The first indication, I guess, was when the radio cut out. Just a dull beep filled the airwaves, and I was halfway to turning the thing off when we heard the sound of sirens from outside. The speakers attached to telegraph poles all across the city were blaring out instructions – go home, take cover, don't panic…
The words were wasted, though. The screams and sounds of running feet outside were getting louder by the minute. Inside, though, was quiet. Except for the gentle sound of her tears falling on my cotton-covered shoulder.
We didn't panic, we didn't take cover. We just knelt there, on the floor, in each others' arms. We had no words worth saying, for we both knew each other's feelings so well that words lacked the ability to describe them.
The sirens rang and rang, until they faded from our minds and all we felt were our heartbeats, and our sadness.
Time passed; seconds, minutes.
It was long past four minutes by the time we released our embrace and breathed deeply again.
“False alarm, false alarm,” the speakers bleated.
We live out in the country, now. We've never been through a four minute warning since that time. But we'll always remember it, because it taught us something important, the most important thing in the world.
It taught us the meaning of love.