Since the end of the world is just days away, I am re-posting this story! 🙂
Day 1: December 18th, 2012
The night was colder than Sinclair Oswald had guessed. Still, too. Sprawled on the hood of his 2000 Ford Fiesta, he let the warmth emanating from the engine warm his butt and cold hands. A frosty sheen had already settled over the brown grass and empty fields. Totally clear, the night sky was a movie screen waiting to be illuminated with its show. A few dull, twinkling stars were scattered across the sky, unaware of the onslaught that was about to begin.
Sinclair sat in the middle of a country road, hoping to catch a glimpse of what was to be one of the greatest light shows man had seen. He sighed then picked up his cup of hot cocoa. After taking a warming sip, he rested with his back on the windshield and lifted his eyes to the sky.
Soon, the sky was illuminated with dancing colors—aurora borealis—seldom seen so far south. A massive solar flare was bombarding the atmosphere with particles that turned the sky into a kaleidoscope. Bursting like sparks from a campfire, the waves of color burnt the sky into a magic he had never seen but in photographs. It reminded Sinclair of fireworks, and the last time he had seen Michelle, his girlfriend. Tonight, she promised to look toward the sky and think of him. However, in California, it was still light out. Or perhaps the sun was melting into the sea at that moment, he pondered, leaving the coast in a piercing red haze…
Sinclair bolted up, knocking the cup of cocoa to the road. He just had a great idea.
Day 2: December 19th, 2012
“So you’re going to California?” Sinclair’s mother asked, clucking her tongue. She leveled her eyes on him. “You do know that the world ends in two days, right?”
Sinclair looked up from his laptop, tossing a sour look to his mother. Sure it was the end of the Mayan Calendar, but he for one was not buying into the hellfire and brimstone and mass destruction and…it was all crap.
“Mom, we’ve been over this a hundred times,” he said, closing his laptop. He tried to take his most patient tone as he explained his motives, again. “Michelle and I haven’t seen each other since this summer. You and Dad will have plenty of fun here.” He lifted the paper back up in front of his face. “I, for one, will be in San Francisco.”
His mother, Gladys, turned her back to him, and flipped a frying egg, then mumbled, “Well, I surely think that the end of the world is a time to be with your family.”
“Well, I’m sure I’m sorry.”
* * * *
Sinclair tossed the last few of his items for his trip into his duffel bag. Twenty-three and back living with his parents (though purely temporary) was proving to be a much worse decision than he’d ever guessed. He’d learned the hard way that the old adage was true: you never can go home again.
After spending college at Ohio State, living with Michelle, it was hard to readjust to life at home. However, it was only one more semester. Michelle went straight into graduate school after graduation and was living with her aunt for the time being, since San Francisco was so expensive. For the past six months, they had maintained a long distance relationship, while Sinclair was working and living with his parents to save for the move. No professional job had panned out yet.
And to think that his own mother would expect him not to see Michelle on this one opportunity—just because of the Mayan calendar—big whoop! Sinclair wasn’t sure exactly what the weather would be like, rainy he guessed. He tossed a sweatshirt into his duffel bag and decided he had enough clothes. If he had to, he could always buy something.
Besides the trip was a surprise; Michelle had no idea he was coming. The flight stopped in Chicago, where he transferred and flew to San Francisco. When I show up, Michelle is going to die, he thought.
After tossing his duffel bag into the car, Sinclair came back to the house to tell his mother goodbye. “Tell Dad I said goodbye,” he bellowed through the open door.
His mother darted from the kitchen. “Well, sure, I will.” She threw her arms around his neck then pulled back. Her watery eyes, the grimace turning her lips, and even her stooped posture were all importuning. “Please reconsider.”
“Mom,” he barked. “I already bought the ticket. I’m leaving. Goodbye.”
She relented, “Goodbye, Sinclair.”
He hesitated on the walkway to his car, “I love you, Mom.”
Mrs. Oswald continued to wave, even as his car faded from sight.
Michelle Gallion paused at the front door to her aunt’s townhouse. She had the nagging feeling that she was forgetting something. A cursory look around the entry hall convinced her otherwise; she had picked up all of her luggage.
Just that morning, her aunt had surprised her with a ski trip in Lake Tahoe for the weekend. After tossing her luggage into the trunk of her aunt’s car, she jumped into the passenger seat. “I’m so stoked,” she beamed.
“How long’s it been since you skied?” Her aunt asked, revving the engine.
“Too long.” Michelle fastened her seat belt. “I feel a little guilty, though.”
“Why?” They pulled away from the curb.
Michelle looked into the passenger side mirror. A skewed angle of the street behind her overlapped her face. She smirked when she spoke. “I just wonder what Sinclair is doing for the end of the world.”
Continued next week…