(This is a story I have had kicking around in my head for quite a while. It is mixes end of the world with my actual Life. For those of you who know my actual family and me well, you will see just how true this can be. I will warn you now, this is a very emotional piece.)
Dad and I sat in the shade of the red maple in the front yard. Both of us simply looked west, towards the airport. The sounds of the gathering storm mocked us, light but intense. Chugging water from a bottle, I reflected on Life, my father lost in thoughts of his own. A proud and cranky old man of 82, I was uncertain what crossed his mind.
"Going to need to water those tomatoes tomorrow."
I nodded to my dad's sudden statement. A loud boom gave me pause before I could answer. "Yep. Last time I saw a forecast, no rain for several days." I stopped, staring at the browning grass. Smiling sadly, I reached down and touched the grass at my feet.
Dad reloaded his chew, allowing me a chance to light a cigar. Blowing smoke, the light breeze caught it, blowing it easterly and away. A series of loud rumbles caused me to jump in my chair. My father, I noted in faint amusement, hardly even reacted. He continued his long stare away to the distance. I followed his gaze, just letting my thoughts randomly ramble.
"Do you want to leave dad?"
Even at this late of a date, the only response I received was a stern shake of his head. My father said the words he always said when I asked. "You go, you don't have to stay."
"No dad, I am fine right here. Got no where to go anymore anyway."
Nodding, my father returned his focus to the sounds from the west. I looked right, staring at the house. A faint smile crossed my face, remembering everything that ever was. My father had built the house with his own hands and a pair of uncles in the late 1940s. A monument after a fashion, and the starting point of so many adventures and misadventures. Empty now save the collected memories and pieces of living, it might even outlast all of us.
An explosion of sound nearby dragged me unwillingly to the moment. Squinting into the distance, I could see a pair of craft fighting overhead. In moments, the F-22 exploded in mid air, leaving a fiery trail as a marker. Sighing, I said to my dad, "Getting closer I see."
Spitting chew contemptibly, he held his tongue. Perhaps, I thought, he was right. Not much was left to say about anything. I drank some water, pondering this insight. Green streaks of fire arced overhead, followed by more explosions. I laughed suddenly at my jumpiness even now.
The sounds of the storm, the battle drew nearer. My father shifted, hefting his favourite rifle, an old 8mm German Mauser. I did the same, with my 8mm Mauser. Insane, I thought yet again, sitting here in the path of invasion. Insane, I mused, cocking the Mauser, to not attempt to survive.
As the wall of noise increased, I thought of my friends, of my brother and mother. Of my friends not killed in the initial invasion, I hoped that humanity would prevail for them. Of my brother and mother, I hoped they would find my sister, and remember. Depending on events, I thought hopefully, they might even return to our home.
Tears springing forth, I looked at my father. Despite his full life, he too was crying. When the aliens invaded, he simply said he would not leave. Despite countless arguments, I remained. Deep inside, I knew why I stayed with the stubborn old bastard.
I could never continue living, knowing he died alone.
Seeing the spearhead of the alien invasion heading towards our home, my father spoke the hardest words of his life, in his own fashion.
"John, you're an asshole. I love you."
I cried freely. I cried freely and unashamedly, for everything that was, everything that is, everything that could have been. I let the tears roll, not for me, but for humanity, and my cat that I would miss dearly.
Fighting tears the whole way, I spoke words I never said before to my father, as we sighted in aliens advancing through the browns and greens.
"I love you dad."