The thing about the end of the world is that there’s no time for love. There’s time for sex amidst the ruins of civilization, time for a quick fuck in the gutted corpses of collapsing buildings as whatever-the-fuck-they-are that used to be human moan in collective hunger outside.
But there isn’t time for sorrow, and there isn’t time for mourning, for burying the bodies of your dead, and there especially isn’t time for love.
So when Gilbert says it to her, words breathed into her ear as everything shatters around them, she hits him. She hits him hard, too, enough to split his lip on the jagged edge of his front tooth (and that’s another thing about the end of the world—it makes you realize how fragile people are, that you can’t patch them up and have everything be okay anymore. Broken things stay broken, and she isn’t sure if she’s talking about herself or him anymore).
Her hands shake, and he grabs them, holds them within his own. “Erzsi,” he starts, and there’s blood dribbling from the cut in his lip, trickling down his chin.
She breaths. Steadies herself, because she doesn’t need him to do it for her. “You need to leave, Gilbert.” Her voice doesn’t shake; she’ll be proud of that later, laying on the thin pallet that she calls a bed. She’ll be proud of it when she wants to cry, when she feels nauseous.
He looks like he wants to fight her—and she thinks for a brief second that he will, that he’ll kiss her and all of this will come falling apart around them, that she’ll kiss him back if he does.
We’re dead men walking, she tries to tell him, but she can’t find the words she needs. We’re dead men walking and it’s only going to hurt more if we do this.
She holds his stare until his eyes drop, as he rolls one shoulder back and stands to leave.
Dead men walking, she reminds herself, feeling for the shotgun on the ground next to her.
Huh, was not expecting that one.