Sorry my post for today is so late, and sorry it's going to be a short one.
We're in the process of loading up and getting the convoy ready for travel. Our relief team is heading out tomorrow to meet with their counterparts from Jack's compound. I'm not going to say where they are meeting up, but I'm not too worried about saying they are going. It's going to be a big group when everyone gets together, given that people from at least five groups of survivors are joining in. And they will be well protected. No force that goes against them will have a chance at stopping them short of blowing the whole thing apart.
Please, don't blow the whole thing apart...
Will isn't very happy with the idea that we have to send out guards with them. He's worried that the walls will be left undermanned in the event of an emergency, but the duty rosters say otherwise. We have more people than we need to mount full patrols and man the walls for defense. We'll be fine there.
I'm worried about so many of my friends going out into the world, but I couldn't be more proud of them for what they're doing. The same goes for Patrick, who is looking to leave any day now to go look for his family. He's been such an integral part of this place for so long that it sort of feels like my hand is going to be cut off when he leaves. I know he intends to come back, but Florida is a long way from here, and a world of danger in between.
We're having a dinner together tonight before everyone goes. Even though I will see them later today, I still can't help but imagine what the morning will bring. Saying my goodbyes, watching them roll away toward unknown dangers to provide hope for others...
The thought has occurred to me that all of us are really alone at the end of the day. We share our triumphs and tragedies with those we love, our friends and our families. The test of our character is how we react when there is no comfort or understanding to be found. No encouragement or guidance. It's ironic to me that I want to be strong when they leave, when it's just Jess and I left here from our tight group of friends, so that when they return they can be proud of how strong we were.
I've fought and killed more zombies over the last nine months than I can count. I've done the same for men and women who attacked us, tried to take what we have rather than ask with an open hand. Strangely, this is much harder for me to face. They've left before, but this is a trip that at a minimum will take many times longer than any before. The risks will multiply with time...
But they are strong. They will be careful and safe, and with luck and the determination that has kept us alive this long, we'll all see each other again.
Feeling all of that makes seeing them bittersweet. It will be wonderful to spend time with everyone before we part, but all that much harder to be around them knowing that all of these words will rise up in me when they are sitting around the table with me. The key to it will be the same as any other time.
Smile for them, and put on a brave face.