I’d missed the shift changeover from day to night and when I got up to the cockpit the night shift crew were subdued as usual. I looked out to sea as the sunset painted the sky a vivid red.
“Sailors’ delight,” Jimmy said, his hand on the windward lifeline. He turned to me. “Hungry?”
“Yeah,” I answered, only now realizing that it was true. He pointed me toward a tray of cheese, fish, and cut veggies.
“Get it while it’s good,” he said. “There won’t be fresh stuff much longer.”
I made up a plate for myself and, careful to staying out of Issac’s way as he stood at the wheel, found my usual corner to wedge into. I watched the swell come up behind us, lifting the stern as it rolled underneath us. It was still an odd sensation, such a large and solid thing as the boat being tossed around like a cork.
“Cat got your tongue?” Tulia said, sliding in next to me. I shook my head. “Everything okay?” she asked, the smile on her face dissolving into a concerned look.
I nodded. “Yeah. Well, no, but it’s just the servers. I’m fine.”
“Okay.” She didn’t look convinced, but she didn’t press it. “It can get weird out here; the solitude and insignificance. Don’t feel like you have to keep it to yourself if it starts getting to you.”
“Thanks, I think.” I made a face. “I wasn’t worried before, but now…” I grinned to let her know I was kidding.
She nodded but her frown didn’t disappear. “You get a lot of time to think out here. Maybe too much. It’s easy to get caught up in what’s to come, what might be…” She was staring out to sea with such an intensity that I looked to see what she was looking at. But there was only ocean and sky, illuminated by the sinking sun. “It’s easy to replay conversations, dwell on mistakes. There’s nothing to distract you. It can sometimes be hard to remember to enjoy the moment.”
Had something happened between her and Martin? It sounded like she was talking to herself more than to me, but it didn’t feel right to ask. She had a point, though. Was I so bothered by the strange server traffic because it was so unusual, or was it just that I couldn’t find out about the other servers? I’d never worked in such isolation before. Even when I’d had individual projects, I could at least look things up online, talk to people who had experience with similar issues. Now I was on my own, and I wondered if I were just getting lost in my own head.
And it was only our first day at sea.
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