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The Only Thing That Matters

TaJuan is an aspiring writer hoping to gain experience and growth through publishing passionate works, like this one, online for the world.

i was in a deep slumber when the sirens began. i could only imagine the chaos that ensued in the town once the inevitable alarm finally came. some probably embraced anarchy, breaking any and all rules for no reason other than apathy. maybe they’re attempting to escape the town and save themselves. i personally have two objections to this. one, the chances of one protecting themselves from the bombs is damn near impossible. everyone saw what had happened to california: now the complete embodiment of barren. second, say hypothetically, one manages to escape the proximity of the bomb. it is almost a certainty that the next location they find themselves in will be put at risk too. i mean, to each their own, and i admire putting up a fight to the very end, but we are witnessing the end of humanity, possibly the world. the idea of “if” does not exist anymore; it is only “when.”

while the sirens failed as an alarm clock, your text woke me up instantly.

“how long will it take you to get ready?”

i reply:

“give me 10.”

while getting ready, i take a look outside and see some people walking around like normal, as if the blaring sirens are nonexistent. there are countless amounts of people who are willingly drowning themselves in denial regarding the war. “eventually they’ll come to their senses,” they say. “they’ll realize their petty squabble is not worth total destruction.” then there are those on the other side of the spectrum. those are the people who refuse to remain passive and demonstrate their detestment through violence. truly, i have lost count of how many assassination attempts toward the world leaders have occurred in the last week alone.

now, even though i am inclined to judge, i have no true qualms with anyone’s chosen coping mechanism, for that is all this is: various ways of coping with this sick situation we have found ourselves in. let it be escaping the violence or partaking in one’s own, it’s coping all the same. i can’t blame any of them; we’re all being faced with extreme uncertainty. for many, ever before had the next day been so in doubt. that’s why instead of running, or fighting, i just chose to accept it, and to just make the most of every moment, for every microsecond has become exponentially valuable. for too many people, death comes as a complete surprise. we were given an opportunity to design how we would go out, and this was an opportunity we could not take for granted. it simply was not an option. hence, our little plan was born.

it took me thirteen minutes to get ready (even when termination is imminent, i still run fashionably late). i just threw on the first clothes i could gather: a grey sweatshirt with some pink shorts and army green shoes. i usually would never be caught dead in such an outfit, but what does it matter now?

i hurriedly drive to your place and text you:

“i’m here :)”

you promptly leave your house, door left wide open, and walk to the car. it was like watching a model on the runway. though you weren’t wearing anything special, just an oversized orange t-shirt with blue sweatpants and white shoes, it was still like watching a star in motion, absolutely glorious. it was one of those moments where time fails to move forward, as I became happily stuck in a daze just like the first time we met.

i quickly snap out of it when you open the door and mockingly say, “you’re late.” i prepared a lengthy apology, but you halted my words with a finger to my lips and added, “...but i forgive you,” i smile brightly and began to drive to our destination.

we drove in silence. not an awkward silence, but a warm silence, a knowing silence. we were both aware and acknowledged that when faced with death, the true value of things shine vibrantly, and trading made up words back and forth just to avoid silence does not prove to matter much. your presence was enough for me. it always had been.

we finally arrive at this little park. we exit the car, and i pop the trunk open. we grab a blanket with a picnic basket, and begin our mini trek.

for us both, when we had nothing, we had each other, and nature. family and friends were just cute words that started with the letter ‘f,’ nothing more. though it wasn’t much, the beauty of the natural world never failed to be a comfort. especially this niche little place we found on one of our many walks: a small forested area off a trail which had the most perfect view of the lake which followed the park’s perimeter. when the news of the war reached the public, we immediately agreed, when (again, ‘if’ became imaginary), the time came, this was where we would go. this was where we would vanish.

still silent, we set up our area. i laid down the blanket while you unloaded the picnic basket. first came the wine glasses, and the bottle of welch’s sparkling grape juice followed. the choice of being sober or not was an intense discussion, but you ultimately convinced me it was for the best that we were present and aware in our final moments, which was at risk if we fell into inebriation. yet, we still chose to use wine glasses for the aesthetic.

next came the container of tofu i prepared (there was too much death going around already, thus we refused to support anymore). finally, you took out the bluetooth speaker. the song selection was a huge subject of contention, until by chance, we came across the perfect song. it was a mashup of cody fry’s “i hear a symphony” and rex orange county’s “pluto projector.” we had heard nothing like it prior, and it instantly clicked that this had to be our farewell anthem.

we ate in silence as we examined the world before us. we did not simply glance or gaze at our surroundings, but rather we gave every object a detailed look. from the vibrant greens of the grass, to the many bumps and marks found on the trees, or the distinct notes created by the wind brushing against various objects, even the subtle hint of clouds found in the sky which was masquerading as clear, we absorbed all of it in silence. however, ever so softly, you shatter the silence with words barely qualified as a whisper: “i’m scared.”

i look at you. you appear calm and tranquil. fear could not be detected in the slightest. not even your sweet, blue eyes revealed any hint of fear. this does not conclude as proof of deceit, but it shows how strong you are. of course you’re afraid, for i am too even though i won’t admit it. the entire world is filled with fear. what else are we supposed to feel?

for a while, i say nothing. you probably expected as much, knowing that i was never much of a talker; however, i did not intend on leaving this world without at least trying to say something that will reassure you. without thought, i take your hand, and i let the words flow out:

“we are going to be okay. i’ve never died before, so i don’t know how it will feel. nor do i know if there is anything beyond or not. let our souls be infinite and have us live on in a plane where time becomes obsolete. or on the other hand, allow us to be finite, and this setting be the last we will ever know. i honestly don’t care either way. none of that matters. the only thing that matters is being with you. so roll the credits, for as long as my story ends with you, i am beyond happy.”

in a small breach in the wall of strength that you built, a single tear escaped your eyes.

“i Love you,” you say for the final time.

“i Love you too,” i reply as we just sit there, enjoying the moment, as the unknown becomes known.