Wed, 23 September 2009 - 6:57 pm

Comparing notes

Last night, I was numb when I went to settle down with Matt. He asked me what was going on for the fourth time that day, and I finally felt able to tell him.

As I spoke, there was something in his expression that made me pause. He already knew about the deal, about the nightly visitations. I felt oddly betrayed because he hadn’t told me, but he was surprised that I didn’t know. He said he thought the women would have told me.

I feel more out of touch than ever. I’m playing a perpetual game of catchup, only I don’t know what I’m chasing most of the time. I feel like everyone is watching me rush around, wondering what all the fuss is about.

His expression was guarded when he asked me if I would ever do it. If I’d take part in this man-feeding. Then he took my hand and said I didn’t need to answer; my face said enough. I wished that we could pick up the pretence that protected us when the Wolverines joined us, in case a relationship between us would fend off all of these issues. He said it might be worth a try.

The thing is, I’m not sure if a pretence is enough any more.

 

Today, even Simon commented on how quiet I was. He seemed more relieved than anything else, so I didn’t bother trying to talk to him. I kept catching Peter grinning at me; each time, my stomach flopped over on itself and I had to go do something else.

I found Matt a crutch and he got up to pole himself around the room. His face is better today, with the swelling easing slowly and the bruises losing the vivid purple edge. While he was up and moving around, I asked him about what else I should know. How much of my confusion has already been answered for my friends?

He shrugged and kept going, tap-hop tap-hopping between the furniture. We started to pool what we knew.

The rules are pretty much what I already knew. Stay to your assigned areas, don’t go wandering around on your own. It’s especially important for the girls. I asked him why, when there are so many cutouts around, and he said that that’s part of the problem. “They’re fellas too, y’know,” was how he put it. Stupidly, I hadn’t even considered that; I saw the uniforms and thought of discipline, obedience, and order. I hadn’t realised that they’d crack open their collars and be men underneath. I guess some habits of the time Before haven’t completely left me, even after everything.

The water filtration system that turned our own waste into necessary drink. The mechanic section that was keeping the vehicles going – they have a way to get the ignitions working, so they don’t have to push-start the damned things. The machine that’s being constructed in the warehouse – some vital piece of equipment that will help secure a lasting future for all of us. It’s stalled at the moment, missing some vital parts that the machine shop is trying to build out of scraps. They call it the Converter.

It felt good, churning these things over with Matt. He makes me feel more solid and it seemed to make more sense when we were done. By then, he was flushed and I made him sit down and drink some water for a while.

 

I still need to talk to the General. There are answers that we don’t have between us and the bigger issues are still beyond our reach. At least I’ll feel less foolish now. It’s not just me with these questions; I’m just the one that’s going to step forward and ask them, as usual. After that, well, I don’t know what will happen. But at least we’ll be able to make informed choices; no more following the herd like we’re forced to now.

I didn’t want to bother the General again so soon, but I don’t want this to drag on much longer. I can feel us all slipping and I’m afraid of what our own inertia will do. Tomorrow I’ll visit the General and see if we can sort this out.

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