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The Rapture

by Beverly A. Jackson

 

He talked often about the Rapture. He knew I was an atheist, so I assumed he was trying to convert me, scare me, or bug me. It bugged me. The way my mouth got pouty and full when I was annoyed made him horny. Or so he said, later.

On the day he disappeared we walked the beach. Heat radiated from the sand and every step was like being turned on a spit. Even the ocean looked flat and hot. He didn’t wear bathing trunks well. His stomach protruded, and the cut made his legs look short. Sweat glistened on his hairy back. My stomach churned as he discussed our future.

“Hey, a September wedding would be terrific,” he chirped.

“You probably want a church.”

“Well, yeah!” He turned and sneered as if I’d just suggested an orgy.

“All that religious mumbo jumbo? It’s supposed to be about us.

“Marriage is sanctioned by God.” He sighed..

“What if I don’t want to be sanctioned? I stopped to adjust my straw hat, relieving the dampness at my hairline.

He was silent for a beat. Then. “I don’t know how we ever got this far.”

“It’s not too late to change our minds,” I said, my mouth going pouty.

But I knew why. Because no one else had proposed, that’s why. All those men and all that sex, and then they disappeared.

On the first day we met, he went all goofy and said, “I can tell already that I’m going to marry you.” I was surprised and charmed. But he was like a locomotive’s cow catcher, pushing me, pushing me–away from other men, away from my friends, his sheer will more than I could fight off. Dazed and lazy, I let it go on, knowing it would never happen. Not in 100 years. He was nothing like the man I wanted for a husband.

“It’s not too late,” I repeated, squinting in the bright sunlight, looking for his reaction, but he wasn’t there. He had disappeared into hot air.

What happened that day was a little like a national crisis. Seven hundred people disappeared and the freaking churches had a field day. The Rapture is Real screamed the headlines.

My family and friends were happy he was gone, no matter by what transport. I didn’t believe in the Rapture or disappearances, so I figured it was some hoax. But I found myself suffering. He had loved me. I had been a bitch. Assholes came and went, but I was still single.

A year later there was a knock on my door. And there he was. He looked different. He was thinner and more handsome. He had on strange clothes, but it was his attitude that was most disconcerting. He was pleased to see me, but in a tentative way; not goofy or ardent. The only interest he showed was getting me to bed. He couldn’t get his funny silver spandex uniform off fast enough.

“Don’t touch that,” he warned, when I reached out to stroke the shiny fabric.

He was much better in bed than the old days.

“Where have you been?” I murmured.

“It was the Rapture, remember?”

“Don’t bullshit me.”

“I don’t believe in that anymore, so don’t worry. And you? You still don’t believe in anything, right?”

That annoyed me.

That’s when he told me about my pouty mouth and kissed me again.

I found myself really getting excited at these new prospects.

But you know how you just know something? Well, I knew, right then and there, he was going to disappear again.

 

Beverly A. Jackson writes, paints and does clay art in Colorado. Her fiction and poetry have appeared online and in print in over 100 literary venues. Her 2-volume memoir “Loose Fish” is available on Amazon, while her novel “The Far Reach of the Ancient Gods” is currently seeking a publisher.

 

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As a totally irreverent person (regarding organized religion), I always thought of The Rapture to be as intriguing and unbelievable as, say, being captured by UFO’s. Once the seed is planted, the ‘what ifs’ never stop. Matter Press reflects my life philosophy that ‘less is more’ thus explaining all.

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