The light filtered through the low clouds green and sharp, a pea green twilight in the afternoon. The air humid, still, and heavy. No birds or bugs or animals to be found. Too quiet. Everything feels tense and foreboding. No one should get dumped on a wicked-looking day like this. I do love her. I just don’t know if I’m in love with her anymore. Is it too late to go back? Have all our years earned me that? Is that even fair to her?
Sirens in my dreams sing to me. Come to our beds. We are warm and wet and breathy. We will take you down tonight.
No. They are real. Emergency sirens.
Streetlights and my clock blink twice, then go black. The roof peels away quickly, in big ragged strips like foil from chocolate. Things fall through. I curl under the blanket, against the wall. Something strikes my arm, my head, my foot. Warmth drips in my eyes. Then dark.
I wake with the blanket stuck to half my face, glued on with blood. The sun peeks over what’s left of my bedroom wall. I carefully pull the blanket from my face and sit up. A few lumps and cuts, but nothing too bad. Where are my shoes? My socks? My dresser? Where is the rest of my house? Oh Melody.
Glass is everywhere. I tear strips from my blanket, tie them around my feet. I find my cell phone on the floor, but no signal. I step over the wall into the yard and go looking. City blocks turned inside out and dumped in the streets. The streets themselves hard to find, covered in rubble and flood water. People are everywhere, bloody, wailing, grabbing at me. Help me dig them out! I shake free and keep going.
Her whole block is simply gone. Did she stay with Celeste or her mother? That’s what she usually does after.
Celeste’s is under water.
Her mother’s is a pile of ash and charred wood.
I find water and food. I call her name. I ask official-looking people. I find shoes that almost fit. A few days later I find David and Susie. David tells me to give up, I didn’t love her anyway. Did I know she was sleeping with everyone in town. I should get out before it gets really ugly. Maybe she’s at her dad’s outside of the city. I agree.
I walk north.