And I know it because all I can do is cry. I remember New Year’s Eve at your house. We were bidding farewell to 2019, breathless to witness the turn of a new decade. It was the night I met your whole family and the world was glittering alive for me again. But something went wrong. In the pew of the packed church I couldn’t feel my arms or legs. They were suddenly lost to me. I looked at you in panic. When we arrived back home, you made me lie down. It was like a light inside of me had flickered beyond the point of return. Later that evening, after the festivities had calmed and the unsettling race of my heartbeat leveled, I felt my stomach plummet again, just minutes before the Times Square Ball Drop countdown began— 10, 9, 8–and the strangest confetti of a thought made its way into my mind amidst the excitement: Something big and terrible is coming. The world would be better off ending right here, right at the very peak of this high note.
7, 6, 5– I looked around the room then. At you, mostly. I thought about saying something but couldn’t. In that light, the glow of the Christmas tree expiring on your cheekbones—4– I couldn’t bear to stain the moment with my prophetic sensitivities. You were beautiful. In that light, everything was: the lazy dog napping on the hardwood floor, completely unfazed by the whole world holding its breath, even snoring a bit. Your hand squeezed mine, and I laughed because I could feel it again—3, 2,
But I knew.
I knew, my body drenched in sweat of the unknown: Something big and terrible is coming, and it’s right outside the door. Maybe I would’ve said something before the ball dropped. Or, at the very least, I would’ve leaned in to kiss you one last time, in that still image of before. If only the room had stopped spinning for a fraction of a moment. If only I could’ve stolen a clearer view of what great evil stood waiting for us on the other side.