Day 15

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Today has probably been the craziest day I’ve had since coming back home after the apocalypse. A week ago, if you had told me that I would be bunking with my boss, I would have laughed my ass off, but Sherman is really lying in the bed next to mine, sleeping.

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Today was my day off, so I decided to go pick up Sherman and take him to my place like we planned on the phone. I got in my car and drove to the other side of town where he lived with his wife. I had never seen the rest of Riverview after the apocalypse, but I almost wished I had stayed home. Everything I remembered and loved from my childhood was dead or destroyed. The grocery store’s windows were broken and the inside of the store looted dry, there was a pile of paper shreds where the bookstore had been and all the lush greenery of the park where I used to play as a little kid was dead. All the farmers’ fields that used to be home to large stalks of corn and endless fields of potatoes and onions were nothing but desert landscape now. I’ll admit that I cried a little bit seeing everything.

I whistled under my breath when I pulled up to Sherman’s house. It was practically a mansion. I’m sure it would have looked even more beautiful if the plants around it weren’t all dead. He must be rich, I thought to myself. I got out of my car and hurried for the front door, but I heard yelling from inside the house. I wasn’t sure if I should interrupt and knock, but I figured I had already driven all the way across town, risking my safety to pick him up and I wasn’t about to leave without him.

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Sherman opened the door, still screaming at Ruby over his shoulder. “You’re being ridiculous! I can’t believe you of all people would turn into such a jealous, controlling freak! You are way out of line! Am I not allowed to have friends?”

“Ha! Some friend!” Ruby screeched. I saw her stalk into the front hall after him. “You could have been friends with any of the guys at the base, Sherman, but you chose the only woman there to spend all your time with! What the hell am I supposed to think about that, huh?” My eyes widened when I realized they were fighting about me. Ruby spotted me and glared at me. “Let me guess. You’re Killara!” she spat. I didn’t really know what to say to that.

“Uh… yeah…” I ended up mumbling under my breath. Sherman gave me an apologetic look and turned back to his wife.

“Don’t treat her like that! She’s a good friend of mine, and I’m going to continue seeing her! You can’t stop me from having friends, Ruby!” he yelled. Ruby’s eyes filled with tears and she folded her arms across her chest.

“Fine! If you leave with her, don’t bother coming back home, because I’m changing the locks!” she screamed, running upstairs with a sob. Sherman and I stood awkwardly in the doorway for a long time, not saying anything. Sherman’s face was hard and pinched.

“Let’s go,” he mumbled, shutting the door and following me to my car. “I’m sorry you had to see that,” he finally said. I shrugged.

“All couples fight,” I told him.

“Not like that… I just don’t know if marrying her was the right thing to do anymore,” he sighed. “Knowing Ruby, the locks are probably already changed. This is such an embarrassing thing to ask, but…”

“Sure, you can live with me,” I told him right away. What was I going to do? Let my best friend fend for himself alone on the street with looters and muggers and murderers running loose? Sherman smiled.

“Thanks. You’re amazing, Killara,” he said warmly. I think I blushed a little bit.

It was kind of embarrassing bring Sherman back to my tiny little cement box on stilts after seeing his beautiful mansion, but he assured me it was just fine and actually complimented me on having such good survival skills. He seemed really jumpy once I closed the door and the house got dark, though. I wonder why.

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I spent most of the rest of that day consoling him. The poor guy was miserable. I feel so bad for him. He sighed and sat on my bed, putting his head in his hands. “I just don’t know what to do anymore, Killara. I was so in love with her at one point. I still care about her. I always will, but I just don’t think I love her the same way that I did. She’s controlling and jealous and demanding. I know it’s hard for her, too, but she doesn’t trust me, and I can’t live with that.” I bit my lip and kneeled down, tentatively holding his hand.

“If you’re that unhappy, Sherman… maybe it’s time to end things,” I told him quietly. I wasn’t sure how he’d react. For a second, I thought he’d refuse and get angry with me, but then he slowly nodded.

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“You’re right,” he told me. “Ruby and I were never really meant for each other. I should have realized it sooner. I need to call her,” he mumbled. I let him use my phone and tried not to listen to the conversation. Sherman sighed and hung up the phone, now single.

And here we are. Sherman sleeping in a spare bed I found lying at the end of an empty lot and me in my bed beside him. I feel awful for Sherman, but I am kind of happy not to be alone anymore.

He looks very handsome when he sleeps, by the way.

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Day 16

Sherman quit his job today. I was really surprised. I thought he loved being in the Military, but turns out, he’s a bit of a coward. He’s terrified of the dark and jumps a foot in the air whenever anything makes an unusual sound. The whole brave soldier act was well… an act. I think it’s kind of cute, actually. He told me he’d much rather dedicate his life to medical work. Even though he’s skittish, he has a really good heart and wants to help the people of Riverview as much as I do. He’s also a clean-freak, so I think working to restore sanitation to the town suits him.

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I’m finding out so much about Sherman. He’s very tidy and is constantly scrubbing or dusting something in the shelter. He’s timid and fearful of pretty much everything, but he has a heart of pure gold. I like him more and more with every passing day. I’m so glad he’s staying with me. It’s nice having company around. You wouldn’t believe how great it felt to come home and be able to tell someone that I got promoted to Wingwoman today. Admittedly, it is kind of weird to be announcing my promotions to Sherman; he used to be the one giving me promotions. My new boss, Maximus McDermott, gave me a book called Dealing with Whining from Engines and Pilots to read for work. I think I’ll read it tonight with Sherman. We spend almost every evening quietly reading in each other’s company. Even when it’s silent between us for hours, I still feel as though I had a wonderful time with him. It isn’t awkward at all.

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He’s sleeping next to me again. I can’t help but look at him sleeping peacefully, his chest slowly rising and falling. It’s the most peaceful I ever see him. I only admire him for a minute or two; I don’t want to be that creepy roommate Chandler had on that episode of Friends (I really miss television…), but it’s like being with him heals me in a way…  I don’t really know how to explain it, but when I’m with him, I’m not as angry and bitter. I’m not as afraid or sad. It’s like he’s this magic cure for all of that and all he has to do is smile at me to make all the pain go away.

I think I’m in love with him.

Day 17

“Killara! Killara, wake up! Please wake up!” I heard Sherman saying to me. I felt his hands on my shoulders, shaking me awake. My eyes snapped open and I looked around the shelter in alarm, expecting to see that a criminal had broken in, but everything was nice and neat and in its proper place (thanks to Sherman). I frowned and sat up.

“Sherman, what’s wrong?” I asked him. He looked like he was ready to pee himself.

“I- I had a nightmare… I shouldn’t have woken you up over it. I’m sorry. I’ll go back to bed now…” he mumbled. I could see he was embarrassed. I reached for his hand to stop him from getting back into bed and stood up. I was curious. What had frightened him so badly that he woke me in a panic?

“What was the dream about?” I asked him. Sherman looked as if he was going to pull away and refuse to answer me for a second, but he sighed and pulled me down on my bed with him to sit. I was very aware of the fact that he was holding my hands and I could feel my cheeks getting warm. I wasn’t prepared for what he said to me next.

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“It was about you,” he muttered. “I dreamed that we were sleeping and evil people broke in. They-they grabbed you out of bed and you screamed. They hurt you… they did awful, disgusting things to you. You kept screaming for help and crying, but I was so scared. All I could was watch in fear as they hurt you…” I noticed he was shaking and pulled him into a friendly hug.

“It was just a dream, Sherman,” I told him. “That’s all. It wasn’t real,” I reminded him, but Sherman shook his head.

“That’s the thing, Killara. It could be real. That could really happen, and the thought of something like that happening to you terrifies me. That dream made me realize something…” he added, his face only a few centimetres from mine.

“What?” I breathed.

“I can’t wait forever, because we might not have forever. I’m in love with you, Killara. I think I always have been, and I don’t want to be without you. I don’t think I can ever be without you,” he whispered, stroking my cheek. My heart was beating so fast, I thought I might have a heart attack and his touch ignited firecrackers on my skin. I didn’t really realize what I was doing until it was over, but I pulled him into a kiss that left both of us shaking and gasping for air.

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“I love you, too,” I told him, and we kissed again. I don’t know how it started, but soon he was on top of me, his hands running over my whole body. It was like electricity and I gasped. Suddenly, Sherman stopped and sighed. “What?” I asked him.

“We don’t have contraceptives,” he reminded me. I sighed, too. Oh yeah. That. Still, my whole body was aching for him. I’d never felt anything so strong before. I needed his touch and his body close to mine. It was incredibly powerful. Powerful enough to cloud my judgment. I started unbuttoning his shirt and kissing his neck.

“I don’t care,” I whispered.

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Day 18

I haven’t stopped throwing up since this morning. Sherman and I are both terrified. I’m trying to think of another reason why I’m suddenly sick all the time… the food I ate was bad, I have a stomach virus, my immune system’s breaking down because of how filthy I’ve gotten. I actually managed to convince myself that I was just sick and calmed down… until I missed my period.

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I’m pregnant.

I knew I had to tell Sherman. I think he’ll be supportive, but I know he won’t be happy about this. I’m not, either. We’re living in fear in a dark, cement box that really isn’t even big enough for one person, let alone three. We’re in the middle of the apocalypse and we’re going to be bringing a child into this despair and desolation. It’s cruel and unfair. I’m scared, too. It’s strange; criminals, war, bombs, and guns don’t scare me at all. They’re all a part of my everyday life, but I’m terrified of being a mother.

I went to work, trying to hide my baby bump, but my boss wasn’t fooled. He kicked me out, telling me not to come back until I had “shoved the brat out of me” and to forget about being paid for the time off. I hate him. One day, I’ll rise in the ranks to become his boss and then he’ll feel sorry for treating his workers so unfairly. I walked in the door and Sherman gave me a strange look. He wasn’t expecting me back so early.

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“What happened?” he asked, walking over to kiss me. I kissed him back, but pulled away quickly.

“Sherman… I’m pregnant,” I blurted out. “At first, I hoped that me being sick all the time was just some kind of stomach bug. I didn’t tell you that I thought I was pregnant then, because I didn’t know for sure, but then I missed my period and I’m starting to show, and that’s why my boss sent me home early…” my voice trailed away to a thin thread. Sherman’s face fell. He didn’t say anything for a long time, then finally,

“This isn’t a good situation to bring a baby into, Killara,” he murmured, running his hands through his hair. My eyes filled with tears and I nodded.

“I know,” I whispered. “I’m scared.” Sherman pulled me into his arms and held me close.

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“Shhh. It’s going to be okay. We’ll make do and try our best to raise this baby with what we have,” he murmured softly, soothing me.

I don’t know how to feel. Should I be excited that a new life is growing inside of me or terrified of bringing a baby into this kind of devastation? I think I’m a little bit excited, sometimes, but mostly I’m terrified. I keep rubbing my growing stomach, trying to picture a child growing inside of me. My child. It’s such a strange feeling. When I was younger, all my friends would play with their dolls, pretending to play Mommy, but I never did. I’ve never been able to see myself as a mother. What if I’m not a good mother? What if I don’t feed my baby the right thing and make her or him sick? What if I’m too rough with my baby without meaning to be? I’m not exactly a gentle, sensitive person. I don’t know the first thing about being a mom.

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