I took a course at uni entitled Writing Apocalypse: Histories and Speculation. Our first assignment was to write a 500 word piece with the theme of ‘apocalypse’ inspired by, or in response to, our course readings and tutorial discussions. We were allowed to interpret the word ‘apocalypse’ rather broadly. This is my piece as it was submitted. Next week, I will re-post this piece incorporating the changes that were suggested by my marker. I recieved 76% for this assessment, but I personally feel like I should have scored much lower because I failed to convey to my marker that the piece was meant to be a person mourning a loved one killed after texting and driving, rather than a conventional apocalypse.
Sixty seconds. How much can change in sixty seconds? An idea. A thought. A text received. A text answered. A life could end. A life could begin. A proposal – the beginning of a lifetime together. Perhaps the apocalypse could happen in sixty seconds. The end of everything. Animals. Art. Architecture. This. You. Me. Us. Everyone. All we’ve known. How many things would you miss if the world were to end today, tomorrow, right now? What would you miss the most? Art? Architecture? Technology? Hot showers? This pen? Me? You? Us?
I reckon I’m not suited for the apocalypse. Life without mod-cons. I’m a product of my generation. A modern girl. A nice house. Fashionable clothes. Gluten-free, lactose-free, animal-free, ethically produced. Food, friends, information at the click of a button. The apocalypse would kill me in five seconds flat.
I am sitting in our lounge room; I guess you could call it a living room. I’ve not had much time to read lately. I’ve been busy catching up on missed classes, missed readings, missed appointments. The room is silent save for the scratch of my pen and the hum of the heater in the background. The heater is set to its maximum, but I am still chilly. The night is cold. They all are now. The room is cluttered, filled with papers and boxes and who knows what. It smells of dust and beer and old farts. The light is bright for a living room, but I like it that way. It lets me read. It hides the shadows. The taste of my last sip of water lingers on my tongue. Water isn’t supposed to taste, but it does, and it lingers. I would rather be tasting popcorn. Or chocolate. I’m not hungry, but I eat all the same. It’s comforting and it fills the time.
I turn the TV on sometimes. When the silence is too much, too solid, too loud. I don’t pay it much attention, but it fills the void, staves off the emptiness. For a little while. I sleep on the couch as often as not, lights glaring, TV blaring. The bed feels too cold. Empty. The days are a series of motions, habits really. Shower, dress, brush teeth, study, eat, sleep, repeat. Each day the same, each day blending into the next. Avoid thinking. Avoid dreaming. Avoid feeling. Everything is grey. Every second of every minute filled with nothing. Everything tastes of ash. Except water. Which tastes. And lingers.
I don’t know what I miss the most. I miss taste. I miss colour. I miss our todays, our tomorrows, our right nows. I miss you. I miss me. I miss us. How much can change in sixty seconds? A text received. A text answered. A life ended. I’m not suited for the apocalypse. How much can change in sixty seconds? Everything.
Related Post: Sixty Seconds (Revised)
Categories: Fiction Friday