Today, a duck reminded me of how the world ended.
I never thought it would be possible for me to forget a single detail of the meteor you sent hurtling into my life. The words you spoke were a life-smothering cataclysm. Blindsided, all I could do was stare straight ahead at the pond, where a family of ducks swam in slow, uneven circles.
I still remember the ducks with perfect clarity, but find I can no longer remember your words. Though I endlessly retraced every syllable, every pause, every shift in intonation, turning the crater into a canyon, I now recall only muffled echoes. The chasms I carved were just scribbling in the sand, and the pain that bored so deeply into my heart is now cold, inert, and surprisingly small.
There are still scars, of course. A few of the joys we shared have fossilized within me, brittle monuments of a different life. Occasionally, one of them turns up. Occasionally, a duck reminds me of incomprehensible sorrow. But life has returned, new and varied and beautiful. The world spins on. And it turns out that the moment I thought was the end of everything was only a fleeting shudder.
Photo by Bence Balla-Schottner on Unsplash
Story by Gregory M. Fox