Sunday, 23 August 2009 - 9:20 pm

Bar’s closed

I just read over the post I wrote yesterday. I don’t usually do that. I don’t usually go back, because there’s too much moving elsewhere to do. But it’s been bothering me.

I read yesterday’s post, and then I read over the first one I put up on this blog. The one I made when my life had shifted and I didn’t know which way to turn, when I couldn’t tell forward from back and struck out in whatever direction I could find. More determination than wisdom.

The things that happen to you crawl in and make themselves at home. That has been bothering me, too.


We got to the warehouse district about midday. The rumbling of our engines reflected back off fences and walls at us, blanketing us in sound until we couldn’t tell where we stopped and the silence began.

When we shut off the engines, the gulf rushed in and swallowed us. Hairs lifted on the back of my neck. It felt like there were things skittering on the edge of hearing, or just out of sight, gone when I turned my head. Then we hopped out of the vehicles and stamped our feet into life, and the feeling shattered.

We were gearing up, taking essential equipment with us, when I noticed that Dale was frowning. He’s one of the more relaxed members of the group, usually lighter than the rest of us, but he has been tense for the past few days. Last night, I saw him talking to Thorpe and not getting the answers he was looking for. Their expressions were enough to tell me that.

I don’t know what’s going on between those two, but I know that Thorpe won’t talk about it with the rest of us here. He’s so private, so protected, and we live on top of each other. We stay within sight for safety, and what we don’t see, we hear.

So I went to Thorpe and suggested that he stay behind to guard the vehicles. Something felt off, so why didn’t he make sure that what supplies we did have were safe? But not alone: Dale should stay behind with him. I wanted to tell him to talk to the poor fella – do something to sort this out – but you can’t approach Thorpe that way. You can’t put it into something as solid as words. All I could do was give them the excuse to be apart from the rest of us long enough to do whatever it was they needed to do.

He tried to say that it wasn’t necessary and I lost patience with him. There’s protected and then there’s isolation. I considered having a go at him, but butting heads wouldn’t have helped anything. Instead, I told the others that Thorpe and Dale were staying behind to guard the vehicles and it was done. The rest of us trudged off without them. I didn’t look back but he was probably glaring at me.


“Do you think it’ll work?” Matt asked me as we worked our way through the first warehouse. Trust him to be aware of the relationships of others, even ones as subtle as Thorpe’s. He’d spotted it long before I did.

I shrugged. “I don’t know. They’re both big boys.”

He couldn’t help himself: he grinned and started making comments about the boys and sizes. I had to smack him before he’d stop, but he made me laugh.

“It really doesn’t bother you?” I asked him when he had restrained himself. He looked puzzled until I admitted that I knew about him and Thorpe, about that one night they’d spent together.

Matt was sheepish about it. They’d been drunk – we were all drunk that night – and it wasn’t more than that. Just one night. “Besides, he’s not my type.”

“You have a type?”

He gave me a playful shove. “Yeah, I do.”

I teased him about all the evidence to the contrary until he told me that the big fireman is a keeper. Not so much into the casual coupling.

“Ah, I see,” I said. “That kind of not your type.”

Matt’s been a casual kinda guy for most of the time I’ve known him. He’s had a few semi-serious partners, but he always goes back to unseriousness in the end. Until the world ended, that is; I think his time with the Sharks altered him. There hasn’t been a lot of opportunity for that kind of thing anyway.


Our foray into the warehouses wasn’t very fruitful. We found lots of useless stuff – toys, baby supplies (I snagged a few bits to bring back to Sally), gardening equipment, furniture. Some clothes, some pet supplies. A lot of the crates had already been broken open and the more useful items taken. We didn’t find any perishables, no food or drink. We have a lot more warehouses to go through, so we haven’t given up yet.

It was hard to tell what had happened while we were gone. Things were definitely less frosty when we got back. Thorpe is never going to say, but Dale wasn’t wearing a frown any more. I don’t think it’s solved, but the work is definitely in progress. That must be a good thing.

Progress. Moving on. Making something new and good despite the mess the world is in. I had forgotten what that was like, but all around me it’s still going on. Even Thorpe is managing to do it, as reluctant as he is.

The things that happen to you put their feet up on your mental couch and ask for another drink.

Well, this bar is closed. This is the old Faith, one who’s done crying and feeling sorry for herself, one who’s done listening to the lies and the poison. I’m not worn down yet. I haven’t been washed away.

I’m still here, and I’m staying.

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