The Nothing wilted away in its forever idle state


Saniya Mishra

My shadow in the sand on a hot, dry day: a day in which I felt like doing absolutely nothing

It was the laziest Nothing I had ever seen.

It had sat at its wood stool so long that the poor thing wilted under the grand weight of the Nothing’s sedentary resolve. It shriveled before my eyes—its scratchy fabric of skin folding in small valleys that caked its body. It cracked and cackled at its crinkling, cracking cracks. It cackled and cackled for the lack of a knack it had not for a fact.

A blurt of laughter lurked within me, too, tickling my throat, taunting to throw a trembling troll through. It would cackle, just as true. It would consume my Everything, from the short nails wobbling upon my toes to the spiked hairs upon my arms in rows. I would rupture and spasm violently, my earwax popping out and dancing upon the hot ground, excited with hilarity.

Pathetic and lousy, it truly was. I would continue to scoff at it between relentless skipped breaths seized by rolling chuckles. Making a mockery of the Nothing’s state, a newfound pleasure of mine.

It brought so much joy to look downward upon the Nothing; evidently, I was superior, and I could never let myself degrade to such a pitiful state. Yes—I will never be such a blightful sight. I would take delight in persevering through and despite the nights.

The Nothing’s eyes suddenly glimmered in some surely false bright light, smirking daringly at me. What could shake such pride and determination into a Nothing? Its sandy folds littered fine dust as it moved. Its mold, hardened by so long of carrying out nothing and bearing nothingness. It was fixed in its shape; it could not escape.

The shell was a mere sheet—it was up to the Nothing to break through.

The Nothing’s eyes flickered again, a bit sad and dismayed now. How quickly a Nothing’s mood could sway. I could see now that the cracking cage fitted around it wasn’t what had kept the Nothing there. It was the Nothing itself. The shell was a mere sheet—it was up to the Nothing to break through.

Do it.

I tell the Nothing, Do it.

Break free. Do something—be Something.

The Nothing’s eyes changed once more, again full of valiant intent. But there it sat—staring back at me, ready for Something, but really just Nothing.

I let my shoulders fall, and I walked away from the reflective plane that idly leaned against the walls that I, just as idly, circled inside, doing nothing—and I bid the Nothing farewell.