Here’s another old story for you folks. Originally posted on November 20, 2015. It’s a little macabre, a little sweet, and I love it. Just a simple conversation between two people in an extraordinary circumstance, along with everyone else on the planet. I repost it here, unedited, for all to enjoy. (I promise I’ll put up something new soon.)
“It’s not like we’ve got to worry about work tomorrow,” said Kevin, reclining in the sand and swilling from a bottle of whiskey. The ocean laid in front of them, the stars reflecting off of the waves as they lapped upon the beach.
“Isn’t that messed up, though?” asked Mel, as she hugged her knees to her chest next to him. “Shouldn’t we, like, be with our families right now?”
“If these are our last hours here, I sure as hell don’t want to spend them with my family,” replied Kevin, handing the bottle to Mel, who took the bottle but didn’t drink. “If you want to go, though,” Kevin continued, “you absolutely should go.”
“I saw them earlier. I feel like we said everything we needed to say then,” Mel answered. She stared at the bottle in her hands, reading all the acclaims down the side of the label. “Doesn’t it take a long time to make whiskey?” she asked, sniffing the contents.
“Couple of years, I think,” Kevin answered, putting his hands behind his head. “At least, they age it or something for a while.”
“So there’s some whiskey that’s been sitting around in a barrel waiting to be drank that will never be drank.”
Kevin paused, then shrugged his shoulders. “I’m sure there’s been lots of whiskey throughout the years that didn’t get drank,” he reasoned. “Doesn’t make that whiskey any more special.”
“This whiskey didn’t get drank because it was the end of the world,” Mel said, taking a sip. She grimaced and cleared her throat. “I think that makes this whiskey special.”
“As special as a speck of dust in the vastness of space,” Kevin said bitterly, reaching for the bottle.
Mel handed it back to him. “You know, considering how I’m here with you right now instead of with the partiers or with my family, I think you could be a little bit better company.”
Kevin raised up on his elbows and took another swig from the bottle, then exhaled deeply. “I’m sorry, Mel. Guess I’m not handling this all so well. I mean, you know, my life’s always been kind of miserable, seems only right that it ends way before it was supposed to.”
“Well, your life’s been miserable, so maybe let’s try and make the last night not, huh?”
“Again, I’m sorry,” said Kevin, sitting up. “I’ll try.”
“That’s all I’m asking,” replied Mel, smiling.
“Do you know what time it is?” Kevin asked.
“Nope, and I don’t want to,” she replied. “I don’t want to be counting down or something, that sounds awful.”
“Yeah, I guess it does,” said Kevin. They sat in silence for a moment before Kevin scooted a little closer to Mel. She smiled and bumped her hip into him. He looked at her and smiled back.
“What do you think it’s going to feel like?” asked Mel, after a moment.
“Oh god,” laughed Kevin, “You don’t want to count down the minutes to it happening, but you want to talk about what it will feel like when it all ends?”
“Shut up, don’t laugh at me,” said Mel, shoving Kevin, who caught himself before he fell. “Yeah, I want to talk about it, but I don’t want to know exactly when it’s going to happen! What’s so weird about that?”
“All right, all right,” Kevin said, putting his hands up in surrender, “I guess it’s not so weird. But, I mean, I don’t know what it’s going to be like. I’ve never had a rogue planet smash into me before… I guess we’re going to get crushed and explode out the other side of the planet.” Kevin shuddered slightly.
“I’ve heard it’s not even going to hurt, it’s going to happen so fast,” said Mel.
“Well, that’s something.”
“You think the tides are going to go crazy before it happens? I mean, something that big coming at Earth’s got to mess with gravity before it hits, right? The moon affects the tides and it’s way smaller than a planet. Think we’ll see a huge tidal wave or something?”
“That makes sense, but I’m no scientist. You could google it, I’m sure someone’s thought of what’s going to happen in the last moments.”
“I’d rather talk about it, I don’t care about the real answers.”
Kevin smiled. “Well, I kind of hope it’s more insane than that, even. Like, I hope we all get lifted way high into the air just before it hits. Just rocketing into the air. All of humanity and animals and cars just soaring into the sky in the seconds before it all ends.”
“Oh god, that sounds terrifying,” laughed Mel.
“Well it’d be better than drowning in a huge tidal wave, wouldn’t it?” countered Kevin.
“Maybe, but think about the people on the other side of the planet, wouldn’t they all just sort of get squished instead of getting lifted up? It’s going to hit our side, according to NASA, so if we get lifted up, what happens to them?”
“Hm,” pondered Kevin. “I didn’t really think about that. They’d get pretty short pretty quick, huh?”
Mel laughed and leaned her head against Kevin’s shoulder, who put his cheek against the top of her head. She threaded her arm under his and they squeezed gently. They sat for a moment and looked at the waves.
“Nothing crazy yet,” commented Kevin. “Not in the waves, anyways.”
Mel shook her head, then asked “You think we’d have gotten together if this wasn’t going to happen?”
“If I ever had the balls to ask you out, maybe. Or if you had,” answered Kevin, after a moment.
“There’s no one else I’d rather face the end of the world with, so that’s got to mean something, right?”
“It means something, definitely,” Mel replied.
“Sucks that we won’t find out,” Kevin sighed.
“You think there’s a heaven?” asked Mel. “Someplace after this where we could find out?”
“We’ll find out together, I guess,” replied Kevin. “I hope so, that would be cool.”
“I hope so, too.”
They squeezed each other again and sat in silence, watching the waves roll on to the sand. Kevin kissed the top of Mel’s head as she buried her face into his shoulder.
Kevin could feel Mel’s hair as it lifted up and brushed all over his face. Then suddenly, for a brief moment, they felt weightless.