Should the world end tomorrow, today will have been my last day to live. But what should my thoughts matter against the multitude? There were millennia before I existed, there shall be millennia after I exist, and what bit of information I contribute to the whole shall only be conserved according to the laws that govern it.
Against the multitude, I am nothing.
Yet in this instant I am something–and so I have been for eternity.
And so I will be. I always will be.
Should the world end tomorrow, I will have at least tasted true love, but will not have died in its arms. I can hardly call that a real death, for all that is real must in some form be inherently enveloped in love, for what is existence if not fueled by love? A careful rendering, no doubt, and very specific as well, but these empty arms have forgotten his warmth; these lips have forgotten his taste; this heart has forgotten his presence. Yet in my rational mind, I recall its feeling, its force.
I should wonder how death might take me. If the world is suddenly flooded, might I drown in my bedroom on the second floor while I sleep? If the sun erupts and engulfs us, will this bed frame become my pyre? If the earth opens and draws us into its bosom, should my grave within the earth be shared with so many others?
Or will death come to us from above? Will the alignment of the planets with the center of the galaxy cause a sudden surge of astronomical energy that will destabilize matter and cause us to disintegrate, turn into the mere atoms and molecules that comprise us and know nothing more? The ultimate death: ceasing to exist.
Should the world end tomorrow, will my years in education have been for naught? Certainly the hours I spent planning ahead will have been better spent with less stress, for what do my plans for tomorrow mean if there shall be no tomorrow? But what of my classes? Yes, I do enjoy having achieved high grades this semester, but was the stress in obtaining them worthwhile? Would not sleep have been sweeter and ignorance closer to bliss?
Why stop here? Why stop in these last four or five months–what of these last three years, my entire time in college? Could I have traveled the world instead, fallen in love more deeply and strongly than I had, tasted the world and smelled the world and bathed in all of its wonders? Or did my calculus and physics adjust for that? Was my semester of chemistry insufferable for nothing? Or perhaps the people I’ve met have given it meaning? Certainly my activism meant nothing (surely, the end has not been met–so the steps toward it are pointless without the end being achievable), but these friendships, these relationships, these acquaintanceships?
If I must truly be honest, though, if the world will end tomorrow, none of my education has been for anything–for if education is to prepare us to live, and there shall henceforth be no more living to be done, then what was any of that education for? Why did I study for my Bar Mitzvah? Now it seems only an elementary performance. Why did I spend hours taking end-of-year-exams and working on homework? I could have played video games or run around outside or enjoyed fetch with my dogs one more time. I could have watched all my favorite movies until I could quote them from memory. I could have read all the books in my bedroom that I never even opened because I had been too busy studying for this or preparing for that.
One could say I’d not be here wondering if not for my education shaping me, and that I shall concede–in fact, if not for learning how to read and write, I’d have not enjoyed reading or writing. If not for the scarcity of time, in part due to schooling, those things I have done would certainly not seem as great or meaningful. But if this is the end, has my life been a good life? Can I die tomorrow with no regrets?
Should the world end tomorrow, I can say I got to see one of the most amazing things anyone could ever see–a true meteor shower. It was the last night of the semester when the Geminid meteor shower was peaking. I walked out to the Court of North Carolina, laid back on the grass, and watched the skies as the stars fell all around me. Some of them were quick flashes of white light. Others sailed across the sky from one end to the other. A couple were large enough to be fireworks–they split in two and were so bright you could see the atmosphere warp and wither as they burnt up within it. In all I saw at least 23–and as if it were a sign, that’s a prime number.
Should the world end tomorrow, I will have spent my last day alive–today–spending time with some of my longest friends, one friend whom I’ve known since middle school but truly got to know during high school, and another group of friends who I became close with at Guilford Tech. However, I will have failed to meet in person some of my truly closest friends–two friends who live in Canada, two more who live strewn across the Unites States, and a fifth who doesn’t even live on this continent, but in the Netherlands. It is for these people I tell myself I need to be a better friend, and it is for these five people I curse myself when my life offline draws me away from them.
Should the world end tomorrow, I will never know if it’s been my vitamin D deficiency that caused me to react so badly to nuts, or if I truly have gained an allergy toward them.
Should the world end tomorrow, all of my goals for the year will have meant nothing and all of the goals I’ve made to complete before going back to school will have meant even less.
Should the world end tomorrow, my mythology will die with me, unfinished, still to be born. I’ve carried parts and pieces of the story since before my Bar Mitzvah ten years ago and likely for years before that. From childhood fantasies throwing me into the worlds of Pokemon and Digimon, Pocahontas and Cardcaptors, even Magi Nation and Golden Sun, with an ounce of The Only Astrology Book You’ll Ever Need, this myth was born–and it has been written and rewritten and shaped and reshaped time and time again since then. It was my third attempt at writing it before I could finally start it properly at–what I thought–was the beginning. This November I began even further back, and still, the beginning happened centuries before that.
I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone before, but I only tried writing it that third time because a friend of mine gave me a story he’d written–and feeling suddenly competitive, I told myself if he could it, so could I. That was before I’d fallen in love with writing, before I’d learned to make words my friends, before I’d become so accustomed to proper grammar I could enjoy the nuances of twisting it to do my bidding, turning words around and shaping them into stories–the greatest lie that man has ever known: A world cast in fiction for others to believe.
Tolkien suspended my disbelief, and so did Rowling and Lewis. I want now to suspend yours–I want to open my mind to allow others in, I want to take them for this journey to a world that never has been but always should be, a world that in some universe must have existed, or else there aren’t enough universes and the world is not as infinite as I have convinced myself–and since the stability of my sanity rests wholly upon this lie, certainly it must be true, certainly somewhere this all must have happened, certainly in some way I am born of the gods I’ve imagined as much as they have been born of my imagination.
Should the world end tomorrow, it’s likely that this–and everything I’ve ever written–will vanish, or else will have decayed long before any intelligent life should find it. What I had thought would be my legacy in this world and the next will cease to be. I will have turned to nothingness. The entirety of the human race will have turned to nothingness. And all that will remain is a world empty of our influence.
Should it be a better place, without us?
Or will the world simply be empty then. Emptier than now.
I don’t think I’d want to know the answer either way.