting it to give way beneath me. Nothing happens. Even slower, I bring my other foot to rest next my first one, ready to jump back to where I hope the platform still is. When nothing happens, I slowly take another step into the void, then another. After I feel confident I won’t fall, I decide to head off in a direction. I'll find something eventually…right?
I have been walking for what feels like hours. I am beginning to doubt I will ever find anything. Would I be forever stuck in a black void? No friends and no one to talk to? I'm not sure if I could stand it. Finally, I see a faint light in front of me. Elated to finally see something besides darkness, I break out into a sprint. I hope it is a path out of this suffocating black that has surrounded me. As I get closer, the light seems to morph. Instead of being straight in front of me, it splits in two opposite directions. Additionally, there seems to be two figures looming in the distance. I hesitate as I grow nearer, intimated by the figures. Wait, why should I be scared? I can handle anything this place throws at me. Feeling more confident, I get closer and see that the intimidating figures are actually a pair of very tall signposts. How strange. Who leaves signposts in an empty void? I crane my neck to read each one. " F..u..n, Fun?" I mumble to myself. "Responsibility? That’s a lot of i's." I ponder as I turn back to look at the 'Fun' sign again.
"It is" responded a male voice. "But it’s also what is needed in life."
"Woah!" I shout, jumping backwards and away from the voice that popped up out of nowhere. I spin around to see a tall middle-aged man. He has black hair, which is barely visible in the room (Am I even in a room? Does a black void count as a room?), and brown eyes. He's wearing what I assume is a very expensive business suit and holding a briefcase.
"Responsibility is the key to a successful life. You need to be responsible for things in your life. For example, you have a paper due in a few days. Why aren't you finishing it? You know your grades are very important" the man scolds. Without good grades, how will you get into a good college? Without a good college, how will you get a respectable and well-paying job? Without a respectable and well-paying job, how will you survive in life?"
The man looks down at me, and I suddenly feel ashamed of my own procrastinating attitude. I need to finish my paper instead of wasting so much time. I start to trudge down the 'responsibility' path, but before I get very far, I hear a different, higher pitched voice call out.
"Hey, wait a minute!" I turn around to see a girl that looks about my age standing by the other signpost. She's about my height, which is a relief. Looming people are kinda scary. She has blonde hair and blue eyes. She's also very easy to notice due to the bright pink and blue clothing she wears.
"Where are you going?" she questions.
"I have work to do" I respond, but my feet have already stopped moving.
"Why should you follow him?" she cries. "There's no fun in responsibility. If you go with him, then how will you have fun? You'll just sit around at a desk job and be boring all day" she whines. "Instead of him, you should come with me!" she exclaims. " We would have so much fun together! We could play all your favorite video games and try new games that you've wanted to try for the longest time and eat new foods and run around in the park and just have so much fun!" She seemed to run out of breath after that. I am surprised that she didn't run out before. That was a very long sentence. She seems to be a very energetic person, kind of like me when I'm doing something I love. Her offer is also very tempting. I long to let go of any worries and instead play games. I wait for months to play my newly-installed moded game. I start to amble towards her and her signpost. Once I get to the midpoint, all h-e-double hockey sticks breaks loose.
"Now where are you going?! Do you not remember how much you have to do? All the responsibilities you have?" the older man remarks.
"She's coming with me, to have fun and relax" replies the girl, glaring at the man with fury.
"And what about the paper that is due?"
"She can do that later."
"Later can end up as never with you." Their voices begin to get louder as they become angrier with each other.
"Well, at least I know how to relax! And I can show her how to as well!"
"Your 'relaxing' will end up ruining her life! She still has so much left to do! She has a test tomorrow to study for!"
"She doesn't need to study! She just needs to relax, and she'll do fine!"
The man lets out an angry huff and turns to speak with me. "I demand you come with me this instant! You will not ruin your life with this nonsense!" He bends down to grab my hand and starts to pull me away, towards his sign.
"Oh no you don't!" the girl shouts, grabbing my other hand. "She's coming with me! I won't let her waste away like you want her to!" she starts to pull me in the other direction, towards her sign. I am being tugged between the both of them like a piece of rope in a game of tug of war. I don't know who to choose! I need to finish my paper and that test will be on me any day now. Yet, I want to forget about those issues and just have fun instead. There's still so much I want to do and try with my friends. Which way should I go?
Which way would you choose?