(Axel Boer) #1

I held my breath. One more minute, I thought, before everything is gone.
Then it was 12:00. The TV was still buzzing, its lights dancing across the
carpet. I wondered if our clock was fast. I went to the kitchen and turned on
the tap. We had water. Dad stayed still, his eyes on the screen. I returned to
the couch.
How long would it take for the electricity to fail? Was there a reserve
somewhere that was keeping it going these few extra minutes?
The black-and-white specters of Ralph and Alice Kramden argued over a
I waited for the screen to flicker and die. I was trying to take it all in, this
last, luxurious moment—of sharp yellow light, of warm air flowing from the
heater. I was experiencing nostalgia for the life I’d had before, which I would
lose at any second, when the world turned and began to devour itself.
The longer I sat motionless, breathing deeply, trying to inhale the last scent
of the fallen world, the more I resented its continuing solidity. Nostalgia
turned to fatigue.
Sometime after 1:30 I went to bed. I glimpsed Dad as I left, his face frozen
in the dark, the light from the TV leaping across his square glasses. He sat as
if posed, with no agitation, no embarrassment, as if there were a perfectly
mundane explanation for why he was sitting up, alone, at near two in the
morning, watching Ralph and Alice Kramden prepare for a Christmas party.
He seemed smaller to me than he had that morning. The disappointment in
his features was so childlike, for a moment I wondered how God could deny
him this. He, a faithful servant, who suffered willingly just as Noah had
willingly suffered to build the ark.
But God withheld the flood.

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