We stopped the first Mikrolet that showed up. We’re early, it’s only 6.03. I lifted Daffa onto the front seat next to the driver, and got on after him and closed the door. The driver changed gears, his hands brushed my son’s thigh a bit. I had a feeling he was enjoying it. I picked Daffa up casually and sat him on my lap, “Look Daffa the baloon guy.” I said pointing outside the open window.
“Ma?” the breeze was drying his strawberry smelling hair. I kept breathing in the lovely scent.
“What day is today?”
“What was it yesterday? Do you remember?”
“What day comes after Wednesday?”
“Thursday. Oh.” He didn’t care anymore. He was busy watching the world move before him.
“Could please you tell Ms. Fatima that I don’t like carrots?”
“Sorry, Kiddo your on your own this time.” He’s so cute when he uses ‘politeness’ to get his way. I kiss the crown of his haid for that.
We arrived on the street corner of Daffa’s preschool.
“Stop here, please.” I told the driver, handing him 3000 rupiahs.
“You’re welcome!” Daffa yelled cheerfully to the driver.
We tumbled out quick and clean. Double checking nothing got left behind.
I checked my wrist, the digital display read: 6:66.
What? That’s not quite right, I thought.
Daffa was already running ahead of me.
Not far, 5 of his friends were huddled together around something.
When I caught up with him I was shocked to see what interested them so much.
It was a bird. Ordinary as any.
But it was just floating there. Caught in-flight.
Like a live 3D sculpture.
Shasha, Daffa’s classmate reached out to touch it. The other kids gasped. I yelled, “Don’t!”
It might be infected with something, I thought. But with what? What happenned to gravity?
I looked around us.
What I realized made me drop to my knees.
“Mama!” Daffa cried out.
He looked at the same direction I was looking.
Birds everywhere froze in the air. It’s as if someone pressed the pause button.
Nature stopped. Not a breeze. Not even a sway from the trees.
Maybe it wasn’t the pause button. What if SOMEONE pressed the stop button?
Is this the end of time? I checked my wrist again: now it read 9:99.
Think Dian. Think. What is this? What if this The End?
What if it’s just another one of nature’s phenomenon?
But the chaos once others realize what we hav, would in it’s own way become apocalyptic, wouldn’t it.
I took out my cell. Dialed for my husband. But there wasn’t any connection.
God! Is this really it? Do we pray now? Or do we just lie on the ground and wait?
I gathered all five children. Walked them to a patch of grass. “All of you sit here.”
“Ants!” Hasan yelled.
The ants too have stopped moving. They were carrying their larvae, planning to evacuate or something?
“It’s OK, they’ve stopped. Time has stopped.” I said trying to hide the tears in my voice.
Then all of a sudden Daffa was fading. Like in the movies.
“Daffa!” I tried to hold him but I couldn’t
“Mama!” he was terrified. So was I and all the other children. He kept gradually disappearing.
“Oh God! Oh God! Not Dafa! Not my baby! Not yet. Please, GOD!” I wailed.
“Mama Daffa!” Hasan was calling me.
“Mama Daffa! Shasha! She’s disappearing too.” Adit was crying.
All of a sudden all the 6 children were vanishing slowly.
I realized since Daffa was the youngest compared to the others, that the younger ones go first.
I focused on my baby. He was crying his eyes out. Calling for me. Reaching for me.
“Baby, Darling. Mama’s here. It’s OK. It’s OK.” I’m looking into his eyes, trying hard to smile.
They look like ghosts now. Thinning out.
My voice was all I could hear, echoing all around me.
All that’s left is Daffa’s eyes.
“You’re on your own now Kiddo. I love you.”
Then no more Daffa.
I fell to the ground. Covering my face with my hands.
So this is the end, eh? Way to go, God.
Light seeps through my hands. My eyelids no longer function. Tears lost their meaning.
I’m disappearing too.
Ready or not.