My Last Sun
were fixed upon the sky. Its oranges and yellows hid behind the
Manhattan skyline, and I could feel my hands grow tighter around
Gabriel's. He stood in front of me, the look of defeat on his face
as we watched our lives get taken away from us. I waited for the
apocalyptic crash, the sonic boom, the end of days. Gabriel shook
me, and as I turned toward him, my mouth opened to speak.
horror story going around is that the world is ending. While we have
heard this already with Y2K, and with the failed rapture in 2011,
this is backed by supposed actual scientific proof-”
My finger tapped the off button on the mini T.V.
screen behind the driver and I leaned back into the chilled cushion
of the cab as we sped along the FDR Drive. The news ate up
apocalypses like it was a drug, and society followed along. This
was just another reason for people to go to church and beg to be
absolved from their sins.
The cabbie zoomed onto the roadway for the bridge, the
tides of the East River glistening below us. I eyed downtown
Manhattan and smiled as the sun's rays reflected off the hundreds of
windows. We slowed down as cars zipped between others to get onto
the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, and we made our way into Dumbo,
Brooklyn. When I finally made it home, I noticed the mud saturated
Converse sneakers that sat in a heap by the door.
“Gabriel! If you're going to come over at least don't make a mess!”
I bent down, picking up the shoes with my thumb and forefinger
before dropping them on the bristled mat I had designated for
Gabriel a couple weeks prior, when I gave him the key to my
apartment. He wasn't the best at being tidy, his own place
resembling that of a department store after Black Friday.
“Sorry Addiecakes,” he said, his brown curls tousled like
a five year old. I got up and poked him in the stomach.
“Don't call me that,” I grumbled.
I dumped my purse on the side table and made my way to
change. My room was on the other end of the living room, although
its size and shape was more of a studio. One wall was made of
windows, and the kitchen in the back opened up to a large sitting
area. Most nights I found myself asleep here and my bedroom was
merely an extension of my closet. I pulled the cotton dress over my
head and searched for some clothes. Digging under some shorts, I
could hear the TV from the living room.
“Churches, Mosques and Synagogues are noting a rise in
participation since The Science Foundation made its astonishing
announcement last week.”
I pulled a UCLA t-shirt & shorts on, stomped toward the
living room, and flicked off the set. Gabriel sat on the muted green
sofa, mouth gaped open.
“Addie, come on! I was watching that!” he protested.
“Are you kidding me? You really believe that-” I pointed
to the TV, “is going to happen?”
Gabriel's face hardened and he picked up his Bud Light
from the side table.
“I told you already, I'm not watching that crap,” I
repeated. He took a swig from his beer.
“Fine,” he muttered. I rolled my eyes and headed to the
kitchen for a drink. Sipping some water, I felt his hands on my
waist. The stubble from his chin tickled my cheek.
“I'm sorry,” he whispered. My hands tightened on the
edge of the sink. “Its just hard not to believe.” His breath trailed
lightly on my neck.
I leaned my head on his shoulder. I heard him sigh.
up on my sofa that night and sipped my evening chamomile tea. As I
stirred the honey that sat at the bottom, the light on my answering
machine blinked crazily in the darkness, and the number 8 shone
brightly next to it. The messages were likely from my estranged aunt
wanting to rekindle, my brother suddenly wondering how I was since
It's been a year and two months since my parents died.
The funeral held a crowd of about 15 in the local church, a block
from my old house in North Carolina. My father's sister, Maureen,
was the only one to speak at the podium, her short black hair
covered in an ugly yellow and black hat, making her look like a
plump bumblebee . I sat in the back, sunglasses covering my grey
blue eyes, watching the scene unfold. I waited for Logan to come in,
expecting him to make a grand entrance like he always did. But even
after I threw the last bit of dirt onto the coffins before our
parents were buried, Logan didn't show.
Maureen came with me to the old house. The once robin
blue shutters now hung haphazardly on the hinges, and the white
peeled painted door squeaked when I pushed it open. Fresh air mixed
with the dense antique air, shifting dust into swirls in front of
me. Parting through, I could see the couches were still blanketed in
the quilts my mother made when Logan and I were young. A
half-finished scarf sat near a basket of yarn.
“Hows it feel to be home?” Maureen asked in her scratchy
voice from the kitchen. I came in to see her pick up and examine a
plate. It was from the collection my mother let me pick out from the
store when I was 9 and it had blue lilies and ribbons. The same
ribbons that used to be tied onto the ends of my braids. Reaching
up, I picked the plate out of her hand and set it back onto the
“It's alright. Nothing much has changed.” The tile floor
still looked like it never was cleaned, and Logan's 5 year old red
hand print still marked the bottom cabinet.
“Where is he?” I asked. Maureen opened the top glass
cabinets, admiring the vases my mother had from when she used to
plant and harvest her own lilies. Maureen hummed.
“Maureen, where is he?” I stepped closer to her,
watching her eyes envelope every detail of the vases, her hands
rubbing the dust off the ridges. I slapped her hand down, and while
she didn't jump at my motion, her black beady eyes glared up at me.
“Honey, you know your brother by now. He couldn't make
it.” Her lips formed a thin line on her wrinkled little face. I ran
outside and quickly dialed the only number I knew for Logan.
“Baby sister!” He followed his greetings with a few
coughs, probably from the smoking habit he talked so highly of
“Where are you Logan.”
“Babe, I got a show! You know I can't miss this!” He
coughed again, and I could hear a woman's laughter in the
background. My free hand dug half moon circles into my palm.
“Our parents fucking died and you're worried about some
“I'm doing this for them! Come on, you over exaggerate
baby sister!” I hung up before I let him continue. Even though I was
two years younger, he was the one who acted like a 27 year old
When I went back inside, Maureen had set aside two vases
and the china set. I took a deep breath and took in the scene. I
could only wish those half moon circles on my palm were the least of
“They're not even dead yet, and you're already taking
their shit?” My voice came out only half as strong as I wanted it
to, but Maureen didn't budge. She flicked her head towards me.
“Honey, they're not going to use it anytime soon!” She
laughed and continued to go through the glasses. I left that house.
Refusing to visit my old room, their old room, my brother's. I went
back to the only home I really knew, in Brooklyn.
my tea, I eyed the little black box in the corner, its light
blinking madly in the dark. I thought of a person waving wildly in
the water while they drown, hoping for someone to save them. This
little light wanted me to save it. Stepping lightly on the wood
panels, I tip toed to the machine and ripped the plug from the wall.
The red light burned down, until it wiped out completely from the
I awoke the next morning to a salty sweet smell in the
air. Leaning up from my bed, I listened to the clatter of pans, and
the sizzle of bacon. Gabriel's sorry. I quickly skipped to
the kitchen only to pick at the bacon slices, attempting to find the
least burned piece.
“If you're going to make breakfast, at least try not to
“It's the thought that counts,” he said as he turned and
planted a light kiss on my forehead. I scrunched my face and rubbed
the place his lips touched. Grabbing a mug, I filled it with coffee.
Gabriel dropped a sugar cube inside, and I stirred it quietly while
watching him flip a pancake.
Sipping the coffee, I went to the bathroom to shower.
When I came back,I saw Gabriel on his hands and knees,
attempting to reconnect the answering machine.
“Don't bother.” I grabbed a plate, and shoved two
pancakes on it. He grunted something inaudible and continued messing
with the wall.
“I'm only gonna rip it out again,” I let out between
chews. His head fell, and he turned to look at me. I shrugged at
him, and shoved a pancake, uncut, in my mouth. Rolling his eyes, he
dropped the wires.
“What if you need to call 911?” he asked.
“That’s what I have a cell phone for.”
“You never check your cell phone and I know you have
messages on here.” Gabriel took a seat next to me.
“So?” I replied. His soft honey eyes narrowed at me.
“I'm not all there is Addie, you can't just be alone
forever.” Getting up, he walked to the door. I opened my mouth to
stop him, but my words never reached his ears.
morning, Gabriel knocked furiously on my door. He apologized
before begging and pleading to me in my foyer to spend the day with
him. I ran my hands through the slightly wet ringlets in my hair. He
caressed my face, and I could feel the calluses on his hands.
“Do you really believe that today is the day?” I asked.
“I know you don't believe but I do. Would it be so wrong
to spend today with me?” I pondered his question. Why he even
slightly believed that world may end was beyond his usual grasp of
reality and I didn't know the history, the research behind the sun.
I hardly believed the announcements. But if this was important to
Gabriel, then what could one day hurt?
“Fine,” I sighed.
I changed quickly into a pair of shorts and a light t
shirt. My hair could dry outside. Leading the way, Gabriel headed
outside. I quickly scanned my apartment before shutting the door
The weather hung at a low 70 degrees, and even though
it was only 10 am, I knew it wouldn't waver. The cool breeze hugged
my calves and licked at my cheeks. Gabriel took my hand in his as we
walked down the small streets of Dumbo, Brooklyn towards the park.
It was not just a Tuesday, it was the day. A small boy
played catch with his father, two teenage girls giggled
simultaneously over a dog's funny trick. Gabriel and I talked. We
caught up on our lives, we talked about the future we would have
wanted for ourselves, for the kids we would never have.
Around 1 pm, we ordered a pizza from a local family
business a block from the park. They were open because their
customers meant the world to them, and if a slice of their pizza was
enough for a customer, it was enough for the family. I smiled
graciously when the old man waved his hand at my $20 bill, because
what good was money anymore?
“You have sauce on your shirt Addie.” Gabriel pointed
down at the hem, and where some of the sweet tomato juice had
dripped . Sighing, I quickly rubbed whatever I could out from the
shirt, knowing if I tried to wash it, the stain would never come
“Don't bother, its not worth it.” He took the napkin out
of my hand, and fed me another slice of pepperoni and garlicky
“So good,” I managed to say between chews. He nodded and
finished his slice. He reached for his bag before pausing.
“Did you listen to any of the messages?” he said. I
choked on a pepperoni before shaking my head. Thoughts of Maureen
and my brother attempted to break free from the barrier I had built
in my memory.
Gabriel nodded and reached back into his bag. Pulling
out a chess set, he started to line up the pieces. I watched his
hands glide ever so carefully back and across the board. His hands
were etched in so many places with lines and wrinkles, so apart from
his young boyish look. I placed my hand on his own, pausing his
swift dance with the pieces. His eyes fluttered up to me, and I
admired him. In those couple seconds, I took him in and embedded him
in my memory. The small curves in his smile, the strong lines in his
jaw, the ways his eyes always had a certain fire in them when he
looked at me.
“Done yet?” He poked at my tummy playfully. He knew I
wouldn't do anything farther. I looked down at the game in front of
“I go first.”
We played for a couple hours. My bishop overcame his
knight, his pawn somehow took out my queen. I won, then he won. I
fought him over an illegal move, he let me slide when I tried to
move my king without his knowledge.
It was nearing 5 o clock when our surroundings began to
change. Only a few people, like us, stayed behind in the park. I
clenched my jaw and looked out to the water that separated Brooklyn
and Manhattan. Sunlight glistened on the small waves that hit the
rocks. It was the sunlight that made it glisten. The sunlight that
gave us this moment today.
“Addie...are you alright?” Gabriel's voice sounded soft
in the afternoon setting.
“”Do you really believe its true? That this time it
could really happen?”
“Oh Addie...” he murmured. I felt the tears bowl over my
eyes, down my cheeks. His arms were around me faster than I could
ask him too. It wasn't that I believed it all was going to happen,
but if it did, would I be happy that I didn't speak to Logan again?
Would I be ok with that? Gabriel held me for a couple minutes before
I brought myself together. I looked down at my watch, it was 5:35
I stood up, and reached my hand down to him. He looked
at my hand, before sliding his own in. We walked together to the
water edge, and leaned on the small metal fence that blocked us from
falling in. Downtown Manhattan looked impeccable in the afternoon
light. The buildings tall and mighty, screened my vision of the land
beyond. I could feel the weight of the small hands on my wristwatch
click down the seconds.
Gabriel rubbed the back of my hand with his thumb. I
could feel the heat emulating from him, into me. I turned towards
him, only to see his eyes at the sky. My stomach grew heavy, and I
let my eyes follow his. There it was, the “everlasting” sun. Except,
it did not set. It seemed to move gracefully across the sky. Looking
to the East, I saw darkness edging closer to us. The bright yellow
warmth was being crushed.
Copyright © 2012 Fareeda Bullert
||Fareeda Bullert is a
current student at the City College of New York CUNY in New
York City. She is in her final year of pursuing a degree in
English with a focus on Creative Writing as well as
acquiring a certificate in the Publishing Certificate
Program. She hopes to one day work in the industry. Fareeda
writes mainly young adult literature and is inspired by the
ever changing characters she has created in her head.