Halloween was last week and so we celebrated with another party, even though we had less pudding rations for dessert than usual, as we’re trying to conserve food. Zara Hemmings made us all dress up in costumes. Nico Soto and Callum Lang were Mrs. S and Mr. B, and Mrs. S got really mad about it because they snuck into her room and stole pantyhose. I think Mr. B thought it was funny, but Mrs. S kept glaring at him to be mad, too, that he had to pretend.
Every day after that has been pretty boring. Back to our regularly scheduled educations, I guess. We learned how to test the vents for optimum airflow, how to program the communications system to do big math for us, and we spent three days studying the American Revolution. At one point, Mrs. S tried to assign us to research each of our own states, but Jake’s from Oregon, which didn’t even exist yet, so then we just watched Schoolhouse Rock videos about America in general.
I was having trouble with polynomial long division on Thursday, so during our lunch break, I went to Mr. B’s office to ask if he could help — Mrs. S was chatting about the Housewives with Alex, and I didn’t want to bother her. Mr. B was having his lunch, too, of dehydrated vegetables and some weird mix of chemicals that kind of tasted like coffee that he cooked up a few months ago.
“Ah, Gina,” he said when I knocked on his door.
“That was very ominous, Mr. B,” I said.
He laughed a little, but I couldn’t tell if it was because what I said was actually funny, or if it was just so awkward that he had to laugh so that it wasn’t as awkward as it could’ve been. “What do you need?”
I think he was trying to hide something from me. He kept his body angled completely towards me, with his hands behind his back. His office is very small, a secluded room towards the back of the ship near the boiler room, so it’s always quite cozy. He’s decorated it with pictures of home the way the rest of us have decorated our bunks.
“Long division,” I told him.
“Ah,” he said again.
I got the sense that he wanted me to leave, so I offered, “We could go to the kitchen, maybe? Where there’s the big table?”
Mr. B nodded. “Yeah, yeah.”
I know it’s all mysterious and weird and all that Mr. B’s keeping secrets, but he’s so nice that I don’t feel like I need to bust him. It’s a small ship — we all have things that we want to keep private.
I don’t know why I’m telling you this. You don’t know Mr. B or me or any of us. But I guess it’s kind of nice to know that someone is out there, reading this. Maybe you go home to a partner or a family and you sit down for dinner at 6 p.m., and maybe you have Thanksgiving plans, and maybe sometimes you look up at the sky and the moon and you think of us up here. I think that would be nice.
I wish you could write back someday.