A Lesson in Chivalry

20131230-210306I told him not to come for me, but there he stands on the screen to my security monitor, pounding on the front door screaming my name. He said he would save me. He said he would swing by and pick me up before it all happened, and that we could drive off into the wild together. He wanted to drive far enough so that it would no longer affect us, for a little while at least.

I told him not to come, he thought I was being a hero, but I wasn’t, I was tucked away in the shelter, safer than I would be in the passenger seat to his ’69 bug. I wasn’t allowed to tell him about it, so I told him to leave me behind and go on without me, but he wouldn’t leave me behind to die.

The camera didn’t transmit voice, it was just a little black and white image, but I knew what he was saying. He was begging and pleading with me to come out, so we can go before the bombs started falling.

I stared at the screen, wishing he had left when I told him to. Then, just as predicted, there was a white flash and the camera ceased to function. A murmur ran through the twenty gathered people in the shelter as a rumble tore over the surface above, wiping away buildings like so many marks on a dirty chalkboard.

The town was gone now. He was gone. A small twinge of guilt settled in my chest as I imagined his body instantly turned to ash, his fist still in motion to knock on my door. Chivalry wasn’t dead, but it seemed the chivalrous had died for their troubles.

It was his own damn fault, I told myself. I stood up from the monitor and walked to settle down on my bunk. It would be several long year’s wait for spring.

I shouldn’t have been surprised, I guess. He never had been a very good listener.

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