Friday, May 20, 2157
Walter and I took the long elevator ride back to the surface. His electric car sat exactly where he left it, fully charged now, good to go. That’s when I broke the silence: Take me home. He asked, why. I said, I don’t want to be any part of this. He said, any part of what? I said, any part of this – this fantasy, sending all the water to privileged idiots in the north. I said, I divorced myself from that world a long time ago. I said, I could live up there, if I wanted to. Hell, for all I knew, I might still have claim to property in Newfoundland. If I had a way to get there, I could go now and suck off the teat of whatever desal plant services that part of Fake Paradise. But I gave that shit up when I was 20. I didn’t want to live that kinda life. I still don’t. I can’t live in a desal plant. Walter asked me where was I going to live. I said, well, back in the Arroyo, back at the house there.
We got into his car and he drove us back to the main plant. Neither of us said a word. I stewed in my head all the reasons why this was bullshit and why I didn’t want to live under it. Walter no longer existed. I sat in his car trying to think of where all my stuff was, how much food and water could I take with him. Then he suddenly said, I can take you back.
I had the nerve to get angry at him. I said, Thank you, but I’ll manage. He said OK. It was the first time I heard an edge in his voice since I first met him. I didn’t care at the time. Like I said, he no longer existed.
When we got back to the plant and went inside, he went into the kitchen. I went into the living room. He came into the living room just as I was gathering my stuff there, carrying a bunch of containers. He said, I would need these to carry water with. I looked at him and looked at the containers, and said thanks. He disappeared. I don’t know where he went and just remember telling myself at the time how much I didn’t care where he went. I just wanted to get my stuff together and plan the trip back to the Arroyo, back to my house, back to my books.
A few hours passed. I had fallen asleep on the sofa. I woke up, startled when Walter threw some blankets on me. He said that I could sleep there and that he was going into his room. Then he turned and walked to his room and closed the door. He had given me his bed, both after I first arrived and then when I tried to pound my brains out in his library. Now I was on the couch. And I was too dumb to figure it out at the time.
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