The Nothingers | Teen Ink

The Nothingers

July 8, 2010
By LaurenE. PLATINUM, Nashville, Tennessee
LaurenE. PLATINUM, Nashville, Tennessee
26 articles 19 photos 50 comments

Favorite Quote:
Two woods diverge in a yellow wood, and I- I took the one less traveled. And it has made all the difference. -Robert Frost

The Man Who Walks Backwards

Once upon a peculiar dream
I saw a place no one had seen.
This place I saw, I was quite intrigued.
The grass was blue, the sky was green,
The fish only flied and the birds did not sing.
The name of this place, it seemed to be unseen.
It seems as though I was caught in between.
As I walked into this world I saw things had I never seen!
The strangest of strange and the oddest of all odd things.
I will try to describe these peculiar scenes saw I,
Of where I went in this strange dream.

The first man I meet,
He was quite an unusual gent,
Walked only backwards!
Never looking where he went,
Only where he’d been.
At first I only stared,
What could a brain be thinking in there?
It was then when I asked him his name.

“Name?” He proclaimed. “My name is plain if in spain but if one came again, but not quite of shame, I should give him my name which is pain but is also quite lame. My name is the same if you only but complain. Tis my name.”

“Dear sir,” said I. “I asked only for an answer.”

“If we only gave answers than who would ask the questions?” So was his retort. “I think we should only have questions and no answers of any sort.”

“But my dear sir,” I began. “If we only had questions, where would we receive the answering?”

“Stop it!” He bellowed. “I don’t like answering questions.”

“My dear fellow you just divulged...” I stopped and conjectured. He was quite an interesting stout fellow.

By this time he had stopped his walking,

Standing irritated while we were talking.

But when I inquired where he might be going,

He started off his backwards towing.

“But sir!” I ran after him. “Why, answer me this once, why do you walk backwards?”

He gave me a scowling stare and asked, “Well ‘sir’, why do you walk forwards?”

I pondered this for a moment and came to this reply, “Well I like to see where I’m going.”

“I see.” Though I was sure he didn’t. “I like to see where I’ve been.” And with that, he left. Leaving me to wonder how far one could go without looking where he’s going and only where he’s been.

The Unmovable Wall and the Unstoppable Man

I marched away from the dwindling man with no avail,
And traveled upon a different trail.
(Frontwards might I add)
When I came upon another man.

He looked like quite a normal man,
Strong, confident, though quite tan.
There was sweat on his brow;
A sign of hard work.
I walked up and asked this sir,

“How do you do?”

“With what?” Was his retort.

I blinked and looked about. “With that wall.”

‘Twas the first thing I saw.

It was a wall though quite strange.

No door, no windows, no house...rearranged?

Not at all!

Just a wall alone.

Ten feet wide and tall of stone.

Befuddled, I scratched my head.

“It won’t move.” Replied the tan man to my outlandish question. I thought this queer.

“Well of course not,”I reasoned, “It’s a wall.”

“Yes, but I am the strongest man in the world. I should be able to move that wall. Further more it’s right in my straight path. You see, I was walking myself in a line when I ran into this.” He finger pointed at the wall. “It simply won’t move but I simply will not go until it does!” And after that which he buzzed he began to shove.

I blinked once to recall what I’d heard.

Do my ears deceive me?

This is quite absurd!

A man that walks backwards and now a man that’s convinced,

That he could walk a straight line without being missed

By an thing in his way?

And what’s more to be sure he could move such a stone,

Not even ten dozers could have budged that thing if at home.

He stopped his shove to turn once again, “No one has told me they were a bit more stronger than I, so it must mean that I am the strongest man alive!”

“Ah.” Was all my fool mouth could summon. My eyes watched as he rubbed together his hands, gave a mighty grunt, and ran. Right to the wall he ran, put out his palms and pushed.

I felt a sort of sad,

Then a little mad,

Giddy glad?

I know I shouldn’t have,

But I started to laugh.

The man stopped and stared.

“Sir!” I gasped, “It’s a wall, it’s unmovable!”

“Yes.” He agreed.

I was just about to ask why all this comic play and ask for his name, when he cut in.

“But I am unstoppable.” And resumed his task.

I walked away unmasked.

I could not understand why someone would put upon himself such an impossible task?

I mean, why would someone do something like that?

I glanced back,

Just once,

And went on my way.

The Woman Who Stares At A Rose

I continued in the path that the ‘strongest man’had set out on,

Except I would walk around any obstacle I came upon.

Alas though I could not have that pride,

For came about the night.

I saw a light in the distance and headed toward,

As I got closer I came upon a door.

I knocked and nicely dressed man opened,

He smiled and without question let me in.

Tired as I was I did not notice the woman we passed while going to my room

The soft sheets engulfed my wearisome body and I slept.

It was morning when the most peculiar thing happened.

“Good morning sir.” Said a voice in my sleep. Though it was not because I sat up and saw the nicely dressed man at my door. I assumed him to be a butler. I asked him where I might be.

“Well you are in Ladie’s house.”He replied and smiled. “She welcomes all new travelers from the other side. She would love to see you, but she’s a little busy this morning. Might you have some beganfast?”

I found that I was not hungry but more interested in why I didn’t hear the word breakfast. “Beganfast?”

“Ah yes, you see here we are full when we wake up and must began the fast until we sleep once again. It is the only meal we eat, the sleep just fills us up until morning.”

“ thank you.” I fumbled inside my mind, where am I?

The man smiled and gestured.

I found myself hewing to a parlor.

In was a lady and a flower.

To it she watched quite close,

Never taking an eye off of the beautiful rose.

“Come,”She waved, “And stand behind so I might see you both.”

To both I was unsure who was what.

I moved behind the rose and realized what was what,

Me and the rose,

She never rose.

She stayed close and without moving a cloth,

“I cannot look away from this rose.”

If she were a man I would have asked an unbarred why, but I let her instead.

“Because if I do, then it might change.”She fidgeted. “And I simply cannot stand change!” Her breath was heavy and carried across to the rose. It shifted slightly. “AHHHHH!”The lady screamed! “It moved! Did it change? Please oh please say it did not change!”

The butler standing by took her hand and soothed it as she continued to stare.

“Nothing changed, it only moved a bit. Nothing changed, nothing has changed.”

“Everything is the same.”I chimed in, trying to be of help. It seemed to calm her and she continued to stare.

Later, when evening came and the lady rose to sleep,

I asked the butler, “Why does she have that rose to keep,

“Never to leave,

“Always staring, why does she?”

“Sir,”He whispered so she would not hear from her sleeping room.

“As the lady has said, she is afraid of change to come,

“To her dear rose.”

At this I baffled.

No change? How could this be?

If things did not change then how could some thing ever come to be?

How could this be so?

Change is needed, everyone knows.

“But change will come to the rose.”I stated. “No water or even if it will eventually die.”

“That is why this is a secret.”He breathed almost silent. “Every night I take the rose from her vase and change it with a newer one. So my lady, when she wakes, will see no change for all of her days. The rose will always stay the same.”

“But my dear sir!”I gasped, “Shouldn’t she know that there is change in the world? Why would you do such a thing?”

“Because my dear sir, if the rose changed, she would look in the mirror and see that she herself has changed.”

My eyes startled and looked around,

There were no mirrors to be found.

“The only mirror is in the lady’s room, and that is where she would go if she found her dear rose was at fault.”

“We are all at fault.” I muttered, away from my mind, thinking of the lady’s panic when the air blew ever so slightly on her dear rose. What a terrible curse to bare.

“And that is something she must never know.”He looked longingly at the door of her room and then to the rose he walked. “If you will excuse me...”

“I will be on my way.”I said and walked myself to the front door.

The light of the house softened as it drew farther and farther away from where I walked. The light of day did also.

What a terrible curse,

To never know you would grow old,

To never see the change in a simple rose.

Such a shame that she would never know,

Love even knocked at her door.

But she would never answer,

Because a silly thing love is if you did not know of change.

And so I traveled on.

The Girl Who Always Wore a Mask

Dusk was upon,

And I traveled ‘til dawn.

Never weary my feet,

As they walked upon the street,

My eyes were quite bored of seeing the same sight,

Plains of grass for miles and miles until out of sight,

Until once did I come upon a cliff.

And nothing in this land had puzzled me more than this:

A girl, sitting on a stone

At the bottom of the cliff,

She was all alone.

“Young lass!”I called out, for I was far from her, “Why do you sit by yourself?”

“Because!”She cried, quite literally, “No one understands my cause!”

“How so?”I questioned.

But, as I peered closer and drew near,

It was quite a blow,

I was taken by a surprise unlike anything I had ever seen,

Even in this peculiar dream.

The young lass,


She was wearing a mask!

“Oh!”She cried once again. “No one knows, no one knows!”

I stood there and watched this sorrowful sight, unsure of what I could do.

“Not one knows me! Not one! No one knows of me! Oh how? How could this be?”Tear stained cheeks she looked up at me. Her mask lifted with her smile.

I frowned.

“Dear sir, how do you do?”She smiled once again.

“My dear,”I began my question. “Why do you smile so? No need to save face for me, I am only a stranger. But tell me so I will no longer be, why are you crying so?”

I awaited an answer in soft tones,

A voice of a sorrowful youth.

But her eyes squinted through her silvery mask,

And she lashed,

“Crying so? Oh no! I was not crying but of joy to meet someone new!”

I paused, youth was a difficult puzzle. I needed not to offend.

“But my dear, you were only just crying out that no one knew. What don’t they know?”

“Nothing.”And she turned her head.

I could see her mask in line with face,

Down to her chin did it chase,

Not easily thrown off,

As she did not.

Afraid was she?

Why did this youth wear a mask so to cover?

I decided to ask.

“My dear, why do you wear this mask?”

Her eyes wavered. “What mask? Why do you ask? There has never, nor now, upon my face been a mask.”

I stared.

Did my eyes deceive?

Surely it was a mask I did see.

Silver and bright,

Two holes for the eyes,

Crudely made,

But made to hide.

But what?

I asked.

“My dear, what pray are you hiding behind a mask as so?”


“Why were you crying?”

“Oh I don’t know!”

“Who doesn’t know?”

“It can’t be so!”

“What cannot?”I peered down upon her face, or as much as I could.

“They do not know!”



“What don’t they know?”

“Me! Can’t you see? They do not know me! And I don’t know why! No one understands, though I try! They give me one look, say they can read me like a book but when in trouble or even in play when I ask they all turn away! They all say the I hide behind something that I can’t even find! It happens all the time!”Head in her hands she cried.

I smiled, an easy one this would be. “Maybe it is because you’re hiding behind that mask.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, I have no mask upon my face.”

I stood, for I had sat beside her and looked down. She looked up and smiled. Ignorance smiled at me. And I walked away from ignorance.

As soon as I was far enough away,

She began to cry yet again.

I could only shake my head.

No one can know you if you only show a mask instead!

I closed my eyes and wished for a bed,

That is where I wish to go instead.

But onward I walked because somehow I deemed,

That was very close to the end of this dream.

The Man Who Sees Only in Black and White

Through a horizon I could see,

The back of my eye-lids closed in peace.

Walking towards I knew once I reached,

That I would awake and end the dream.

I picked up my step and hurried toward,

But I was stopped by a lone man in the road.

I paused,

And regarded him to be a blind man.

His eyes were dull and saddened,

His head was bald and flattened,

The body was mangled and thin.

“To seek what’s outside, look within.”

I blinked. Had he said that? His body looked as if it would topple at the hint of wind. He rested on a cane. He spoke again.

“No matter how slow you walk towards the end, you will reach it eventually.”

“Pardon me?”

“If always you pardon, you will never get a word in.”

I stared strange at this old man,

But I didn’t think much very of him,

And thus tried to pass by,

When I did the old man’s cane hit me in the thigh!

“Ouch!”I startled.

“Ouch is a small price to pay.”The old man had said. “Tell me,”he asked in a wheeze, “What do you see.”His body shook as he gestured the cane around him.

“I see the end of a long and tiring journey.”I sighed, looking past his grey eyes. My foot began to tap with impatience.

The man grunted and shook his head slowly, the sad eyes turned melancholy. “No, you see a missed oppertunity.”But then a surprising sparkle came into his eye. For a moment I saw laughter and youth, blue eyes and strong legs, all in one glance. “Wish to know what I see?”

I nodded, speechless.

“I see the beginning of another journey for you, when you awake.”Then the youth was gone, but a mischievous grin still lingered on his face. “Do you wish to see how I do?”

He awaited no answer.

Once again I felt the cane contact with, not my leg this time, but my head! I almost cried out, but to my surprised senses, there was no pain, only an odd feeling that there should be.

Only my eyes were closed, and a smile crept upon my face, I had awakened, yet to open my eyes. Slowly I did.

I had to blink many a time and shake my head before comprehending what had happened,.

I had surely not awakened but stood, still in my dream, looking at the same old man with the dull eyes and the horizon of my eye-lids behind him.

But something was different.

There was no color. I was seeing only in black and white. There was no medium of grey, just the two colors of black and white. I had to touch the now black ground to be sure it was true. Soon I was aware of a boisterous guffaw, the old man was laughing at me.

“How’s that for your taste?”He chuckled.

I paid his words no mind, for something strange had caught my eye. Before hand, in color, he had seemed dull, blank, weary with age. But now I saw not just an old man standing before me, but wisdom embodied. It was instantly formulated. There was no sign, no flashing lights, just white. And white was good, and he was wisdom.

I looked down at myself and found that I was also white, but not as gleaming as the old man had been. I could see through my own self. But I did not see the things that I had so held up myself to be. I saw cautiousness and thoughtfulness, but not wisdom. I was not wise. I was learning. I could see it now, the world, or at least this one, figuratively and literally in black and white, everything as it was.

Only one thing was of the in between of black-wrong and white-right, the horizon. It mixed a grey color. I frowned, puzzled.

“The future can never be determined, nor framed inside the categories that life gives us. This way of seeing things, it only works for the present and past. But these things will help you in the future, and then the less grey it will seem.”The old man had said in reply to my frown.

“But, there must be wrong ahead.”I stumbled among the words, fearing the muddled unknown.

“There will always be.”He reassured. The cane came hard on my head again, but this time the pain lingered. I cried out. I looked ahead, then at the old man fearfully. “You can only linger so long in the present, it must soon become the past.”He prodded me forward with the cane. It then occurred to me that I once again could see in color. It was blinding.

“You have a dream to wake from.”The old man said, sounding far away, though I could clearly see him next to me.

The ground then began to shake with a force I had never once felt before. The landscape rippled like a cloth in the wind. Out of the corner of my eye the old man winked at me, then disappeared during my blink. I was alone. And all at once, the ground reared and threw me into the horizon, where I was to face the unknown.

WAlking Into Nothing

The dream did not end there like I had perceived

It had a bit more to tell me it seemed.

I continued to walk on and as I did,

Everything turned into nothing.

Al I saw was white.

But where was I going,

There was no way of knowing until...

I opened my eyes.

I saw the sunrise.

The white had demised.

Unfazed by this thought I did pretend,

My peculiar dream at come to an end,

When I walked with the nothingers.


The author's comments:
I wrote this under the inspiration of Dr. Seuss, Shel Sylverstien, and C.S Lewis. If you will notice, the commentary is in poetry but the dialogue is in prose. Also, the more stupid the character, the more he/she rhymes in prose.

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