It’s the End of the World

1000 words :: Jude Law/Ewan McGregor :: 5/28/04
Ewan laughed and said he felt fine, sang the whole song over the phone, only he didn’t know all the words and made half of them up.

It’s been raining for weeks on end and Ewan wonders how there can still be any water left to come down. The first couple days they slogged through despite the crew urging them to stop and wait till the storm blew over.

The storm hasn’t blown over. They’re holed up in some hotel in the middle of fucking Russia, and Ewan’s seriously regretting ever setting out on this trip. Charley wanted to wait it out, said they couldn’t turn back now and have it all have been for nothing. Ewan agreed with him then; this was, after all, the biggest adventure of their lives. Now he thinks maybe there is no waiting it out. Maybe it’s going to rain forever and they should have turned back when they had a chance.

Even if it does stop raining soon, how long will it take before it’s dry enough for them to get back on the road? The roads here were shite to begin with; what are they going to be like after weeks of rain?

Ewan’s good at bluffing through it, though. The landline phones have been dead for over a week, and when they lost their connection on the mobiles as well he just shrugged it off and went back to playing poker with the guys from the crew. He still says they’ll come back on and it’s only when he’s lying alone in the dark that he lets it get to him.

It’s been three days now since he last heard Jude’s voice. Three days isn’t that long, really; there’ve been countless times when they’ve gone longer than that without talking. But when you’re stuck in the middle of a foreign country in the middle of a never-ending storm and things are looking increasingly bleak, it seems like fucking forever.

The rain finally does end, but not in the way they’d hoped. Now it’s snowing and it’s piled up and freezing. When the other guys make morbid bets on whether it’ll be the power or the heat that goes next, Ewan just laughs and tells them to fuck off.

He stops laughing when he’s alone, presses his hand to his mouth and bites back the sob that tries to escape. When he’s alone he tries to remember exactly what Jude said last, plays it over in his head like rewinding a tape. Over and over he hears “I love you. I miss you. It’ll be all right.” Over and over he kicks himself for ever thinking up this stupid trip.

It’s been raining in London, too. By the time Jude wonders if maybe he wouldn’t be better off somewhere else, it’s too late. No planes can take off in this weather, not with visibility at the end of your nose. No trains either – the tunnel is flooded – and boats are out of the question. Britain is completely cut off.

There are still phones, at least. Only the one person he wants to talk to is the one he can’t reach. At first there were still news broadcasts, even after Jude lost contact with Ewan, but there hasn’t been anything but static on the telly for days now. He tried the internet, even, but then found he didn’t even know what to look for or where to start. That it’s snowing there is all he managed to find out. It’s snowing and Ewan is trapped there and Jude is trapped here and he’s lonely and frightened getting more and more depressed by the day.

He spent the month or so before…before this happened, whatever this is. The end of the world, maybe. Ewan laughed and said he felt fine, sang the whole song over the phone, only he didn’t know all the words and made half of them up. Jude could hear the grin in his voice and it made him want to cry. The month before this, though, Jude was worried, sure. There wasn’t a day that went by that he didn’t sigh with relief when he heard Ewan’s voice on the other end of the line. But he was worried about normal things. Things like bike accidents and border problems. He didn’t actually think Ewan was going to die; it was more of a vague “I know I’m worrying for nothing” sort of worry. Now he’s not so sure. Now he thinks he might die, too.

No one knows what’s going on. On the telly they were on about global warming, but wasn’t that supposed to be ages from now? No one had any answers for why it happened so suddenly. It’s not what anyone predicted and so there was no one with projections and theories and telling them it will all be all right in the end. There were only people trying desperately not to look as panicked as they felt.

Jude doesn’t have to worry about that. No one’s here to see how he looks, eyes red from crying. No one cares that he’s in the same clothes he wore yesterday and probably the day before that as well. And why should he dress up? Why should he care? He’s not going anywhere.

The phone jerks him out of a doze, out of a dream that’s nothing but a memory of how things used to be. He wipes his eyes on his sleeve and grabs for the phone, holding his breath almost, not wanting to hope, but hoping still.

It’s not. It’s his mum, and he feels guilty being disappointed, because of course he’s glad to know Mum and Dad are all right, and Natasha who was visiting them when this all happened. Of course he’s glad, but it’s not the same. It’s not the same at all.

When he rings off he curls up, reaching out to touch Ewan’s side of the bed, and wishes for the millionth time that he’d learned to ride a bike, got his license, and gone along with them. Then at least they’d be together.