- Books, Literature, and Writing»
- Commercial & Creative Writing
Adam and Eve. Part III, Short Story (Twisted Love Story).
Part 3 (of 3)
10. All Alone.
I tried to call my extended family, a few old friends in Poland. No result. A panic started to rise, but not only a panic, but also an anger, and finally a sense of hopelessness. I sat for hours and hours, almost motionless, staring at the TV, trying to follow the news from Europe, hoping and waiting for some kind of miracle. Finally, I was lucky enough to get in touch with one of my cousins. She didn't tell me much though, except that people are still dying, and only a few survived, or were immune to the terrifying disease.
I stayed inside for the longest time. I sat surrounded by my daughter’s clothes and toys, clinging to Chris’s old shirt. I couldn’t eat, even though we couldn’t complain about a lack of food, everything was rather getting spoiled in the stores, because no one was buying anything. You'd think people would turn against each other, start robberies and attacks. Not at all. Instead, we were surrounded by silence, the silence so quiet, that could drill through you, that could rip your ears in pieces. Nobody was speaking. People united in grief and misfortune. My town looked abandoned, deserted outright, but I knew a handful of people, who were hiding in the shelter of their own homes, just like me. And if I ever needed any help, they wouldn’t hesitate, they wouldn’t disappoint me.
The motel, where I formerly worked, looked completely deserted. Not a trace of Grant. I didn’t want to think about it, nor about what probably happened to him, unable to stand the possibility of losing another precious to me person. Surely he could have just left the town, when people around him started to fall into a strange disease. I hoped so...
After a few weeks, whatever was left of the public television screamed out a joyous announcement: "The outbreak of deadly Virus CC has been averted! We beat the CC Virus - Common Cold Virus is dead!" Human race survived again...
I fell into a kind of waking coma, when I didn’t really care about anything anymore, but about news on the TV screen. When I had flashes of consciousness, I mourned my child, which I couldn’t have even buried. With indescribable grief, I tried to focus on the short time that was given to me to spend with my husband. I felt stripped of time, doomed to loneliness, punished for having felt happiness in my life...
I suddenly felt like a prisoner in a country, which I loved so much, and which I became a part of. I couldn’t do anything to find out if my family in Poland survived the epidemic. I couldn’t leave the United States.
Lonely, abandoned, but too strong to die, resistant to a plague, I wanted to sink into the ground.
11. The Tragic Toll.
Seventy five percent of the world population was swept from the surface. Half of those who survived will never be able to have children, as a side effect of the virus ... But as they say: “What doesn’t kill you, it will make you stronger” - and life started to go on again, maybe not in its “normal”, but in a free from disease and madness rhythm. Country looked like a war went through it. People, who survived, immersed into sorrow and nostalgia. As if they were hypnotized, they returned to their everyday lives. They had no other choice. Buildings stood empty in manifestation of death, which has just collected its abundant harvest. There was no shortage of work, because most of us died – there were more jobs than people in need. I wasn’t looking for a job, because after banks opened their doors again, I found out that Chris left me quite a decent fortune. He took care of everything, and I had no idea about it! Who would have thought - a blessing in disguise…?
After a few months, borders were opened again. I was going back to Poland.
12. The Return.
Gronowice. My home town, near the German border. Three thousand inhabitants. Before they were touched by the cruel CC virus outbreak, before their quiet, leisurely passing lives were attacked suddenly, without warning. Children were getting ready for school, bakers started their birthday cakes, truck drivers were on their usual route to deliver goods to local stores. And one by one they began to lose their strength, they were knocked down by a sudden fever – the most ordinary condition in the world – a common cold ... Happens to everyone. Only this time, most of them didn’t make it to the next day.
I was walking on the empty Main Street, which has always been full of passers, especially on Saturdays. Women were going shopping, often accompanied by their daughters ... I could see myself and my mother, smiling, talking, sharing laughs... We always enjoyed Saturday mornings so much. Weekly shopping was our mother-daughter time...
After the epidemic, there was nobody here. Not a soul. There were also no graves. My family was dead, but after all that I went through in the last few months, I could no longer cry, I became immune to the grief and pain. My heart became hard and cold as stone. Actually, I came here mainly to seek a confirmation that no one was left.
I went to the church. It was the most beautiful church. Historic. It’s empty right now, but a few months ago it was filled to the brim every Sunday. I didn’t go often, I wasn’t sure if I had the faith. "Maybe if I went, I could have begged God for a better tomorrow? Maybe we wouldn’t be sent down a plague, which eradicated almost the entire mankind? Maybe I would have saved our world from this cruel punishment?"
I sat down on a bench. Not to pray, but to finish my journey, to catch a breath. I haven’t eaten since yesterday, because in Poland, unlike in the U.S., there was quite a problem with food. It was nothing in the shops, especially here, in Gronowice, which actually no longer existed. Thoughts, one by one, started running through my mind.
“How can I rise back up and face the world, in which I don't know how to live? How can I stand up and move on with the reality, which nobody prepared me for?”
I closed my eyes, and for the first time in months I fell asleep. On a hard, cold church bench. It was as if God has finally graciously allowed me to a moment of relief.
I was awakened by a touch. My heart skipped a beat, and for a short moment I had the impression that it was jumping out of my chest. Somebody's face right next to mine... An old friend ...
"How are you alive?!"
I drifted back into darkness…
I woke up from a deep sleep, feeling as if I slept for a week, and for a brief fraction of a second I felt peace and security – until I realized that everything in my life was over, since my world fell apart.
"Where am I?"
"In my parents' house". Welcome, Eve".
Adam. Oh, yes, I know this man! The last time I saw him he was probably not more than ten years old. The child, next to whom I didn’t want to sit in class, the boy, who in my childish eyes, needed his life to be “fixed”
Yes, I remembered Adam very well, but mostly as a little boy, then our paths diverged. Actually, I thought that he left town, which wouldn’t surprise me at all. Why stay? I wondered many times, how he worked out his adult life. I was secretly hoping that somehow he was able to erase his painful childhood out of his memory.
Adam sat in the chair. His blue eyes were directed toward the window. He looked tired, depressed, but not like someone who surrendered. Almost immediately I began to envy him – his radiating inner strength. I came closer, crouched by his knees, and took his hand in my hands. It was rough, weary. We said nothing, just looked in each other's eyes, as if it was possible to read through them without words, to tell our stories of suffering and sorrow. Time stood still, and I don’t know how long we sat in silence. I felt somewhere at the very bottom of my soul how much I was grateful to fate for giving us this miracle of meeting each other again. All we needed right now was a closeness of two people, who almost in a split second lost everything and everyone.
"I'm here all alone, Adam..."
Tears started running down my cheek, and they almost amazed me. I didn’t think I was capable of crying anymore.
The pale ray of sun came through the window, illuminating the ashen face of Adam. Fainted smile appeared on his lips. And that was more than enough for me to feel hope, that as long as we are alive, things can change, and we can rebuild our worlds. From now on we would be stronger and wiser in our choices. I felt even though we were strangers to each other, so completely different, even though we spent most of our lives in absolutely opposite realities - that if we joined forces, and we worked hard, there was a light at the end of the tunnel… Somewhere in the distant future a better tomorrow was waiting for us! And this time I got a coveted chance to "fix" Adam’s world, just like I always wanted.
"Not anymore, Eve. You're not alone."
For the first time in many years I felt that it was true.
"Men pass in front of our eyes like butterflies, creatures of a brief season. We love them; they are brave, proud, beautiful, clever; and they die almost at once. They die so soon that our hearts are continually racked with pain". ~ Philip Pullman
All names, events and places described in this story are fictitious, and any convergence is absolutely random.
© 2012 Aga