The labor here is hard, far harder than she's used to. That doesn't make sense, a small part of her mind protests. Because the only other thing she's ever done, the only thing filling up all her memories of before is the mine, and wasn't that even harder work than this? She grimaces as she heaps coal into the furnace. Her memories of the mine are vague; are they supposed to be? She knows she worked there before she was transferred. She knows that she was there for a long time. But her memories are so hazy. She has a dim recollection of mining in the past on one occasion, of toiling alongside Jonah and Tor. But it doesn't sit right, as though she's remembering a different time that they worked together in a mine, in a different place, for a different reason. And besides, wasn't Jonah the only one she met in the mines?
Jonah. She dares to glance over at him, some distance away, and is startled to find his gaze on her. They stare at each other for a long moment before the worker besides him calls for his help. The spell broken, they each return to their work, and she takes a deep breath. Since Karlan first suggested that something was wrong with their memories, she'd turned the idea over in her head, puzzling over it as she worked. It seemed a strange, almost laughable notion. How on earth would someone change our memories? She wondered. Then: Wait... what is 'earth'? It's difficult to wrap her head around the idea most of the time, but when she's around Jonah... that's when it seems most plausible. It's only in those moments that they're together that she's confident that there must have been something else before, because nothing else would explain the deep connection between them that transcends any attempts to describe it.
He's just as aware of it as she is. He has made no attempt to disguise it, which surprises her. Why, she wonders, is that a surprise? It's strange, and unless Karlan's bizarre theory is true, it's completely inexplicable. But it's not wrong. There's no reason to avoid acknowledging whatever it is. So why does she feel so guilty every time she rests her head on his shoulder, or puts her hand in his, or imagines what it would be like to be embraced by his arms?
Because it's against regulations. Once again, she's startled by herself. What regulations? There are no rules here about anything like that. Were there in the mines? She thinks about it for a moment – the memories that flit through her mind are murky at best – but she's sure that there was no prohibition there, either. All the same, however, there is a deep seated certainty lurking in her subconscious that they absolutely can not act on these feelings.
Sighing, she lays down her shovel as the group is called to mealtime. Quickly, without thinking, she, Karlan and Jonah all fall into line together. She exchanges a quizzical glance with Karlan, who appears to be mildly taken aback by how natural it seems. She opens her mouth to ask about it, but he gives a quick shake of his head. Not now, he seems to say without speaking, and she understands. It's just one more thing to discuss tonight, after lights-out. She turns to Jonah, as if to ask his permission to heed Karlan's warning. She's not sure why she defers to him, but all the same, he nods his head in agreement, and she quickly faces ahead once more to take her food.
Tonight they will talk again. She's almost afraid of what they might learn if more memories surface. A small part of her wonders if she will figured out what's preventing her and Jonah from coming together. After receiving her food, she looks at Jonah one more time before taking a seat. His eyes are piercing, and she without knowing how, she's certain that he's thinking the exact same thing.
It's worth it to spend the time with you.