The End of History

I was on a bus, as were many of my comrades. The bus was huge and packed full but not uncomfortably so. After all, our leaders were humane and modern. Boxcars crammed to the point that occupants suffocated were a thing of the distant past. Other buses like ours were going to and fro throughout the city outside our windows.

 

A nuclear bomb dropped to earth on the horizon within the view of our windows. The occupants of the bus, including myself, stared in shock but complete silence. It was not necessarily surprising that our country would be at war. Cut off from the activities of our leaders as we were, we knew their proclivities. Nonetheless, we were still caught off guard at the magnitude and the abruptness. Knowledge and belief are often separate. We watched in awe and resignation as the mushroom cloud formed.

 

I was struck by a deep, bone-deep, sense of doom. It arrested my senses and held me in a vice-like grip from movement of any kind. That was not surprising. What would perhaps be shocking to some, is that I felt a deep shock at the possible death not of me, but of my country. History began when my country formed, and had been continuing ever since. It had never occurred to me that it would actually end some day. Everyone knows, in the academic sense, that empires rise and fall. Everything in our world has an expiration date. Nothing is immortal. But secretly, in our hearts, we believed we would just keep going on forever. As the bus rounded another corner on the outskirts of the city another nuclear bomb dropped within our view. We saw the sky and then we saw the cloud shoot up. The realization that had dawned on me earlier became a conviction. America was ending.

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