Black smoke was dancing outside my window.
Red fire popped out once in a time.
The sound of explosion made off beat rhythm.
I sighed and looked at the watch on my cracked wall.
It's still 3 PM.
I cleaned up the dust on my window and fogged up my breath on it. Slowly, I wrote a "B" letter on it.
The clear B letter soon disappeared. My eyes got focus again with the black smoke in the background of the window. "Bill..." I whispered to the air. Nobody would listen to my fearful and hopeless whisper, but I'm sure Bill would somehow listen out there.
Time used to run very fast back then. Especially I was a newspaper journalist, you wouldn't feel years are changing, clocks are ticking or calendars are flipping back each month. You wouldn't care about time. But now, every minute is like every year. The year 2017, I said to myself as I looked at the calendar.
It's still 3.33 PM now.
I took my mask from the hanger, wore my bulletproof jacket and do not forget my dirty leather boots. We can get fine if not wearing those stuff outside house these days. So far I have paid a big amount of money because kept not doing that, but hey... sometimes it's too hot and manic where all you going to do outside your house is only to collect the sun dried clothes from the roof for three minutes.
No more roads, it's all gone because of the bombs. No more cars and awful traffic like we used to face everyday back then, just some ugly huge tankers parked.
I crawled on the ground to go to my backyard. That's the rule, you should crawl outside your house. Or once again you will get fine from the security troupe.
I felt proud of my backyard because it could still grow some tea leaves. Not much and definitely not the best one, but at least I could still make a cup of tea from it. Bill also love my home made tea drink. He called it "Nuclear Tea", because almost in every space of deep underground is where the nuclear bunkers are buried by the government. So we had this internal joke that the tea leaves actually contained some nuclear energy.
It took twenty-two crawls to finally arrive at my backyard. I quickly pulled off 6 tea leaves and crawled back to my house. Lucky me this time I only passed 1 dead rotting cat on the ground. Yesterday I passed 5 dying birds, 2 dead dogs, and 1 human leg. What can I say if whole world is in war?
Just a few crawl before I arrived at my front door, I heard some hard human steps. It's the soldier's step. I turned around my head to check who's that. Bill?
No it's not my Bill. I got into my house quickly. I wouldn't waste my time to deal with another man in this situation, plus I wouldn't waste my tea leaves for any soldiers but Bill.
I sighed as I got into my house safely. Bill will arrive anytime soon and I should start making the Nuclear Tea so he could enjoy it as soon as he got here.
Time went by, really slow.
It's 5 PM.
Two cups of Nuclear Tea are ready on the wood table. A small circle table for my favorite spot with Bill, without chairs, so we always sit on the floor.
Bill should arrive soon, because we can only have proper light during that hour. Later than that we will run out of lights from the sun. Since electricity got shut off for safety reason, we depend a lot on sun shine. After sunset, it's time for us to lay on the bed, stare at the dark ceiling, and fall asleep. I got no more candles left.
I knocked my hands on the floor three times.
"Bill! Is that you?" I shouted happily when I heard the knocks.
I opened the door and looked at nobody in front of me. I smiled. Slowly I imagine a smiling guy with dirty face in his soldier uniform, and a white daisy on his right hand. Bill brought me a flower. "Bill..." I whispered to the air.
Bill kissed my lips softly. I tasted some gas and dust, but still it taste beautiful. I smiled wider. I took his hand and we walked toward our small table. "I have made the Nuclear Tea... You must be thirsty."
I saw Bill nodded and took his cup of tea. We cheered our Nuclear Tea and drank it together at the same time. We smiled at each other.
"How is war out there?" I asked him slowly.
"It's beautiful. So you don't have to worry about me. I'm safe out there."
I knew he only said that to make me feel better, and he lied, and I could only smiled at him, and he knew that I fake my smile.
"How is your sleep last night?" I asked myself as a Bill.
"It's good. I could see three or four stars on the sky before I slept, " I answered Bill.
He nodded and finished his Nuclear Tea until none water left. "I must go back to the field."
I sighed. "Be careful, Bill."
We stood up and walked toward the front door. We kissed each other before he finally walked and disappeared into the mist of black smoke and fire.
I took a deep breath, suck some thousand of toxic components from the war zone, and shut the door slowly. My imaginary partner Bill has left me, it's time for sleep.
I know it's silly since government made this rule that we couldn't have real partner in the middle of war because it will make our own lives disaster and frustrated.
I know it's silly to have the rule that we have to make our own imaginary partner and make sure that our partner is always safe and happy out there.
No real partner or you will get fine.
No real partner or you will get fine.
But it's all for our own good. Yes, for our own sake.
What can you expect from reality these days?
Losing people you love in battle of war might be worse than living alone.
I laid my back on my bed, thinking about years years ago before it all happened.
I missed traffic, I missed the real touch with my real partner, I missed a box of instant tea from the supermarket.
I looked at the window, tonight the sky has only two stars. No clouds seen, only black smoke.
7 PM. Year 2017.
I closed my eyes. It's time to sleep.