Saturday, 31 October 2009 - 9:52 pm


I was up for most of last night, catching naps on one of the infirmary beds when Debbie was quiet. She was restless and wouldn’t settle for long. At first, I could hum or sing to her, and she would drift down into a deeper sleep. As the night wore on, sleep grew thinner and let her rise up towards irritable shifting quicker and quicker. By the early hours of the morning, I couldn’t get her to sleep at all.

She wasn’t truly awake, either. She murmured a great deal, but the only words I could make out were the occasional calls for her mother, and sometimes her dad. Eventually, she stopped believing I was her mum, either hearing the lie in my voice or unable to hear me at all. With such a scorching fever, it’s hard to tell.

An hour or so before dawn, Jonah surprised me with a bottle of water. He came over while I was watching Debbie helplessly tossing and turning, tangling herself in the covers. It was all I could do to stop her from strangling herself. Her distress was caught in her throat in raw sobs and she wasn’t reacting to me at all. I could have shouted and she wouldn’t have known.

Jonah was being kept awake by the kid almost as much as I was. He came over and stood next to me, wordlessly holding out the bottle. I thanked him and drank deep – it felt like forever since I’d had something to drink. I wasn’t used to kindness from him – though he hasn’t been unkind – and watched him out of the corner of my eye. He was watching Debbie with a pull-down frown.

“Why do you have to be here all night too?” I asked him.

“If you’re not in the dorm, neither am I,” he said with a sigh.

“There isn’t anyone who can relieve you?”

“No, you’re my assignment.”


He glanced at me and shrugged.

“They must’ve been upset with you when they gave you this assignment,” I said.

To my surprise, the corner of Jonah’s mouth twitched and he said, “Something like that.”

I had meant it as a joke, but apparently it was true. There was an awkward bump to the atmosphere in the room, punctuated by struggles from the delirious little girl. Was watching me really a punishment? Am I that bad? Or is it just a lowly and boring job for a cutout to have to do?

“What did you do?” I asked him, trying not to show how my curiosity burned.

“Oh, nothing much.” His tone suggested that it was anything but ‘nothing much’, but I let him brush me off. I was still reeling from the idea that I was punishment.

“Sorry.” It was all I could think of to say.

He shrugged again and that seemed to be the end of it. He returned to bed a few minutes later, trying to sleep through Debbie’s moans and throttling sobs. Thoroughly confused, I tried to comfort her, even though she didn’t know I was there. For a while, I had the urge to cry along with her.

Jonah has been stuck with me for some infraction, and he hasn’t ever taken it out on me. That makes me feel worse. I haven’t made his job easier, with my weird hours and illicitly-visiting boyfriend, but he hasn’t done more than frown at me and look displeased. Does he think he deserves it as part of his punishment? Does he sympathise because I’m also being punished? Do we deserve each other?

He’s hard to read and he doesn’t exactly over-share. If I ever wanted to date a guy like my dad, he’d be the one. Now that’s a scary thought. Luckily, I have Matt.


I should be kinder to Jonah, try not to make this hard for him.

Is he watching me the way I think he is? Or might he be sympathetic to our cause? I don’t dare dream about that; it’s a lot to hope for. I wonder if he might be a friend to us, but how do I approach it without exposing myself and my friends?

So many questions, so few answers. I haven’t seen Matt for days, or any of the other Seekers since yesterday morning. All I have is the thoughts running around in my head and a sick child dying in front of me. Right now, I can’t see tomorrow being any better.