The Realistic Optimist

She sat down at the table and     automatically lifted the mug of coffee towards her face, analyzed it, then sniffed it.

“I’m sure it’s fine,” he said with a snicker.  “Why do you always think it’s going to be wrong?”

She took off her hoodie and draped it over the chair behind her.  “Because they rarely, if ever, get it  exactly how I order it.”

“So negative for an optimist!”

“Let’s just say I’m a realistic optimist and leave it at that.”  She stirred the coffee and took another sniff.  “I think there’s too much cinnamon.”

He laughed.  “No such thing.”

“As too much cinnamon?” she asked with a smile.

“No, jerk.  As a realistic optimist.”

“Sure there is.”

“Optimists are dreamers by nature.  A person claiming to be a realistic optimist is just an undercover pessimist, trying to figure out why optimists are so optimistic, what makes them tick, why they think there will be a happy ending regardless of how things are in the present.”

“Nah,” she said, swatting his idea away from the table.  “I’m a dreamer who hopes for the best, but prepares for the worst.”

“An optimist wouldn’t prepare for the worst.  He or she would just know that either the best will happen, or they will take something from the bad event, no matter what it is, that will make them a better person.”

She sighed and took a sip.  “Hmmm…I was right, too much cinnamon, not enough milk.”  She put it down and pushed it away from her and towards him.

He reached over and grabbed the cup, walked to the self-serve table, and added some milk.  He sipped it, added a little more, and returned.

“It still has too much cinnamon, I’ll bet you,” she said.  He handed it to her and she sipped it, said nothing, and put it down, this time on the table right in front of her.  He smiled.

Photograph and some dialogue by Jessica Brookins.

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