Afterthoughts (Short Story)

This is the first „recent“ story I’m sharing and was specifically written for this challenge. It was one of those fleeting ideas that came into my head and ended up amounting to this. Enjoy.

Nobody really thinks about the last day of their lives. Sure, lots of people think about how they want to go, mostly saying it should be painless, but nobody really thinks about how that last day will go. I didn’t either.

Until I woke up today and I just knew.

I’m not talking about some strange sense of my own mortality, wanting to enjoy every sip of coffee because it could be my last. I mean that I actually knew it would be my last.

When my alarm went off this morning, that knowledge sat like a truth in my mind that’s always been there. Like the fact that the sky is blue or boiling water is hot. I looked at the date on my phone and I knew.

I considered calling my mother.

My grandfather had known, too. He had called us that day, but we were out and he only got our voicemail. I would always remember his brittle voice on the machine, telling us that he loved us. That had been all. No explanation. Although that hadn’t been necessary by the time we heard his message.

I didn’t call my mother. What would I tell her anyway?

I didn’t panic. Not until I realized that my favorite dress was at the dry cleaners and I didn’t have a single pair of clean matching underwear. What would the coroner think of me if he had me on his table in a black bra and polka-dot panties? He would think that I was one of the lucky ones, one of those who didn’t know.

I giggled then, because by the time the coroner was looking at my skivvies, I was very much likely to no longer care. I opted for the most comfortable ones, the ones that had YOLO written in the front. Because a little irony has never hurt anyone.

You would think that I spent today in a crazy frenzy, trying to get all my affairs in order. I would have liked to be that kind of person, too, but I couldn’t be bothered. What did I care if the milk in my fridge went sour? What was there to even get in order?

I did the same thing I did every day: I went to work. It was routine and even the irrevocable knowledge that I wouldn’t benefit from the paycheck I earned didn’t deter me. By the time lunch rolled around, I felt I hadn’t gotten anything done. But what did it matter? I needed my last lunch.

I couldn’t care less about the milk in my fridge, but I wanted my last lunch to be special. Thai Chicken Udon, from the place three subway stations away.

I made it two stops down until I knew I wouldn’t get that lunch. Some sort of survival instinct kicked in just as the train car left the station and I found myself frantically jumping up to the door, trying to get myself to safety.

The man standing by the door touched my arm softly, as if he was trying to reassure me. I turned around, ready to yell at him, but the look in his eyes told me that he understood.

He knew.

I looked around and realized that there were only a few more people on the car. All eyes on me, all perfectly understanding.

All knowing.

I should have called my mother.

I didn’t have time to sit back down.

Not that it would have done me any good.

A second later, it was all over.

Original photograph by Paul Benson under Creative Commons License.
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  1. Pingback: March: What I’ve Been Up To | Words I Weave

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