Day One - Out in the Big, Big, Big Fields

Leo read my journal. He wrote a note:

I can’t look at Jonah right now. I’m sitting under a tree as he tries to light a fire so we can start cooking our lunch, some cabbage and some potatoes he brought with him. “I got them from the kitchen”, he said. It’s supposed to mean they’re good quality. All the best quality stuff goes to the kitchen. The Newcomers are only allowed to keep what’s not considered good enough to be used by the Kitchen Staff. The Kitchen Staff know their business. They really do, they cook really nice stuff.

I wonder how Jacques is doing, working all alone. They might have given him a Newcomer or two to keep him company. I wonder if he’s going to cook anything while I’m away. I miss him already.

Here is how travelling to the Outside goes from here: First we have to walk, all the way across the big, big, big, big fields, walk until the sky turns pink again and then blue again and then black again and then pink again, and then there is a train. We have to get on the train, and then we have to get off when the sky turns black again. Then we have to find a place to sleep, which is always my favourite part. Jonah has never done that. I keep telling him it’s going to be fun, but he doesn’t seem to be very excited. It means we have to go around what used to be a city, knocking on doors painted red – doors painted red mean a house welcomes visitors to spend the night. Then they serve you dinner, and then in every house they do something different after dinner. Sometimes they play a board game. Sometimes they watch pre-Unification TV shows. Sometimes everyone goes into their own bedrooms and locks the door and doesn’t come out until the sky turns pink again. I’m bringing the board game I found in the dormitory with me. I still haven’t figured out how to play it, the instructions are in a language I don’t recognise. It looks like a lot of fun. The board is coloured beige, and on it are big squares with pictures of different rooms. I’m going to ask the people we stay with if they’ve ever played it, maybe someone can teach me. I’m so happy to be travelling again.

Day One - On the Train

Jonah hasn’t said a single word that wasn’t about food since we set foot out into the big, big fields. He laughs nervously every time I look into his eyes. It can really get on your nerves after a whole day. He’s asleep now. I’ll try to go to sleep soon. I just bought two sandwiches from the food trolley. It hasn’t been long since I was last on this train. Things are moving. When I first crossed the big fields, I didn’t leave again for a full year. I didn’t dare. Except for Saturday mornings, when we went mussel picking on the beach. I lived for Saturday mornings. Then once I got a day off – I was working in the vegetable gardens then, and we had days off sometimes – and joined a group of Newcomers for a whole day on the beach. We had ice cream. We listened to pop music on a portable radio. I was only eighteen. We drank sweet, fun-coloured cocktails in cups decorated with fresh fruit. I got so drunk I threw up. I threw up something pink. It looked like rubber. I laughed at it. I kissed a boy. His tongue tasted like coconut. My tongue tasted like pink rubber vomit. After that I didn’t leave again for another five years, until February this year.

I tried to wake up Jonah to give him his sandwich. He opened his eyes for a split second, laughed nervously when he saw me, and went back to sleep. I got tuna for me, and cheese and tomato for him. I don’t know if he likes cheese and tomato. Probably. Who doesn’t? He never talks about the things he likes. He talks a lot about the things he knows, the things he knows about food, and he talks a lot about The Bomb, about how happy he is that it will all be over soon. I’m thinking about the time when I first fell in love with him. That was before beauty became obscene to me. He’s a beautiful man, there’s no doubt about that. But now beauty is threatening to me – I’m not saying it’s threatening to anyone else, it certainly isn’t for Bebe, or even Lilly. They dance with beauty on every Big Fire night, they flirt with beauty, they have sex with beauty, they merge with beauty, and in doing that they dissolve. It really is beautiful here, even out here in the big, colossal fields. It’s beautiful the way the sky turns black again and then pink again and then blue again and then black again. Monday mornings are beautiful, with all those cushions of so many different colours spread around the big Sunflower Field. It’s good to wake up and see the sun shining everyday. It’s good to always have warm and delicious food waiting for us when we come back from a morning’s hard work. That’s why I keep going back. It’s not for any other reason. That’s what dissolving is all about, we have to work hard and make things stay always the same and we have to honour each day and we have to tell everything that happens to us to everyone. It will all be over soon. There will be a big party. I feel sorry for Jacques, I left him in a bad state. I do wonder if it was a good idea to just leave him like that. The Newcomers will keep him going, I hope. I don’t think Leo would dare to tell him anything, not if I’m not there. I just wish I knew when Jonah and I are going to be back. It could be weeks from now. I tried asking him a couple of times, but he just laughed nervously.