whispering apocalypses

I'm remembering a frozen New Year's day in the northeast, drinking far too much absinthe with a girl I knew--an old friend I'd just met. She was so much more alive than most people, and certainly more than me. We kissed at midnight and made our way back to the subway in single-digit temperatures, the warm clarity of wormwood and fennel staving off the chill as we laughed our way through the wind and snow.

She told me that night, waiting for the train, that she wished she wasn't real. I didn't tell her I wished that I was. It baffled me then--did she really wish that she was a ghost like me? Then the train rolled in and there was no more time to ask for clarification. We stumbled aboard and sat in the back, leaning against each other, as the train rumbled on to our destination.

Then the train stopped, and went dark, and she whispered apocalypses in my ear. "This will be the year everything freezes and dies," she said. "Starting with this train." The conductor led us off the train, and we escaped into the transit tunnels. I imagined that I was a real, living person, going on the sort of adventures real, living people went on, while she dreamt she was a ghost, flitting through the shadows, lost and alone in the tunnels beneath our city. We sat in secret places and watched the trains rumble by and whispered apocalypses to each other, as the clarity of absinthe faded and the clarity of the new year settled in.


Liz said...

I am completely in love with this piece. It's so intriguing! In fact, after I leave this comment, I'll probably go read it again. Niceee job- I like seeing other writers out there :) keep writing.

Rob said...

glad you liked! thanks for reading and commenting.