Sat, 23 May 2009 - 5:05 pm

Platitudes

Sally hasn’t talked to anyone since the Pride returned her to us. She has spoken words, answered questions and offered suggestions, but she hasn’t talked, just talked. Nugget achieves the same end by not speaking at all; I’ve never seen anyone as good at vocal hiding as Sally is.

It doesn’t help that no-one really knows what to say to her. No-one wants to ask about what happened that night – we don’t want to remind her of it, and we don’t want to hear about it. Our imaginations fill in the gaps easily enough and with taller, worse stories than the reality. But then, they might not be so far from the truth, and that possibility is frightening for all of us.

The hardest thing is not to seem like we pity her. She quietly refuses to let anyone do things for her: she carries her own pack and helps with the food distribution every morning and night. She catches me watching her sometimes and gives me a little smile or a pat on the arm; don’t worry, Faith, don’t worry.

I worry. Of course I do.

I know she limps when she isn’t paying attention or thinks no-one’s looking. I know she throws up in the morning, and doesn’t eat much for breakfast because of it. I suppose it’s a good sign; it means that the baby is still all right.

The baby. The tiny life is still an enigma in my head. On one hand, it’s a kernel of hope, a promise of new things and continued living, the basis of species survival in the face of an apocalypse like ours. On the other hand, it’s dangerous, could damage or kill Sally in many ways, will slow us down, and its chances of survival aren’t high. The good far, far outweighs the bad, but I don’t think it can be ignored. We should prepare somehow. I feel like we should do something.

I would bring it up with the group, but they don’t know about it. Masterson doesn’t want to admit it’s really happening, so he won’t talk to me about it and gives me filthy looks when I try. Sally doesn’t want everyone to know and it’s not my secret to tell. I don’t understand. She’s going to start showing soon, and what then?

Do I just wait for it to be too obvious to ignore? Will that be enough time to make any kind of preparations? We’re struggling to feed and shelter ourselves most of the time; I feel like we’ll need months to gather everything we’d need to deal with a baby.

I can feel the ‘what if’s lining up in my head, behind my fingers and tongue, wanting a route into the world. They’re not helpful; there are too many. We can’t plan tomorrow, let alone six months ahead.

I wish I knew how to talk to Sally. I wonder if Bree spoiled it for me, if she has tainted my trust in women. Maybe it’s just that Sally is the only other woman here.

I wish I was the one telling everyone that it’s all going to be okay.

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