The Final Sunset - A Flash Fiction

Raj doesn’t want his wife, Isah, to know what he has to do, so he waits. He waits until he hears her working in the kitchen, then grabs a bag he had hidden under the sofa.

With quick movements, he puts on jeans, a long-sleeve shirt, gloves, and pulls a ski mask over his face. “Guy’s gotta do what a guy’s gotta do,” he says to himself.

“And what exactly do you ‘gotta do,’ Raj?” Isha asks, suddenly and unexpectedly behind him.

This is exactly the confrontation he was hoping to avoid. “I...uh...need to go check the mail,” Raj responds.

“It’s a hundred and forty degrees out there, just put on sun block,” she says.

“I didn’t buy sunblock.” His voice is a little more on edge than he intends, however, he knows what is coming.

“I told you we were almost out yesterday. You know, when you went to the store, but do you ever hear what I’m saying? No. Go ahead and get heat stroke, if that will make you happy.” Her voice is now raised.

“I did hear you, but I’m not going to buy something we won’t need after tonight. It’s a waste of money.” Now Raj is yelling.

“Fifteen years, Raj. Fifteen years they’ve been putting this off and going to court over it. It’s never going to happen, and now we have to wait for sunblock to be delivered because I’m not letting you go to the store wearing that.”

Raj is sweating already, but won’t give an inch by taking off the mask. “I told you, last week the final court case was closed and tonight's the night. After tonight, we won’t need the sunblock anymore. We might even need to see if the furnace still works. They really didn’t have a choice, the temperature keeps rising, all the crops are already being grown in warehouses, and even the desert animals aren’t surviving anymore. This is our last, best hope for humankind.”

“What about our best hope for our marriage, Raj? Even if they do blot out the sky, would it have killed you do an errand for me, even if you thought it foolish?”

Raj is impatient and wants the conversation to be over. “Why, Isha? What do you think is going to happen in the next twelve hours that can’t wait for tomorrow? We’ve got nowhere to be and we won’t ever have to put that nasty smelling stuff on our skin again after tonight.”

Isha takes a deep breath and holds it. At first, Raj thinks she is plotting her next rant, but it’s tears that come out next. Her voice softens and she begins to cry.

“If they block out the sky tonight...if it will be the last sunset we will ever see.” She takes another slow breath before finishing. “I wanted us to drive to the lake this evening and watch the final sunset together. As it should be enjoyed. Outside.”