We are born of stars, made to shine.
I am the last remaining member of the human race. There's no one left- everyone I've ever loved, didn’t love, or never got an opportunity to love, is dead. My parents, my friends, my sister Jess, and David are all dead. David- my first boyfriend, my first love, my first heartbreak (and my last)- is dead.
(I didn’t even get to say goodbye.)
We are born of the death of others, made to grieve.
I sit on a rusted old park bench in New York City, bundled up in a thick coat with my tears freezing on my eyelashes. The streets are empty; my voice echoes eerily whenever I speak, quickly fading off into the distance. I don't talk much (much? I don’t talk at all) anymore because there's no one left to talk to.
We are born of stardust, made to love.
I spend my days alternating sobbing my heart out, sitting in grief-ridden silence, and wandering aimlessly through New York City. I occasionally sleep or eat, when I remember to. I used to love reading, swimming, flying a plane (I had been learning how to with the kids at my high school, but when you watch someone die at the wheel as they’re taking off it kind of ruins flying forever) but I see no use for any of that now. There is no one left to share the things I know with or share the things I love with, like I did with David.
I begin crying again, tearing up (you’d think I’d run out of tears eventually, but no- as long as you keep drinking you can keep producing tears, keep producing the physical products of loss and grief). It’s so easy to start and not be able to stop, to cry until you feel like you’re caving in, like your lungs are collapsing, like you’ll never be able to be happy again.
(That’s all I really seem to be doing nowadays, really- crying and sobbing and bemoaning the state of the universe. That’s all I really can do, in the end.)
We are born of heat and flame, made to know pain.
You know, I didn't used to be this emotional. I used to be sarcastic and rebellious (so basically your typical teenage girl), living life like the worst thing that could happen was an F in Math, but seeing everyone you've ever known die right before your eyes of a sickness you can't cure them of kind of changes a person, especially if you know you're immune to the disease they're suffering from and you know that you outlive everyone.
(I used to imagine what it would be like to be immortal, to outlive everyone else. Now that I have the answer to that question I wish I’d never asked it in the first place.)
We are born of radiation, made to infect and kill.
That's actually how I met David- at first he was the only other person in the world that seemed immune to the disease that ravaged humanity. Then I learned later that he wasn't immune, he just had delayed symptoms.
(Really, world? The one person I had left? You couldn’t have left me the one thing that made me happy, that gave me hope?
I was only near everyone else when they died, slightly removed from the situation and able to pretend like it was just a bad dream. David died right in my arms, hacked his last shaky, bloodstained cough while leaning against my chest and clutching onto my jacket. He was weak, pale, and emaciated near the end- nothing like the strong, fit person he used to be. Even when it was just the two of us left, New York City (the Big Apple, the City of Dreams- the city whose very air crushes me now) never seemed empty. Before he died there was still hope- hope of a new beginning for us, for a new beginning for the human race- but now I have no hope left. My heart broke when he died, and it has been breaking ever since.
(It’s been breaking since they all died.)
It's been months since he died. A season has passed, the world has continued to turn, and now snow is layering the ground that he (and the rest of the human race) died upon. If I look left and right all I can see are buildings, shadows of what they used to be, white snow, and my own footprints. It's a dismal sight.
We are born of the remains of light, made to be broken.
I brush away my tears and get up, ready to move on from this, my most recent crying session, onto the next location, but then I just sit back down. There isn’t really a point now, is there? I mean, there’s nowhere to go, nothing to do. I am the very last. There will be there no one beyond me. There will be nothing beyond me.
Everything will rust, will creak and groan until it falls apart and collapses. One by one, for eons after I'm gone, humanity's monuments and skyscrapers will collapse into oblivion, swallowed by Mother Nature and her children. My death is inevitable; I may be immune to the disease David and I never learned the name of, but I'm certainly not immortal. I'm only human- I'm still growing older and wearier. I'm picking up scars, just like the buildings around me will eventually, and I'm not infallible. I will die- it's just a question of sooner or later.
(Sooner sounds like a blessing rather than a tragedy.)
I'm done putting up with the guilt of being the last one left.
We are born of the end of eons, made to burn.
I pull out the knife from my pocket, the one I always take with me to open up cans and other hard to reach places. I’ve made sure to keep it sharp (it’s easier to work with a sharp knife than a dull one) and so as I hold it up to my face, I can easily admire the glint of the razor-sharp blade. For a moment I just turn it in my hand, steeling myself for what I’m about to do. Then I take a deep breath.
Breathe in, breathe out.
I hold out the blade over my arm, bring it down, barely piercing the flesh at my wrist, and pull back, leaving a long, deep slash down the length of my forearm. Red gushes out of my arm, splattering onto the snow beneath me, the bright color a stark contrast against the white of the ground. The knife falls too, landing in the snow without a sound. Surprisingly, the pain is nothing but a faint drumming.
I think I hear a bird call somewhere beyond the pounding in my ears as I collapse forward onto my knees, the vibrant red in front of me fading to gray and then to black.
We are born of a spectrum of color, made to know the artistry of the universe.
Maybe I'll see David and the others in Heaven, or Elysium, or Paradise, or wherever people go after death, but maybe that's all just a story. David once told me, one night while were staring up at the stars, that everything in the universe is made of stardust. If that's true, then our souls will forever live among the stars.
After all, if we all were all made from stardust, then to stardust we shall return.
We are born of pinpricks in the night, made to bring hope.
Then I close my eyes and slip into death, the last human life finally gone.
We are born of stars, made to live anew.