Do you remember the lovers from Pompeii? Their bodies were discovered, still knotted together in sleep — or a last, desperate surrender. I wonder how that felt. I wonder how long they stayed in the dark if they could even recognize the sound of their own breath.
There is no way to remember. We were never them.
I learned the word apocalypse as a fantasy of destruction, the blare of holy trumpets, the making of hell on earth. I imagine it like this—
One day, the sun bleeds out all it’s got. The earth opens up like a fresh wound and so do we, tearing down our tiny, insignificant walls, as if they served any purpose anyway. The water drowns the makings of our hands as if they were never there.
When you say you don’t regret falling in love with me, the moon laughs with what she has left. When I say, I loved you with all I had and it made me so happy and yet so afraid, no one will ever hear. When we say, the world was not fair to everyone, I imagine the sun blinks momentarily and says nothing, the way the rest of the world says nothing.
At that moment we are so, so small. Do we matter? Are we meant to be nameless fossils, buried in the embers, frozen in time?
But maybe it’s simpler than that. Maybe it’s sirens instead of trumpets. Maybe it’s the earth rumbling from footsteps above ground instead of the magma below. Before this year, I knew the burning as destruction. Now, we know the burning is from rebuilding.
I know why the ashes taste so familiar.
You and I, no matter how small, are a testament to this moment. To this end to all ends, we are a little world, among the billions on a planet that was never meant to exist, let alone last. And we still tried to make something out of the rubble.
When the world ends, I’ll use it as an excuse.
An excuse to tell you that I had your initials on my bones the first time you kissed me.
An excuse to say that what we did mattered, the way we loved mattered, that we could carve our names in the goddamn asteroids.
When the world goes silent, I will hold you and say, do you remember the lovers from Pompeii? Nobody knows their names. Nobody knows their names but us.