What would you do if the world came to an end? What would it even look like: fire and smoke, tsunamis and hail, demons and djinn?
Well, the answer to that is simple: survive.
But what if it didn’t all just suddenly go to pot? What if it was gradual, like falling asleep?
Alexandria Kleeman has an answer for that, or perhaps, more of an interpretation. Her short story You , Disappearing is a first person narrative about a woman, or who I assume is a woman, going about the end of the world as anyone would normally go about their monotonous, everyday schedules. She does so, not because she doesn’t want to fight to survive but because there is nothing she can do to prevent her demise.
Towards the beginning of her story Kleeman writes that the end “could be called graceful” but such words were lost on me as I related to the main character who lost her cat (I am an extreme cat enthusiast) and continued to lose the rest of her world to a painfully slow end (Kleeman). What spiteful entity conjured such a cruel way to lead the world to its demise?
To be completely honest, I was slightly frustrated with Kleeman’s short story. However, what upset me was not the protagonist, who was wonderfully written, easily relatable to and fairly realistic, nor the snapshots she created with mere words that flipped through your mind like a cinematic. No, what upset me – disturbed me – was the abrupt ending.
Only now do I think that perhaps that was Kleeman’s intention, to rile the reader up and leave them with an unfulfilling ending from a vanishing world, but at the time I wasn’t analyzing; I was fuming. my mind was screaming “what kind of ending is that!?” as I pouted and rejected the story completely. Now though, I see what could have been her intentions. The story built, and built, and built and then just like the rest of the world described to the reader, it vanished with a puff of pathetic smoke.
The main lessons I took out of this story – since I doubt Kleeman just wrote it for kicks – was to not stereotype an ending, be it a story’s, a game’s, or even the world’s, expect the unexpected and the improbable, and enjoy life to its fullest because you’ll never know when you might suddenly disappear.