~~This Anna girl’s messed my life up. I’m not even sure what’s happening. Casper’s always been steady and dependable and now he’s one constant mood swing. He’s getting as good as me at brooding and irritable. Half the day he waits around hoping to run into her, then he sulks when it starts to look more unlikely. All she has to do is say one word and he’ll be ecstatic, albeit very briefly. The problem is that he makes the whole situation so brilliantly hilarious. Like when he spends ages lurking in some passage she’s might take and thinks he’s being really subtle. Casper can’t do subtle. But this, although I know it sounds endlessly entertaining, gets so frustrating when you get the silent treatment for the smallest, slightest snigger.
I understand that he’s suffering and I can see how his life must look pretty bleak at the moment, but someone might as well get some small satisfaction, so really I was just making the best, being my usual positive self.
Not only do I feel like I’m losing my best (well only) friend, but I feel like I’m losing myself. Don’t get me wrong, she’s still a stuck up little snob. Only, the way she clings onto her pride makes me pity her and respect her at the same time. I feel sorry for her because she’s struggling, because she’s scared and alone. Then I watch a moment longer and am forced to admit she’s a fighter.
Like with the potatoes. If she’s not been so stubborn before, maybe I wouldn’t have cared so much. The thing is, the more I see how strong how strong she is, the more mad I get that they’re managing to break her. That frightens me a lot.
Time to snap out of my reflections, it’s 8:55PM and although dinner’s not till quarter past nine, that crush is more than I can take. The halls are already starting to come to life. Food here’s on a first come first served basis and it normally runs out. I guess although they need to feed us to keep us working, it’s good to make us have to fight for it. The more they can make us hate each other, the less likely we are to remember who’s really behind all this. To unite against the ones we really hate. Them. The efficient. However much I believe we should pull ourselves together and get over the squabbling and competition, after digging more than my share of potatoes today, my ideals don’t change the fact that I’m starving.
It’s in the main corridor I see Anna. She’ll get used to the food crush soon enough. Although I begin to run to get over to her, I don’t get very far before Dana’s there taking control of the situation, steering her through the packed spaces. There’s no need for me to feel disappointed. It’s probably better that she’s found a friend than me always getting involved anyway. It’s annoying that friend has to be Dana though, her manner annoys me. There’s no reason for it, she’s one of those people who wind me up whatever they’re doing.
Casper rushes ahead of me to catch up with Anna and I try ever so hard not to roll my eyes. He’s lovely but when he acts like this it’s pathetic. By the time I battle my way to a bowl of soup, he’s sat on the floor beside Anna, looking awkward. She’s practically ignoring him, in concentrated conversation with Dana, only interrupted by their explosion of giggles.
Everybody has a bowl except Anna. She went in with them, she can’t be finished already. What could she be waiting for? If she leaves it too long there won’t be any food left. I don’t want her passing out with hunger or I’m going to be doing even more digging than ever. I justify my concern because it’s mainly motivated by self-interest. That’s a weak argument when the only reason it affects me is because I dig her potatoes out of unselfish concern.
I stop myself from getting any more distracted from eating food and pour the soup straight down. Anna must be hungry. I take it from her performance earlier that she’s never done a day’s work in her life and she’s gazing longingly at the rest of us as we guzzle are soup as if it’s about to be snatched out our hands (which, around here, is a very real possibility). I wonder if she was put off by the aggressive crush around the vats and then decide to get her a bowl myself. I manage to force my way through the hungry crowds soon enough and fill the bowl as high as possible. Getting back out the commotion without spilling the entire meal is the hardest bit. I’m reasonably successful and there’s still a good three-quarters left when I get back, which is pretty impressive for the busiest time. Passing her the bowl, I’ll admit it, I was expecting a little bit of gratitude. What I certainly wasn’t expecting was for her to through a tantrum and get all stroppy with me.
“What’s this?” she asks, pulling the most unattractive face I have ever seen.
“Food. Eat it.”
“I don’t want it.” I will never understand this girl. The way things had been changing between us,I thought we were making progress. She was being relatively normal and then this. She suddenly turns on me over the most peculiar things. I can even get away with the teasing here and there now. A big step, or at least I thought it was, and then for no reason at all, when I’m trying to be helpful, she snaps at me as if I’m the problem here.
“Suit yourself,” I say crossing my arms.
“Besides, I don’t like the way you assume I can’t look after myself. If I wanted food, I’d have gone and got it.” I break my back, saving her ass and now she decides it’s a good time to give me a speech about how much she doesn’t need me. I saved her neck. I should have left her to it today because the way that would’ve turned out she’d be more than a little humbled. Then she wouldn’t be giving me all this tough talk.
“What’s wrong with you? You can’t beg me to work my butt off for you one moment and then tell me to get lost the next. I’m sorry, aren’t I of any use to you right now princess? I guess I should just crawl back into my troll hole until you have need of me your highness.” At this point I raise my voice to the full blown yell I’d been holding back. “Is that how you think this works?” I screamed, right into her face, “Because you know what? If that’s how we’re going to be, you should be glad you didn’t come to see me whipped as then you’d know exactly what you’re in for tomorrow. Oh, that’s right, I’m sure that won’t happen because you don’t need me, do you?” Anybody else, with the obvious exception of Vinn, would have backed down at this point. She’s the one person in all this world who dares challenge me and I’m not yet sure if I love it or hate it.
“Roebai, would you please calm down. You’re being ridiculous.” I’m being ridiculous. Last time I checked I was eating a meal so that I could actually do my own work without having to resort to looking like an incompetent idiot.
“Why do you always overreact to everything? Haven’t you ever considered trying to pretend to be sane, ordinary person for five minutes?”
“You’re giving me all this lip now when we both know in another few hours you’ll be whimpering and whining, desperate for my help.” She glares at me. This argument is getting repetitive. I’m going around in circles and she’s cutting me off with her silence. We’d both been shouting but her next words were soft and quiet. That had more of an effect than the yelling. Her whisper made me sit up and listen.
“You’ve made your point. I think it might be better if we avoid each other from now on. It doesn’t work and I’m beginning to think it never will. Thank you for your help with everything and I wish you well in the future. Goodbye Roebai, talk to me again when you’ve grown up.” I was so busily distracted by how irritating, how hypocritical, how stubborn and how whingey she was that I hadn’t noticed how fond of her I’d grown until that. Alright, she drives me crazy, but I can’t imagine how I’d go about my life without her right there, annoying me every second of every day.