Everything was white. I opened my eyes slowly, allowing my pupils to adjust to the incoming light. My whole body ached from head to toe. It was difficult to move a single finger, much less my whole hand. My hearing was muffled and my head seemed to pound with an endless throbbing. What had happened? I shut my eyes again; the light had damaged them. They ached behind my eyelids, throbbing in unison with my head. With my eyes closed I could still see the light trying to pierce through the little flab of skin that laid before the air and my dilated eyes. I attempted to pry them open again, but the light stabbed away blurring my vision with tears. My hands weighed a ton, proving to be quite the job to lift them. Again, I lifted my eyelids, this time taking on the blinding light. My corneas finally adjusted correctly. My left eye still stung with something that was beneath my retina. I lifted my head slowly, finding that my shoulders were also weighted. Suddenly my breathing became shallow and my chest bent in. Tilting my head forward I found my dilemma: I was beneath a pile of wood and stone. What happened? The aching in my head increased as I struggled with the rubble. I freed my right arm enough to take the little pieces of debris off. As I continued to fight my way through, I heard the wails of sirens off in the distance. The aching came in abundance as I lifted the heavy pieces off; my spine pulsated with pain. I heaved the final token of splintered wood off of me, taking a moment to catch my breath. I wiped my dirtied palms off on my jeans before taking my forearm and wiping the sweat on my forehead. I was taken back when I felt a tinge of pain on my brow. I took my fingers and wiped it across the gash. Sure enough, there was blood. This explained the pain in my left eye; apparently, blood had trickled down into my retina. I wiped what I could with my arm, getting up slowly. I felt my ankle give with the weight of my body. It seemed fractured, or maybe just possibly hurt, or maybe from the lack of blood in my leg; it could have been any number of things. What happened?
Finally emerging from my grave, I looked before me at the burning remains of my house. I tried to take in a deep breath of air, but could only muster in the smoke. I hacked, shaking my whole aching body in a body-quake of agony. Was this a nightmare? If so, this sure was a realistic nightmare. I looked around to see the other houses and they seemed to be in the same mishap that mine was in. The smell of smoke filled the air making breathing a task. What was going on? Why was everything burning and how did I end up under a pile of rubble? Why didn't I realize that I was until I saw it? Was I that numb to the pain? The sirens still echoed in the background. The houses weren't the only thing on fire; the surrounding trees were too. The smoldering ashes blew in the wind, mixing with the smoke, and caused a humid environment only fueling the flames as if to ward off any intruders. I had to get away from the devastation. I started walking, tripping over a couple of pieces of what use to be my home. My whole body still ached and didn't seem as if to quit anytime soon. My ankle was fractured; there was no doubt about that now as I limped out of the wreckage.
How long had I been out? That was a constant question that kept circulating through my thoughts. I attempted to retrace my timeline within my head, but could only maintain fragments. I finally came to the conclusion that this had all happened while I was asleep. Either I was a heavy sleeper or I was abruptly woken up and then quickly taken out, but that assumption would probably never be confirmed nor denied. While conducting my deductive analysis, I also realized one thing: That today was New Year's Eve. What a day for something like this to happen. I didn't know where to go; my house was wrecked and I had no idea if anyone besides me was alive. At that very moment the wind seemed to pick up a gentle breeze allowing me to hear nothing but the sirens. Complete silence; was this a sign that I was truly alone? I was using my hands to support my fractured leg from collapsing when I noticed there was a lump in my pocket. I stuck my hand in and shuffled around for a couple of moments before pulling out my cell phone. I was amazed to find it still intact after being tossed around with me. Who should I call? That was the first question I had thought about that didn't concern my well being. My dad? My mom? My brother? Or... I went through my recent calls until I found the number. I hit send and listened to the phone ring and ring and ring. An answer?! No, just an answering machine. I sighed, but left a quick and brief message enclosing it with sincere affection. I knew where to head to now.
I limped out of my neighborhood and out onto the open roads. What greeted me was more than I was prepared for. The road was in millions of pieces, the asphalt in no organized manner except for chaotic. The smell of gas filled the air as I noticed that the gas station at the bottom of the hill was ablaze. The fields next to me were also displayed in a tattered manner: completely devastated and covered with fire. The heat was unbearable. Sweat poured down my face as I struggled again with my breathing. My leg started twitching in pain as the fervent fire rose in warmth. The craters that interrupted the continuity of the streets were appalling to say the least. Within one of them, a car was flipped over. The windshield was busted, shattered in pieces. There was a body in the metal death trap for the horn was incessantly being pressed. I struggled to the crater in hopes that my negative thoughts weren't correct this time. I climbed over into the crater, almost tripping into it. The vehicle was turned onto the driver's side, so I had to approach it from the passenger's. I pried the door open, fighting through my body's fragile state. I stumbled into the car and shook the body. It was a male. Blood was gushing from his head and his arms were limp on his sides. I tried to shake him again calling him sir in the process. I picked his head up, relieving the wailing of the car. It didn't seem that he was breathing. This was his last sleep. I leaned him against his door and just sat in the seat.
This...this could have been me. I...I could have been dead. I could have been under a pile of rubble and no one would have found me. No one would even have known. Having these thoughts, I searched the man, looking for a wallet. Within his back pocket, I was lucky to find one. His name was James Parker. I placed his wallet back into his pocket before crawling out of the car. I shut the door slowly. There was nothing more I could do. At this time, my leg kicked in again with pain, but this time it was because my phone was vibrating. I looked at the caller I.D. and sighed. It wasn't who I wanted it to be. It was my dad.
"Oh, thank God." I heard him say.
"Dad, what's going on?"
"Son, I honestly don't know." There was a long pause which told me that even if he didn't know, he did speculate. He sighed. "I think....I think this might be the end of the world..." His words trailed off, but the message was sent clearly. The end of the world? How could that be? How could it be the end of the world? I just couldn't believe it. I refused to believe it. How could he come up with assumption as absurd as this one? Perhaps it was another terrorist attack. Or maybe something else that I couldn't explain. My dad extinguished my questions: "Terry, it's not just happening here. It's happening everywhere. In Florida, all throughout the states, in Europe, Paris, Germany, Asia, Japan, everywhere. There have been worldwide travesties from floods, to earthquakes, to volcano eruptions, to meteors crashing, everything that could go wrong has."
"How is that even possible?"
"I don't know." He answered again. "I really don't know, Terry, but you have to find some way to get over here."
"I...I can't dad." I knew he wasn't going to agree with this. "I need to be somewhere else." He knew where I was talking about.
"Terry, your family is more important and you need to be here with us." I disagreed. "Where is your brother?"
"I don't know." The usual answer. "I think he was staying the night somewhere else."
He argued his point again, but no matter how convincing it was he would lose the argument. "Terry...it's been months. You haven't even heard anything in months. You should just let it...."
"No, dad, I can't. I know that you don't understand, but I have to go over there. I have to. I...I still love her."
There was a long pause. After a short while, he sighed. "I understand, Terry." No he didn't. "Could you at least call me when you get there? Let me know you're ok?"
"Sure. Hey dad?"
"Happy New Years, eh?"
"Happy New Years, son. I love you." He choked on these words. The tears started to swell and I could feel the emotion seeping through the discussion.
"I love you too, dad." I closed the phone and started heading down the rest of the hill. My dad was right. It had been months. A word hadn't been spoken to me for months and everyday that passed, it frustrated me to no ends. No matter how much I tried to genuinely talk, it never happened. My life had become an existence for me to peddle around in. Everyday was just another day. I stopped living after the break up and my life was wasted. I didn't try to move on either. I didn't want to. What was the point anyways? I didn't want anyone else. Though I tried to continue life with schooling and continuing to work, it never mattered. It just...didn't matter. Though my life was continuing from the outside, it was my heart that stopped beating and I didn't truly live. I knew that everything was my fault from the beginning, but I had to go to her. I needed to tell her some things even if she didn't want to see me. I had to. If this really was the end of the world, then I wanted this to be my last act.
The distance was a good six miles at least. Walking on my injured leg, it was sure to take a good while. I finally looked at the time on my phone. It read 2:12 p.m. Three hours maybe? Either way, I started walking. The blood from the gash in my head had dried up. This was the first good news of the day. It meant that I wouldn't be losing anymore blood. I tried to wipe the blood that was dry from my eye, but not all of it could be removed. My spine still ached with every step and walking on my fractured ankle proved to be more difficult than I thought it would be. Nonetheless, I persevered. What a day. Of all days too. Finally escaping from the flames and heat, I was suddenly hit with the awareness that it was winter. I went to bed with no warm clothing to wear. I was in bed, what would have been the point? The covers were warm enough at night. Even if I could go back, all of my clothes were burnt to ashes. I took a deep breath, shivered, and placed my arms inside my shirt. What a day.
An hour and a half passed by without any added complications. The cold was hard to get used to. I cursed myself silently for not being weird enough to sleep with a sweater or something even a little heavier than a shirt. Even a long sleeved shirt would do. Why couldn't the end of the world be in summer? The thought gave me a little chuckle. Who was I to complain? It was God's world. If he wanted the world to end in the winter, on New Years, then he had the power to do that. Why was he even ending the world? This question was probably more important than the question of time. Was humanity this bad? Did we finally sink so low that not even God could tolerate us? I had almost believed it myself, but then the thought of God loving his children crossed my mind. I had wondered if he had already taken his chosen...and here I was...
My thoughts were cut short as something nearby hit the ground. The shock wave threw me up into the air and sent my flying a few feet. I landed on my back, gasping for air as the wind was knocked out of me. I became unconscious for the next hour.
Three hours later, I finally arrived at her driveway. It seemed longer than all the other times that I had walked it. Much longer. My ankle seemed to creak with each step and my breathing become more shallow as I ascended up the gravel. The sun was setting, providing the sky with a purple palette that would transcend into the midnight blue. The trees leafless branches provided an eerie enough aura for the end of the world. Just beyond the nakedness, I saw her house. It was smoldering. The smoke rose up into the sky, reaching for the stars as if to escape the inevitable doom that was to befall the planet that it was apart of. No. No, this can't be. It...it wasn't possible. I couldn't believe what I saw. The panic reflexes within me immediately took flight, injecting adrenaline into my bloodstream. The result of this process made me forget about my pain as I started rushing up the rest of the driveway. The debris was devastating. I began digging through the remains looking for some kind of sign, if any...I didn't care how long it took, I was going to find something. Thirty minutes passed and nothing could be found. My hope was diminishing as the tears started to stream down my face.
"I...I just wanted to see her once, God. Why? Why did you let this happen? Now she's never going to know how sorry I was. She's not going to..." My rant to God was interrupted by a light murmur from my left. I sniffled and wiped my eyes. "H...Hello?" I struggled. Another murmur. I got up, peering over into the direction of the sound.
"Hello?" It repeated.
"T..Tayla?" I asked not believing what I was hearing myself. A small hand emerged from the wreckage. I ran to it, stumbling over some wood on the way there. Grabbing it, I started talking to her. "I'm here, Tayla. I'm here. Everything is going to be ok." I didn't know if I was trying to persuade myself or her. I began taking pieces of the debris off of her, repeating the same things to her. Finally taking off the last piece, there she was; dirty, barely coherent, and bloody. I cleared more room around her, picking her up in my arms and taking her away from her used to be house to a patch of grass. Cradling her in my arms, I started cleaning her face with my hands, brushing away the dirt and blood. "Tayla? Tayla, can you understand me?" I started crying again more so from relief than anything. She murmured some more incoherently, turning her head from side to side. She opened her eyes, blinking a few times, trying to clear her vision. "Don't strain yourself. Take your time." She shivered in my arms. I pulled her closer to try to warm her up.
A couple of minutes passed and not a word was said. After a few more moments, she finally opened her eyes. She looked up at the sky; I didn't say a word. I just looked at her. She finally turned her head slightly, looking at me. "Terry?" she asked confused. I just smiled, tears strolling down my face. "What...what are you doing here? How did you get here? What's happening? How did I get here?" The questions were piling up and I didn't get a single chance to answer them.
"Happy New Years to you too." I smiled again. The questions continued. I placed my finger to her lips. "Shhh" I hushed her. "There's still a little bit of time. Just don't strain yourself right now. Take it easy." I assured her. The pain was starting to kick in again. I winced. "Tayla..." I hesitated. How was it possible to present the end of the world to someone? "I...I think it's the end of the world." The idea even sounded absurd to me.
"What!?" she sounded a little more shocked than I expected for someone in her condition. "How is that possible? How do you know?"
"I don't know for sure. It's only speculation right now, but this kind of thing seems to be happening everywhere, all over the world. I mean, it could be something else, but I'm not sure what it could be."
She slowly lifted herself up, taking in the predicament she was in. She looked all around her and then finally at me. I tried to hide my painful expressions, but she knew me too well. "Oh my gosh, Terry. What happened to you?"
"Nothing much" I answered.
"Nothing much, my ass" she retorted. "Are you ok?" This question sounded more concerned than her previous statement.
"I am now..." I trailed off.
She smiled and looked at me. "So, the end of the world?"
"So it seems."
"On today of all days?"
"Yeah, I know. I was thinking the same thing earlier."
"And why is it so damn cold?" she asked, wrapping her hands around her arms. She was a little more dressed than I was. She had a knack for always being cold so it made sense that she would dress a little warmer than I would.
"Yet another thought that I thought about earlier."
Now to the more personal questions. "H...how did you get here?" she looked at the ground, knowing the answer, but feeling ashamed that the answer was her fault.
"I walked, of course."
"What about your family?"
"They'll be ok." I smiled. "I told my dad that I needed to do something first. Which reminds me." I paused, pulled out my phone, and dialed my father. The ringing seemed to go on and on. Finally an answer. "Dad? Yeah, it's me. Yeah, I'm fine. She's here. She's alright. Is everyone doing ok there? Good. No, I wasn't able to get a hold of Derek. I'm sure he's fine, Dad." Now for the hard part. "Um...no. No, I wasn't going to go. I...I think I'm going to stay here." She looked at me puzzled. "Yeah, I know. I know. Yes, Dad, I know. It'll be ok. I love you too, Dad. Ok. Tell everyone I said hi. Ok. Ciao." Not much of an argument this time. He knew he wouldn't win it.
"You should go with your family." she said after I hung up my phone.
"That's not where I belong right now." I replied back.
"No, Tayla, it's not." I cut her off. "My dad gave me the same speech. Needless to say, he didn't win. Neither will you."
She sighed like she always did when she felt bad, thinking that it was her fault. "You said that you told your dad that you had something to do first. Was that to come see me?"
"You know the answer to that."
"It's not just that." I said.
A few moments passed before I answered. I wanted my words to come out easily. I had been thinking of my response the whole way here and now it was literally the moment of truth. My whole body started shaking more. Somewhat from the chill in the air and another part from the nervousness that I suddenly felt. My jaw began chattering as I commenced my monologue. "I...I'm sorry."
"Terry..." she said again.
"No, Tayla. This is important. Please let me just say what I need to. I'm sorry, Tayla. I'm sorry for everything. There's a whole list of things to apologize about. So much. I didn't think that this would be my last day to do it. I mean, waking up this morning, I was under a lot of debris too. When I gathered my thoughts, I knew that I had to come to you. I mean, I didn't know if you were alone or not. Hell, I didn't even know if you were still alive, but I didn't care. I knew that I needed to tell you that I was sorry, if it was the last thing I did." The tears started leaking again. "I'm sorry, Tayla. I'm so terribly sorry. Before you wouldn't listen to me and it sucked. I know that I deserved it and a lot of what happened between us was my fault. I should have never betrayed you. I should have trusted you a little more. I should have loved you more. I should have treated you better. I know that I didn't do these things and I know that because we aren't together. I know this. Every day....every day, I was wondering what I could do to make things better. What I could do to make you love me again. And not just love me, but love me like you used to. I knew after the fifteenth time of screwing up that I wasn't going to get better, but I...I thought that if I had treated you better....then maybe...just maybe you could love me for who I was. I mean, I know that I wasn't the best for you to be with....but...but, I know that you are the best person for me to be with. And, you know, maybe that's not enough...I mean, it wasn't enough." I was bawling. The articulated speech that I intended to deliver now became this mess of a monologue.
"It wasn't fair to you. I know this. It wasn't. I was unfair to you and I'm sorry for that too. I said...I said things that I didn't mean. That I said out of anger. It wasn't fair. I shouldn't have gotten angry at you. I shouldn't have said the things that I did. It's mostly because of the things that I said to you that things got worse for us and I'm so sorry. If I had known...if I had just known that the end of the world would be coming this soon...no, forget that...no matter what was to happen with the world, I shouldn't have done, said, and treated you the way I did. You deserve better, Tayla. You really do. I'm glad that you moved on...I mean, yeah, it hurt, but I'm glad that you tried to be happy. I wanted to make you happy, I really did. There are no excuses for how I was. None. And I know that even now...that saying all of this won't take the pain that you've felt away. I know that this apology isn't going to magically make up for the past couple of months that you've cried yourself to sleep. I was wrong and I'm sorry."
She was crying now. I knew that it would be this way. She started to talk, but I wasn't finished yet. "I love you, Tayla. I have loved you all this time and it was only through stupidity and ignorance that I wasn't able to treat you like I should have. I've loved you from the first moment that I told you. Remember? At my brother's graduation?" She nodded and I smiled. "Even then I loved you. Of course, I did treat you better then. As time went on, I don't know what happened to me. Even now I couldn't tell you. I tried to win your affection and love through my writings and my poems and what not. It worked for a little bit, but with how you were treated; it just makes all those writings seem like a joke. A fairytale. And we both know that fairytales aren't real. It's one thing to express how you feel...but it's important to show how you feel. They're two different things and I know this now. A day late and a dollar short, right? So, now it's the end of the world and I have come to you, with a twisted ankle, a bent in chest, and a gashed in forehead in this freezing weather to tell you that I'm sorry and that I love...that I love you. I know it's not fair for me to ask you this, but I have one request..." I paused. "Can...can you love me today? With all that I have put you through, can you please love me today?" I positioned myself on my knees, placing my hands in a begging manner. "Even if the world doesn't end today, is it possible for you to love me again? Like you used to? I want to feel that warmth again, Tayla. I want to feel that you love me and not just because it's the end of the world, but because I love you. I love you so much and if it was possible to take a small portion of my love, could you use it? Could you?" My face was drenched now. It was nearly impossible to go on.
I started again, but this time she interrupted me. "Shut up. Just...please...shut up. You're an idiot." I was a little surprised. "You are an idiot. I'll give you that. I never stopped loving you, Terry. I never did. Just because I tried to go on and live happily doesn't mean that I stopped loving you. I'll agree with you: you were impossible to be with. You were so crazed with jealousy and paranoia that loving you became a task. Loving someone shouldn't have to be as hard as you made it. It should just come out fluently, with ease. Yet, somehow...and God help me, I still loved you. So it may not be like I used to...and for this I am sorry." We both were crying, our eyes leaking like faucets. I had expected this. I knew she wasn't holding anything back. I did deserve this and the end of the world wasn't going to stop this conversation. I looked down at the ground, sniffling, knowing of how ashamed I was. She was right. What more was there to say. I started to get up to go, but was stopped by a hand pulling me back down. "But..." she started. She looked up at me with her teary eyes. "...but..." A slight smile. "I can love you today, Terry. I can love you not because it's the end of the world...and not because you deserve it. I...I can love you because I want to. I want to love you, Terry. I don't want to love you like I used to though...I want to love you more than I used to." The tears continued to flow. A waterfall was happening in the mountains of Georgia and the only spectators were the two souls that now began to grasp each others hands. I pulled her up on her legs and brought her in close. The moment lasted forever. As we held to each other, snowflakes began to fall. We both realized that it was still cold and the shivering began again. Our embrace became tighter. She broke the silence. "Will you let me love you more than you want?" Her question pierced me with so much emotion that I began to cry yet again.
"Of course....my darling...of course I will."
The next four hours...were the best hours of my entire life. My life was complete. We were able to find some more clothing in the wreckage of her house. As some more time passed, we laid down on a blanket that we recovered from the house as the snow tumbled down lightly, tickling my nose. She placed her head upon my stomach, listening to my shallow breathing. A song emerged from my head and I found myself humming it out loud. I could hear her smile. She knew what song it was. She started to softly hum in unison with me. When the chorus came around, our light hums turned into light singing. "Aaaand, life is a road that I wanna keep going....Love is a river I wanna keep flowing. Life is a road, now and forever....wonderful journey." We both sang out loud, our voices rising as we progressed with the chorus. We continued with the rest of the song, singing it like never before. When the chorus came around again, we lost ourselves in the moment. We were singing as loud as our voices could boast, not caring if anyone heard. We were a duet and the world and its dying nature was our audience. At the end of the song, we started to lower our voices again, slowing down the song. At the last lines, we were emotional. "...I'll be there when the world stops turning...I'll be there when the storm is through....In..the..end, I want to be standing....at...the beginning....wiiiiith....yooooooouuuu." We faded, sniffling as we embraced each other.
It didn't seem like this would be the last night on Earth. This night in particular reminded me a lot of a night a couple of years back. It was a summer night though. Much warmer too.
"You remember that night, right?" I asked after a couple of moments of reminiscing.
"The one where your dad was in the hospital and..."
"You came over?" she finished.
"Yeah." I smiled gently.
"The stars were much like tonight. There's so many of them." It was almost like she read my mind. "Is that what reminded you?"
"Yeah. You know me too well."
"I know." she breathed a sigh of comfort, laying her head on my shoulder.
More moments of silence followed. I looked over at her with a grin spreading across my face.
"Don't even say it." She scowled playfully.
"What? Say what?"
"You know." Another moment of silence. This time she smiled. "Yes, I do remember."
"I knew you did." I smiled knowing that she did, in fact, know what I was thinking.
I propped myself on my arms and leaned in to kiss her. Through the years it was true that both of us had changed, but if there was one aspect that didn't, this was it. Kissing her was like kissing her for the first time. Everything went haywire from my stomach to my lips. My body began to shake and it was almost as if I forgot how to kiss, but my brain was too familiar with this to forget. It was just...rusty.
"Um....speaking of parents...where are yours?" I asked, breaking the kiss.
"They went out of town this week. I think they were going somewhere to celebrate New Years."
"Oh. Do you think they know about all of this?" This question was seemingly ignorant, but it was very possible that many people were still unaware of the impending doom.
"I don't know and you know, I hope they don't. I mean, I would wish for them to be happy their last final hours here."
"Yeah, I guess you're right."
"You bet I am." She smiled. She was absolutely beautiful.
Around 11, we went searching for a radio of some kind. Fortunately, we were able to find a portable one after only ten minutes of searching. We tried to find a channel that would be reporting some news of New Years, maybe from New York where the ball drop was happening. We couldn't find one, but we listened in to another station that was reporting about the end.
"Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. This is Henry Samuels coming to you from 103.6, where we play the hardest rock of today. There is only one hour left before the New Year rolls around. Do you know where you'll be tomorrow? Yep, that's right. As anyone might have heard by now, the end of the world is coming." He chuckled at this last statement. "I'm here to tell you though that I don't believe that such a thing could happen. I mean, the end of the world? Come on! Many people have stated that this is a prediction of Revelations in the bible. Frankly, there's only one thing that might prove this to me and that's for the world to blow up into a gazillion pieces. Until then, I will be reporting to from here in my cozy little office until the very end. Whether that will be the until the end of the year or the end of the world only time will tell. In the meantime, here's a song from Disturbed that I think is appropriate for the current situation. It's called "Fade to Black."
The song started playing. She turned it down. We stared at the sky for a couple of minutes. The snow continued to fall. I was certain that we would freeze to death before the end arrived. Happiness overwhelmed me, yet again, as I started thinking about this moment and about the events that had happened today. I started to cry again. It wasn't fair, I thought. I was so very happy to be here, but it still wasn't fair.
She noticed. "Terry? What's wrong?"
"I was suppose to die today." I said after a long pause, still looking up at the sky.
"How do you know?"
"There...there was a man today...he was dead." I rummaged through my brain for the details of James Parker. "He died driving. For all I know, I was suppose to be him. He could have been driving home. Going home to see his family. I mean, who knows." I cried.
"That doesn't explain why you think you were suppose to die today."
"I know. On my way over here, I was almost hit with a meteor. I was knocked unconscious for about an hour. Tayla...I was suppose to die."
Silence filled the air. The only audible sound was the falling of the snow and my sniffling. "Yet," she started "you didn't die. You're here, Terry. That's all that matters. Your love for me made you persevere."
"Yeah..." I said, wiping my nose with the sleeve of my sweater. She leaned over and kissed me gently on the cheek.
For the next forty minutes, we basked. We basked in the beauty of everything. The beauty of the world and the beauty of our love. Our love had survived. It was an odd thing, but we always said that we were going to love each other until death did us part and further if possible. Tears were once again shed. After this, we were lost again within ourselves. We were forgetting that the end was even near. We ran around like crazy people, chasing each other into the woods. We engaged in tickle wars. I won, of course. Overall, we loved each other. We loved each other the way we were supposed to love each other, the way that everyone should have loved each other: Like it was the end of the world. At 11:40, we slept. Through the last couple of months, sleep was a luxury that I felt I couldn't afford. There was always so much to do. So many things to accomplish. It seemed like sleep was something that I didn't need. But...sleeping with her had always been the best sleep that I ever had. Fifteen minutes seemed like an eternity in her arms.
As all good things though, this too had to end. Slumbering silently in her arms, I felt a small shake. At first, I thought it was her trying to wake me, but as the shaking increased, I soon realized that this was not the case. Another rattle woke me up. She was already propped up, looking around. The din of the shaking intensified, growing louder and louder. We shouted at each other over the noise.
"What...what's happening!?" she yelled.
"I...I don't know! I think this is it! It's starting to happen! The Earth....it's really going to end." This last thought was mumbled to myself. We pulled each other closer and huddled together as the final moments drew closer and closer. The radio burst forth with sound from the announcer from earlier.
"Woah! This is Henry Samuels and we are now ninety seconds away from the New Year! Unfortunately, the Earth has started quaking! Reports from all over the world have verified that this is truly happening! Many buildings are collapsing within themselves! Volcanoes are exploding! Meteors are beginning to fall from the sky again! This is it, folks! The moment of truth as finally arrived! Is this truly the end of the world or is it just natural occurrences happening all at once!? We are now one minute away from finding out and I am going to allow everyone a moment of silence until the final countdown." A moment of silence was hardly the words to describe the turn of events now as the Earth roared. My heart was pounding furiously. Is this really it? The end? She was petrified. The fear in her eyes jumped out from behind her eyes. For her, I had to stay calm.
"It's going to be ok, darling. I promise." I said, trying to legitimately smile.
Her eyes started to swell. "Are you sure?"
"I promised you, didn't I?"
"We are now only fifteen seconds away." The radio blared.
"I love you."
"I...I love you too, Terry."
"Forever...?" I cried out as the sound of the Earth grew louder and louder.
"And always. Always..."
"And forever." I pulled her closer to me and felt her heart beating faster than mine. The snow had finally stopped falling. The Earth was ready.
"Seven...six...five." In an instant everything grew silent. The shaking continued, but all the noise ceased except for the radio. We heard our breathing echo through the air as time seemed to come to a complete standstill.
"Take me home with you. To heaven where we can love each other forever."
She smiled as the tears slowly came down her cheeks. She nodded. "Ok." I pulled her in for one last kiss and the tears finally dispersed down my cheeks as well.
"Happy New ------" The radio started as everything faded to white.
Publication Date: 11-28-2009
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