Prompt: You are immortal. The thousands of years you have lived were enjoyable, but now that Earth has been destroyed, you float in the cold expanse of space. Unable to die, you contemplate the eternal solitude ahead of you.
By Kimiko Nagano Vann
I always loved the smell of freshly cut grass. Bittersweet and mixed with a twinge of gasoline from the lawnmower. I used to sit in that freshly cut grass and just look up at the sky, wondering what we looked like down here; appreciating the scent of grass as if nothing else mattered. I imagined that the Moon would laugh at me as I rolled around on my lawn, staining my worn-out T-shirt and worn-out jeans with patches of yellowish-green.
Ah, I miss those stupid, worn-out jeans.
Once upon a time, I wore countless pairs of jeans. Countless outfits, actually. And, donned countless hairstyles, smiles, and names. I was the businessman with a schedule to keep, the housewife with too much laundry to do, the angsty teen in the neighborhood garage band, and the grumpy old man that never left the chair on his front porch. I felt anger, happiness, love, and all of the nameless emotions in-between. Living and feeling so much was exhausting, but I wore the mask of mortality well. Over and over again. I played my part, and got good at saying my goodbyes.
That is, until you showed up.
Your freckled feet came to a stop at the edge of the front lawn where I sat in the overgrown grass, soaked from head to toe in the water of the programed sprinklers that ran like clockwork. Even at a time like this. You adjusted your feet in your god-awful sandals and leaned over, squeezing your kneecaps as you struggled to catch your breath.
I sat and waited. Motionless.
Without a word, you lifted your head and joined me in the grass. The ground made a comical squelching sound with every step and, I swear, I nearly laughed. Drops of water leaked from the ends of my hair onto my scrunched up knees. I was vaguely aware of the static of the television and the distant sound of weeping. Or maybe it was screaming. I stared anxiously at the tops of my shaking knees. One wrong move and I knew that I would be swallowed by the noise.
The End? Tonight? Of all of the lives I had lived, this was to be the one that I couldn’t live until I was six feet under?
Consumed by my thoughts, I had an even more crippling fear that you would leave. Instead, you turned to me, your eyes glimmering as if they were filled with hand-picked stars from a winter sky.
It was our anniversary today. Had I forgotten?
I stroked your cheek and scolded you for being such a hopeless romantic. Even at a time like this. Especially at a time like this.
You smiled quietly, swallowing one of those in-between emotions, and, for once, I silently prayed that the earth would take me for good this time; immortal soul and all.
We didn’t leave the lawn that night. Me in my favorite worn-out jeans and you in your god-awful sandals. We would have been covered in frost had the next morning come. What a laugh we would have had!
I allow my soul to smile as I imagine the laughter in your starry eyes. I gaze at the twinkling lights in the black silence around me and imagine that you are still here, floating among the stardust, beaming brightly in another night sky.
Maybe in another world, a worn-out pair of jeans sits next to a god-awful pair of sandals, enjoying the scent of freshly cut grass.
Thanks for reading! :)
The prompt that inspired this story was provided by the Writing Prompts Instagram page. Happy writing!