Saturday, October 20, 2012

Be Still

A number of factors have come together, forcing us to call a halt on the immigration of our new citizens. It's a choice that isn't making anyone happy, but we can't risk another disaster like what happened the other day. Not only do we need to spend a few days looking at how we can better secure the transports, but New Haven itself isn't the safest place in the world at present.

We've had a few incidents over the last two days that imply the Exiles are taking shots at us. Nothing direct--surprising if it is the Exiles, as they're not known for subtlety--but effective at keeping us busy nonetheless. Too many groups of zombies attacking at just the right place, just the right time, as if they'd been sent instead of just showing up at random. Damage to roadways and bridges, trees knocked across well-used byways during a recent storm in patterns too perfect to be happenstance.

They're out there, and they're fucking with us. Trying to push us into doing something stupid.

And because I'm not far from doing something stupid myself, I decided to spend some time working with Becky at her little shop. Not that she needed the help, and not that I did much other than heavy lifting because honestly chemistry isn't my bag, but it was nice to see her in her element. Pun intended.

Mostly we drank tea while she did complicated math and gave instructions to her assistants. It's been a while since I'd seen her work. I had forgotten Becky wore glasses. I don't know where on earth she found a pair with her prescription or even close to it, but it filled my heart a little to see her distractedly talking about current events with me while poring over her figures.

Becky has one of those brains that never, ever stops. She can talk to you and do a couple long equations while running her hand through her short blond hair. We chatted about the attack, about the problems we face. She complained about being constantly asked to solve more problems, come up with ever-more-ingenious solutions. She whines, but I can see the pride she takes in being that person.

She's a far cry from the broken soul who showed up at our door all those months ago. I've seen her heal and grow a lot since then. The best part has been seeing her take up the role as our resident chemist, because it gave her an outlet to really shine. Not just to be a survivor along with the rest of us, but to step up and do a thing no one else can do.

It was also a little sad for me. When Becky arrived out of the blue, she lived with us. She needed the comfort of friends. Jess and I took care of her. We were her security blanket and we knew that if it came down to brass tacks, Becky had our back first and always.

That's not how it is now. Sure, she still flops onto the old king-size bed with us more often than not (along with whoever else needs to share body heat) but emotionally and socially our worlds have grown too complex for simple sentences to encompass. Becky is strong, and has bounced back from her trauma caused by The Fall and her trip across the Atlantic to get here. She's more certain and decisive. She's integral to many projects that provide for the safety and well-being of NH citizens.

If Jess and I made the call to just go with the wind and move out into the wilderness on our own, I don't think Becky would come. She's not that person any longer. It's not a bad thing, in fact I think it's wonderful that she has become a fixture here. She worried about being a part of the community for a long time. I guess it's the difference between the powerful primary colors of our childhood, where friendships are absolute in the moment, and the world we see as adults. The one with shades and complexities and considerations, where responsibility and greater good are things you have to think about.

Becky does a lot for New Haven, and it takes up a lot of her time and attention. Jess and I see her less than we used to. I'm not bitter. It makes those moments we spend together more sweet, because I'm reminded each time that nothing has really changed. At least for those few minutes or hours, I'm the most important thing in the world.

It's good to know that no matter what happens, Becky will have a home and friends and a calling. These zombie attacks, if they really are being coordinated by Exiles, put me in a mood to evaluate those kinds of things. I'm back out there on call like everyone else. I've survived truly stupid circumstances, and though I'm not even thirty, I feel old. Like I've been lucky too often. The attacks have grown more effective. I feel that chill inside, the one that makes me feel like the worst is about to happen.

If I fall, I need to know my friends and family will be okay. Becky, at least, will soldier on.

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