I came across a magazine that publishes flash fiction. I had never heard of this kind of fiction until I stumbled upon it and thought: be a great way to take a short break from the screenplay I was working on. The whole idea is that you write a story with 1000 words or less but for this particular publication it had to be at 360 words. I thought it was a pretty interesting idea in the days of 5 second ad spots and twitter, so I decided to write my first flash fiction ever. I submitted the story, I had nothing to lose, and it got rejected, as most first time anything does. But that means I get to publish it here just the same. At 360 words, including the title, I hope you enjoy it. 🙂
IT IS WHAT IT IS
My grandmother used to say that to me and it used to drive me crazy. In my child mind nothing was as it was because I questioned everything and believed nothing, only my own made-up world. I had an imaginary village as a kid. Not just a friend, but an entire functioning village. Nobody was starving, nobody fought, though disagreements were allowed, everyone danced and nobody complained more than two complaints a day. You would get a ticket from the imaginary Police Monster (yes — in my mind it was a big purple monster) and punishment would be to say something wonderful about every single imaginary person in the made-up village. On a bad day, there weren’t so many (imaginary people that is not bad days), but on a good day, I knew the names of hundreds of imaginary villagers. You did not want to get a ticket on a good day.
Now it doesn’t anymore, drive me crazy that is, because I’ve grown up to learn that not everyone dances. You can either chose to accept that and make the best out of it or fight against it your whole life. Fighting tires me out. So I chose option number one. Acceptance. Not to say that it goes hand in hand with indifference, but you sort of just learn to numb yourself away from the pain. Grandma would not be proud.
I have a friend who moved to the middle of nowhere to numb the pain of her existence. They, her and her husband, just built a house in the woods and decided to grow most everything themselves or just buy from local farmers. They don’t own a TV. They are not on Facebook. They rarely know what’s going on in the world, except in their corner of the world, like it used to be, back when my grandmother was a little girl. I wonder if my grandmother also had an imaginary village. But it’s too late to ask. She passed away this morning without warning. I’m angry and hurt and confused, but don’t be confused, says my father, it is what it is.
by Juliana Lima Dehne