Nobody tells you about the boredom. There isn’t much to do after the terror and shock subsides. Just floating and sitting and getting dizzy from the hamster-wheel laps of the brain thinking about an entire lifetime of floating and sitting. It’d been a year of sitting around waiting to die. Rob swore it was only nine months, as if he fucking knew the difference. He spent all his time lost somewhere in his head, and Sestra couldn’t be sure of his grip on reality, let alone his basic math skills. She wasn’t so sure about herself either. It’s not like it mattered much.
Rob, however despondent, was never short of criticisms of her performance. “Get your hands out of the water if you ain’t even gonna try.”
Sestra draped her right arm over the boat platform. She said she was catching fish, but her arm had fallen asleep ages ago. All she’d done to pass the time was flip-flop between numbness and a painful pins-and-needles sensation. Since she passed most of her days in similar fashion, her arms from the elbows down were the only parts of her not turned to jerky from the sun and an overabundance of sea salt.
“That water’s not safe,” Rob said.
“Jesus, is it noon already?”
“Ain’t nothing saving you when a shark grabs those fingers.”
“What a pity,” she said, keeping her arm exactly where it was.
Her stomach lurched. By now she thought she’d have gotten used to being starved all the time, but it never got easier. Rob seemed to handle it better than her. He’d close his eyes and lean back as if to nap, looking so damn peaceful while Sestra’s organs tore her apart from the inside out. Before the flood, she’d heard stories of people who’d slipped into euphoric comas, their brains leaching sedating hormones as their bodies ate themselves alive. Sestra counted the hours until that moment came, but it hadn’t yet. She was miserable every second that passed, angry at everything, feeling herself ripped apart as her cells died bit by bit.
She couldn’t understand how Rob just closed his eyes. The times she tried to copy him, the agony of her insides just roared louder, as if silencing one of her senses just made the rest of them more aggressive. She’d chuck water at Rob’s face sometimes, just to shock him out of it, afraid he might never open his eyes again. Sometimes she’d just start talking and talking so that she had something to do, forming coherent sentences being its own sort of chore nowadays.