Tuesday, 31 March 2009 - 6:14 pm

Moving on

Ben has been very quiet today. I remember what it was like when Chastity died, how much I needed to adjust to thinking of her gone, how hard it was. I remember hating it when people would ask how I was all the time – how did they think I was, really? – even though I knew that it was the only thing they could think of to say to me. I remember dreading that look in their eyes, the pity for such a loss that was expecting to see me break down any moment.

So I tried not to do those things. I tried not to ask, not to watch him for those moments when he faltered. I stayed near him, in case he needed anything, but didn’t expect anything from him. I tried to give him space to do what he needed to. I talked to him about other things, about where we were going and what we needed to do when we got to the mall, the next mark on our map. He didn’t get involved much, but that’s okay.

The rest of the group have been good about this stuff. All of them except Masterson, who made a remark about the fireman starting a fire. Thorpe looked like he was going to smack him and Alice said something nasty, so the doctor subsided. I don’t think Ben even noticed. I would have expected Masterson to understand – he lost his wife and child, after all – but I guess his need to snipe at everyone supercedes any sympathy that might flash past that brain of his.

Dillon has been very attentive, mostly to me; I think he’s a little bit afraid of Ben. I also suspect that he was nudged into coming over to give me water by someone he looks up to, someone who isn’t eager to show his softer side. It was nice to talk to the kid, and to talk about something else. He’s having trouble dealing with Alice; she doesn’t react to things the way she used to, and he struggles to know what to say to her. Reminiscing tends to end with grumpy words about everything being different now and she doesn’t respond well to jokes.

I told him to give her time to get more comfortable with all of us, give her time to relax. I’m not sure she ever truly will again, but what else can the poor kid do? We’re all learning to live by different rules these days.


We didn’t cover much ground yesterday but we managed to make better time today. The lack of talking speeds us up, I think, though I miss it. Sax is coughing more today; I think the singing and the smoke that washed over us made it worse.

We should reach the mall tomorrow morning. I hope that it hasn’t been looted too thoroughly; there are things that we all need. There wasn’t much of anything of use in Kim’s apartment building (she really had used up all the supplies), so we need to find more food and water soon. Hopefully there’s a furniture store, too – I’d love to sleep in a proper bed right now. I need to close my eyes and hope my dreams are kind to me.