Wonderful by Jess Delgado

Wonderful in Edward Hopper Impressionism

My face was numb. The skies were dark. Eternal dawn without the sun. With the only truth being pity and sadness that the truth will forever be beyond us. And our forever was about to begin.

“I…guess this is it,” he said, stammering.

“Yes. Maybe it is.” I sighed.

A mellow song played by the failing stereos. The both of us slacked on the floor, listening to what would probably be our last song. A hilariously nostalgic melody stung at our hearts as we realized what a gift the Earth truly was.

“Was it worth the wait?”

“I’m not sure. All I know is that the wait will be over soon.” I sighed, reminiscing moments of my life and realizing the grotesque vanity of it. How free it was, how loved, and lonely. But it didn’t matter anymore. In fact, none of it mattered at all in the first place.

But the memories do paint a smile on my face. Perhaps that’s what he’s chuckling about as well.

“That’s a nice thought,” He said, weakly brushing the crumbs off his beard. “So, what happens now?”

“The wait. It shouldn’t be too long,” I replied, taking nervous gulps out of my beer can.

With bloodshot eyes and welling tears, the look he gave me meant more than words could ever whisper.

“I…” With his voice struggling to come out between breaths, he spoke. “I wish I married! Argh! I wish I lived some more! Laughed some more! Cried! Or loved! I never thought things would…If I knew! If only I knew, I would’ve…hah!!”

The song played on along with his broken pleas. Pity, once again. I pitied him and him too, no one else. And that spoke volumes of how contradictory we were.

Of how people were.

“…I guess that’s all too late now.” He added, gathering himself.

We shared tears. It made no damn sense, all of this. But it felt that much more.

“Maybe you did. Could’ve. But you’ll still say the same things at this point.” I felt his pain as our eyes met, I recognized it. Because I also struggled with regrets.

At the end of time
At the end of the world.
At the end of all things.
There is truth and deceit.

“But if it happened, it happened. Why does it have to mean anything?” I asked myself the same way I now asked him. He seemed to understand despite the lack of context. Come moments when connection exists solely for itself. We can be devoid of responsibilities or concerns, then.

Nonsense. It’s the core of us all.

—I watch them grow
They’ll learn much more
Than I’ll ever know—

Terrible song. It’s a waste listening to such a tune in the already rickety bass. Our silent weeping didn’t play well with it too, but it was comforting in a twisted, shameful sense.

“Although, I am thankful. For most of it,” I said.

“These are some times, huh. At least we’ll have the coolest way to go.”

Sorrow turned to laughter, but it was grief nonetheless. As pain sowed in both of us, there was little left to resist. Should we just reap rejoicing? I just wish it all ends before we break.

“Makes you wonder. How long would we have lived?” He jests, opening another can from the pile we’d gathered like death-row inmates.

“It’d suck. I’m sure. Old age is overrated, but it’s the experience that never fails. Except for beer. If you experience beer too much, you’ll either move on to pills or end up running over somebody on the freeway.”

We broke out in laughter once again.

I am tired. So tired. Nothing more than a tainted soul exhausted from knowing too much. It made ignorance seem so luxurious, so sweet, so full of bliss. If I didn’t know that the world was about to end, would I have fared better?

Stop it.

“I don’t think anyone’s ever passed painlessly.” He continued blabbering.

Silence descended upon us as the song was interrupted by the power outage. Reality turned grey and cold leaving us feeling more alone. And it was fueling the madness and desolation consuming us.

Please, no.

I closed my eyes and found myself praying with whatever semblance of faith I had. Save me from this nightmare. Save us, please.

But saving, what is saving?

What happens when we’re saved?

How is saving what stops this?

Don’t venture there. It’s dangerous.

The song blares back on one last time.

—what a wonderful world

I was stunned. Nothing came on after that. Just enigmatic silence.

“As the songs of the dead fill the space of my mind.” He sang, slowed, and tone-deaf. Or at least he tried to. But the following words never came out.

Hope is a dirty thing. It’s a drug. The most addictive one at that. Nothing could destroy and rebuild a person over and over more than hope.

This is the byproduct of sentience.

A side-effect of the wonderful.

For the universe is not a self-sustaining machine. It is flawed, designed for oblivion. We are part of the aimless process and that makes us long for a relevant future. Of a higher purpose, a madness that’s run rampant throughout history.

How conceited. How meaningful.

My thoughts stray towards happier times. Feelings that filled me with warmth. It drove my questions away. Though stupid as that may be, I was thankful from the bottom of my heart. Was this how he felt? My spirit was at peace once more. I was also startled by how easily I settled.

“I suppose the whole of life is an act of letting go,” I said, content.

He grins. “Yeah. A wonderful world it is.”

My face felt numb at those words. A prickling feeling washed over me as a low hum could be heard from the distance.

“Yes,” I smiled, the happiest I’ve been.

—A wonderful worl—

THE END


Jess Delgado is an emerging storyteller, digital artist, and Filipino native. he welcomes life’s adversities that are inherent in art to overcome LIFE’S obstacles AND His goal is to publish stories that inspire, charm, and devastate his readers, reminding them of the end times. He has participated in several academic short-story writing competitions, more notably: the regional competition held in Shangri-La Mactan Resort hosted by Sunstar Newspapers.

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