Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Nick’s mom was famous for repeating the old adage ‘you are what you eat’, but simple life experience had taught him people were much more than that. His dad used to tout the catch phrase ‘it is what it is’ like he had invented it. Ironically, Nick felt this contained a deeper meaning than his father had ever realized.
            That still left the question though. Just what was he?
            Was he a boy? Was he a man? Was he a son? Was he a father? Was he a boyfriend? Was he a lover? Was he a friend? Was he an enemy?
            Was he a human? Was he an ape? Was he a mammal? Was he an animal? Was he a living being? Was he just a dream in someone else’s mind?
            Was he a person? Was he a collection of ideas? Was he a collection of emotions? Was he a collection of memories? Was he a bunch of chemicals in a self-sustaining reaction? Was he mortal? Was he a brain in a vat?
            As Nick sat on the swing in the little park by his house, these questions persisted ceaselessly through his head. It was night, and the air was cold, yet not painfully so. Elsewhere, all around him, people were engaged in revelries celebrating the close of one year and the coming of the next. He was alone though, both in the park and in his own mind.
            Nick only knew, for certain, that ‘he was what he was’, but this gave little comfort. Right now, going by feeling, he was nothing. He wasn’t happy, he wasn’t sad, he wasn’t angry, he was just . . .
            Once again, he had reached a mental impasse.
            The wind gusted slightly, then the first few flakes of a light flurry started to drift down.
            With a shiver, Nick realized he was cold.
            Yes, that was a good word. Cold.
            Devoid of energy, a blankness, a nothing. He imagined himself to be like the far reaches of space, past the warm embrace of our planet’s atmosphere. He was like a frozen tundra. A frigid glacier. A solitary iceberg adrift in the sea.
            As these thoughts took over Nick’s consciousness, he felt his eyelids start to grow heavy. By the time consciousness left him, he was completely unaware.
            The next morning, city maintenance workers were baffled by what they found. Someone, over the course of a solitary night, had carved a life-sized ice sculpture of a youth on a swing. Somehow, the person had managed to dress it completely in clothing, even down to boxers and socks. 

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