Peter and Paul

They were sitting on a bench in a park, Peter and Paul, as they are used to do on saturday afternoons. They rarely have conversations, but they very much enjoyed each others company, even if it was awkwardly silent. Peter was known to be the grumpy old man who everyone is afraid to end up being like, with an angry mask he never takes off. And Paul was the Listener to everyone’s complaints and concerns, his lips only speak comforting words, such as “everything is going to be okay”, he repeats it so much that people started to associate it with his name. Peter and Paul contrasted each other, in a way that it is very strange how they can accompany each other, people always wondered what they would have in common to talk about, “the fear of death” someone once said about them in a social gathering, and moved on to the next subject without knowing how true that statement was.

After the silence that lasted for an hour and a little more, “where do you find happiness?” Peter asked. Paul already smiled, like a beautiful painting was automatically portrayed in his mind. “In that child over there” he pointed at one, whom he clearly had no personal relationship with, he explained the picture he sees in him, the pure unstained image he must have of the world, like only angels were his mentors, and had no relation to evil whatsoever. “And in that woman on the opposing bench” Paul added. “She seems like an arrogant woman, how does she define happiness to you?” Peter asked.

“She might seem arrogant” Paul agreed, and described what he sees in her aura; a struggling woman who might do the impossible to provide for her children, who are probably in a respected school she fought for every penny she had to pay to enroll them in. And that she, despite her confidence and apparent strength, is afraid.

“Look at those two, you may only see a brother and a sister disturbingly fighting, like all siblings do” Paul said, “But I see how far the elder brother would go to look after his sister, and I see the the protective human instinct presented in him. It is rather magnificent; the natural unconditional love among family members.”

Peter was listening to him carefully, as if being introduced to new colors that has already been in sight, but he was busy defining the ones he already knows. Paul continued describing the beauty of the bright sun rays, that many might find discomforting. And the heaviness of the raindrops soaking his skin, as he very much appreciated the drops from heaven, while others may consider it an interference of enjoyable plans.

“You either see Black or White, but I choose to see the gray, and the shades of rainbow. As much as you do not want to die, Peter, because you are afraid to be alone. I do not want to die, because life is too beautiful for me.”

© 2012 ALIA SULTAN

7 thoughts on “Peter and Paul

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  1. I think this is an interesting piece which you could use as a springboard into a longer exploration of differences in character, if you wanted to. While you have encapsulated things very succinctly here, it could also be interesting to keep this under the surface for a while and see how your characters’ lives turn out to be similar, or dissimilar, based on their outlook and the choices they make.
    This is just an idea, but I hope it’s a helpful one. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Alia, this was a great come back after your silence for a while. 🙂 Very beautiful written comparison of characters that seem opposite to each other but characters that make us what we are as humans. Paul and Peter are the yin and yang of every person in this world besides their own individuality. For every person that sees darkness, there is someone that sees light in the darkness, and vice versa. And that makes life worthwhile despite its many challenges.

    Good to have you back, dear. 🙂

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