Friday, November 25, 2011

Troubled Man

The shipment to Georgetown came early and was unloaded very fast, so we're on our way. We just left Georgetown about fifteen minutes ago, and I'm running the generator for the transmitter while we're on the move. It's a nice alteration to the trailer a few of the metalworkers in Georgetown did for us as a parting gift, the only one they could give. Now the generator fits into a snug port in the wall of the trailer, the controls on the inside while the exhaust stays out. There's even a sheet of metal to go over the hole for when we want to move it somewhere else. Even so, we won't run it long while it's in the trailer. I'd rather not risk it overheating or blowing up right next to my head, thanks. 

Bill is still with us, but he's not himself. He isn't a sunny, happy kind of fella to start with. Think more in terms of a monk, calm and collected but not overly emotional about small things. That's why we're worried, because he's been brooding all morning about something, but he won't tell us what it is. 

He spent most of last night talking with Greg in private. I wondered at first if perhaps Greg was looking for guidance about his drinking, maybe even having a spirited debate about religion with Bill. As the night wore on and we caught glimpses of the two men as we walked back and forth through our borrowed house, the less sure I was that either of those things were the case. 

They talked in low voices almost the entire time. Once or twice, I saw a look on Bill's face that could only be described as pure outrage. It isn't an expression that fits him well, like he's trying to mimic someone else's reaction. Eventually the conversation between them grew heated, moving into fierce whispering and tense body language. The team and I were on our toes in case things got ugly, but it never got that far. Greg left not long after their apparent argument, and Bill clammed up. We haven't gotten more than two words in a row out of him since. 

He's sitting on the edge of the bed in the trailer, five feet away from me but a million miles from here. His head is resting at an angle against the glass, and the look on his face...the best word I can use for it is haunted. He's red-eyed and lost, and I don't know what to do for him. 

I'll have to ask the others what they think, as discreetly as possible. I don't know Bill well enough to be able to get a good read on him, and I don't want to offend if I can help it. How do you go about helping a man so obviously depressed about something when you know he's the one who usually helps others? What do you say to him that he hasn't said a thousand times before?

I've been writing this blog most days for the better part of two years, yet I can't seem to find the right words to comfort him. It's frustrating to sit here and feel so impotent. I'm hoping that with a little time and the right approach, we can get Bill to open up about whatever it is that has him so bothered. He survived the deaths of every person he knew and loved, found purpose in his mission to help others, and survived on the open road for months on end despite the threat of constant attack by roving zombies. 

Whatever's wrong, how can it possibly be worse than any of that? I wonder if he had a similar reaction then, or if he's just gotten the piece of bad news that finally put him past his breaking point. Time and distance might be the only thing that will help him heal. We'll see. 

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