How Nice It Is to Be Here

She looked out her window at paradise. Smiling faces watched her closely. Words of encouragement flooded her ears. The birds chirped their odd song while basking in the sun.

“Joy, joy, joy…”

Why did that word feel like it was tightening around her heart? She creased the shutters further back.

“But how nice to be here,” she thought to herself.

“How nice it is to be here,” she assured the smiling faces surrounding her.

“How nice it is to be here…”

She kept an ever-watchful eye on the seconds as they slipped past her. She could not stop herself from spending these fleeting seconds watching the little that remained rapidly disappear. Her eyes followed each moment closely as the mild breeze caressed her face. The door fluttered open.

“How nice it is to be here.”

She folded the door back and looked outside. But her sight was trapped just behind her eyes, and her words were trapped just under her tongue, and her heart barricaded the uneasiness growing in her chest. And so, her mind took charge. It reached out her arms and frantically scooped each moment closer and started to fold them into the home. All the while her mind was sure to remind her.

How nice it is to be here.

But in its frenzied haste, her mind failed to preserve the pristine state of these delicate moments. She watched as small holes and tears violated the once perfect memories that her hands folded into the walls. What a shame.

Then another thought crossed her mind. And the smiling faces wavered. The chirp of the birds briefly fell from their rhythm. The warm light sank into a dim flicker. But before she could grasp the thought, her mind gathered more memories and folded them together so that all she saw now was another room, another door.

How nice it is to be here, her mind assured her.

She looked at the room thrown frantically in front of her and nodded as her eyes inspected the ever-deepening tears that spread across the walls.

“Yes,” she said. “It must—”

She drew her hand back suddenly from the mantle and looked at the sliver of red expanding on her finger.


The word battered into her mind without invitation or permission and left her dazed. Was it possible? The walls suddenly started to fold in closer. She tried to stop her hands, but they wouldn’t obey her. Meanwhile her mind threw the words around in her skull again and again.

How nice it is to be here! How nice it is to be here! How nice it is to be here!

“It must be,” she sobbed.

After all, everyone had houses like these, didn’t they? Some houses were bigger and some more beautiful, but everyone had one. Everyone folded themselves into places like these, and she was no exception. And it seemed that everyone agreed.

It was a very nice place to be.

Sydney Krajewski

Sydney Krajewski is a graduate from Ave Maria University with a BA in Literature. She currently works in a small town library and draws constant inspiration from the books that she works with daily. Her true passion is the art of writing and she is largely inspired by Wolfgang Iser's essay, "Interaction Between Text and Reader."

Hailey Renee

Hailey Renee Brown is a professional illustrator born and raised in mid Michigan. A former field biologist, she moved across country from Michigan to New Jersey, also moving from science to commercial art. A professionally trained artist, she attended the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art in Dover, NJ. She was selected the recipient of the 2017 Norman Maurer Memorial Award as well as the 2019 Joe Kubert Jumpstart Project.