White Light

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Nothing stood still in that moment; the people kept walking by as if it were just another ongoing in their daily routine. Sipping on coffee, listening to music, reading newspapers, talking on cellular phones was all much too important, more important to them than this at least. His heart though, oh this strong beating heart of his may have skipped a beat when eyes passed along her. Breathing took a step aside for this occasion, for to interrupt this in any form would be a regret he would bare for a lifetime longer. Seeing her now, he took it as a sign. Pulling himself together, he drew in a breath and shouted through the mass of people.
“Natalie!” A push and shove later he was closer. “Natalie! Natalie..” Big blue eyes looked back at him with a look of confusion, but realization hit her he could tell as she smiled brightly up at him. His heart was beating like a drum. He wondered if she could hear it.

“Anthony.. Oh my gosh!” She wrapped her arms around him suddenly but pulled back into an awkward stance thinking that may have been too much. “ Umm, hi.” She laughed nervously, but all Anthony wanted was to have the feel of her arms around him again.
“I haven’t seen you in forever it seems, how are you?” Anthony’s forever really consisted of about ten months or so, but that had been enough for his mind to think about her every moment stretching out time.
“I’m alright, just moved back here to start college in the fall and..” She rambled on as he traced her lips with his eyes until his phone started to vibrate. Muttering damn to himself, he reached down to look and see a text from his friend asking him 'where the hell' he was.
“Natalie look I’ve gotta go ..” her smile slightly dimmed, he couldn’t have this. “But! I want to see you again; we can go to that teashop you like or something.. I mean if you want to and all.”
“Oh yea! I’d like that I haven’t had time to go, but yea, that sounds good.” She exclaimed, making his unsteady hands shake a little less. He gave her his number and took another moment to take her in. A moment to try and remember how her hair swept across her face and how the sun danced around her making her seem even more breath taking.
“I’ll see you soon hopefully”
With that, Anthony turned the corner of the street and pressed his back against the building, cool bricks allowed him to collect his thoughts. Natalie. She was it; she was the girl that he had always wanted. His high school dreams of them ever being together were always shattered by the sweet talking d*****bags that caught her eyes before he could. They were friends for years always flirting but she never seemed to know just how badly he wanted her. Even after high school, seeing her wracked his body with the all too familiar feeling of butterflies. They had found a home in his stomach once again and the only way to calm them would be to see her.

The television entertained itself. The news was on, whispering words to the corners of the room about heavy water and third world countries, along with more threats and negative media. Anthony paid no attention to this when he walked in the room, although the images he caught glimpse of before he shut off the television would have been something of nervous thought. This only being if he were to have kept mind of it. Instead, his mind was on the footsteps he could hear just outside. He walked over by the door and opened it before any sound of knocking could be made. She was beautiful tonight he thought. To him she always would be.
They had hung out a several times in the following weeks since their encounter on the street, but even still Anthony was in awe of her and nervous. As she walked into his apartment, he took her into his body, enveloping her with a hug. They stayed like that for some time, maybe trying to put the places their bodies touched to memory. They detached, lingering for only a second. Then he beckoned her to follow him as he dashed to the kitchen with a little boy’s excitement radiating from his being.
“I made cookies.” He flashed his teeth with a brilliant grin.
“Oh did you?” she said slyly stalking over to see his creations. Anthony was never one for baking she recalled as she gazed upon the wads of cooked dough that looked like they could have been nubs cut off from burned human flesh. At this, she started to laugh and hunched forward smacking her head against the countertop; this stopped her for less than a second, then her laughs bursted even more vigorously from her tiny frame. Anthony grabbed her and kissed her head tenderly as she shook, her giggles soon finding themselves escaping out from him also. Grabbing some Oreo’s as they began to fall from their hyperactive states, they found themselves wound up in each other on the couch.
“Ya know, I never would have expected this from you..” She began.
“Yea? Expected what?”
“This..” With that, she gave him a warm kiss. “This whole thing with you, it’s so.. Random I guess is what I’m trying to say. I’m growing quite fond of you dear boy!”
“Well girl,” he smiled down on her. “I’d have to say I’m growing quite fond of you too. Maybe even more so than fond.”
Eyes locked at this, their hands slowly danced with each other’s, intertwined and laced. The Chemicals in their heads pulled at them, minds racing to the same place. An unspoken truth between them that neither would dare speak of. It was a question they asked silently, with intuition that the other was asking that same question. With only a soft kiss, they tried to tell one another a secret that grew within themselves. They pulled apart momentarily, jumping at the sound of the television.
“What the hell?” Anthony said in surprise.
“Oh gosh that scared me!”
The clicker had been accidentally maneuvered under them in their passions.
“Your butt turned on the TV!” Natalie laughed at him, sitting up to see what was on. The news was on once more, continuing the images that Anthony ignored earlier. Natalie’s eyes filled with slight fear when she looked onto the screen. Lately relations with their country and others were on a spiral downward. At least it was slow, but now words of death and catastrophic damage spilled from their lips like venom. Their excitement for such a topic in weight laced with an undertone of fear. Big, bold red letters scrolled from right to left. ‘NUCLEAR WAR’.
“Do you think..” She began quietly. “Do you think it could really be happening?”
“I don’t know.. I mean how many time have they said it before. It’s like they are teasing us.” He laughed a bit trying to reassure her they would be safe, maybe.
“You’re probably right..” She tried to laugh with him but she was scared, and so was he.
That night they put the television on mute and watched the letters cross the screen in silence. He held her. That was the only comfort he could offer. He wasn’t so much afraid of what could happen with this war as much as he was afraid the moments like what they had shared earlier would disappear. As he lay with her, he traced the outline of her body, praying for a tomorrow where he could do the same. Natalie pressed close to him, hiding almost. Anxiety rocked them to sleep while the night’s air grew tense.
“I love you.” He whispered sweetly into her ear as he slipped into unconsciousness.
“I love you too.” She said in response smiling before she too fell asleep.

It had been a few months since that night in Anthony’s apartment. Waking up the next morning sent appreciation through everyone, putting a new lighthearted emotion in the air. Even though the threat was still present, it had died down significantly. People were back to sipping on coffee, listening to music, reading newspapers, and talking on cellular phones. Anthony and Natalie walked through the streets, being soon forgotten by those who may have taken the sight of them in.
Sun leaked through the leaves in the trees as the wind swam through creating a hum of rustling in the background. Everything seemed to be where it was meant to be. A blue sky painted with clouds that taught children how to daydream. They walked in harmony; fingers laced enjoying the feel of another’s company. She leaned onto him wanting to be closer than she was and he squeezed her hand warmly in his own. The fresh air exhilarated their senses, heightening this all too well known feeling they shared. This perfect memory was overtaken by a scream. Panic eased its way from person to person quickly. Hands raised high, bathed in rays of sunlight, pointed to the sky.
“What’s going on?” Natalie’s confusion matched Anthony’s as their eyes trailed up to where dozens of others were fixated on.
Big, bold red letters scrolled from right to left. ‘NUCLEAR WAR’.
Tears reflected the warhead falling from the sky above them. Natalie looked to Anthony, her legs quivered with the primal thought to run. He held her hand in his, knuckles white.
“Are you scared?” Her voice swam through his mind. Screams bellowed around.
“Yea..”
He quickly turned to her, leaned down and pressed his lips to hers. Despite the chaos surrounding, his kiss was soft and comforting, telling her that he loved her.


Time slowed down. The resounding boom deafened. It surged towards them. White light.





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