The sky was just barely starting to lighten outside, the sun trying desperately to peek over the horizon and say good morning to the Earth one last time. She couldn’t help it; she just had to see the last dawn, so she was awake at five in the morning. Mornings were her favorite, and she especially loved the dawn. She and her husband had purposefully bought a home where the master bedroom had a window seat facing east. She’d taken it upon herself to furnish it with plush cushions, cream and deep red, and a pale green curtain so she wouldn’t wake her husband when she climbed onto the pillows, drew her knees to her chest, and stared out the window, safely hidden from her husband’s view by the curtain so he could sleep. Blake had not been a morning person.
She didn’t always get to watch the dawn. Most mornings she enjoyed snuggling against her husband instead. But Blake had passed away three months ago in a car crash. Life was hard without him, so she held on to the dawn with both hands. It was all she had left, the last piece of pleasure she enjoyed now, just sitting in this seat that Blake had thoughtfully bought the house for. It hadn’t been the most updated or even outwardly nice looking house, but the master bedroom faced east and had a window seat in just the right place. Blake had taken one look at it and had immediately decided to buy the house for his wife.
So, here she sat during the last dawn, on the seat her husband had always meant for her to have. The curtain was pulled to the side and the window was cracked open just slightly, allowing a soft breeze to swirl into the bedroom and stir the curtain edges. The breeze brushed past her cheek and she closed her eyes. Sometimes she thought she could still hear him calling to her on the wind, “Sylvie, come back to bed.” But she would never hear him again. That would be impossible. Blake was dead. She’d closed the casket lid on him herself, had seen him lowered into the ground, had wept bitter tears at being left alone so soon.
Well, at midnight they would finally be reunited. It was something to look forward to. She’d missed her husband for too long and for too much.
She couldn’t figure out how she felt about the end of the world, though. On one hand, she couldn’t wait to run to her husband’s waiting arms in the afterlife, to snuggle there once again. On the other hand, she did enjoy life and she had wanted to see her daughter and son grow up and have their own children, their own families. It was a dream she was going to fulfill after her husband passed. She had been certain all those scientists would find some way of saving the Earth. But they hadn’t and now she would be able to reunite with her husband rather than see her children have their own families.
Now Stacie and Daniel would never give her grandchildren. Never get to see their own grandchildren. Never have the lives she and Blake had sacrificed for them to have. It broke her heart.
Stacie was a lovely young woman of twenty-six. Blake had always said she looked just like her mother, complete with her mother’s wavy chestnut hair with a natural shine that lit up against just about any kind of lighting and blue green eyes that looked like sea glass. She was in medical school and had been looking forward to becoming a pediatrician. She had wept bitterly on her mother’s shoulder when they had found out the asteroid was going to wipe out the Earth. And just a week ago her boyfriend had dumped her, saying Stacie wasn’t the one he wanted to be with at the end of the world. The poor child hadn’t just lost her father, but had also lost the man she had once thought she would have a family with.
Daniel. Daniel who looked so much like his father, with his sparkling dark eyes and curly brown hair. He was twenty-three, just graduated from college and looking towards grad school to obtain a master’s degree in English. He was planning on teaching English overseas in underdeveloped nations, hoping to bring a better quality of life to children across the world. Just like his year older cousin Abigail, Daniel had been driven, but an extended illness in high school had him a year behind all his peers. Sylvie was sure that, if he hadn’t gotten sick, he would already be excelling in graduate school. He was a gentle soul and had been waiting and waiting with his boyfriend for the state to allow homosexual couples to marry. Now, with the world ending, anyone who wanted to get married could. Daniel and Alex were getting married that morning. He, at least, would have his fairytale wedding.
Sylvie leaned her head back and wrapped her arms around her knees, which were pulled close to her chest. She wore the long white nightgown trimmed with pink lace that Blake had given her for their last Christmas together. It was a lightweight cotton gown, one she’d admired in the spring, with its sleeveless style and ruffled hem. Blake had gotten it the day after and had been saving it for Christmas since her birthday wasn’t until New Year’s Eve and he couldn’t wait that long.
She glanced over at the empty bed, still expecting to see her husband lying there, fast asleep and snoring quietly. His arms would be splayed wide, encroaching on her space. His legs would be wrapped up in the sheets and no matter how hard she tugged she wouldn’t be able to get them untangled. That was why she always kept a spare blanket under the bed.
Blake had been so happy for Daniel and Alex, not caring that his only son would have a husband rather than a wife. Daniel had been terribly nervous about coming out to his father and introducing Alex to him. But Sylvie had encouraged him, knowing her husband was open-minded and had always suspected his son was a little different. Blake had loved Alex and instantly saw that the young couple was just perfect for each other. He just wanted his son, his baby, to be happy.
“I hope you’re as proud as I am,” Sylvie whispered to the bed. “Our little boy is finally getting married to the person he loves most in this world. I just wish it had been earlier so they could enjoy a honeymoon and marriage. And so you could be there with us in person rather than in spirit.”
She turned back to her window. The sun should be rising in less than a half hour. She closed her eyes and leaned her head back against the off white wall. She almost felt like she was wasting her life, sitting here waiting for the dawn, tucking her toes under the hem of her gown, instead of getting up and doing something. But this was the last day of life. She felt she was entitled to do whatever she wanted on this last day.
Only, she wasn’t really sure of what exactly she wanted to do today. She enjoyed the dawn, but what else? Daniel was getting married at ten-thirty in the morning and a couple of hours later she would be joining her family at her parents’ house to celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary. There was also the last party at Perkins Stadium tonight. But what would she do in between? And did she even want to go to that party? It was just going to be loud and alcohol fueled. She had run the wine and spirits shop her parents had begun when they were married and had donated all of her stock to the party. There were some choice selections, but she’d tried them all over the years. And with Blake gone, there was no one to go to the party with, anyways.