* I'm not sure if U2's Pop album was out or not when I wrote this. If it was out that means I cribbed the title of this story from their song "Last Night on Earth", if it wasn't it means they obviously stole it from me. Or not. Either way this is yet another of the end of the world themed works of fiction I wrote during my last few high school years. Like everything else it's about a girl.
I throw another rock. This time she turns and waves. I sigh, I wish I knew what was going through her head. I wish I knew what was going through my head. Here we are, two days until the end of the world. Why she chose me to spend them with I don’t know. I’m not her boyfriend.
I’ve always wanted to be, but I’m not. Her boyfriend is probably drinking in some bar, telling stories about how much he’s going to miss rugby. Her boyfriend is a dick. She knows that of course. But he’s good looking, and popular. I’m neither.
I suppose it’s because I’m the one whose been her in life constantly, always on her side. I have no choice of course. I love her too much to hurt her. So I sit here. She continues trying to feed the birds. I get up and go to the car, open the trunk and pull out my bag. I take out my notebook. I write the date; I write what we’ve done. Not that it matters anymore but the journal is a habit.
Since it’s the end of the world I thought about telling her that I love her. I won’t though. She knows. I look back at her. So much between us is unsaid. I love her and she loves me, we’re one big happy family.
Sometimes I think I’m the only one who loves her. Her family is split, a father who she hasn’t seen for years and a mother who only cares where her next bottle of sleeping pills will come from.
She walks back to the car. She’s done with her attempt to commune with nature. She looks sad; I put my hand around her. We sit there beside the car for a spell. Finally some sort of internal signal in her head signals that we’ve spent too much time here already. She gets up, slides into the passenger seat and begins to bite her fingernails. I moan as I start the car. Only half of tank of gas left. Damn, where will we get another? I guess we could lift some. I put that aside to later and turn back towards town.
The church is fairly empty. I figured more people would be they're doing what we are here to do. Say our prayers and make sure God has got us in his good books. Actually I’m not here for that, she is. I stand by the door and eat a sandwich. I watch her sit in the pew, her beautiful head bowed. I wonder if any of this is helping.
Once she told me that she hurts everyone who ever loves her. She’s wrong, everyone who she has ever loved has hurt her. I just wish I could make it better.
She gets up. Turns and heads down the isle towards the door. I see she’s been crying. She tries to hide it. I ask if she’s okay. She laughs and puts her arm in mine and we leave the church. I begin to think that maybe she has exercised her demons.
The bar is packed. We went to find her boyfriend but he’s not there. Most people here are underage, as are we. They’re not asking for ID Strange.... No stranger than the fact that it’s open at five p.m. I guess. The fact that her boyfriend isn’t there hasn’t stopped her from hitting the sauce. She’s on her second. I ask for a coke. The barkeep, are they still called that, laughs at me and charges me an inflated price.
I take a seat in the corner, where I can watch her. I don’t want to get in her way. She’s making out with some guy. Big, wearing a Gold’s Gym sweatshirt. His hand is moving down her back to her butt. I look away. This is depressing.
I look back when I hear the shout. I guess he was going farther than her she wanted. She slapped him. He hit her. I got up and went over swiftly. I politely told the much larger man to leave her alone. He told me to mind my business and spit on her. I get mad. I get punched, quite a lot actually. Then I fall down. Then I get kicked. My last thought before I black out is how I wish I’d stayed in karate.
I come to a while later. It’s about ten o’clock. I’ve been out for five hours. I look around. I’m in a room. There’s a lot of cleaning stuff in it. It is probably just a janitor’s room. I get up and walk to the door. Going through it I find myself back in the bar. The barkeep sees me and signals me over. He apologises for having to move me into the back room; he had to make room for his customers. He says he kicked out my large friend. I ask him where she is and he points to a corner of the bar. Exactly where I was sitting about five hours ago.
He explains that since I was beat up she’s been sitting there drinking steadily. He says he’s worried about her drinking so much. It might not be good for her. I am about to point out that then he probably shouldn’t be serving her but he offers me Tylenol and I forgive him.
I walk to where she is sitting. I help her to her feet and lead her out the door. One thing I must say about her is she can drink a lot and still be perfectly agile. She hits the fresh air and other than her eyes she seems perfectly sober. We walk to the car and begin to drive off towards her house.
She asks where we are going. I tell her and she gets loud. She tells me she hates her house. She hates her home. I explain that it’s best if we head there anyway. She refuses. I sigh and comply.
We park back where she was trying to feed the birds. I have sleeping bags in my car and we pull them out and put them on the ground. She is quite for awhile. Then she gets up. Moves towards me and begins to talk.
You love me don’t you, she asks.
I don’t say anything. She reeks of beer; it seems to be doing her talking too.
She leans forward and kisses me on the cheek. I try not to blush. I’m not too successful. He hands move to her shirt buttons. She begins to undress. After removing her shirt she tries to undo my pants.
I must admit I’m finding this all very confusing. This is a dream come true. Yet I know that this is not what she wants. Just like the guy in the bar wasn’t what she really wanted. She’s drunk and she’s scared.
I finally decided that being moral is more important at this moment than a life long fantasy and I push her off. She tries again; I stand up and begin to move away. She finally gets mad. She shouts, she screams, she cries and then she falls to her knees. I move towards her, to console her. She sees me and throws a rock at me. It hits me in the head. After that I stay a healthy distance away. She goes to my car and gets in. She locks the doors. I have a key but I don’t think that going after her would help anything. I sit down on the sleeping bags.
She honks the horn, flashes the lights and generally makes a great deal of noise. Finally she stops and lies down.
After about half an hour I finally decide she must be asleep and lay down myself. I look at my watch just before I do that. It’s almost exactly twenty - four hours from the end of the world. I have a giant headache.
I wake up. I notice the sun; I’m staring right into it. I turn over. She’s lying next to me, still asleep. She must have left the car sometime during the night. I close my eyes and savour her closeness. After awhile I finally decide that I have to pee. I get up and she wakes up. I go off into the bush while she tries to figure out where she is and why she has a hang over.
She asks if the world has ended yet. I tell her it hasn’t. She seems almost disappointed. She apologises for running my car battery down by leaving the lights on. She thinks it might have run down the battery. I try the car, it has. That’s okay, I tell her, we probably didn’t have enough gas to get to town anyway.
Walking back to town is a quite affair. We both are lost in our thoughts. For the second time during our adventure I wish I could read minds. I think about why I am here. I’ve given up any chance of getting her last night. But sex wasn’t what I’ve wanted, not ever. I know that even though we won’t be together I’ll stay with her until the end of the world.
We finally get a ride from a man driving a classic car. He explained to us that he had worked on it for ten years, never driving it. Saving it for good and now that there wasn’t going to be a tomorrow he decided what the hell and is driving it all day and night until the end.
I think about that and it strikes a chord with my present situation. She just stares out the window. He drops us off downtown. We walk around for awhile. She gets hungry so we eat in an abandoned McDonald’s.
My time in their employment allows me to whip up something.
Finally she starts to cry.
All my life I’ve had nothing to believe in, she explains. I mean some people have a god. Some people have love. Some have ability. I have nothing. I am just so so.... I walk through the world without touching it. I’ve done nothing to be proud of. I’ve got no one I can say that person loves me more than anything.
She sobs for a bit. I get up and walk around the table and hug her. She hugs me back.
We head to the theatre where I work. The door is unlocked and I lead her inside. A few people are in there watching movies. Probably friends of an employee. I see one of my co - workers. I nod and head upstairs.
The door is locked. I have to use a knife to unlock it. I open the skylight and head up the ladder. She follows. We’re on the roof.
The sky is beautiful tonight. We sit in silence for a while.
"You loved me didn’t you?" she says.
I don’t answer, I remember the last time she asked that, one day ago.
She asks again.
I tell her that I do. I tell that I probably always have.
"You still do?" she asks. Surprised.
"Even after everything. All the times I’ve left you alone to be with some guy. All the times I’ve...." she looks like she wants to cry.
I nod. Even after all those times. I have always loved her. I still do.
"I always knew that. And maybe that’s why we where never together. I always knew you’d be there to catch me when I fell so I could do things that weren't what I wanted." She says.
"Or maybe they where what you wanted. But having me in your corner made you feel safer. Life I was always there to pull you out of trouble." I reply
"Maybe that’s what happened last night." she says, "After you got beat up I finally realised that you where what I was looking for the whole time. You where the one person in the world who loved me. I finally realised how much pain I put you through each time you had to catch me. Maybe I drank too much as well."
She looks at one star and then the moon. "Between the drink and the fucked up feelings I was having I decided that I should give myself too you. I guess I came on a bit strong. When you denied me I freaked out. You where the one last chance I had for real love. You where my one constant."
She looks down to the road. People are gathering on it. Ready to begin the count down. I put my hand around her. She smiles at me. I laugh. Finally we are together. The people on the street cheer as the last ten seconds are coming. She reaches over and kisses me. I think that this is the beginning of something beautiful.
In the end she found out that she did matter in the world, if only to me. In the end I guess I got to be her reason for living. That’s more than I could have ever hoped for.