Young men in their 30s who think they are at the height of their independence discover they are overgrown boys when the crisis strikes. It is the prodigal son, returning home, but not to his father—always to his mother. The father is reading, left alone, while the mother hounds her son. She tells him what to do and what not to do. Any thoughts of love with his long-distance relationship flee from his mind when he falls under the auspices of his mother. He remembers what it was like to be controlled by a woman and thoughts of being a hermit, living in a car, living far away from comfort where women don’t go, abound in his head.

I went over to my best friend’s house. His mother was watching the news. “Andy, you aren’t supposed to be here!”

“What?” I said.

“I could have you arrested!”

“What?” I said.

Her eyes were bulging and in tears. “The governor told us to stay home. Don’t you watch the news?”

“No,” I said.

“Clayton, your friend is going to kill us all because he is ignorant!” My friend’s mother was shaking. It was getting uncomfortable. “Maybe I should leave?” I said. “I didn’t know.”

“Oh, she over-reacts to everything,” my friend laughed.

“Clayton, the governor told us to wear masks all the time! 90 percent of the population will get Corona.”

“That’s just made up hysteria,” my friend said.

Clayton’s sister walked in. “Oh, hi Andy.” She sat down in her chair and smirked at me.

“Joy, tell Andy he needs to go home.”

“Mom, stop being mean. Andy, how have you been?”

“Oh, just reading philosophy and contemplating the end of the world.”

I left shortly and went home to my mother.

“Wash your dishes, Andy.”

I started to unload the dishwasher.

“Don’t unload the dishwasher.”

Jean Paul Sarte said it best. “Hell is other people.”

3 thoughts on “The End of the World

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