I’ve always had this irrational fear of the world ending, of a zombie apocalypse, of something happening that there is just no way in which I could ever prepare. My heart beats a little faster, my eyes quicken to tears, and I start to feel jittery, as though someone injected caffeine into my veins.
I don’t really know where this fear came from. It was always there, hidden in the back of my mind, an easy joke for friends to latch onto and tease me with. And then once I met him, those fears became a little less obvious, because there were so many other practical things to fear – like falling in love, maintaining a healthy relationship, figuring out how to be good to him while being good to me. Sure, he would tease me about my irrational fears from time to time, but mostly, by virtue of being there, those fears were pushed away. If there was a hurricane bearing down on the east coast, I could hurry home to him where he would have candles and flashlights at the ready, just in case the power went out. For some reason, I felt as though as long as I could get to him, be with him, Mother Nature couldn’t affect me. He would protect me from her.
And of course, the power never went out.
Now, I feel vulnerable, scared, and the slightest change in nature makes me unbearably nervous. A few weeks ago, I dreamt the world was ending and I couldn’t get in touch with him to tell him I loved him. I watched the sky turn from a crisp clear blue to a bruising purple to a shrieking red as I huddled in the corner of a metal building and watched cows, cars, and people get lost into the nothingness. My phone sat beside me, unblinking, dull, all service lost. I woke up terrified, wondering what would happen if the world did end tomorrow and I couldn’t tell him how I love him still?
Every thunderstorm, every strike of lightning, every time the sky turns purple, even the sun going down in a fiery red haze; all of it scares me now.
I drove two and a half hours on Saturday to a beach, a drive that took me through cornfields and fields of lavender, past horse farms and lulled rivers streaming under raised drawbridges. I considered the option of making this trip every weekend, just to drive through these fields and explore these little country farms and shops of adirondack chairs. The sun shone through the windows, bled into every pore of my car until I was bathed in its warmth.
Yet that same drive twelve hours later had my knuckles white all the way to the tips of my nails. Lightning struck those same corn fields I had driven through earlier, and I half expected trees to crack as I passed them. The sky was fading. No longer was it the blue peeking in between clouds from when I let the ocean work its way over me earlier, but a deep salmony red, the kind sailors used to warn of tomorrow’s delight or warning. Once again, I thought, “What if the world ended tonight? What if another day goes by where I don’t get to tell him I love him and it turns out that’s the last day we ever have?”
I fear I don’t know what the right answer is. The world isn’t ending, there is no zombie apocalypse, yet even writing those things seem as though I am telling the universe to try me on for size. I would tell him how I feel every day if I could. The funny thing is, I can. I know I can, and he would reassure me and he would tell me that he loves me too, and that he can tell me every day if that would help.
But when my bedroom shakes from the strength of the storm outside, as rain slams into my window and the telephone and electric wires thrash wildly against their posts, I still feel as though the only person who can make it better is him. And I worry that I’ll miss my chance to tell him the ways in which I love him still because just maybe, this one is the one to end it all.