It could be worse
I often wondered how long it would take for us to find out the apocalypse had already happened. After all, it would take eight minutes to discover the sun had disappeared. Eight minutes to realize the solar system was no more. So how long would it take to find out one little world had ended?
It could have been longer, really. We were driving back from El Paso after Christmas, having survived the weekend with my wife’s family. It was about two in the morning, but I guess for the Russians and Chinese that’s the middle of the day. I was tired, my family was asleep in their chairs, and I really just wanted to get home and go to bed.
I guess that’s why I didn’t stop when I saw all of those cars pulled over on the road. I should have figured out something was up, but the radio on the minivan was broken and I honestly didn’t think anything was wrong, or at least nothing worth caring about.
My daughter woke up and told me she had to go to a restroom and luckily we were near a rest stop she could go to. I got out to stretch my legs while she went to relieve herself. That was where a trucker came up to me and started talking so fast I couldn’t completely follow, and he looked like he’d been drinking. I just smiled and nodded my head until my daughter came back out and then we quickly got back in the car and kept driving.
We stopped at a 7-11 a little while later so everyone could use the restroom and get something to snack on, and that’s when I saw it on television. Rather, I saw the clerk staring at a television showing nothing but static. When I asked him what he was doing, it was like I broke him out of a trance and he just started sobbing. I tried to pay for things we had gotten because I still didn’t understand what was going on, but he couldn’t even pull himself together to take it.
As we kept driving, I finally pieced it all together, but my mind wouldn’t let me accept it. Not just based on a handful of odd events. The trucker was crazy, the clerk was depressed, and people were pulled over on the side of the road because they wanted to go to sleep. Nothing was wrong.
But it had happened, and I knew it. The rest of my family found out a little while later when we made it back home and saw the people in the streets. The shock had worn off for everyone by then and panic had set in. The first few days after the end of the world were rough, but we pulled through them and came out the other side okay. We started over, started not quite from scratch, but near to it. And it’s not easy, but it could be worse.
I don’t feel fine, but hey, the end of the world isn’t the worst thing that could happen. I could have spent it with my wife’s family.