I was no older than twelve when the meteorite came, flying calmly across the sky, its light shinning down our teary eyes as we realised, the end was near. I remember playing in my friend Rupert’s backyard as the meteorite crossed lightly the roof of our world, going from one end to the other before deciding to come down with its magnetic and devastating force. We were spinning an empty bottle in the middle-point of the six of us, sat in a circle of friendship and secrets. The feeling of being invincible never subsiding, not even when the looming sight above would wink and smile in a distressing fashion. But we weren’t kids anymore, we would not succumb to fear… We were in the beginning of our lives and we refused to accept the seemingly unavoidable end for what it was. So we played. And we kissed the soil and we kissed each other in the lips. And we smacked our tongues against one another when the bottle turned to us and a name was called; we told our deepest secrets knowing that they would never leave this ageing circle under the burning light of the street-lights outside and the slow piece of rock gathering speed even farther away.
I can now only remember kissing Claire and noticing a promise of what seemed to be breasts beneath her pink shirt when we got our 60 seconds in the heaven inside Rupert’s closet. I remember that he got a chance to kiss her too, later that night, how they were both flustered and their previously combed heads unkept when they emerged from the closet as a couple an hour later. I’ll never forget Claire’s eyes avoiding mine, my own averting the glistening promise of her mouth. I remember the pain felt immediately afterwards and the always reassuring knowledge that I was young; that I’d get over it sooner or later.
Unsurprisingly, I also recall my mom’s face creased with fear as she drove me home that night and the comet threatened to strike earth, erasing us all from its surface in one swift strike of light. My dad’s tears when we got home and he saw me well and sad and as normal as a teen can hope to get. Her screams when a ray of flames sent luminous waves all around our world’s case in a beautiful yet manic spectacle of natural but unnatural fireworks. How Lisa, my sister, got quickly over the whole matter and buried herself under the cover-sheets of her bed once again, the sound of her raging music reaching us all the way from her room at the top of the stairs as the three of us stared at the sky with awe and submission in our hearts. We couldn’t have imagined that she was going through something even more natural than the sun setting down every afternoon, that her knickers were flooding with blood and her shame and hormones buried her face under promising blossoms of red. None of us would have imagined that my dad had a aneurysm gently forming in his brain, readying to explode, which had been developing from nothingness for about four months before the meteorite started to roam the skies. We never thought how he might die in a few weeks or days or hours. Never considered my sister’s knowledge that nothing would ever be the same again, no matter what happened. Things were changing already.
We never thought to say goodbye or I love you to each other every single day until that fateful night. I never got to tell Rupert that he was my best friend, that it didn’t really matter if he wanted to be with Claire, as long as he kept her safe. I never got to act as the adult I felt I was rapidly becoming. Because, when the light in the sky ceased to fill us with amazement, it all went aflame and it left us with only a few milliseconds to imagine how things might be for others.
How my grandfather should be asleep by then, thus, he wouldn’t notice anything. How he would go in peace, like he had lived. How my friends might still be enjoying some games and drinks by the light of the looming death above us. How their parents must be worried sick about never getting to see them again. How my sister might be peeking out from her bed sheets, feeling the heat before deciding maybe this is the lesser of two evils. How my parents are saying without words that they love each other before they crouch down beside me in a hug of desperate results.
Then came a phrase none of us would have believed to be true until it showed itself to us as each of our lives flashed out in front of our eyes, lit up by the flames now engulfing our home. Some, I imagine, saw everything that ever was; from a toddler’s desperate cries to the thinning hair and greying mind of an old man. But it was different for me. I didn’t get nearly enough, I’d been alive for too short a span before being no more. So the film-reel of my life, now speeding up in front of my hurting eyes, was over before I had even noticed it had started. I only caught a few glances at familiar faces, my mom, my dad, Lisa. Rupert, Claire, her lips on mine, their lips sharing saliva and one last whisper of love before death. Then, I saw my own face for a fraction of a second made infinite by my unavoidable end; my eyes unrecognisable behind the sadness, the exhaustion, the tears. All traces of joy gone under fear’s grasp but for one last smile shinning out against the burning sky in stubbornness shielded by walls of innocence which are strengthened by hope. But they didn’t hold, when all was said and done, against the raging fate of us all.
And that’s how the end came to be. The meteorite doesn’t roam around the sky anymore. There is no sky. The earth doesn’t follow its usual trajectory every year around the sun. There is no earth. We will never get to see how things might have turned up. There is no us.