Monday, 16 February 2009 - 5:16 pm

Catching up

I found Matt being questioned by Thorpe and Dillon this morning. Asking about his group – meaning the sharks – and what they’re after. I almost intervened, but I didn’t need to.

“They let me live, but they don’t feed me or anything,” he said. “I’m not one of them. They’ll attack you because they can. They like it. Then they take what they want and leave.” He shrugged, understanding and liking it as little as we did.

As answers went, it seemed to appease the others. From the way he talks about the sharks, ‘letting him live’ doesn’t mean ‘safe’ or ‘untouched’. No-one has said anything about that, but no-one really needs to. I don’t think Dillon quite understands what it means, and that’s a good thing.


The differences in Matt are more than skin deep. There’s an easiness missing from him, and the lightly-dropped quips have dried up on his tongue. He doesn’t smile the same way he used to. He used to be the brightest personality in a group, greeting everyone, all smooth exchanges. He had a knack for making everyone feel like a friend right away, for sliding into a situation and making it his own. Now, he’s closed in on himself, trying not to draw anyone’s attention. The way he moves reminds me of Sally.

We caught up today. Swapped stories of what we were doing when it all came down, and what we did after. He was on his way home from a friend’s place when the bomb hit. He tried to carry on towards home at first, but got held up by the need to find food. Then the rain came and the sharks gathered, and it has been too dangerous to go anywhere since.

He didn’t offer details and I didn’t ask. He’s usually an open person, especially with me, so I wasn’t going to push him. I can fill in the blanks enough for myself.

I look at him and see someone who is more taken from than taking. He was always a generous guy, but this is different; this isn’t about giving. This is about power.

He asked about my arm, and I told him a building fell on it. He looked shocked until I explained that it was only a bit of the building and most of it missed me. It’s almost healed now; I can probably take the brace off it soon. He asked about the group as well, and I told him how we found each other. He seemed surprised that we were getting along so well. If only he knew.


While Matt and I were talking, Sally came to ask me what we were doing about the food situation – after losing half our supply to the river, we’re running short now. We had checked the other side of the mall – there was still this side to go through.

Matt said he knew where there was some food we could have. He showed us to a hidden cupboard at the back of a sports store where there was more than enough to fill our bags up. I took him aside and asked him if this was his stash, what he’d been living on. He didn’t answer; he just looked at me.

He’s staying with us today. He’s not going to stay here after we go, though. I don’t plan to let him.