The sun fell in from over the vacant and forgotten towers and I sat in its orange glow and listened to the sweet sound of Sarah’s voice. It may be the sweetest sound that my or anyone else’s ears could ever have the pleasure of hearing. And all this time little old me was watching pretty gals on the old movies that I’d found. But now I had one in color. She sat before me saying all the wisdom that women have that men just can’t.
She had lived through the collapse and found her way into what I would guess was tribe of nomads. I call them gypsies and they’re just a bunch of folks who found each other and grouped together and traveled to anywhere they feel that they might be able to survive for awhile. They were armed, but only for protection and were usually friendly or at the very least, not offensive. And with the danger dying down again in the world, they began a practice of having little markets set up where ever they would go. There was no money, of course, they would just trade and barter and it was perfect.
“I’m finally free,” fell sweetly from her lips. “My entire life I was held back by so many things, things that I couldn’t control. Now there isn’t anyone to tell me that I can’t do something. I have no chains.”
“It’s so nice being free,” she continued now facing me with her eyes draining my soul of any strength it once had. “Isn’t it?”
“I never thought of it as freedom,” I admitted.
“Well, why not?” is all she asked.
“Well,” was all that got out before I stopped in my tracks and rested my eyes on her as the whole world seemed to fall right within this little park. I didn’t know. I didn’t know why, but I had always felt like I was trapped. But I had felt trapped in my life before all this end of the world nonsense, so why wasn’t I free now?
“I don’t know Sarah,” said my timid smile. “I have always felt like I’m held back or trapped. I don’t know why, but I just am.”
“That’s just ridiculous,” she replied. “Just look at you! You’re alive for one and you live in here in New York, in the library. It’s all yours and no one can tell you it’s not.”
I said nothing. I just looked oh so fondly upon her as she smiled and laughed.
“Come on,” she said standing up. “Show me where you live.”
“Alright,” I said as I stood up to face her. “This way please miss.”
We walked out of the park with the sound of children laughing and the smell of food cooking behind us and for a moment, the world didn’t feel so empty. We walked across the street covered in long shadows cast by the empty giants all around us. She looked at everything in wonder and my wonder fell upon her. She wasn’t my girlfriend or anything like that, she just was and that’s all there needed to be. We walked up the stairs and to the door. I opened it up and held the door as she walked in.
Now, I had been living in this building for, give or take four years. In that time it had never taken my breath away as it did then. I couldn’t really describe it, maybe it was something about the way the sunlight caught all the little dust particles in the air and lit up the rows of shelves, but I was beaten with awe. Sarah turned to look at me as I stood still with wide gaze upon the room and laughed.
“What’s the matter?” She asked.
“Nothing,” I said looking back at her. “Freedom is just a beautiful thing to see. Thank you.”
“T’was nothing sir,” she said. “Now show me around. There’s too much for me to figure it out on my own.”
So I showed her around. We went through all the books and I told her to take anyone that she wanted, so she did. She grabbed some Oscar Wilde and Allen Ginsberg and a few others. I showed her my record collection and we would play some and just stare at the ceiling talking of what we thought and so on. She picked up a Kinks album. “Lola Versus Powerman And The Moneygoround” to be precise.
“You know,” I said daringly. “I still can’t believe that you’re here. It seems so surreal.”
“Maybe it is,” she suggested.
“Could be,” I supposed.
“Maybe none of this is real”
“I’d buy it.”
“But what if it wasn’t for sale?”
“Then I might have to steal it.”
She laughed. I melted. Maybe she did too, I’ll never know.
“Well,” she said as she sat up upon the floor. “You’d better believe it. I’m fairly certain that I’m real, or at least what is called real.”
She turned towards me let fall another soft, warm smile. I could live off of those smiles. But soon her eyes widened, in what looked like fear or shock, and covered her mouth with her hand.
“What?” I said turning fearing either something behind me or something I said. I turned to find a whole pile of hundreds of short silver cylinders stacked upon each other about four feet tall.
“Oh,” I laughed. “I see you found my movie collection.”
“Do you have a projector?” she asked without skipping a beat.
“I do,” I answered.
“Umm…” she said the light of the sun bouncing off her eyes and into all the little molecules that make a real thing. “Would you want to watch movies with me tonight?” she asked.
“I would love to,” I said without skipping a beat.
“Perfect,” was all she said as she got up to inspect the inventory.
I had a date. There were no phones, no computers, no restaurants, no theaters but I had a date. There was no civilization and billions that once were now weren’t, but I had a date. None of the girls who turned me down from high school where there, but I had a date. I had a date with the only girl I had ever really wanted a date with and had never gotten. I thought that maybe I should ask her to marry me. It seemed like a good thought, even if she said no.