I’m Glad I’m Here With You

I ran into the living room, out of breath.  Olivia was watching the news, hunched forward on the couch, her hand to her mouth.

“Let’s go to the beach!”

“Now?” she asked.

“Why not?” I asked.  “What are we going to do here?”

She looked back at the television, then to me, her head turning back and forth until she made up her mind.  “I guess you’re right.  Should we bring anything?”

“I’ll grab a bottle of champagne, honey.  But hurry up!” I shouted, as she ran upstairs to get dressed.

A few minutes later, we were driving towards the beach.  Our path lay empty before us.  It was still early.  We had all the time in the world.

I drove past the parking lot and pulled up next to a small bluff.  The sky was clear and cloudless.  A brisk breeze blowing in from the ocean took the edge off of a hot, summer morning.  The waves softly rumbled as they crashed into the sand.  I took a blanket out of the trunk and laid it down on the dry grass.  Olivia sat down while I popped the cork and poured a glass for each of us.  Finally, I knelt down next to her, handed her her champagne, and wrapped my arm around her.

“I love you, darling,” I said, clinking my glass against hers.  “I’m glad I’m here with you.”

“Me, too.”

“There they go,” I pointed out.  Far above us, beige, puffy spires arched into the heavens, each tipped with a blindingly bright spark.

“They’re beautiful, in a way.”

“Yeah.”  I refilled our glasses and kissed Olivia deeply.  I looked around at the world around us, the beach, the ocean, the roads, the cars, the trees, the houses.  “I’ll miss it.”

We sat and watched as the ICBMs streaked across the sky, carrying their apocalyptic cargo, until they were out of view.  A few minutes later, an entire constellation of new stars appeared in the north, growing brighter and brighter, contrails billowing behind them as they approached us at a speed of four miles per second.

I didn’t even feel a thing.

Thanks for reading!  If you enjoyed it, you can find more of my stories here!

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23 Responses to I’m Glad I’m Here With You

  1. charles says:

    Well done!
    Reminds me of growing up in the early 80s. “The Day After” scared me quite a bit.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. innatejames says:

    I like the resignation in the voice of the narrator here, John, how it lets us readers know that the ICBMs are expected, almost natural. I’m an editor for a writing challenge site. Would you mind if I added your story to this week’s challenge? You’d get some feedback and some exposure for your blog. Here’s the site: http://yeahwrite.me/fiction-poetry-writing-challenge-220/. We’re always looking for more writers to join our community. Let me know!


  3. innatejames says:

    That works. Thanks. If you decide to participate again, putting the code for the badge in your post (like in directions above) will make it so you can click it to go to the other entries.


  4. Christine says:

    Wow – I love how the story unfolds over the backdrop of ordinary, everyday details. Olivia’s posture on the couch, the breeze, the blanket. Really well crafted, start to finish.

    (Visiting via yeah write!)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is such a capturing narrative


  6. Michael says:

    I’ve always liked nuclear war fiction: The Day After, Alas Babylon, A Canticle for Leibowitz, all that. I loved your story. If I knew I was about to get nuked, I’d want to spend it on the beach just like your characters.


    • johnkutensky says:

      Thanks! I dreamt about this sort of scenario, being in an airplane as nuclear war breaks out, watching the missiles flying off, unable to do anything. Inspired me to write something. I’ve never seen much appeal in surviving the apocalypse just to spend a couple of decades in a wasteland, scrounging for food, almost everyone you know dead. I’d rather just go in the first strike.


  7. Pingback: yeah write #220 challenge winners

  8. kaushik55 says:

    Nevile Shute took a whole novel (On the Beach) to tell us about nuclear war destroying the human race. You took about 350 words to do the same! Things do happen much faster these days. 🙂


  9. innatejames says:

    Hi John. Congrats on doing well in the popular vote and you’ll notice I awarded you the editor’s pick. I hope you’ll join us again. You probably noticed a spike in views and we’re pretty good for letting you know what’s working well.


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