Fri, 18 September 2009 - 8:28 pm

Against the flow

I spent most of last night worrying about what was going on in the boys’ dorms and what exactly ‘it’s in hand’ means. Knowing that I couldn’t do anything about it didn’t help. I want to fix it, I want to make it better, but I can’t. I have to trust that my friends will do what’s best but I’m scared for them. I’d feel better if I could just hold their hands in all of this.

There are things closer to home that I can do something about. Like Jersey’s unhappiness with sanitation duty. So I distracted myself with that today.

I almost asked Simon about it, but he hasn’t spoken to me much since the whole shambler-in-the-basement thing. Instead, I talked to Peter, the nurse, and he said that they probably put her there to shut her up. Even he knows that she’s got the wrong kind of mouth to fit in anywhere, and I don’t think he’s met her yet. It makes me wonder where he hears these things. Who does he talk to when he’s not here among the injured brawlers and bandages?

“Maybe if she tried to toe the line, she wouldn’t be given the shitty jobs.” Peter thought he was funny. I couldn’t summon up a smile for him.

He also thought that I was only using Jersey as an excuse to speak to him, and spent most of the rest of the day following me around and indulging in tired innuendos. He kept going on about ‘playing nice’ and ‘stroking people the right way’. He didn’t nudge or wink, but he did waggle his eyebrows at me once. Flirting is the last thing on my mind right now but he seems harmless enough; he’s like a puppy desperate for permission to hump my leg. I didn’t put him off as strongly as I probably should have.

 

I caught up with Jersey over dinner. I didn’t say so, but she’s starting to smell of her work, even over the usual miasma of unwashed bodies and unappetising food.

“Toe the line? Who the fuck do you think I am?” She was as impressed with the suggestion as I thought she’d be. “It’s bullying – that’s what it is. Don’t go here, don’t say that. Do exactly as we say or else. I don’t have to take this bullshit.”

I wish that I disagreed or disapproved of her more strongly; it would have given my arguments strength. Instead, I just asked her to think about it, maybe try it for a couple of days and see what happens. In hindsight, this was probably the best approach; Jersey likes to do what Jersey likes to do, and she prefers her own choices over orders every time, no matter how arbitrary or spiteful she might decide to be that day. Maybe if she thinks it’s her idea, she’ll do it.

I hope it works. I haven’t heard what they do with people who refuse to work (other than give them sanitation duty), and I’m not sure I want to find out.

Come to think of it, there’s a lot that I haven’t heard about this place. Like what that machine in the warehouse is and what it is we’re all working so hard for. I don’t know the philosophy or purpose of Haven – maybe it’s nothing lofty or even complicated, but I’d like to know all the same.

Ever since I got out of the infirmary, I feel like I’ve been playing catchup. Even the other Seekers were settled into their places by then. If there was any kind of induction or welcoming speech, I missed it. I was just thrown into the mix and expected to swim with the rest of the shoal. I haven’t blindly followed anything but agreed goals since the bomb went off – no ‘please keep left’, no waiting for the green man to cross, no neat queues enforced by social niceties. We’ve made our own way and our own rules. Now, here we are in this strange shard of the time Before and suddenly there are laws and expectations that no-one explains. Not the same ones as there were Before, though. New ones.

I want explanations. I want reasons. I want to feel like a part of something, not just bowled along by other people’s orders.

I’m like Jersey, I guess, except that I don’t express it in the same way. She bitches and swears at anyone within reach – she’d take part in the fights if she could – while I try to find answers to my questions.

I haven’t been able to find or help Matt, but maybe I’ll be able to find the General and some purpose in all of this arbitrary action. I’m going to stick my head above the waves and see where this shoal is heading.

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