“You’re not wearing any pants,” the women said as she sat on the bench, looking through a bunch of pictures that she held in her hands like they were a deck of cards. She was crying, or at least Clark thought she was crying. Her noise was read and her eyes were filled with tears, filling up even as she looked up at him as he approached.

She grinned at Clark as he looked down and saw that he was indeed “without the proper apparel,” as his mother would have said. He wore a suite jacket and a light blue shirt underneath, his jockey shorts and sox and shoes.

“I… ,” he started and then had to choke back some tears of his own. “I was a bit rushed when I left the house. I didn’t even notice until you said something. Mind if I sit down?” He asked, she patted the spot on the park bench next to her and shook her head.

“Mary,” she said holding out her hand as he sat down. “Mary E. Ellison.”

“Clark Mottson,” he replied thinking about whether or not he should shake her hand for fear that he might ketch what ever it was that was killing people left and right, even though he seemed immune. Thinking that he was screwed either way, he shook it. “Elizabeth? Your middle name? Does the ‘E’ stand for Elizabeth?”

“No, Elly. A family name.”

“Oh. I only asked because my mothers name is…was Elizabeth.” Choking back a few more tears Clark sat down.

“Did she die from the…”

“Yeah.” He replied, pulling out a ball of Kleenex that he had stuffed in his breast pocket. “Yesterday. I took her to the hospital, but there were no more doctors left to help her, to help anybody. Fuck…” He wanted to scream, to demand an answer of why this was happening and why to someone as beautiful and wonderful as his mother, but in the end he simply didn’t have the energy to scream, he could only utter “fuck” as a protest, and even then only above a whisper. “How about you?”

She stopped flipping through the pictures she was holding and put them in her pocket. “Well, my parents died ten years ago. My mother from cancer, she was young – 35. About a year later, my father who never really got over loosing her, walked into on-coming traffic. I don’t think it was suicide. He loved me and my two brothers too much to do that. He just…” her words trailed off as she reached into her own coat pocket to pull out her own ball of Kleenex, “…he just seemed to walk around in a daze after she died. Not really there, you know?”

Clark did know. He saw that look everyday in his mothers eyes after his father died four years before, except for yesterday, after it was becoming clear to his mother that she wasn’t going to make it. She seemed… happy. Not happy that she was dying, but happy that she might see her husband again soon, in the afterlife, and if not, happy that she wouldn’t have to agonize over missing him so much everyday.

For the longest moment Clark and Mary just sat there on the park bench admiring the beautiful fall day. There were no clouds to be seen anywhere in the sky. The city was quite, except for the dried leaves and the wind that blew through the trees and carried the leaves away. Clark took in a deep breath, savoring the smell of the dried leaves as the aromas of fall wafted through the air. Although Clark felt fine he imagined that this would be his last fall. Next year fall would come as usual, the leaves would turn and the days and nights would get cooled, would get colder. Fall would turn into winter and the snow would fall and eventually it would be summer again. But man would be gone, they were all but gone now, the only two people left alive that Clark new of were sitting here on this bench. Either by their own design or just by the Earth’s choosing, man would no longer exist. The future would be left to the animals.

Clark smiled briefly at that thought. He could imagine the city, the skyscrapers who’s base would become overgrown with trees and vines and weeds and grass. The grass would pop-up after a few years, between the cracks on the sidewalks and the cracks in the pavement on the streets. He could imagine the abandon cars becoming a garden, of sorts, as sand and dirt and dust collected in the seats and trunks of the cars and the beds of trucks, out of which would grow more grass and maybe even some flowers. Flowers of all sizes would spring to life, they would grow tall and wide and along with the grass they would grow to engulf everything. Soon the cars and trucks would disappear and even the small buildings would no longer be visible above the high grass, weeds, and trees. That along with the rain would melt and transform the steel, concrete, and plastic into forms that no longer resembled their native shapes. They would become the new rocks and boulders, they would shape the new hills and valley’s. Even the skyscrapers would fall and crumble, and eventually, the wind would bury them, along with what is left of the human race.

“What about your two brothers.” Clark asked, wiping his noise one last time and putting the Kleenex back into his coat pocket.

“Dead, I suppose.” Unconsciously, she placed her hand on the pocket that held her pictures. “I tried calling, but nobody answered. One lives on the west coast and the other lives in Maine. At least you got to see your mother before she died.”

“Yeah, I guess that is one good thing,” Clark answered back.

He hadn’t given it much thought, but now that Mary mentioned it he considered himself very lucky in that respect.

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