Hi and welcome to the fifth installment of "Destination Anywhere," a story written chapter by chapter by a variety of 360 bloggers, and started by our fearless leader Scott. Mine is chapter five. Follow the links below to read the rest of the story thus far, and I hope you enjoy this chapter.
Questions swirled in my head. My mind raced back over the past few minutes, hardly able to comprehend what had just happened. As we had filed off the bus, I found myself wondering how the heck I would get to the diner. If the bus and diner were stopped on nothing, how was I expected to walk? I allowed Marti to lead, not only because that was the gentlemanly thing to do, but also because I knew next to nothing about this place, and I thought it best to let her lead the way.
When she reached the end of the flight of stairs, Marti let go of my arm and casually jumped off with both feet. "Follow me!" she yelled. I watched, awestruck, as she suddenly zipped toward the diner effortlessly. A second later, she was standing at the entrance, hand on hip, staring at me. "Come on!" she called.
Not having any other option, I gathered my courage, strengthened my resolve, and jumped. The feeling that overcame me was intense. Time suddenly seemed to stop as my body was overwhelmed with a fleeting sense of sheer density. I felt my body being yanked in a million directions, all those directions culminating in a single point of focus. Next thing I knew, I was standing right next to Marti in front of the diner.
"How the heck did this happen?!!" I asked.
"Oh come now, that's really not important, darling," Marti replied. "If we only ever considered how we get from point A to point B, we'd completely miss out on what each point has to offer. Now, let's go grab a bite to eat."
She grabbed my arm once again and we pushed open the doors. I stepped inside, and immediately froze. From my left, I heard Marti say, "Welcome to Terminal 1, Chester, your first stop on your journey to anywhere."
She then put pressure on my arm, urging me forward. I came to my senses enough to ask her the one question that bugged more than anything. "Who are you?"
Unfazed, Marti answered "Well, your tour guide, of course."
"I don't mean to be rude, but I really don't want a tour guide. The whole purpose of this trip is to be my own guide," I said, hoping that I did not offend her.
"I know, dear."
"Well, if you know, why are you my tour guide?"
Marti looked at me with an expression that told me the answer was obvious. She was patient, however, and calmly explained, "When you decided to take a trip to anywhere, nowhere was the only place you had in mind. You can't very well go nowhere when you want to go anywhere. And for that matter, you can't go anywhere when you want to go nowhere. You have to start somewhere. It's a paradox, dear."
I rolled my eyes. "I see. But that still doesn't answer my question."
"Sure it does. But that's neither here nor there. I'm famished!"
With that, she walked to the counter, still with me arm in arm. Without bothering to ask, she approached the clerk at the counter. He was small and brown, obviously akin to the Booger Folk. I realized after a second that this guy must be some sort of ear wax creature.
I found myself staring at him, and was startled to hear Marti speaking again. "Hi. I'd like one order of anything, and I'd like to get a side of nothing for Chester here. Oh, and we both want something to drink. Thanks!"
At this point, I had resigned myself to the fact that nothing seemed to make sense, and Marti the Tour Guide was not going to be of much help.
As we sat down to eat, Marti opened the conversation. "So tell me about this travel journal you're writing."
"Well," I answered, "it's simple really. I wanted to travel and write about the interesting people I see along the way. At first, it was going along great. That is, until all this weird stuff started happening. I mean, I don't even know what this place is!"
"I already told you what it is, dear. It's Terminal 1."
"But what's with all the boogers, and the ear wax? I mean, it's not like anything I've ever seen before."
Marti grinned. "Ah, you have just answered your own question."
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"You just said it's not like anything you've ever seen before. You see, you must not think in terms so black and white. What is and what isn't. What's past and what's present. In the case of your cowboy, what's gay and what is not gay. If you think only terms such as these, you trap yourself in a world of mirrors."
I had just about had it with this cryptical philosophical nonsense. "Look," I said, "I see you're trying to make me think outside the box, and while I appreciate it, I just want to write my journal and enjoy my travels in peace."
Satisfied that I had made my point, I looked back at Marti. To my surprise, she was grinning. "I'm afraid, Chester, that that is not possible. You see, a journal is something you cannot write. I'll show you."
Marti jumped up and grabbed my arm, leading me out of the diner. We leapt into space and were suddenly back at the bus. She lead me back to our seats. "Open your journal," she said, "and tell me what you see."
I gingerly picked up my journal from where it sat, and turned to the first page. I was stunned to find that the words I had written were no longer there. In their place were depictions of things that had gone on, written in a hand foreign to me.
"You see, Chester. You cannot write a journal, because, to put it in your black and white terms, there is no such thing as one."
"Wha--", I stammered.
"Do not try to make sense of this, dear. No question you ask, no object you see, no place you visit, will be any use. Only you can figure this out. I can, however, tell you this. That is no journal in your hands. It's a journey. Now sit down and buckle up. It's time to go."