Friday, 23 January 2009 - 2:47 pm

Spinning compass

The last couple of days have been about trying to get all the pieces together so that we can figure out what to do.  Our food is running low again; we needed to make a decision today if we’re going to have a chance of finding somewhere with supplies before we run out.

We had to figure out what was important to us, beyond basic survival.  I’ve seen people surviving here, and I don’t think it’s enough.  I don’t think it’s enough to do only that, to live from hand to mouth.  Maybe it’s because I know that there’s a finite amount of food and water around, and that water is a major issue.  Rainwater tanks are poisoned, wells and streams can’t be trusted, so we have only bottled or canned drinks to rely on.  And there’s only so much of that around.

We’ve been lucky with the weather.  The rain seems to come pretty regularly – around the same time every afternoon – but it hasn’t been as hot as it should have been at this time of year.  I suppose the stain in the atmosphere is filtering out the sun’s heat, and stopping it from getting too cold at night.  The winter is bound to be far less kind, but at least we’re not sweating out water we can’t afford to lose.

We tried the radio after we got it charged again, but there wasn’t any answer on the channels listed for the Emergency Coordination Centre.  Or any of the other channels, either.  No guidance from anywhere; it’s all up to us to decide.


It came down to family and the promise of organised help.  Those people precious to us and a brand new mecca.  We laid them all out on the map, dotted all the locations we wanted to get to until it looked like a teenager’s acned cheek.

Working out the route is the hardest part.  Of course everyone wants to check on their family first, but should we make the ECC our priority?  In case there’s help there?  Not everyone has family that we will be able to reach: Thorpe’s parents are in a different city completely, as is my mother, and Sax has a son in another country.  He also has a daughter in the area, and Dillon’s parents are well within reach.  Ben has a sister, who has her own family, and we still can’t get anything out of Nugget.  For me, there’s just Dad, the furthest dot out from where we are now.

It’s like the connect-the-dots game from hell – we’ve taken a break because we kept going around in circles and things were getting a little too heated.  Everyone wants to be first; of course they do.  I keep looking at that solitary dot way out by the coast, and the marks showing where we are now.  The distance we’ve travelled already, from the centre of the dead city to its rotting limb here, is tiny in comparison to what we have yet to go.  And it took us three weeks to get this far.

I miss my dad. I’ve tried not to think about him too much because we’ve been so focussed on getting this far, but now I don’t have a choice.  Now I can think about finding him again, and I’m terrified.

I wish he was here so much.  He’d say something dry and practical, make fun of the mess my hair is in, and I’d feel about a million times better about everything.  I wish I knew that he was okay – that would be enough to make me walk lighter.  It would make all this struggling worth it, if I knew he was there. 

I hear his voice sometimes.  I hear him make comments – I hear him now, saying, “Come on now, Faithy,” to make me buck up.  I can almost feel the chuck on my shoulder where he’d nudge me, pushing me off the depressive path and towards something better.  It used to annoy the hell out of me; now I treasure these whispers of him.  They make my heart beat faster, because for a minute I think he might really be right there, behind me, and the disappointment has a bitter bite, but it’s worth it.  I don’t ever want to lose it, even if it’s his ghost, even if it’s all I have left of him.

I need to stop thinking like this.  Yes, I want to go straight for that distant dot on the map.  Yes, I want to be first.  But we all do. 


Of course, we could split up.  But I think we all know that none of us would survive long that way.  There’s so few of us left already and I don’t think any of us want to see the group shrink any further.  I hope we don’t split up.  We’re stronger together. 

The others are coming back now – let’s see if we can sort this out.