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This beautiful piece is from the prompt for The Sophisticate and The Simpleton, and the lessons we can learn from them about how we relate to and understand “time.” Shulamit Michal Strassburger is also an award-winning writer, she won an award in the BRI Women writing contest in 2018.
by Shulamit Michal (Susan) Strassburger
I have had arguments with time since childhood; the school year went too slow, Summer vacation went too fast, not enough time to study for the test, the test time flew…… Nothing changed in adulthood – couldn’t something be done about that nine-month long pregnancy? Time moves us along to our various plateaus in life. Arguing with time can lead one to the belief he has some control over it.
At each plateau, I felt the Sophisticate fought time in his unwillingness to accept where he was. Where he was, was never good enough. He always looked to his next step, to the future. Assuming he had time and control of it was central to his character. He admits this when the subject of marriage comes up. “But this is not my concern now. I will have plenty of time for this in the future.”
When the Sophisticate receives the letter from the king summoning him, he begins his conflict with time. The first thing he says is, “Wait”, stopping his progress to his next plateau, trying to stop time. He proceeds to block his summons to the king by questioning the king’s existence with everyone. It is like he grabs time by its throat forcing it to his will. Time retaliates, in the guise of the Devil, by throwing the Sophisticate into a quicksand bog rendering him immobile. There is nothing the Sophisticate can do on his own to get himself out. He is stuck where he is for the first time. There wasn’t an argument that would make a difference, nothing he could control. He must live in the present as we all need to.