18: (Human) Nature

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The morning after, just as always, I headed out to the seal watchtower for the first seal watch of the day. Logan was likely up there already, recording the data he needed, and I mentally prepared for the conversation we needed to have.

In all honesty, I didn't even know what I agreed to with him. I was tired, caffeinated, and really feeling the data he showed me, which fueled my information-less decision, but now I was well-rested, still caffeinated, but the magic of those wondrous graphs had worn off over the night.

Did I agree to date him? On a two-acre island? In the middle of nowhere? With exactly zero spots for dates?

I practically already had two children with him, Blue and Racecar, but this was just too much for me.

I climbed up the ladder to the tower, and when I looked inside our small observation area, a small pool of rain collected by the window, but there was nothing else there. I crawled up into the compartment, then straightened up to get a better look at the rest of the world without hitting my head on the ceiling.

Down on the rocky land, there were fewer seals than usual sitting there and sludging their way either up closer to the tower or down to the water. Even though the gulls typically kept themselves segregated from the seal's territory, several birds had strayed from their nests and closer to the seals.

In the water, Logan and I typically counted hundreds of surfacing occurrences during our hour, and I hoped that was where I would find the rest of the seal population. I sat down on one of the benches and counted each head that popped out of the water like a periscope.

Ten seals in ten seconds, a significant increase from the norm, so it was possible that they were all in the water. But why? It was cold in there.

Although there was a little rain the night before, the sun shone over Paradise City for the second day in a row, and it seemed a little odd that so few seals took advantage of the warmth.

There had to be a reason.

I stood up, and I smacked my head against the ceiling.

"You'd think I would learn," I muttered and held my aching head.

But despite the minor pain, I climbed down the ladder to investigate what could be the cause of their absence. Paradise City was a resting spot for seals, although they were quite awkward on land.

A gull squawked at me as I walked by, and when I looked over in its nest, two chicks rested there. The birds didn't know, but I would never dare to hurt such a beautiful little family. But I quickly turned my head around to seem less threatening and continued staggering down the uneven terrain.

There was one large flat rock, almost a plateau, close to the ocean during low tide that the seals loved to sleep on due to its convenient placement. The sleepy babies always warmed my heart, especially when they struggled to find any sort of movement to the water after their sweet little naps. They never really improved in that skill as they got older, though.

Instead of multiple seals sharing their favorite rock, one seal in particular laid down in the middle, and he seemed twice as large as the adventurous few that took up some space on the perimeter (but that was most likely a slight exaggeration by my mind).

The seal closest to me looked up to acknowledge my presence, then flopped back down, but the big one in the middle stayed still.

I took a few steps closer, even though I was pretty sure that Logan, Darrell, and Toby would all yell at me if they found out, and I climbed up onto their rock. As far as I knew, seals weren't vicious creatures, but I wasn't dumb enough to believe that there wasn't pure aggression pumping through the veins of such a man among boys.

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