This piece is one of the only things I think I’ve written with a purpose. A few years ago, the remake of the Titanic was coming out, and in one of the ads for the movie was a scene I’ll never forget. It was an old man and woman, lying in bed in the dark cabin, holding each other as the water rose around them. It was so powerful. The world was ending, they were dying, and all they wanted was to spend their last moments together. It blew me away and I wanted to try and capture something similar. This was the result
I’m running through the streets. The clock on the bank sign reads 11:55 right before it explodes into a shower of glittering glass. I can make it, five minutes, less than half a mile, I can do this. People are screaming and running, crowding the streets as the flames glow an angry red in the sky. I pass a grandfather, weeping silently on concrete steps.
I told her to meet me at the café by noon. I can’t be late, I can’t do that to her after what she’s been through. She deserves better than that. The whistle warns me of the bomb before the explosion sends me flying off my feet. Arcs of pain shoot across my back, and my hands feel wet. A young woman lies nearby, glassy eyes staring into dark eternity. I pull myself up and keep running.
I round the corner, the café sits on the edge of the square. Flames leap and dance like demons cavorting in hell. She’s sitting at a table, watching the square burn. Her ebony hair is hanging low, past her shoulders, and it flutters in the wind. Blood drips down her face from a cut above her eye. A nearby clock reads 11:59. I walk up to her. She’s wearing a black dress, formal wear. I feel awkward in my jeans and shirt. I should have put on my father’s polo instead. She turns as I approach, her face breaking out into a beatific smile. She stands to greet me, barefoot in the ash.
I stare into her eyes, her warm hazel eyes set ablaze by the lights around us. I hear the whistling.