She was my first love and my last. My first kiss and my last.
Our first kiss wasn’t even a kiss.
It was just her blowing pot smoke towards my face as we sat in her parents’ dim basement, autumn light slanting through the tiny window, pillars of pot smoke dancing in the beams.
We’d skipped school to get high, unable to stomach one more day of Mr. Carruthers’ horrid take on world history (“Those who aren’t learning from stuff in the past will have to do history again”).
The kiss came soon after.
Love followed, promises of undying, eternal love. One thing was different – *our* thing.
We always kissed before and after we went anywhere, even short, minutes-long trips; the store, the gym, work. A kiss before leaving, a kiss upon return.
“Life is uncertain,” she’d always say. “I never know when I’ll be able to kiss you again.”
When the contagion came, what the media were calling *The Virulence*, we stuck it out, this time in my basement, minus the pot.
We had one window that we could see the outside world through, one small window that let in a little natural sunlight.
Walled off from the world, armed with only each other, protein bars and the water in the toilet tank, we waited for the global panic to subside.
We each made trips out for provisions and to look for something to protect our little basement fortification. She made trips by day, when the virulent were less active, mine usually at dusk.
We came back with armfuls of what we could carry: cans of beans, bottled water, once an AR-15, picked from the car of some unfortunate who’d been eaten.
The virulent were fast, insatiable, unkillable.
Even decapitation didn’t render them harmless; they’d keep marching forward, arms swinging in wide arcs while the head still gnashed and snapped its teeth on the ground.
Stupid, lying zombie movies.
She was bitten on one of her sorties. We’d kissed before she went out. She came back for one more.
She leaned in towards me, skin already ashen, eyes dead, the tendons in her neck stretching and creaking as her jaw opened wide, wider, wide enough to black out the sun, the little window,
and everything I could see.