The Last Friend On Earth

Jordans (U.K.) Meetinghouse. Photo courtesy Sarah Katreen Hoggatt.

There must be other people still alive somewhere.

I don’t know where.

I don’t know how to find them even if I wanted to.

I don’t know what I could do. . .

Those thoughts never lead anywhere useful. They open the doors to the dangerous thoughts, why me, why do I have to be alone, why was I spared, and most dangerous of all, I want my family. That door has to stay shut tight.

I go back to work. Working, making things, using my hands helps me feel better. The air has the pleasant crispness of autumn. I take it in and resume my work of sorting and storing seeds. I will be organized next year. It won’t be like it is now. Like it has been since The Disasters. The Disasters. Is that the right thing to call it? I’ve been lucky. . . No, blessed. No. Lucky. I don’t know anymore which is which. I have been fortunate, fortunate is a good enough word, with my foraging and my plan is to have a decent garden next year. I will use the garden tools I took from the farm down the road and I will till up the ground on the south side of the meetinghouse. The meetinghouse, there’s something I still know the proper name for, even though there’s no one to meet anymore.

The Disasters destroyed everything, our house, the whole neighborhood, everything. Back then, when I didn’t know the truth yet, I had thought that there would be other survivors, even people I knew. So I went to the meetinghouse to, well, meet them. And I waited. I suppose I’m still waiting. I don’t understand why our meetinghouse was spared. I can’t think about that.

The sun goes down and my day is through. I put away my work before I go into the meetingroom. There’s no television or time on the internet for an evening at home anymore. Those things have had their time and are gone. It’s quiet here; it feels right. Some evenings I try to play the piano. I don’t know how but I like to think I’m picking it up. When I sing out of the hymnbook the songs I know best, the notes I play are matching more often than not. Most of the time I just sit. Over the hundreds of meetings for worship that happened here, I feel like it made a dent in existence. Like an impression left in a bed after years of sleep, it feels comfortable and cozy. Tonight, I close my eyes and let myself rest here. Eventually, it feels right to get up again. I go to the kitchen where I cook and I eat. I’m grateful to the Friends who at some point in the past decided the meetinghouse should have a kitchen…and a bathroom. After everything is cleaned, including me, I choose a book to read from the library, and again I am grateful to the Friends who at some point in the past knew that they should have a library here. After the book, I choose from my pile of foraged flashlights, lanterns, and candles. I like it when my light and my book feel as if they go together. George Fox’s journal is better by candlelight than by battery-operated LED lantern. I go to the bedroom I have made for myself in what was once the nursery, where I will read until I’m too tired to focus on the page.

As I drift in the space between wakefulness and sleep, I look out the window at the moon. I think about the moonlight and the Light. Something poetic and Truthful hints around the edges of my thoughts. I can’t catch it even though I try. It’s the same moon Jesus slept under when he was alone in the desert. The same moon I looked at years ago when I was unhappy with my life that I now think was perfect. I think about the stories I learned in this very nursery room when I was little. I remember the woman who lost one little silver coin and then was elated when she found it. Maybe I’m that coin. Maybe I’m hidden under a cosmic cupboard. Someday I’ll be found. I close my eyes and imagine the doors in my mind. I feel the locks I’ve put there. Someday I’ll open these doors. I’ll be found and I’ll find me.

Joy Weimer

Joy Weimer is a member of West River Friends in Economy, Ind. She has a bachelor’s in theatre from Ball State University. She’s an avid reader and a lifelong storyteller. This is her debut publication.

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