Disclaimer: All the Twilight stuff belongs to Stephenie Meyer. No copyright infringement is intended. I'm just borrowing her cup of sugar.
Hey everyone! Happy weekend! I'm about to head off for dinner, but here's a bit more of these two! :)
How do you mourn someone who may or may not be gone?
Like all non-biblical storms, the rain finally stopped after a couple more days. By then the ground was kind of like a bog, and I was glad we hadn't actually planted a garden or anything, because it would have been washed out.
First trip after the weather cleared was to the grocery store with a crowbar.
Hey – you have to get in somehow.
The emptied wooden wagon served as a cart as we walked up and down the aisles to find what we needed. Canned and other dry goods, lots of first aid supplies, and extra can openers were the first things on the list. The store itself was really starting to smell bad with the freezers and coolers having been shut down for some time. We did salvage a lot of fruit, at least, which had me thinking about scurvy. The vitamin aisle was visited as well.
The next stop was the Tractor Supply store, where Bella picked out a variety of vegetable seeds to try to grow. I also found some tools – an axe, a saw, and boxes of those pressed wood logs to at least help with getting fires started.
The last stop was the library.
Bella went after books on small-scale agriculture while I looked through a variety of survivalist and medical books. Both topics had a lot of literature, and both led us to further trips to other stores for lots of different supplies.
It felt odd to be preparing for winter when we hadn't quite hit July yet, but in the back of my head I knew it needed to be done. I expected Bella to grow quite tired of the tedious activities quickly, but she didn't. If anything, she seemed to revel in them, and I wondered why she wasn't complaining about the lack of cell phones and video games.
In fact, she hadn't even talked about missing her parents or any of her friends.
As I was considering asking her about it, I realized I also hadn't talked about any of my colleagues or students, either, so I started with asking myself why that was. The answer was simple – I wasn't all that close to any of them, preferred time alone, and was ultimately so confused by the situation in general that I didn't know what to think.
How do you mourn someone who may or may not be gone?
I guessed it wasn't so strange that she hadn't mentioned people. Though maybe if my parents were alive, I would have wanted to go to where they were supposed to be. Bella had said almost nothing about them except that they were at a conference in Ohio.
I shook my head a little to clear it, and then went back to the book in my lap about keeping warm in the winter without electricity. I added nuts to the list of things we should acquire – apparently the high fat content helped to keep you warm – along with a pile of blankets for both the bed and for the windows. I also wrote down area rugs, layers of clothing, and additional candles.
The library trip incited us to go back to the tractor supply store for additional supplies, and even as the sun started to get low in the sky, I was finding it hard to leave. I finally had to pull myself away from a huge group of tools whose purpose was lost on me so we could make it back to the house before the sun set.
It was close, but we made it back before it was too dark to get around outside.
"I'm sorry," I said to Bella. "I didn't realize how late it was. I just felt like I was missing something we should have."
Bella stopped stacking blankets in my linen closet, looked up at me, and smiled.
"It was kind of strange," I admitted. "I don't think I've ever spent more than five minutes in that store before today."
I lit several candles as my mind continued to contemplate the strange thoughts in my head. With a long sigh, I dropped down on the couch.
"There's no meat," I suddenly realized.
Bella looked at me quizzically before sitting down beside me.
"No animals," I said. "I haven't seen anything at all. All the meat at the grocery has already gone bad, and there's no way to get any more."
"Humans create their own taurine," Bella said.
"Taurine," Bella repeated. "Carnivores cannot produce taurine in their systems, and require the muscle tissue of other animals to provide it. Humans are not carnivores, make their own taurine, so they do not require meat to survive."
"Oh yeah?" I looked at her out of the corner of my eye, and wondered for the hundredth time just what kind of curricula her home schooling program used. "I guess I have known plenty of vegetarians."
"We'll have to acquire other sources of protein," Bella said. "Legumes – especially soybeans – are most beneficial."
"We'll do that, then," I agree with a nod. "Should we try growing them?"
"That would be a difficult task," Bella said. We may have better luck seeking out a farm or seed company that already has a supply. They would last for a long time."
"It does feel like we're just back to the basics here, doesn't it?"
"The basics?" Bella questioned.
"Yes," I replied. "Not worrying about television or how many times I made it to the gym this week, but basic food, water and shelter stuff."
"Survival," Bella agreed with a nod. "Those things that were once key to our lives no longer hold the same importance as they once did."
"Exactly," I agreed. "So, speaking of the basics, why don't I get some dinner made while you see if there's room for the books we brought back on the bookshelf?"
Bella nodded and started to unload the cart. I watched her remove the library books and tried not to feel bad about taking them. It wasn't like there was anyone else around who was going to need them, and there wasn't a librarian who could have checked them out to us. Still, I felt like I was doing something wrong when we brought them back with us.
I felt worse than I did smashing the window to the grocery store to get food.
Resulting to what was – in every sense of the word – looting put me on edge, but the survival basics, as Bella put it, seemed in a different category than library books. There was something almost sacred about the library, and I couldn't have felt more uneasy than if I had taken the crucifix from a chapel.
I remembered my mother holding my hand as we walked through the aisles – first to find a book for her, and then to find a book for me. If I behaved myself, I was allowed to take home two.
The corner of my mouth twitching into a half smile at the memory, and I turned away from the library stamped books Bella was adding to the bookshelf.
Well, this was probably something I was just going to have to accept.
Chapter End Notes:
I don't think I could take a book from the library if it hadn't been properly checked out first...