Come at me, wind! I'll take you on! Come at me, wind…
This is our fourth day here. The first day was easy, but slow, for we still had confidence in the wind's return, and we remained ready to set sail with a moment's notice. The second day was equally dull. Yesterday went even slower. Today, I have decided to let Vincent take care of the boat. I will observe him.
He stands there, hardly moving, for hours. The Autorave comes and goes, almost, but not quite wanting to go exploring off the ship. I fall asleep on deck.
On the sixth day, the infected Autorave hops overboard, finally choosing amusement over hope. Vincent goes with her, leaving me alone, and I use the quiet time to write more about what I've seen. I complete almost two pages of my book before I hear Pino's flute nearby. For lack of better things to do, I go outside to greet them as they return. I don't say anything, of course, but they don't expect me to.
We know each other better than we like to believe, I realize.
By the end of the month, we know we must ration our food. The ginger ale is gone, and I very much regret drinking it so fast. Boredom is firmly settled on us, and we have become so fixed in our routine that we barely make conscious effort to follow it. I have given up on observing Vincent, he does the exact same thing each day. Pino, now, is what my attention is focused on. She is our only variety.
We are obsessed with her, we watch her every move, every 'emotion'. Vincent plays with her, amusing himself more than her. Can she even be amused? I would almost like to play with her too, but—
But what? Why do I not play with her? Do I even have a reason?
By the end of the second month, the weather has turned cold. This change is fascinating; I spend hours estimating the temperature. It seems to get frostier every day, but that could also be because I grow thinner every day as well. My skin is paler than it was when I lived in Romdeau, also. It is nothing alarming, though. If I force myself to optimism, I could tell myself that I needed to lose the weight anyway.
Forced dieting. Someone could make millions off that, and all they'd need to see were handcuffs and limited food supplies.
After the third month, it is no longer forced dieting. It is forced starvation. My arms have dwindled to cords of muscle on bone, my legs are no different. My stomach, instead of standing smoothly flat, has caved in, and I count my ribs to kill time. The lack of food makes sleeping difficult, and I hardly need my dark eye shadow anymore. Even if I did need as much as I did before, I would not be able to use it. Pino has exhausted a large part of it, as has Vincent.
Our meals consist of precisely sixteen beans in warm water, but he insists on arranging them before we begin. I ask him why, and he smiles and says it makes it look like there's more. I don't think so, and his smile annoys me.
I watch him as he eats. He acts as though there is nothing wrong with the meal in front of him, as though we have more than fifteen cans of beans left, and as though I am not staring at him.
That's alright, though. I act as though he is not staring at me constantly. It's the smile that irritates me.
There is snow on the ground now, and that provides us with some amusement. I would enjoy it more if I could journey out into it without my teeth chattering so violently I can barely hear.
Nevertheless, I like snow.
Half-way through the fourth month, I have given up hope. Vincent has too, although I believe he intends to eat his socks when the food runs out. I find myself wondering if he'll share.
Our meals have decreased to six beans in warm water. He still smiles as he arranges them for me.
I cannot stop shivering, even when I'm inside. As I sleep, I shiver. I know that by two reasons. One is that I am shivering in my dreams. The second is that I woke up one day with Vincent's blanket on top of mine.
The night after that, I move into his bed, pulling both of our blankets over us. He is startled, I think, as I crawl in beside him. I myself am almost surprised at my lack of aloofness. It is much warmer, and I slumber deeply for the first time in years.
When I wake up, he is still asleep, and I am thankful because I have turned in my sleep to lie curled up against his chest, our arms wrapped tightly around each other. I prepare my strength for a moment, and then pull completely away in one quick motion. He stirs, but I am already out of the bed, headed for the bathroom and wishing for one of those blankets.
No, actually, I wish I'd stayed in bed.
We are down to our last five cans of beans. They will last us, at most, almost another month. We will die, if wind does not come. We grow more and more lethargic, and Pino is absent more and more. We bore her.
Sleeping beside Vincent has become a nightly event. After three mornings of waking up snuggled against him, I have stopped caring if he awakens during that time.
We have managed to regulate ourselves to consuming one can every two weeks. That means five beans a day, with lots and lots of water. I eat one of his socks when he isn't looking.
On the first day of the week that we are on our third-last can, when I slide into bed in the mid-afternoon, I do not face away from him. I slip my arms around him, and settle my head just under his chin. We are half-clothed—it would be too cold to be in less. My long coat lies overtop of all the blankets we have, but we are still chilled. The weather has not changed, but our bodies are deprived of everything they need to produce sufficient heat.
The next night, I do the same thing I did the afternoon before. Then, a minute or so later, when just our chests pressed together is not enough, I enfold his legs in mine. He hardly stirs.
The night after that, he is still awake when I settle beside him. Today, it is his arms that go around me, his legs that cover mine. I fall asleep in a warm cocoon, happy.
Our bedtime gets earlier each day. We have not seen Pino for two days.
On the second day of the week when we start our second-last can of beans, Vincent is awake when I get into bed. He holds me in our usual position, but today I am not tired. I tilt my head to brush my lips against his neck, and I feel his muscles spasm. In a flash, before I really know what's happening, he has rolled over on top of me, his mouth on mine, brutal.
I wonder vaguely how he can take pleasure in a body that is no more than a skeleton.
The day we open the last can puts a new dynamic in the air. We knew this was coming, but knowing is not feeling. By unspoken agreement, we each help ourselves to twelve beans. I have taken to arranging them as he used to. I have also taken to smiling.
We live that last can—we had long started measuring time in cans, instead of weeks—as royalty, with twelve beans a day. My stomach feels as though it is stretched to its limit.
The day we empty it, we do not go to bed. We go outside with Pino and stare at the snow-covered landscape, in silence. This is the end, I realize. I am going to die. There is no Iggy to save me—I blew his electronic brains out many, many months ago.
I look over at Vincent. No, there is no Iggy to save me. But there is him. And he is all I need.