Will Time Be the End of Us
I stood atop the ridged rubble of what used to be our home. This was our old apartment that sat right over a narrow one car garage, or what was left of it. The mid-December winds were rough and biting cold. My strawberry blonde curls would dance on every gust of wind that came by.
From somewhere further down through all of the cracked wood and the smell of fire I spied Justin, standing atop a lump of trash that used to be someone's roof and chimney, "This place is gutted," he was standing looking down at me with his hand scratching away lightly at the curls atop his head. His entire form was in silhouette against the overcast skies.
I walked down from where I was a little ways, being careful not to step into anything that looked iffy. Broken glass had stayed in one surprisingly uniform pattern of what I could only guess used to be a picture frame. The rest of the frame must have burned off in the fire.
Off to one side smoke still rose from the wood. My body was bundled tight in my long green leather jacket. The fluffy fur atop the jacket rubbed ay my nose slightly. My voice was a little muffled when I spoke, "It's really sad to think about," my gloved hands wiggled back into my pockets, "I mean, this is the first place that we called home together," I paused and picked up a seemingly untouched brick and tossed it down the other side of the pile. "Now it's gone."
Things pass. Things wither away. They shrivel and die. I didn't mean to remind him or myself of fragility of the things we hold dear in this life. He'd spent the last week or so trying to come to grips with…with everything.
He piped up, his hands in his pockets now, I hadn't even noticed him slipping the cigarette into his mouth, "Remember that time we had a food fight in the kitchen?"
"How could I forget," I brushed my bangs out of my face. "You tried to slam mashed potatoes in my hair." There were too many memories; this is the place where our first daughter took her first steps. She said her first words just a few feet from where I was standing. That spot was little more than debris now.
This was where our marriage first flourished.
All things come to an end. All places eventually crumble into ruin. All people die and are forgotten…this is the way of the world. The only thing that stays the same is that things are always changing. What was the line from that one movie; on a long enough time line the survivability of anyone drops to zero?
I never believe that more that more than I did right now. And looking back, my time on this Earth hadn't been so long. Yet here I was staring death in the face, living out my last days. Maybe this was a sign of things to come. Maybe this was a testament to my life. Would this be me? Half shrunk and with shatter visage, only to fade into the sands of time and be forgotten.
I hold back the urge to cringe at the thought as I look to Justin. There's a lost look in his brown eyes. I can tell there's a question on his mind before I can even think to ask. He speaks before I can, "I don't want to see you get sad…" he trailed off, "I mean why did we come here?"
Something inside of me welled up, my chest rumbled the way it does when I cry really hard. The beating of my heart quickens in anticipation of what I was about to say. I gazed at him, eyes wet and cold now and without knowing why or being able to control it, I just say, "Maybe because I wanted to see where I would be in a year."
Immediately after I wanted to apologize, I wanted to say I didn't know what came over me. But whatever had come over me was still there. The words wouldn't rise up. My lips pressed tight, almost chapped from the blustering winds. Justin turned and flicked his cigarette down in-between the pieces of wood that used to be someone's home. Then he walked down to the edge of the pile and headed back to the car.
Carefully I made my way after him, pieces of wood crunched and cracked under my feet. Some of them were burned black and covered in deep cracks that smoked. As I relinquished my gloves I was finally able to say it, "Wait," my words sounded weak, "I don't know what came over me."
He was opening the car now, just about to take his seat, "Just don't worry about it," his voice was dead, I could tell that he didn't mean the words he said. Whether he wanted to or not.
I was cut off promptly, "I try not to think about the fact that you'll be gone, I try to think about the happier times…" he said suddenly and ended as if there were more.
I sighed, my breath formed a cloud as clear as the smoke from his cigarette had been. There were no words for me to say. Nothing for me to proclaim. On some unknown instinct I looked out at the land around this fallen structure, this monument to our past. All of the places we used to sit at around here, the park, the places where we ate at were all closed down and boarded up.
Nothing besides remains: round the decay.