It is What It is

“We’d like you to stay,” the man insisted, the bartender nodded and flashed a smile while pushing a martini across the bar top towards me.

“That’s very flattering, but I have to go. I have obligations,” I pushed the drink back towards the bartender. He flashed a wink as he pushed it back again.

“All you do is complain. Complain about obligations, deadlines, and requirements. You are weary. So, why don’t you stay?” The man insisted, staring deep into my eyes. I stared past his eyes; mesmerized. I stared inside, where the soul is supposed to be. I found only darkness; nothing. I desperately searched my mind for another valid excuse, as his smile began to fade. Staring into his eyes, I became consumed by the darkness inside.

Nothingness enveloped me. I searched for up, then down, for balance and symmetry, for right side up, or upside down. My fingers desperately flailed for texture, my eyes for a scene, my ears searched for sound; but the only sound was that of my own thoughts. All of my senses, all of me, became entangled by nothingness.

A light flickered somewhere in the distance of the nothingness. As the light grew, it built walls. The walls swayed to and fro in a non-existence wind, as I was thrust face first to the floor. Looking up from the floor, at the four monumental walls that surrounded me; large slabs of gray brick stacked on top of the other with no end, swaying in the nothingness. Where one would expect windows, there were small bricks filling out the recessed spaces. A bookshelf stood against the wall next to a fireplace, the bricks around it were singed and matted with soot. Across from the wall of faux windows was a door with no handle and shadows passed by with no sound.

My whole body burned and tingled from the fall. I crawled my way to the crack under the door, hoping the shadows passing by could open it, “Hey you! I can see you! Hello? Can you hear me?”

“Yes, We hear you.” The shadows replied, hundreds of voices in unison.

“What is this place?” my voice quivered with fear.

“It is not this, this is It. It is what It is, and that is what It is.” The voices replied.

“Who are you?” She asked, but fumbled over the words.

“It is, this is It, and We are It too.”

“I don’t understand,” I said, my face hot with fear and frustration.

“It is not meant to be understood, It is what It is, and It is, and that is all.”

“That doesn’t make any sense,” the pain was making my temper short, and it made it difficult to understand what was going on.

“With you, It formed in the darkness.”

“But I’ve never been here.”

“You’ve always been here.”

“I have never in my life been here, and I don’t want to be here.”

“Well, It is what It is, and we must be running along, try to make the best of It. We must go. We’re not taking any pleasure in this conversation with You.”

Confused and sullen, I pulled myself off the floor away from the door, and limped towards the bookshelf. Old books with bindings of all shapes, sizes, and prints resided there. They had strange titles, like It’s History, The Battle of U Over I, The Evolution of You, and other titles that seemed terribly strange and horribly boring, I grabbed It’s History, curious to see if “It” could have a history. As I pulled it from its place the books hurdled themselves in all directions. Dropping to the ground, I watched the books hit the floor and the walls. The pages ripped themselves away from the spines, and folded themselves into paper cranes. They fluttered around the room in a tumultuous furry. The bookshelf had collapsed and sunk into the floor, the brinks of the walls began to vibrate, and the mortar started to crumble.

Through the nothingness, above the chaos of fluttering pages, hundreds of little eyes descended from the darkness. The amalgamation of chaos and darkness prevented my eyes from seeing their true forms. The floor continued to shake, rumble and water began to seep through the cracks. Terrified and confused I tried to stand. My eyes dilated, heartbeat erratic, and paralysis over came me as grotesque monstrous hairy legs descended on silken ropes from the abyss and encapsulated the poor birds. Fear gripped my every sense as hundreds of red beady eyes fixated themselves in my direction. I dropped to the floor. The water began to seep through the walls as it filled my nostrils. I tried to scream, but nothing but bubbles of air came out as water filled my throat. The moment their ugly legs tapped the surface of the water they retreated back into the darkness from which they came. I watched the birds flock from one wall to the next as my body began to relax and the water enveloped me.

A wave blew the door open and tossed me against the walls. The floor began to crumble away and sink into the darkness. The remaining cranes flocked through the fireplace and I swam against the bedlam to follow. Once again, plunging into the darkness I climbed up though the soot and filth of the chimney. My body was sore, cold and heavy from water. The cranes, in a panic flocked around me, and I could hear the water rising beneath me, after some time I realized there was nowhere left to go. I felt the darkness above me, the water below me. The water was rising, and I could feel it at my feet. Sticking my hands through the blockage above me, my fingers sensed softness, stringiness, and sliminess. A light began to shine down through the muck, and the birds began to escape through the hole. Water, heaviness surrounded my waist as I pushed my arms through the hole and pulled myself up into a meadow.

The man was sitting against a large tree playing a guitar, he watched me crawl into the meadow, with a smirk. The song, I knew that song, it was the only thing familiar to me. He turned to look at me, and laughed with his dark, soulless eyes.

“Are you enjoying your stay?”

“No, I want to go back! I have to go back; this place is not for me.”

“No, this place isn’t for you, it is you.”

“I don’t understand,” I stammered, cold from the wetness. “This is not me.”

“You…” he said as strummed the guitar.

“I know that song! I have to get out of here! I have to leave!”

I ran passed the man as he tried to grab me. Looking for an escape I saw nothing on the horizon, the only way to go was up. I climbed up the notches and branches of the tree the man had leaned against. His guitar continued to play, as he laid it on the ground. He became angry and started screaming, but I could not hear his words over the sound of my own heartbeat. He pushed and shook the tree’s trunk. I tried to hold on, but the tree swayed back and forth so violently, as if it were made of rubber. My little hands started slipping. I was so high up that the fall felt infinite, falling through the nothingness. I slammed into something soft and silky. I strummed my fingers over the textures. Next to my ear the guitar kept playing. I looked over, the clock said seven so I pressed my snooze button. Just lying there, paralyzed. I was too scared to get up. I was more frightened to go back.