"What do you miss?" she asked me one night out of the blue.
"Yes. If you could pick one thing that you could have right now, what would it be?" I thought about that for about two seconds before blurting out that I wanted pizza. Kira sighed.
"Okay fine. What about you? What is this deep and philosophical thing you miss?" She really annoyed me sometimes with how high and mighty she acted. Like she was so above me somehow.
"Normalcy" That was it. The words kind of just hovered around in the air, filling the silence with awkward. We let it hang there for a couple minutes. Then she added "and pizza."
We laughed. It was weird. I honestly can't remember the last time I laughed,or even smiled for that matter. Like I said, it was weird. It just felt disrespectful somehow. I mean billions of people had died or turned or died and then turned and here we were, perfectly fine and eating mini raviolis out of cans and *gasp* laughing. How dare we? It just wasn't right.
"My turn." I thought for a second before coming up with the pathetic "How old are you anyway?" It was a dumb addition to our back and forth question game but she seemed genuinely surprised. She breathed in really sharply before closing here eyes to contemplate.
"Shit. I honestly don't know. When it all started, I was fifteen. How long has it been since then?"
"Uh...I guess about a year. A year and a half maybe."
"So I'm sixteen? Seventeen?" She sighed again. It wasn't an answer. Just another open ended question we would never know the answer to. "What about you?"
"I had just turned sixteen when it started so probably about the same as you. Older by a couple of months. Your turn again."
"Pass. Can I pass?"
"No but technically that was a question so it can be your turn."
"Well I'm mildly confused now but okay whatever."
"Where did you live?"
"I loved up in Dod. Hated it too. the whole time I lived there, all I wanted to do was leave. It took the end of the world to get me out though."
"I went to Dod once in like fourth grade to see some organic farm. A cow bit me." She smirked.
"What about you?"
"I lived a couple of towns over in Overlevendale. You've probably never heard of it. It's really small."
"Wait a minute. I thought it was called something else. Something more Spanish sounding. Comprende? Overde? Levendista? I don't know. Something like that."
"Yes! That!" she said loudly before covering her mouth as if that would somehow take it back.
"Yeah. It used to be called that. It's not Spanish. I think it's Norwegian or something. They changed it to make it sound more normal so maybe more people would move there. I don't think it worked." I whispered.
"It really didn't.
"It was a really normal town though. Lot's of white picket fences and county fairs and neighborhood barbecues. We even had a civic center which was kind of dumb because our whole town probably couldn't fill it. That's where everyone went when the virus took hold. We didn't have a real hospital so everyone just panicked and rushed to the nearest government funded building." I remember when they closed the school. We only had one. All the kids were excited. I was happy too. I think that might have been the last time.
"That's kind of ironic. I was already in the hospital. As soon as the shit hit the fan, my dad rushed right over and brought me home." I thought about her dad and his truck and wondered at how he was ever normal.
"Why were you in the hospital?"
"Sleep study. I had like hardcore chronic insomnia."
"Very." She grinned.
We sat in silence for a few minutes or an hour. It was kind of hard to tell. She spoke first.
"What if there is still a normal town out there? Somewhere with walls. What if inside those walls there are just people living their lives like nothing ever happened? They have farms and a school and they make everything they need by hand."
"No way. Too good to be true."
"I know. I know. I know. But I'm just saying what if?"
"Then I would find it and cry until they let me in." We sat in silence for a few more minutes/hours.
"That's all I want for Christmas."
"That town. Buy it for me."
"Promise?" She was so serious. She sounded like she would cry if I didn't promise to buy her a fictional town. I followed along. Kira had obviously been through a lot and was maybe a little bit off her nut.
"Of course. Yeah. I promise."
We sat silently for all the minute/hours that our dying fire would allow. Kira fell asleep first. I submitted to the cliche and draped my spare sleeping bag over her shoulders. I didn't sleep that night. I'm sitting here now. By the cold ashes that are starting to wisp up into little storms in the breeze. I'm exhausted but still awake somehow. The gray light hurts my eyes after so many minute/hours of almost complete darkness. I think I might have insomnia.