Natalija Kosmac

After the worst part of the bombing was over, we stayed in the bunker for a couple dozen days.
Time passed us in its purest form.
Not measured in hours or minutes, yet it still just flew by. We lost all connections to the
outside world. We just ate when we felt like it, slept when we were too exhausted to stay
awake. Time didn’t mean the same thing anymore.
One time, you wanted to leave our safe haven. You said you wanted to check the situation,
look for survivors. I didn’t let you. We didn’t know what was out there, what happened to
all the people. So we stayed underground a bit longer.
My hair grew ten centimeters before we opened the hatch to let ourselves out. Where there was
a city before, now there was nothing but rubble and debris. Life was annihilated. Or so
it looked at first. Dry brown dirt in every direction, dusted by crumbled cement that reminded
me of snow. We took what was left of our food with us and headed out.
This whole time underground, nothing else went through my mind than suicide. Every night I
stood by our bed with a knife against my neck, trying to muster up the courage needed.
I couldn’t take it anymore;  with everything that happened, living was just too overwhelming for me.
Yet every time, you managed to talk me out of it. You told me that this would be
the last night you’d  bargain with me, and that the next day  I would be
free to do as I please.  Just not tonight. Not yet.
I guess all I wanted back then was that I could do it, I could cut deep into my own flesh,
and that he would follow me. I thought there was nothing left of the world we knew before.
He was all I had. I didn’t want to leave him there, in the place full of lost hope and
broken dreams. I was just too full of both. He actually believed we were capable of saving the
world. Now, AFTER it had already been destroyed. We’d rebuild it from the ground up.
So every night he sang to me:
“Stay all night we’ll save the population.”
Just like in the song.
Always with the song.My song.
My favorite song.
So every night I cried in his arms, hating him for keeping me here. I still look up to him
for having the guts to tell me that everything would be okey. We knew it was the biggest lie
he could have made up at the time. He also knew me enough to know that I would lash out
on anyone  for something like that fed to me in such a fragile state.
He also knew I would never do such a thing to him. Not him; anybody but him.
I loved him. I loved him too much and he knew that. He knew it well.
He held me until I cried myself raw and fell asleep.
To this day I miss him. I lost him sometime in the middle of rebuilding the world. He made me
promise that in the case something happened to him, I would not try to follow. I would
keep my gaze set on the future, finishing the work we stared on the day we left our underground shelter. And so I did.
I did the work, although I never really cared for it. The world was just empty and hollow without
him in it. It was his last wish, so of course I did what he told me, what I promised.
If he had asked, I would have built him hundreds of cities, just like the ones we knew before the bombings.
I did well, or at least I think so. I really hope I get repaid for all this work. Not because I want payment, because I don’t. But because I can imagine only one way I want my existence to end. It is my final wish, the one thing I have been praying upon for the last twenty years. And that is seeing
his glossy, bright eyes on the other side.  His smile as he tells me I did a good job,
before I move on into the next life and forgetting everything I know about this one.
I look out my window. Children are playing on the green grass in front of the hospital, the one we rebuilt with the first half dozen survivors we found over thirty years ago. That was the first step, pulling together supplies and gathering food, until we managed to grow our own. Everything after that was easy.
I hope my time comes soon. I trust these generations to take better care of the planet than we had.
I mean, how much more could they possibly screw up? They will do fine.
As for us, most days I can still see us back in the bunker. My memory never left that place it seems.
It must be where I was truly the happiest in life. In the middle of that hellhole,
during the darkest times of history, staying underground, reading books and spending my time with you.
I hope you haven’t forgotten me since then.
I hope you will recognize my face when we meet; if that happens. We’ll see.
We’ll see.