We’ve decided that we should take the cast off Mook’s leg. It’s probably been on far too long anyway, but caution has been our mantra. He doesn’t feel any pain anymore and it’s beginning to make him angry. Well, it comes off this afternoon. He’ll still be on light duties for a while to be on the safe side, and he’ll still use his crutch for a week or two but we’re all pretty excited.
Usual chores, although I gave Spiggy a morning off. He’s been a bit run down for a few days and I thought he could do with a lie in.
Spiggy woke up and made lunch for us all. He’s obviously feeling better. We ate at the table. It amuses Spiggy and Mook but I do like the formality of it. It makes us seem more like a family, I suppose. While we were eating, we discussed what we were going to do now Mook was going to be more mobile.
Mook said that he would like to audit the place. This didn’t surprise me. Someone so analytical would obviously need a comprehensive knowledge of the contents and systems employed. The goal was to make things more efficient so we had more time for scavenger runs in more distant locales.
This is fine. My routines were mostly built to take up as much time as possible to stave off the boredom. With three of us? Well they do seems a little arcane. If we are to build the solar or wind power stations and start work on the hydroponics unit, then a more efficient workflow would be of incredible value.
When he suggested the audit, I got the feeling there was something else at play, though. There was a look on his face that made me think something was troubling him. I asked if anything was the matter and he just shook his head, his thoughts obviously elsewhere. He might just be worried about the cast.
The cast came off really easily. I had some good strong scissors that took care of the worst of it. Breaking the last bits off revealed that the tear in the skin had healed well, although there was nasty, livid looking scar. As expected, the skin wasn’t looking great; grey and squamous, but easily fixed with a splash of baby oil.
I asked how the bone felt and Mook didn’t really know how to respond to that. I grinned and said,
“You know what I mean. Do you need help standing up?” I offered my hand to help and he looked at if, debating if he should take it or not. Eventually, he took it and between us we got him up on his feet. He managed a few steps on his own. There was still a little pain and obviously his muscles had atrophied, so we talked about an exercise routine to make it strong again. I can’t really differentiate between the types of break in the way Erik would have but this one seemed nasty. I’d not seen a break that broke the skin before and that I managed to deal with it, fix it – however crudely – and keep Mook alive, I feel justifiably proud.
He asked for his crutches and was able to get around a lot easier than without. Being cautious, I would have preferred it if he had rested for a while but he insisted on zooming around until the strain got to him and he had to be supported back to his room. Still, he was happy and smiling and back to being the old Mook.
I said we should all take it relatively easy for the rest of the day. Spig and I did the usual greenhouse chores, checked the animals, mucked out and rebedded the animal house. We did a walk round of the UV’s and replaced one of the strips. Yeah, that classes as “relatively easy”.
For the first time in many years, I took a moment to survey the landscape. From the vantage point of the roof, it looked serene and terrible. Usually, I just get on with the job at hand and don’t look down. This area was where my friends lived; where my family came from; where my school was (obviously); my doctor, the library (my saviour!). All of those buildings, all of those people gone. On my own, I got used to it, almost as if it was what I deserved. That doesn’t even make sense. I don’t deserve this but . . . I don’t know where this is going. I’m here because of a quirk of fate. I got used to it. For me, on my own, I’m fine. With other people now here, I find myself wanting a better world. They may not have been here that long, but the closeness I feel towards them . . . I want something better than this for them; better than a sea of rubble and the possibility of being eaten by those things.
I know Mook likes the solitude, to a degree, but at some point we’re going to run out of things to do or make. Maybe we’ll run out of available resources. At that point, we will become bored and unhappy and dead. Spiggy will probably cry a lot.
They deserve more. I deserve more. More than this anyway. For the first time in a long time, I wanted to go home. Perhaps it took being close to people again to realise that that is what I wanted?
I knew that Mook had a computer with him and being from the generation that saw the Atari and the Megadrive as de rigeur and the PSX as a modern miracle, the box he produced from his rucksack was science fiction in box form.
I simply couldn’t believe what it was capable of, and how quickly it could do it. He showed me how much graphics had improved. I was used to Altered Beast and Sonic the Hedgehog! To see Call of Duty, Skyrim and Fallout 3 was mindblowing. Absolutely fascinating. I loved the way the landscapes resolved, sometime with snow and shadows appearing long after they have come into view. Mook laughed at me preferring the glitches to the game, but I couldn’t deny that the games were a marvel. He also had over a hundred movies. He was a little annoyed that we had no way to see them, other than one this fifteen inch screen, but we all sat on the sofa, put the computer on the table and watched Donnie Darko.