See, I had it all planned.

If I married Brad there, in the ruined house, just after the bomb had exploded, then we'd have to say it was over, and now we were picking up the pieces.

In the desert, the light glinted off of mica and pyrite on the ground, the sun high and white.  It was late, but it felt like morning. My dress I made from the burned remnants of the curtains - white lace scorched along the edges - so everyone would know, and through some magic, we would trap ourselves here, in the bright light of the Aftermath.

We could start over, there.  No more tragic stories of our separation, no more talking about our fathers and what sickness was dormant in our bloodlines, no more holding hands in the dark to hide from our rapists, no more writing songs about the people who wouldn't love us but each other, no more nightmares about John being real or not real or dead.

Nightmares.  Right, that's what it was about.  In the light of day, there are no more nightmares, and so if I married him then, we'd be stuck here forever in a place those horrors would never find us again.  Things could be


I looked from the window showing me the expanse of bright desert and a dozen white chairs, to Brad standing in the empty living room of Denton, his eyes almost desperate.  He was wearing his uniform for our wedding, less than an hour away.

"Maybe we could get away," I tell him, hoping he understands what I mean.