"Do you love me? I don't love you. Sorry."
For honest credibility's sake, they had to look in each other's eyes when they said it. They repeated it to each other for the longest time. Once a year, at least. They wagered that they were going to be the last people on earth to repeat that sentence, and they would still not love each other.
So for the longest time, they were also the last people on earth, because everyone else had died from that disease called love. Everybody else got married and suffered all kinds of heartache. Had children who made their hearts ache. And loved their friends and parents and suffered so many heart attacks.
As if the love for one's self could suffice. As if the more they loved the more was got. This was worse, people who loved, they loved all the more because they knew it was non-refundable. The value was in its finality. Once you have loved someone, they had every power to destroy you, at least all the parts that you have reserved for allowing them to live in your heart.
And there was the kind of heartache from every kind of love. Love of food, love of country, god, ideas...oh the foolishness of man! If only they could love themselves a little better. If only they weren't so narcissistic to think that their simpering seeds and obnoxious offspring, springing from every imaginable place in germinal hyperactivity, spreading all over Earth like warts, was enough.
If only they could realize how deeply loved they are, each and every one of them, instead of posing like heroic saviors for every cause on Earth. That even Earth does not care for them. And the Universe is none the wiser with or without their love.
Which is why our hero and heroine never loved. And they have lived so long because they never loved. And soon after there was nobody left alive on Earth, they kept pushing it and to see where it might lead them. And to see who was going to mouth at the throes of death that same longing of recognition. Because love remembers. And even though they have loved nobody, a lot of people have loved them. And those who loved them have also been loved and remembered by a lot more others. And that was why, at the very end, when they were the last people who lived on Earth, the memories of everyone who have died loving someone or something was passed onto them, because the living's job was to remember.
(Even if there were people around them, they didn't see the others. They couldn't. The selfish are blessed with chronic unawareness.)
And so, the two most selfish people on Earth met every now and then just to reaffirm to each other of their lack of love for one another. And one day they met with the knowledge that they were dying. Their grey eyes aged and cold from watching all the people who have died for love. Indeed, they were the last people on Earth because they never loved.
They were the richest, because they never wanted, hence they never shopped superfluously. Also because they had the whole world divided between them and nobody to show it off to. Who'd want any more? What more could they have asked? They were the very healthy and fit because they had all the attention on their own biceps and abs. Smart and serious and sunny. There was nobody else beside them.
And they have kept it on for mere spite.
Then came that day, when they were tired, and it was the last winter of their lives. (They knew it. Selfish people always knew that they're at the edge of the world and everything is in superlatives every year.)
The fire was low and smoke was high. They held each other for warmth. By a mere look at first. Then broken sentences. "Do you remember when...? Not even if he...Do you think...?" A brush of skin. Then all three together: Look and skin and sentence. And then the fire got high and smoke low and a clarity passed between them. Something old and remembered and have filled the lives of so many and ended the lives of everyone. Something that was as sudden as it was undeniably real. Touchable. Theory. Fact. True. All. True.
And they didn't need to say it. Everything had already been said. And all that will be said has been said many times over. And saying it a hundred million times again shall not change a streak of paint or a micro digit of the millionth nth.
Inevitable as death.
“I love you.”
“I do I do I do I do I do...”
Once they said it, they couldn't stop themselves anymore. A look became a stare. A touch became an embrace. And so on and so forth. And love grew, grew, grew within them. Choking their organs and blood flow, making them stupid and sick and slothful. They quickly grew wrinkled and excitable and unreasonable.
Then everything lit up around them. And everybody came back to life and cheered for them in a ghostly wedding and attended their graduate and graded and guarded parties and funerals. Everybody was there. Since they started loving each other they had to love everybody else too.
Once they said it, they couldn't stop themselves anymore. They loved everybody with obedience. They loved everybody with obligation. The more they loved, the less they remembered. Soon they forgot who they were. Soon everyone became somebody else's copy.
Once they said it, they couldn't stop themselves anymore. Until Somebody New came into the family. Then they either became like that Somebody New, or the other way around. Eventually everybody who loved somebody had to love everybody and everything that everybody did.
Once they said it, they couldn't stop themselves anymore. One love demanded his entire bands and tribes involved in that one love too. They loved everybody because they had to. Because from this body he took money every month. From that body they were born. On the shoulder of one of those bodies their bodies were going to be raised. And so on and so forth until they had to love everyone and everyone loved everybody and that was that.
Hence, like when everyone else who have died before them, they too died out of love. Out of too much love. And everything more than just love. And everything that love brought along in a suitcase or a contract or a diseases or a set of children and series of hopes.
Love that lit their world. Love that ruined them. Love that made their ruin bearable. Love that made their unbearable ruin repeatable many times over. Till the end of time. Forever and always.