This Final Darkness

Sarah is fussing over the apples at Berkeley Bowl.

It’s just before 7PM and I’m bored out of my mind, debating the merits of Fuji vs. Pink Lady vs. Braeburn. So I’m “liveblogging” this entry as we shop.

Like I mentioned earlier, I haven’t eaten more than a few bites since I was etched. Sarah, on the other hand, is food obsessed, and she drags me here each and every day – she seems intent on sampling almost one of every single item, making up for the lost millennia.

A few days ago, I couldn’t get her to leave the produce section – we were there for over an hour, as she touched and smelled one of everything. I didn’t think it was possible to fill up a metal shopping cart to the brim, just with various types of apples, but that seems to be on the agenda for tonight. Some of the ultra-cool-hip staff are staring at us.

It’s hard not to look at her and just see Emily. I still don’t know if Emily ever really existed, except as a vessel to eventually hold Sarah down to Earth. Sarah hasn’t been forthcoming about the whole thing, and she definitely won’t discuss what was happening between “Emily” and Joey earlier this year. Was she actually having an affair with her hypothetical father? That sounds like something a Semitic God would do, but still…. I just don’t want to think about it.

7:10. She just filled a plastic bag with organic baby spinach, and daintily placed it on top of a mound of Granny Smith. I’m pushing the cart around like it’s the only way to reach my zen satori, but clearly my heart isn’t in it – besides this liveblog, I have about 34 other sites and accounts open – #30thingsaboutme hashtag on Twitter is the lamest thing possible, but I can’t stop reading it.

7:12. Sarah dismissed the seafood, meat and dairy wall with a huge swoosh of her arms. “The more things you eat, that eat other things, the more annoyed I get. Eating is so very much not the point, but try to tell that to El, or whatever he’s compelling worshippers to call him these days. Burnt offerings my ass, he’s always been so obsessed with blood.” More than a few people are staring at us now. Sarah’s mood has officially turned her face into a bemused scowl. She’s putting on a show for me, but seems to be a bit too involved tonight.

7:13. We passed by the cereal aisle, but not before she ran down it and came back bearing 2 bags of bagels that were on sale – 6 of Everything, 6 of Whole Wheat.

7:15. Walking down the frozen aisle, and she’s stage whispering. “I just can’t believe it – spare ribs made from vegetation! Who the fuck…?” She picks up some vegan burgers and throws the red box at me. I decide to turn the cart around before she sees Weight Watchers meals, and she followed the apples like a puppy.

7:17. Yeah, I get the whole apple thing, even though the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge was of unspecified type. “Tell your audience that it totally didn’t happen like that. Give them an on site report when you visit the ‘Garden’.” She used her whole arms to air quote, holding them up like someone just scored a field goal. I’ve just received an official certificate of embarrassment via email.

7:20. Sarah is staring down the alcohol aisle. She’s not saying anything. I’m tempted to just go over and fondle the cheeses, but then she turns around and walks right up to me. She’s holding onto the cart from the action end. “This is our last moment together, OK? Jenny has found a way to write me out of the story for good. Not that I can blame her – we come from a long line of jealous Gods.” She walks around the cart on the refrigerator side, and puts her warm hands against my cheeks, like you would a cute baby.

7:22. “And now the prophet undoing his prophetess has brought me to this final darkness.” I think she’s quoting something, and while I stare into her soft and silent eyes, she continues in tears. “I will go in and have the courage to die. Look, these gates are the gates of Death. I greet them, and pray that I may meet a deft and mortal stroke, so that I may close my eyes as my blood ebbs in an easy death.” It’s Cassandra from the Greek classic, Agamemnon. As soon as I understand what she’s telling me, the Berkeley Bowl folds violently towards and away from me, like an earthquake that only exists in my head.

7:23. Sarah is gone. Emily is gone. The cart is empty, save for the bagels, veggie burgers and baby spinach. I leave the cart in the aisle, and bring the meal she left for me to the first of 15 busy checkout counters – 12 items or less.

7:24. It’s crowded tonight. More than enough people to watch me cry.

7:25. I give her a $20 and just walk away, not even waiting for the change. Someone is running after me with it, and I throw a bag of bagels at them as I sprint through the rain-kissed parking lot.

7:27. Trees. Cars. The sky is half filled with grey, wet clouds, left over from last night’s storms. I jog past the bus stop shelter, the tall apartment building, some charming yet ugly houses and a small public library. There’s a park with a baseball field and basketball courts, illuminated by extremely tall lights, protected by a huge cyclone fence.

7:29. I just want to get back to Doug’s apartment, to drown in my sorrows with Susanna and Ariel. It’s weird, we just walked down this street an hour ago, but running the other way everything seems different, changed.

7:30. Don’t have the keys, so I’m pounding on the door. There’s a light on inside past the blue curtains, but I can’t make out who’s in the living room.

7:31. I drop the other bag of bagels, and they roll off the walkway and fall a dozen feet to the parking area. “I’ve been expecting you. Come on in.”

There’s a man at the door, with greying curly hair and a short beard. He’s wearing a dingy baby blue T-Shirt, and dark grey sweatpants. The apartment is furnished, and cluttered, and a huge stack of magazines sits on the Ikea table, along with a lamp iMac G4. There’s another tall magazine rack off in the corner, next to a bike that’s identical to the one that Sarah was borrowing earlier.

This is Doug’s apartment, but it isn’t.

This isn’t the same world I was in yesterday.

“I’ve been following your blog. We need to have a conversation, you and I.”

He reaches out his hand to welcome me. It’s cold and plastic beyond the hologram.

“I’m Brother Nicholas. Junk Magnet. Friend of Die Database and Antizine, and here to smuggle you into the Structure.”

I’m walking in.

The door is closing.

He gives me a warm smile while I’m deciding if it’s too late to flee.

Click to continue RGA

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