By: Lindsey Callanen
Even though I don’t have a reason to, I manage to pull myself out of bed anyway. I admire the way the morning sunlight filters through my blinds, and how pretty it looks spilling onto my plants. I sigh and clear my throat. I can’t be breaking down before noon… today’s the day where it all ends. Okay, I realize how that sounds, but I’m not killing myself or anything. Today’s just the day the world ends. Sometime last week, NASA made this announcement that this huge meteor would almost hit the Earth, and everyone was fine with it and we had a nice 3 days. Well, NASA made another announcement after we had those nice 3 days. In summary, they were like “We messed up! Turns out there are more huge meteors! And they’re all gonna hit the Earth! It was nice knowing y’all!” Anyway, I’m sure you can imagine that the Homestuck fandom went wild. Too bad we don’t get our own planets in the Medium… moving on, today’s the day they’re supposed to hit, and I still don’t have anything planned today.
I guess I’d be more disappointed if I had people to spend it with. My boyfriend died last year, and my parents have been dead for years. I’m not really sure if I believe in the afterlife, but I guess this means there’s a chance for me to see them all again? Eventually, I stop staring at the sunlight and contemplating the meaning of life, and finally get ready. If I’m dying today, I’m going out in style; though my personal “style” can hardly be called that. I decide on black skinny jeans and my favorite red shirt with a little vinyl record on it. I head to the bathroom, brush my teeth, and try to style my hair. My roots are starting to show, and I had planned on getting them redone this weekend… Guess that doesn’t matter now either.
I throw on my headphones and head down the stairs from my apartment. Outside, everyone’s having their own moments. They’re the main character in their stories, and they’re spending their last day with their love interests or their families or their friends. On my way down the street, I pass an elderly couple sitting on a bench together enjoying the scenery and a young man walking his dog. I hum along to one of my favorite songs and realize this is the last day music has and ever will exist… weird. That tree over there will never exist again, that rock will never exist again… at the end of the day, all of this will cease to exist and I guess that’ll be it. I really should try and make this day worth it, but seriously, what is there to do? Nothing goes on in this city anyway, so it kinda sucks this is where I have to die.
To my left is this coffee shop I used to go to on my way to work. Inside, they’re giving away literally everything for free. I think that’s sweet, especially since I kinda expected it to be chaos. The cashier offers me a muffin and a coffee, to which I accept. I thank her and head back out.
I could go back home… I could just go home and sleep through the end of the world, and pretend I’m the main character with tons of friends and family to spend my final moments with. I could dream a dream full of life and love and die in the world I created. I take a look at the now almost noon sun. Something tells me I should just keep going and see where this day takes me. I take a sip of my coffee and just keep walking.
By noon, I’ve ended up at my childhood skate park. I don’t know why I stopped skating, maybe adult life just caught up with me too fast. I know my old board is buried deep in some closet up in my apartment, and I mentally curse myself for not bringing it with me (even though I didn’t plan to come here). Just being here reminds me of simpler times, and the memories come flooding back in. I remember coming here with my dad on weekends and having him watch me attempt to do a kickflip for 3 hours straight. I never did master that trick, did I? I run my hands along the rusted chain-link fence and reminisce about better days. I remember coming here after school every now and then with a group of friends, and I remember pooling our loose change together for the ice cream truck. I’m sure I came here well into high school as well. This train of thought is followed by a long and exasperated sigh. I never should’ve stopped skating, I should’ve kept in touch with my middle school skater friends instead of forgetting them when we went our separate ways. Damn, it’s downright painful being back here for the first time in years, all alone. I struggle, but I manage to drag myself away from lost and painful memories.
What time is the world ending? I Google while I’m waiting to cross the street. According to a news article from an hour ago, it’s all over for us at roughly 6pm tonight. Meteor showers are supposedly beautiful, a rare and gorgeous phenomenon. I wonder what the dinosaurs were thinking about when their time had come. Look, a shooting star! One dinosaur says to another. Make a wish! He says. Haha, I wish I were dead, the other dinosaur replies sarcastically. I doubt they actually said that, but it’s funny to think about it. In the few hours I’ve been walking, I’ve probably gotten more steps and seen more of my city than I have in my whole life. It’s what, 1:30-ish? Only a few more hours to go. Weird how the government was just like “Yeah, it’s pretty much inevitable, nothing we can do! Go have a nice last day on Earth!” Like, you’d think they’d at least try and go through some last-ditch effort to save humanity but apparently not.
I cross the street and head down the stairs to the riverwalk. It’s not that crowded, although I didn’t really expect people to come down here. I guess I’m on this journey of old memories now since I’ve arrived at the restaurant where I almost proposed. It was our 2nd anniversary, and I figured we were ready to take the next step. I had it all planned out, fancy dinner, dessert, dancing, the works. He… he had a heart attack that very night, right there in the restaurant. We got him to the hospital as fast as we could. I stayed with him all night, only for him to die the next morning. I was inconsolable for a majority of last year, I didn’t go out, I didn’t talk to anyone and I sure as hell didn’t move on and get a new boyfriend. I still don’t think I’ve recovered. I look away from the building and gaze into the water. Across the river, a family of ducks settles onto the bank. Man, they don’t even know. Wind rushes through my hair and rustles all the plant life nearby, a sign of the coming fall. I was so excited about autumn this year too. I guess we can count early September as fall if we really wanted to. It hits me that I am going to die at 22 years old, alone, in a city that I hate yet cherish. If I had a gravestone waiting for me, it’d probably say something like: Beloved son and boyfriend, but that’s it. He never did anything more. And, as if this day couldnt get even more gloomy, it starts to rain just a bit.
I took shelter on a bench underneath an overpass and ate my muffin from this morning. The rain has started to come to a stop, which is honestly a little disappointing since I love the rain. It reminds me of my parents. I start to ask myself if it really is better that I’m dying alone and unloved today. Maybe if the world ended last year, it would’ve been more painful, leaving behind my friends and loved ones. After my visit to the riverwalk, I’m definitely starting to hope that I’ll see everyone again in whatever afterlife is waiting for me. Maybe I should’ve spent some time discovering what I truly believed in, instead of half-assedly hoping there’s an afterlife. I wonder where I’d be today if certain events did or didn’t transpire last year. Maybe I would’ve gotten married, maybe I would’ve found my actual dream job, maybe I’d feel worse about the world caving in if those had happened. The rain has stopped, and it left behind that fresh “just-rained” air. I throw my trash away and get back up. I think I’ll go home now, even though the walk across town will take another hour at least. Maybe I would’ve invested in a car, I think sadly.
I practically fling myself onto my bed when I get back home. Time has passed unbelievably slowly today, so somehow it’s only 3pm. I’m exhausted from everything today… physically and emotionally. I roll over and check my phone. I got 3,000 steps today. It’s still only 3pm. I sigh and set an alarm for 5. As much as I’d love to stay awake, my exhaustion is getting the best of me and I’m almost sure my legs would give out if I tried to get up. I kick my shoes off and cocoon myself in blankets before closing my eyes.
If I had a dream, I don’t think I remembered it. I woke up for the second time that day, and pulled my shoes back on again. Of course, I managed to oversleep, on the last day of humanity too. Only 30 minutes til it’s over. I head on up to the roof, bringing my headphones with me.
Once I’m up there, I can almost see the entire city below me. The sun is setting, quite beautifully I might add. Fitting for the end. A photographer might want to take a picture, an artist might want to paint a landscape. I hit play on my end of the world playlist that I spent an hour curating last week. I made the mistake of making it an hour long though, since I’m gonna be reduced to ash in 20 minutes. I close my eyes and dance slowly, like I’m waltzing with the air. Now that I think about it, will I turn to ash? Will I just cease to exist? Will I feel the full force of a billion ton meteor? Ah, these are questions that will only be answered in… 15 minutes? I cease waltzing with no one, and sit down on the edge of the building and gaze downwards. I wonder how many people have sat up here before. There aren’t many cars or people out, I imagine they’re all at home or somewhere that’s special to them. “10 minutes til go time.” I sigh to myself. “I can’t wait to see him again…” I say to no one in particular. I’ve decided, in my final moments, that I believe in the afterlife. Wherever I end up, I know I’m going to see him and my parents again. “Alone… At the edge of the universe… Humming a tune…” I whisper to myself, the time to extinction looming dangerously close. “For merely dreaming we were snow…” I sing slowly, trying to preserve the moment. “A siren sounds like the goddess who promises endless apologies… of paradise.” I’ve held it together all day, and my whole life too, but if there was a better time to cry it’d be now. “And only she can make it right-” A scream from down below snaps me out of it. I wipe a tear from my eye and glance upwards. There they are… About damn time. “So things… A-are different to-tonight…” I can’t stop staring at the sky… It’s all coming to an end right before my eyes. And as the meteors fall, I sing the final line and close my eyes. “We’ll go together in flight.” See you guys soon, I think, right before time stops forever.
Art Piece by Taite Smith