Siri, play Yo No Soy Celoso by Bad Bunny. The mood needs to be set.
Here we go again…
///I was walking on the foundation of a tranquil beach on an island that once knew peace. The flurry of seagulls calling on each other was complementary of the horizon, which had the biggest star in our solar system peeking its fiery head over the distant waves. Unfortunately, an otherwise beautiful sunrise was shrouded by ominous clouds. Dawn was here, but it wasn’t the same
She wasn’t here to appreciate this moment with me.
Solitude has been the name of my game for quite some time now. Recollection of my past life was quite foggy, but I do remember her always being there when I needed her to be. The promise that we’ll indulge in bottomless mimosas on the shoreline in our elder years and fondly remember the timeless youth we experienced was just that: a promise.
The problem with promises? They’re made to be broken. And sometimes, it’s not even our faults.
During the time where nuclear war broke out, and the world ended, only one haven came to mind… a singular safe space: this very island I rested my wrinkled feet on today.
All that remained alive were the memories, but with no one to share them with, I was bound to go crazy. Insanity wasn’t far off, but I welcomed it. The ramblings of this old man will probably echo through the desolate setting until the true end of days: death.
The slight warmth of the white sands on my toes was reminiscent of the comfort I felt when I was in her amorous embrace. Oh, how I missed her embrace. This isn’t the first time I’m spending summer without her, but from what I can tell, you truly never do get used to it.
My survival was dependent on canned foods from the scattershot convenience stores around the island, and my sanity was dependent on the barrels of rum that were dispersed freely amongst the state. Ironically, I hated rum, but it helped to fight the feeling of despair from settling down permanently in my mind. Also, it was strangely the only selection of liquor available. In a sense, I was channeling my inner Jack Sparrow. I just wish I had the parrot with me to squawk my ear off.
As I crossed over to the boardwalk, the sharp transition from sand to wood was felt as I caught a splinter from the chipped yellow pine floor. I winced, but the alcohol in my system killed the pain before it was even born. Walking past the deserted arcades and aquariums was depressing enough, but then, as the boardwalk curved to the right, my eyes caught a glimpse of the ferris wheel.
Many moons ago, this particular 50-foot tall ferris wheel had enough lights to power an entire city. The flamboyant color palette of the paint on the cars was in line with the various choices of cotton candy made available back then on this beach.
But that was then.
Now, the paint was dramatically chipped up and rusted out. The nuclear war ensured that the world would never see another clear blue ceiling again, so the backdrop was always bleak by default. The worst part about it all, though, was the stark reminder of how things were, especially with her.
I recall vividly our first and only time riding this exact ferris wheel together at the height of our existential powers. Life could never do wrong by us, because everything was so right. The view of the entire city was quite pleasant from the top, but not as beautiful as when I faced company to observe the perfect smile.
A smile so eloquent, the transcription of it would reach Shakespearean status. A smile so flawless, it was the opposite of body dysmorphia. A smile so natural, Captain Planet would cosign it gleefully.
After the war’s conclusion, I would never see this smile again.
I drew comfort in the fact that I was past my half-life. The loneliness was brutal, but I didn’t have the stones to expedite my trip to the afterlife and join the rest of the denizens in harmonious eternity, or whatever followed post-mortem. My faith in a higher power may have been misplaced permanently following the events of this world.
Continuing my stroll through the boardwalk, I began to realize how cynicism can corrupt a spirit effortlessly when there’s nothing there to stop it. Or maybe I had just lost my willpower altogether. Either way, it didn’t matter.
I took another swig of the bottle of rum I had handy, and kept going about the boardwalk. Litter was everywhere, indicative of the chaos that preceded my arrival. Time has not been kind to this area, and the dilapidated structures that stretched the land added to the gloom of my circumstance. This was a safe space I once thought would be incorruptible, but my intuition failed me yet again in this regard.
Why did it have to be me that survived? I would have been perfectly content being wiped out with the rest of civilization, if it meant being with her for those final moments. Instead, what I received was an unjust sentence of exile. Mercy from the powers that be, some may presume, but in actuality, it was just torture.
I enjoyed making others laugh in the olden days. It was so seamless on my end, as I just spewed bullshit, but funny bullshit nevertheless. The beauty of the human condition was that laughter equated euphoria back then.
Now, that feeling was nonexistent in my repertoire. I haven’t ushered a laugh in years.
As I reached the end of the pier, I ventured back to the water to conclude my routine. It all seemed so surreal, how I was the last man alive on Earth. I was legend, but I’d rather give up my status tenfold to spend one more minute with her.
The sun finally reached high noon. I decided to lay on the grains at long last, and stare blankly at the expressionless sky, as my foot began to overwhelm me with pain from the splinter, and I had begun to sober up. The clouds, as grey and prominent as they were, never showed me a drop of acid rain. I was hoping for a torrential downpour, but it never came.
Then again, I hoped for a lot of things in this lifetime that never came. As the old adage goes; expectations can be the blueprint for disappointment.
I recalled my last conversation with her at this exact spot. I’ll never forget what she told me…///
I snapped out of unconsciousness, the “waves” alarm tone on my phone being the culprit for me waking up. A sharp pain bolted through my brain, a consequence of an abrupt interruption of deep thought. Drunk sleep is a real bitch.
I turned the alarm off, and checked the time. 7:00am.
It was time for work.
A few hours ago, a Tesla Uber dropped me off outside of my apartment. Last call at the bar was met with a complimentary shot from one of my favorite bartenders a few minutes prior, and being the last one of my friends to be at the bar, I knew it was time to go home. With summer on the cusp, warm evenings coupled with cold tequila were becoming the norm now.
I’ve gotten in the unfortunate habit of staying out late on weekdays, when I should be tucked in by midnight in order to be fully operational for my 9-5 job. A direct consequence of my inability to stay docile at home, was an average of 4 hours of sleep a day.
Another side effect of my deep nights were these extremely descriptive fever-esque dreams. My mental was plagued by an amalgamation of concepts that surfaced in said visions. You know the type; the ones where you need to write down exactly what you recall as soon as you wake up, because the beauty of them will certainly erode from your memory in hours, forever.
This post was an example of that.
The woman in question? A figment of many imaginations.
I published another fantasy sequence titled Safe Space while I was overseas in Africa nearly 3 years ago. Back then, the dreams I had were fueled simply by rampant emotion, as alcohol was not accessible in that setting. Isolation from the world, with your thoughts, can be a scary thing, but it wouldn’t be this way forever.
Or so I foolishly believed.
35 months later, and the cycle still wasn’t broken.
But I guess it was meant to be that way. I mean, happy endings only take place in fairy tales, right?
Exactly 20 years ago, she told me that she’ll only stop loving me when the sands grow old. I knew, then and there, that I was in the right place. Because, that’s just it… the sands here… never grow old.