Yesterday was the day when it all happened. Somehow everyone just disappeared, everyone but me. My friends, family, even my enemies are all gone, and there are no traces where they went. I’m all alone in this new deserted world, whether I want to be or not. Now I really know the meaning of one person against the world.
Houses empty, roads silent: there is no noise now. At first I enjoyed the silence, but soon it started to crush me with its empty void. As I walk the streets searching for anyone or anything to keep me company, my own footsteps pound in my ears. Even through the thoughts buzzing in my head, I can feel the emptiness around me. There are no birds to chirp as I walk to the local store. No dogs to pet along the way to the park, just me and this empty country once called America.
I wonder at night about what could have happened to everyone, where they all could have gone so quickly. I’ve considered alien abductions, sudden sickness, spontaneous combustion, and even a godly like cleansing of the earth, but none seem to fit. A sickness wouldn’t kill everyone that quickly; there would be bodies and someone who infected society with it. Someone that’s out there who knows a cure, unless it backfired. There would be debris or ashes if everyone suddenly set ablaze, and if this has anything to do with god or aliens, they’ve got some sick humor.
The only thing there is left for me to do is search for life and answers. This shouldn’t be a problem, since there are no repercussions in stealing a car or even paying for gas and food. Although when you find there is no one to stop you from getting what you want, you find it’s not important anymore. Luxuries like computers and cell phones are hardly a necessity when you have no one to talk to on the other end. Even necessary things like sleeping evade you when you have nothing to wake up to.
As my eyes spot another mile marker on this long beach road, I feel the strange comfort of warm tears on my face, and then I realize I’m crying. It’s finally set in that everyone is gone and there’s no way I can get them back. I’ll never get to see my mom, never tell her good-bye or hear her constantly nag me to stop cussing even though she does. I’ll never get to patch up things with my dad. I won’t get to tell him that even though he hurt me by hating my mother for what she did, I still love him the most. I’ll never get to see my little brother William again either. He’ll never have a fifth birthday. I’ll never get to see him learn to ride a bike or drive a car. I won’t have the chance to cover for him when he gets caught coming back home at two in the morning with beer on his breath and lipstick on his cheek. He’ll never age because now he’s gone, forever frozen as a mischievous curly haired, blue eyed three-year-old in my jumbled mind.
My crying soon turns to hysterics, and I have to stop the car quickly or be devoured by the angry ocean pounding against the bridge beneath me. I beat my fists on the dashboard and kick my feet at the steering column. I scream at the top of my lungs until my voice escapes me, and when the sun rises bright white the next day my tears stopped coming as my lungs still wheeze as sobs still rock my body. My mind can’t process the overload of emotions and lack of sleep, and finally sleep consumes me. Filled with memories and nightmares of all the mistakes I can’t take back, my dreams aren’t any more pleasant that my conscious thoughts. Although when I wake up I find that my tears are dried, and I feel as if there is simply air where my heart had once been.
It’s almost as if a doctor has shot Novocain into my bloodstream and I feel nothing. My stomach doesn’t churn for nourishment, nor does my mind seek for companionship, only a longing for the comforting smell of old books and familiar thrill of finding a good reading place in the quietest spot in the library. As I quickly turn off the freeway and into what was once a bustling small town and search for the closest library or bookstore, I can’t help but attempt to scream for joy when I find it an hour later as my throat produces what sounds like a silent croaking noise. Going into this old brick building and escaping the chilly night weather brings me so much joy I can’t help but skip up to the big red door. It doesn’t matter if I can talk or not because in there I won’t need to use it anyway. I quickly scan the shelves and search through the layer of dust and cobwebs littering the ancient titles. I choose a small green book covered in Celtic knots and clovers. Clovers, my aunt Angela loved the feel of clovers under her feet on a summer morning in New Jersey. Looking at the page it reads:
The beautiful road
It lays before me winding
As I make my way.
The flowers blossom
And the trees they do bloom bright
Smiling in delight.
He’s waiting for me
Standing at the garden gate
Beaming down at me.
We walk together
Until the seasons split us
When the leaves do fall.
Reading the familiar lines of poetry calms me. I imagine myself walking down that dusty summer road watching the leaves slowly turn bright orange, brilliant red, and finally an earthy brown and my surroundings slowly fade away and I lose myself in the creased pages of this old worn volume of poetry.
Although everyone left, or even if they were taken away from me by some alien race, I’ll still live on. I’ll continue on for all the people that I knew and lost. No matter the loneliness with the silence drilling into my ears so loudly it even quiets my naturally heavy breathing, I feel at ease. I always was one to prefer to be alone, and now I have it for as long as I live.