Brian was being nice to you, and this was weird, and weird was bad. Everyone was nice to you today. You woke up, bleary eyed and grumpy as always, but there were pancakes. Actual pancakes. Your parents haven’t made breakfast since summer, much less fucking pancakes. You asked your dad why there were fucking pancakes readily made this morning, and he just said, “Well, I just kinda felt like pancakes today, you know? I was up early anyway, and I thought it would just be a nice thing to do for you and your Mother.”
This was not a good explanation. This was not a good explanation at all. God knows you’ve heard him complain enough about making coffee for her in the morning, much less a full course meal with ingredients we were supposed to be rationing and— is that apple juice? You looked at him again, and he just kind of smiled and sipped his coffee at the dinner table. The smile was the most off-putting thing, and something in it told you that you were less a person and more a thing to be pitied. Then your eyes flicked to the number above his head, steadily counting down.
Thirty-three years, eighty-seven days, ten hours, eighteen minutes, and fourteen, thirteen, twelve, eleven…. That was how long until he kicked the can, or, in laymans terms, died. He would die at that exact moment in the far future, and everyone who saw him knew about it. Of course, nobody was a big enough prick to tell him. Nobody was a big enough prick to tell anybody, because it was the exact same for everyone else. For your mother it was twenty-eight something years, and for almost everyone in your school it was sixty or seventy, with one fucker up to eighty. The only one whom you didn’t know the date of death for was yourself, and that kind of made you pretty paranoid.
Especially when this kind of stuff happened. When your mom woke up, she hugged you and kissed you on the forehead and called you sweetie like it was the first day of school, and when she drove you to school she let you choose the radio station. When you got there, someone you didn’t know opened the door for you. A boy. A cute boy. You looked at him awkwardly, but he just smiled and said something sort of like a greeting. You said something sort of like a greeting to him too. You walked past him and into the school and looked back, and he was looking at you. You looked around, and other people were looking at you, but they looked away when you looked at them. Something inside your chest felt like it was trying to break out, and the hallways suddenly seemed a million degrees hotter with dozens of pairs of eyes burning into you, so you decided to get to homeroom.
Homeroom was hell, your teacher was a bitch, but she was smiling. She complimented your outfit for the day (a hoodie and some blue jeans) and asked how you were feeling. You said alright. She said good. You silently wondered why she would give a single solitary fuck about any of that, and sat down with a little voice in the back of your head screaming out an answer you hoped was incorrect. As a girl who’d told you to slit your wrists in seventh grade came over to talk to you, that little voice grew louder. You really wished people would stop fucking smiling at you.
“What’s up Noam the Gnome, anything been happening lately?” she asked semi-enthusiastically, like someone who’s parents are making her talk to the kid with no friends. You wished she wouldn’t say your name like that, its enough of a joke as is, even if you hadn’t turned out to be barely five feet tall. You shrugged and put one headphone in. “Cool, cool,” she said, continuing, “a couple of girls and I were wondering if you wanted to hang out after school today, seeing as we share a couple classes but don’t really know you too terribly well.”
“You didn’t care before. Why do you care now?” you said, looking past her head at her clock. Sixty more years. Damn.
She said “no reason” a bit too quickly for your liking, but at least she left you alone after that. You didn’t have anything against her personally, you were just in a bad mood today, even more than usual, and you knew she wasn’t being genuine but you didn’t know why. People didn’t just randomly start being nice, that’s not how things worked.
The bell rang, you went to your first class, and everyone continued to stare. You hadn’t done the homework for last night, but the teacher didn’t take it up anyway so at least that was good. When you raised your hand to ask if you could get a drink of water, your teacher smiled sweetly and said of course, but when you peeked through the door there wasn’t a face in sight not sporting a grim visage. The little voice was booming now. You re-entered the room, and everyone went back to smiling.
Second, and third blocks were the same, but in fourth block there happened to be this guy named Brian. Brian was like the boy who had held the door open for you in that he was cute, the main difference being his constant sweetness and the fact that if given the chance you’d ride him like a fucking carousel. He was a boy with black hair and green eyes and a jawline set in stone and arms that looked quite nice in that well fitted shirt he was wearing. The best thing about him was the look on his face he got when he talked about things he was passionate about, like penguins. He’d once told you that when he was little he wanted to grow up to be a penguin and live in the Antarctic and give all the other penguins blankets and ear muffs, and you almost slammed him on the desk right then and there.
That day, he sat close to you and talked to you. Not just idle chit chat either, like actual talking. It made your insides feel strange, but in a good way. He asked if you wanted to hang out after school, and you said sure. You asked your parents if it was alright, and they said sure. You almost forgot about being paranoid in that hour and a half, but then you glanced up at his and saw eighty years, and couldn’t help but think it would be eighty years spent without you.
Whatever. You half convinced yourself you didn’t care as you walked home with him. He skipped along like a massive dork, and smiled genuinely, and you couldn’t help but smile too. His house wasn’t that far away, but he took a long and winding path through a steel jungle near the school, climbing on the various scrap heaps and balancing on the muzzle of an old tank. You told him to get down, but he just recited one of the various bullshitty speeches from your history books that some old fucker or another had said about never surrendering. He saluted, a silly look on his face, and you both laughed as he hopped down. You ended up laying together on the roof of a rusted auto, his hand kind of close to yours, and you joked about various things and such.
You don’t really remember how, but he ended up on top of you, a weird sort of half smile on his face and what looked sort of like admiration in his eyes. It might’ve been admiration, but you only had a few seconds to look before his face became very, very close to yours.
And thats how it went for about an hour before you actually bothered to close the difference between his house and you to none, but of course by then you were quite flustered. You met his parents, and they were nice. You played video games and beat him badly, but you’re fairly sure he let you win. You both went for another walk, and it ended up about like the first one, on the roof of an auto with lips going places and hands going others.
When he said goodbye, it sounded final, and you tried not to break down crying. You failed, but at least it was when he wasn’t there. You sat on a bench and looked at the stars, and wondered what their numbers were. You didn’t bother for too long, you knew that you couldn’t even begin to comprehend the amount of time even if you could see it. But you couldn’t, and for that single moment the sky seemed like a mirror. It was only a moment though, for the next an out of control auto swerved off the road and flipped onto you, crushing every single bone in your body and killing you almost instantly. In your last moment, you didn’t think about anything poetic like the feel of his lips on yours or the frailty of life or anything like that, but the brief though of fuck, I was right, did cross your mind.
So this thought occurred to me earlier and I decided to actually write it. Feedback is appreciated.