It's Been Beautiful

February 7, 2010
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I hated the thought of it. It sent me into spirals just trying to comprehend it, spirals that just kept going on and on forever. Could you blame me, though? Could anyone really get their heads around it? I sat there in front of the television, my palms against my agonized face, my legs kicking the ground furiously, just trying to understand how it was possible. I was kicking so hard that my shoes dented the hardwood floor. I never thought I would be able to do that, but apparently being certain of anything wasn't a viable option anymore.

Everything was going to come tumbling down in one, big, final kaboom. Everything.

That was such a big word, when you think about it. Everything meant all that was, all that one's senses could react to and more. How could everything just go away? How could it all end like that? In just one moment, it would cease to exist. The end of the world shouldn't have been this way; I shouldn't have been alive to see it. Yet here I was, sitting on the couch in my apartment, listening to the newscaster lose her composure as she continued to speak. We had one day, and there was no escaping it.

Twenty-four hours to live. It was so cliché, but it was happening. It was happening to everyone, and there was nothing I could do to stop it. It caused me agony to think about it. I was not going to be here any longer, and there was so much life left for me to live.

The newscaster announced that everything would continue as normal. We would all be attending work, and everything would be up and running. The politicians didn't want us sitting home, contemplating all the things we had done in our lives that were wrong or right, all of the regrets we had, everything. How could they stop us, though? Maybe it was just logical to do all of this. Maybe it was the best way to handle it.

I didn't care. I'd go to work, I'd live my last day on Earth just like I had lived every day before that. What was the big deal, anyway? Death was an inevitable factor in life, and like all dying people, I would have to come to terms with it, come to accept it. What use was there for fighting it? We could not possibly stop this; it was out of our hands now. The Earth was going to go off and explode, and I was powerless.

That was a scary thought. I could not control my own fate. I had always told myself that there was no one at the reigns, no puppet master telling me what to do and where to go. I believed that nothing was predetermined, that we made ourselves solely by our own force of will. I believed that we could control anything we wanted. Apparently, I had been wrong.

Oh well, no use pondering the deeper intricacies of life now. I stood up from my couch, tossing the red pillow that I had been holding between my arms and my chest to the side. Looking down, I noticed now that I had practically ruined my floor, but who cared? My shoes were a bit messy as well, but I simply sighed and shrugged, continuing on to the bathroom.

The mirror held a grim reflection, but I ignored it. I hadn't slept much last night, and waking up to hear this hadn't exactly made me feel better. Water splashed against my face, and I rubbed it in, hoping to wake myself up a little bit. I sighed again, feeling that it would be only the second in a day that would potentially be full of them.

Undressing out of my night clothing, I went over to my room and grabbed my work attire. Brown pants, a white button-down shirt, and a brown jacket. I took off my running shoes, put my shirt on and buttoned it down, then slipped my pants on, like I did everyday. One leg at a time, then buttoning them, then zippering them, then taking my belt and wrapping it around my waste, then clipping it shut. I put the jacket on last, then went for my shoes again. The office usually didn't let me wear sneakers, but hey, it was my last day alive, so why not?

After brushing my teeth and combing my hair I went outside. The hallway was quiet, more so than usual. It was a little creepy, but I assumed that a lot of people had either left for work already or were simply going to spend their last day inside. Oh well, it was their choice not mine.

I made my way down the corridor and into the elevator. Bernie, the elevator operator looked up at me and smiled. He gave me a friendly hello in his Haitian accent, and after I requested that he take me down to the lobby, hit the L button near the bottom of the elevator's panel.

“Nice day, isn't it?” He asked, his smile still wide. “A wonderful day to die.”

“I suppose it is,” I replied. “but we're not dying today, we're dying tomorrow.”

“Oh, well, you are dying tomorrow. I am going to kill myself once my shift ends,” he explained casually. “Figured I could do something a little bit more... grandiose, than just booming. That's so cliché for the end of the world. I think I'm going to do something much more relaxing. It's such a nice day, I wouldn't want to waste it just to find that tomorrow is not as nice.”

“I see your point,” I replied. “But isn't that the risk we take when we live everyday? There's always a chance that, after a nice day, it's just going to rain again.”

“Such a thoughtful man you are,” Bernie said, “ever since you've lived here, always the philosophical one.” He gave a few nods, as though he was thinking about something. “I like the way you put that, but I'm afraid that I just don't want to pass up on this opportunity. I've always wanted to die on a sunny day. Ever since I got old and rusted I've been considering it. I'd like it to be today.”

“Then it's been nice knowing you, Bernie,” I smiled and gave him a few pats on the shoulder. The elevator dinged and the doors opened. I stepped out, turning back to him and waving a few times before the door closed up again. He smiled and waved back.

“Have a nice life!” he shouted.





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