It feels like everywhere I turn, there’s always someone ready to fill me in on yet another imminent end of the world.
I gather vital pieces of information and carry them along streets and through tube tunnels, as long as we still have streets and tunnels and feet to walk them up and down with. Because one thing is certain. We’re slowly coming to an end.
The only sun we know, exploding into a billion shards of light, then black.
Moon sized meteors biting a continent off the crust of the earth, then centuries of dust.
Earthquakes breaking us into pieces, sinking our sands, mountains, skyscrapers and McDonald’s restaurants under layers upon layers of water, heavy, opaque, then silence.
Armies of zombies chasing us down broken boulevards, then endless life-unlife along the same streets, when there’s no one left running.
Or who knows, the magnetic poles. Who ever thinks of them? But they’re there, two dots I’d pictured scribbled with an imaginary pencil, but which truly exist and can be touched with one’s hand. They’ll switch, I know it, and then we’ll see. We’ll forget how to walk and how to stand up straight, how to form coherent thoughts and how to breathe in, and we’ll just wait for it to be over randomly lying across floors and sidewalks, hopelessly trying to reach each other with the tips of our fingers.
I swallow loudly.
I’ve got no secret weapons. I haven’t dug myself some windowless cosy living room deep into the earth’s crust, where we can stay safe until it’s all over, telling each other stories and eating roasted peanuts straight from the can. I’m deathly afraid of water and I can’t run very fast, I can’t light a matchless fire and I can’t skin tiny animals. I could never find North on my own and I’ve never saved anybody’s life. Every once in a while I understand it all and I’m afraid.
The end of the world will catch us separated from each other. By this city with its narrow, escape unfriendly streets and underground shades of damp and darkness. By the sea and three quarters of a strange continent. By things we’ve said and things we’ve kept secret.
With no maps, no screens and buttons perfect for my finger to fit on, I’ll have no chance of finding you.
I’ll spend my time digging through the debris with the tip of my shoe, stooping at times to pick something useful, a can of Coke or a broken pocket mirror to signal with before the sun flickers its last. I’ll find a place to settle in and quench our thirst, in the shade of a deserted doubledecker or in one of those phone booths no one’s been using for decades anyway. I’ll count and recount every little thing in my pocket, I’ll hopelessly touch your name on the screen of my phone, I might even cry, doubt you’d make it to me in time, fear you’d died. I’ll check my makeup in the mirror and wait.