Content Warning; This story contains vulgar language, graphic violence, religious trauma, and discussion of the end of humanity.
I’m watching my hands as I type this. My knuckles dried and cracked, chapped from being washed so often. My fingers float across the keys forming words and sentences, paragraphs and prose. My mind’s racing. It’s 1:02 AM as I write this line. Days bleed into nights, and nights into sunrises and sunsets. I’m sitting up in a recliner, for which I waited eight weeks to arrive, I’ve had it for three weeks today. It may be the last chair I own. I’ve also been sleeping in this chair since It arrived. Sleeping here because I caught a cold at work and didn’t want to get my wife sick–it worked the cold is gone and she’s fine too. I kept sleeping in the chair ’cause I stopped waking up with back pain and stopped keeping my wife awake with my snoring.
The world is different tonight, so different from when I bought this chair. The day we ordered the pair, did I forget to mention we bought two? One for me, and one for her. Matching chairs to hold hands in, to fall asleep in, and to grow old in. Will we? That day we pulled into the parking lot of the LazyBoy, as we walked towards the building a car accident happened.
Tires squealed, metal twisted and creaked, tires burst and bumpers tore away, wheel wells concaved. A stop sign lay beneath the truck that murdered it, the truck destroyed by the curb and the sign. A toothless man gets out cussing and spitting. I run over, messiah complex and all. I say
Are you OK? he’s not OK but says he is, he’s drunk or high or both, pupils swallowing his irises, words slurring out, swears falling out, anger swelling. The other guy gets out of his car circling and yelling, his car is fine, he’s fine, he may have caused the whole thing, or maybe not, I didn’t see that part. I was here right now to stop this from becoming something much worse. I spoke up, loudly to both men who were sizing one another up at this point. I bellowed
You guys OK? Hey! I said
You OK?! I connected eyes with each man, they exhaled and backed away from each other muttering. I rejoined my wife, we went inside as the police arrived and began their assessments and paperwork.
We bought two chairs and left. They came eight weeks later. I’m sitting in one now, you know that part. Eight weeks ago some people knew what was coming, we didn’t, Lu and I. We were oblivious and content with our new lives in Memphis. Buying furniture and making a home out of the house we just bought. Had we known, would I have this chair? Would she?
My mind hasn’t rested in what seems like months, but it’s only been a few weeks. I have four kids, I brought them here and now I have to protect them, keep them safe, alive. They deserve a life as long as I can give them. I have a wife who for 24 years has been the only stable thing in my world. She must survive too. The world isn’t ending, but god damn if it doesn’t feel like it’s getting fucking close every day that passes.
Society has bounced back from things like this in the past, we’re roaches, the human race, we’re pests.
All the things we built our civilization on are currently crumbling and failing or damn near. The government is talking about sacrifice like it’s more important to keep our imaginary-numbers based economy afloat than to make sure the maximum amount of humans survive this apocalypse.
I’ve been worried about the end times since I was nine years old.
Multiple times in my life I have been told some crazy ass shit by Christians. Starting when I was nine, the Sunday School “teacher” told us how on Christmas that year the rapture was 100% for sure going to happen. And she didn’t stop there, she went into great and vivid detail about how Jesus was going to feed any non-believers to demon dogs who would rend and tear your flesh from your skeleton while you were alive so you could feel all your sins being punished. Smart ass that I’ve always been, I said
Well I’ll just tell Jesus I believe, and he’ll spare me and this Karen says
He’ll know you’re lying, he only wants people that believe with their whole heart.
I was nine. And I knew I didn’t believe at all, let alone with my whole heart. I spent the rest of the year terrified for Christmas to arrive, I didn’t want to die and I didn’t want my family to die. I was relieved when it didn’t happen. She said
Well, it’ll happen one of these Christmases no matter what, it’s going to happen. I was still nine. I hated Christmas until I turned 16.
My whole life since then has been obsessing about the end of days, the arrival of death and war and pestilence and famine. Waiting to be torn asunder by myths. Waiting for a holy war.
In my twenties I worked at McDonald’s for a time in Sedona, AZ. On two separate occasions, two different people, months and months apart, asked me to sit with them at a table in the dining room; they had urgent news for me. Both of these people brought a message from Jesus. Both of these people said they met with Jesus and that he instructed them to seek me out, told them where to find me, said to tell me to prepare, as I was chosen to lead his holy army against the forces of darkness. I wish I was lying. I wish it had not happened once, let alone twice, but it did. It didn’t sit well with me. I was twenty-two, a grill cook at the only McDonald’s in the world with teal arches, and Jesus was legit sending people to recruit me. I should mention this was not the first and second time I had been approached by strangers and told I was important to the imminent apocalypse. Nope not even the third and fourth time since I was nine.
As I write this right now I’m 45 which is divisible by 9, this coincidence isn’t lost on me. 45 is also an age I’ve been told over and over would be important for me. I’ve always told myself, oh that will be the year I strike it rich. But, if I’m being 100% honest with myself–and you, dear reader–I’ve also had a pretty grim, much darker thought that I’ve been swatting back with my dreams of unfettered riches. Maybe 45 is that year, the one of prophecy.
See, fuck me, I really get in my own head sometimes. COVID19 isn’t the rapture. But, it might end up being a reset. Maybe I spend too much time fantasizing about being the lead character in an end of the world scenario. No, that isn’t really up for debate, I absolutely do that.
What comes next is really going to depend on how many people we can get to agree to pause the world for a while, keep each other safe and healthy. It’ll depend on how many of us can put aside our stupid fucking egos and rebellious natures and really focus on being better for each other.
Only time will tell.