Zoe and I were not afraid when they announced the world was going to end. We embraced it. They said Nibiru was hurtling towards us to destroy the universe in one quick flash. We accepted it without hesitation, research, or science, only blind belief in what we were told. The Mayan calendar predicted it. The internet demanded it. The news channels ate it up, blasted it on every nightly viewing, terrifying those who believed, annoying those who didn’t.
We were sixteen. We believed whatever our mothers didn’t. We didn’t want to kill ourselves but weren’t afraid of death coming for us. Too much life poured out in the short years of our lives, and hard as we tried, we couldn’t soak it up, we could only tread. Our legs were tired. Not so much though as our both of our fathers’, who had been running from family to bottles and women and anything that wasn’t us.
We watched the days turn to hours and hours turn to minutes. When there were only five left on the clock and in this world, we went outside to the freezing air with no coats to protect us from the elements. Frostbite would turn to ash, and we would turn to nothing. I couldn’t find my glasses and contacts seemed unreasonable, another part of me that would melt when the fires came. Maybe it was a blessing. Maybe I didn’t want to see the flames.
The street beckoned to us. We walked through the snow and ice and lay on the concrete, frozen over and contracting beneath us, waiting to crack and crumble when the temperature rose.
“I’m probably going to hell,” Zoe whispered, her words circling her like a halo.
I grabbed her hand as the countdown on our flip phones ticked, but I didn’t tell her the truth. I didn’t tell her that I was scared we were already there, that hell might be me versus a bottle of vodka and my father would save the vodka every time. I didn’t tell her that I saw her dad’s car outside another woman’s house and that her hell was sleeping with her mother every night and pretending she didn’t feel the sobs that shook the mattress.
“They won’t let you come with me, you know,” she added.
I squeezed, trying to remember a time when she and I weren’t a package deal. The dark to my light, the anarchy to my order, the magnet to my moral compass. There was not a place she would go that I wouldn’t follow. The flames or the frostbite prickled my skin. Needles poked every pore.
“So, you’ll come with me,” I decided.
There we lay, the rough pavement created imprints in our skin like mini meteors on earth. Our hair sprawled out around us, black and blonde swirling together into a blur. Our breath froze with each exhale. We closed our eyes and waited for the world to implode upon us.
STORY IMAGE CREDIT: Flickr Creative Commons/Nibiru – Sociedad Astronómica