A(nother) Year in Seattle – Week 30 – The Return Home

A(nother) Year In Seattle

Sunday – January 18, 2060 – Dwelling on the past

A collection was taken up at church today. The money collected is to go to aid those victims of the shutdown– People who are now homeless, the survivors and the dispossessed. I know that people are doing what they can– and I know it isn’t enough.

I don’t know if it ever will be– there’s just too much happening inside and not enough happening outside.

What else is there to do? I sat in the back of the church– as close to the doors as I could get and watched. There are only a few places I feel like I can truly relax and, sadly, the Church is not one of them.

Not now– not yet. There are too many people– and it’s not… defensible. It’s funny that the beliefs that saw me through this– cannot protect me in this place.

Is that messed up or what?

Monday – January 19, 2060 – One step at a time

My first day back.

I got in early– hoping to get some of the paperwork done. Its been a month since… Since I last set foot in Citywide’s territory. One month.

A lifetime ago…

I got to my office without incident– without panicking. It was familiar territory– but then – so was the Arcology. I’d been through the walls… through the public areas… it’s probably what saved me…

That’s another irony– it was my job that put in there– and it was my job that had saved me.

Balance I guess. I don’t know… I don’t think it really matters. It is.

I’ve had way too much time to think about everything, to second guess, to analyze. I need to start doing.

Fist step– paperwork.

Tuesday – January 20, 2060 – I’m back

Paperwork– day two.

It’s getting a little bit easier– pretending to live my life. That’s what it feels like– like I’m pretending. The only time it feels real is when I’m with Bri.

She’s been a trooper about this all… all that matters to her is that we’re there and that we love her. It’s so simple when you’re two… two…

I almost forgot… Bri… her birthday… Two years ago… How could I forget!? How could I forget her?

She was born at 0058 January 21st….

How could I have forgotten?

I called Case– his expression… his smile… I think we’ve both finally realized–

I’m back.

Figures it would take my little hellion to bring me ‘round.

I was so busy ‘surviving’… I’d forgotten to live.

At least I remembered in time.

Wednesday – January 21, 2060 – Banishing ghosts

I’m happy to say– my family… my friends… the love of my life… they all understood and they were all ready to celebrate Bri’s birthday– however, I was ready to celebrate it.

Mom Walker had the longhouse ready and in the Salish tradition– we gave our honored guests gifts. It was wonderful.

Such love– such concern… Bri ate it up… and it was just what I needed… seeing my friends gathered… Case happily watching as Bri tore into her presents. I think she’s still a little young to understand the importance of ‘giving’– but she sure has ‘getting’ down pat.

We danced, we sang, we celebrated… and I said goodbye to a few more ghosts.

It’s amazing how they accumulate, how they come unbidden… and how they can be banished by a child’s laughter– by my child’s laughter.

It’s time to come home.

Thursday – January 22, 2060 – working through

I think I can finally say– I’m back.

Today was the first time I got to work in the field. It took some time to get used to working accidents again. It’s different when you’re the victim– when you’re the one in need of rescuing– it gives you a very different perspective.

If anything– I’m more sensitive to the victims that I was before. I know all too well how it feels to have your entire world turned upside down, and the memories are always there.

Ray was with me on my first shift back. I wasn’t too surprised to find out he’d asked for the assignment. It’s the sort of thing he’d do.

I was a little gun shy at first– so many people– machinery… blood. It was rough.

Especially when we had a violent victim. We had to strap him down. That did it for me– too many memories surfaced and I nearly lost it.

Ray made me drive on that one. I spent a lot of time out on the observation deck composing myself– but when it was done… I was better.

It’s not something that goes away– it’s not something that just– stops. It lies in waiting– looking for the opportunity to surface…

At least I know that now– and I think I’ll be ready for it.

I hope.

Friday – January 23, 2060 – Back on

Another shift on the bus. I really miss my bike. I think it’s the freedom of movement– the sense of control.

All right, it’s the illusion of control– but it’s a nice illusion.

It is so weird. Life in the city has pretty much returned to normal, but there’s still a long way to go. I still can’t get used to how… normal everything outside of the Arcology seems.

Even the reporting has slowed down– there isn’t that much to report. As the trid plays the news, a scroll at the bottom of the screen announces “Renraku – Shutdown – Day 36” But there is little else to say.

Life goes on almost as if it had never happened. The rail and bus routes have been changed and there’s a serious “no-fly” zone around the building.

Meanwhile – around, below and within the Arcology– it’s a very different story. I met with Lee-Ann’s people after work. I was on my way out when Dwight picked me up.

It was another cruise around the city, but this time there was a difference– one of Lee-Ann’s people was inside the car. My tails have gotten used to the odd cruises to nowhere– I think they’ve caught on that it’s a diversion.

I mean… no one in their right mind would want to go anywhere near that place once they’ve gotten out right? Funny thing is– I’ve never felt more sure of something.

These people got me out when nobody else could. They gave Case a chance to help– when no one else would. If anybody’s going to make any headway in that 300 plus story nightmare, they’re going to need help, and that I can give.

We gave them the military contact information– they gave me a report and a shopping list. Medical supplies are in short supply.

It’s not much– but it’s what I can do.

Saturday – January 24, 2060 – Tag Team.

I spent most of last night getting acquainted with the back reaches of the underground and Lee-Ann’s people. They’re an interesting band. A core of people– hand picked by Lee-Ann herself and then volunteers like me. People who they’d rescued, people whose loved ones were inside, people who knew their way around.

I had the information the military had given Case– not much yet, but it’s a start. We established a shipping route to get blankets and supplies in– not hard to do here. There are lots of shops and sadly, or in this case happily, Lone Star seems content to let the Ork Underground police their own.

Not that I blame them really. I’ve been called into the underground to care for people and let me tell you- a human strung out on anything– is nothing compared to a combative ork.

Once we got the logistics started, I worked on the makeshift infirmary– inventory and prep. Met the last two people in the infirmary– one of the volunteers who’d been shot and one of the victims.

He’d gotten over scared– was starting to come back around and was in the ‘you couldn’t possibly know so just save it for someone who wants to hear it’ stage.

He got mad when I smiled and shook my head. Then again, he got mad when I walked around the infirmary.

I’m glad I wasn’t angry all the time, but sometimes I think it beats the hell out of hiding under the bed. That thought made me laugh slightly, which set him off.

How do you explain to someone thoughts like that?

Not that I had all that much time to try. Not long afterwards the next retrieval party returned. 14 people, most of them ambulatory… all of them in varying degrees of shock.

We got them through triage, cared for those who needed it and got them situated. I was going to stay– but the next shift arrived.

I know I shouldn’t have been surprised– Smiley and Ray were the ones there to relieve us.

Copyright 2001 M.T. Decker

July 6, 2018

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