Vahni Kurra is a Brooklyn-based writer with roots in the American Midwest and Southern India. Her work has appeared in Hika and Oyster River Pages. Vahni has a B.A. in Creative Writing from Kenyon College where she interned at the Kenyon Review. She is currently the book review editor for Sweet Lit.
by Vahni Kurra
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I am 23 and I am fairly certain the world is ending.
There are a number of indicators
that have brought the impending apocalypse to my attention.
This morning, I poured out a bowl of Cheerios and oat milk, and watched as the liquid dried
up in seconds, leaving a wheaty desert behind. I spotted a sea turtle in my menstrual cup. I misplaced my dog, only to find her on the roof. My mother assures me that these things happen to women as they grow old. I remind her that I am 23.
I am 23 and have tried to warn the others. I started with my co-workers. As we left a meeting about sustainability practices (a strange choice for a law firm that defends off-shore drilling companies), I pulled Brenda aside. Brenda has large front teeth and a penchant for bunnies. She hangs up poorly printed photos of her favorite breeds around our shared office:
Blanc de Hotot,
English Lop, Simenwar. I started to tell her about the obscenities my leather couch has been screaming at me, but over the course of our conversation, Brenda’s ears had grown long and fuzzy, and her tail became puffy. Rabbits are known catastrophizers with weak hearts. Nearly half of the world’s rabbit breeds are threatened by extinction. I decided to let the matter go.
I am 23 and the world is ending. It is possible that it is not ending, and that I only think it is because I am 23. The blazer and slacks I wear to the gray office building feel too big for me. Like I am wearing my older sister’s hand-me-downs, though I have no older sister and no real basis for this metaphor. I noticed today that the ground is brittle and riddled with swiss-cheese holes. I can’t remember if it’s always been this way.
I went on another date this weekend, or maybe it was the first one I had ever been on. The man had an old-fashioned radio for a mouth. He had caterpillar eyebrows and two left feet. He studied abroad in Copenhagen. He taught the foxtrot to kids in the slums. We matched on Bumble or we were set up by Brenda. We got dinner at Serafina’s or had messy, bathroom sex at the holiday party. We were an instant hit or we got better over time. At the end
of the night, he asked me if I was interested. I asked him in what? He asked me nothing. I always answered yes.
I grew tired of guessing. It could be tomorrow. It could be while I was in the shower. It could be before I had the chance to tell my mother that I didn’t think I would ever find the right person. That I was probably ok with that. I tried to remember what it was like before I knew. Did I skip through puddles on rainy days? Did I paint my face with reckless abandon, dabbing lip stick in my corneas? Did I put up a good fight? I doubted it. My dog went missing again. This time, I found her in my ultrasound.
I remembered what my mother used to tell me. When God closes a world, they open a universe. This world of mine is collapsing in on itself like an old folding table. I don’t know if I’ll be let into the new one, but I hope I am because I want to be good and I want to fuck up and I want to change and I want to arrive. My dog is an inbred terrier that nips at my heels as the remaining few Altoids and taxi cabs disappear into the last light. I give her a twinkie and a belly rub. She gives me the secret to baking a perfect pie crust. I thank her and dissipate.