Excerpts from either a memoir by a first-time parent
or a post-apocalyptic novel.
…It arrived at 8:14, on a clear Tuesday morning. We’d known for months it was coming, but nothing could have prepared us.
…We took turns on night watch while the other tried to claim a few minutes of much-needed rest.
…It was time to face facts: The friends we once laughed and celebrated with, they wouldn’t be stopping by for a cocktail or a late-night conversation anymore. That was the past. Another time. Another life. No. Those friends were gone.
…In the early days, we’d pass the time watching the emergency vehicles rushing past, wondering where they might be headed.
…We measured survival in terms of months and weeks – days even. The thought of making it to year one seemed too much to hope for.
…After a while, we simply became numb to the smell of human excrement, the bile-covered clothes… the screams.
…Cautiously, we approached the building. What was once the setting for leisurely dinners and quiet conversation had been transformed into a desolate scene fraught with the potential for catastrophe. The only thing I could think of was how quickly we could get in, grab whatever food we absolutely needed, and get out without drawing too much attention to ourselves.
…A pile of overturned cars was blocking my path. Animals from the zoo were lying everywhere. A lion. A zebra. A giraffe. “What on Earth could have happened here?” I wondered, as I stepped cautiously through the chaos.
…On the rare occasion that we ventured beyond the walls of our battle-worn domicile, we encountered small, weary groups of others who shared our situation. We would gather together in the schoolyard, desperate for companionship, eager to ask questions like: “Where were you when it happened?”, “What are you doing for food?”, “Do you know anything about the new strain of the sickness that’s going around?”
…Were we really crying and fighting over a stale cracker that had fallen in the dirt? Was this all that was left? Was this what we had become?