*sigh* Yet again Comment Fic strikes. Hard. Right between the eyes. Luckily it was short. But I like it. Here's where it came from. Today's theme: Life Lessons. The Prompt: any, any, life is a multiple choice question. The Response: see below. Enjoy, and be sure to tell me what you think!
"What I do not understand is why I am never able to successfully fulfill my day's activities as I have them laid out on my schedule," Baljeet said in minor frustration, even as he sighed. "I have even learned to account for things such as your ideas for the day. Yet I still find I have not accomplished all of the tasks I have scheduled when I review the day at bedtime."
"Baljeet, you're looking at things the wrong way," Phineas said with a small smile. "You're so determined to map your path for the day that you're missing all of the fun and amazing possibilities that are branching off of it."
"I do not understand what you are saying," Baljeet returned, his voice and expression both confused.
Phineas paused and tried to think of another way to express his thoughts. "You're looking at each day like a math test," he finally said. "You see each block of time like an equation to be solved, and there can only be one answer."
Baljeet frowned. "Actually, with more complicated mathematical concepts and equations there can be more than one answer, or even a range of answers..."
Phineas held up a hand to interrupt the Indian boy. "You're missing the point, 'Jeet. And if it helps, think simple math."
"Yes, of course," Baljeet said, a bit embarrassed. "Go ahead with what you were saying."
"What I'm saying is this: there's never just one answer for life," Phineas continued. "When Ferb and I wake up in the morning, we rarely know what we're going to do that day. We look at our options, think about how we're feeling, see if anyone else has anything they want or need to do..." He shrugged.
Baljeet sighed. "I have never been able to understand that, how you can accomplish so much when you rely so heavily on improvisation."
Phineas smiled again. "Well, if it makes you feel better, there are some things we have to plan once we've picked our project for the day."
"But why could you not do what you do if you were to plan it beforehand?"
"Planning every detail makes your thinking too rigid," Phineas replied. "Creativity comes from an ability and willingness to roll with whatever the day gives you, and creativity is at the core of what we do and why we do it. That's where the joy of life is for us." He grinned. "I've noticed you feeling that same joy with us, don't deny it."
"I would not deny that," Baljeet said, smiling despite himself.
Phineas gave a little chuckle then returned to the topic of discussion. "But to put it in terms of a test, life isn't like a math test. It's not a fill-in-the-blank exam. There are too many different options out there."
Baljeet considered it, the beginnings of understanding struggling to come to the fore. "So it is like an essay examination?"
Phineas shook his head. "Nah. Life's a multiple choice test, and sometimes there's almost a whole alphabet to choose from. And sometimes the answer is 'all of the above'." He gave his friend a pointed look. "Most importantly - now brace yourself for this - you can't always study for it. Sometimes you just have to trust that what you already know will be enough to get you by."
Baljeet surprised the redhead by smiling at that. "I understand the concept of pop quizzes." He smiled even wider. "That is why I like to study as much as I do. That way I am as prepared as possible at all times."
The two of them laughed, then Phineas threw an arm around the black-haired boy's shoulders. "So did I answer your question? Are we good?"
"We are fine, Phineas," Baljeet assured him, allowing the other boy to start to lead him toward where their other friends had reappeared with the last of the supplies they needed for that day's big idea. "And I think I am beginning to understand what you are saying. It even makes sense."
"Great!" Phineas enthused. "You think about it, and in the meantime let's do this thing!" He gave the other boy a friendly pat on the back and started to close the remaining distance to the others with a jog.
Baljeet smiled at Phineas' back fondly for a moment before running to catch up. The whole concept was getting clearer and clearer the more time he spent with his friends, and that made him happy. As for today...
It was definitely an "all of the above" kind of day.