With the new addition to our seal watch, there wasn't nearly as much counting to do. That giant seal intimidated everyone within a twenty-foot radius (although he didn't scare me), and when I looked over at Logan during our allotted hour, he leaned forward and rested his chin on his palms.
"I can't decide if I like this guy for making this so easy, or if I hate his guts for fucking everything up," he said. "Now I'm just going to let myself get distracted."
"Don't do that. There's still a little bit of time we have to fill, so keep counting," I replied.
"Hey." Logan shushed me. "Do you hear that?"
"Is that the ice cream truck?"
"If the ice cream truck managed to drive through the ocean, I'd be very impressed, but—" I stopped talking as I heard the foghorn go off. I had gotten so used to it that I never even heard it anymore, but now that I paid attention to the sounds surrounding me, the noise blared just like it used to. "Did you really just undo my ability to ignore a stimulus?"
"Have fun listening to that again," Logan said with a laugh.
I shook my head. "I don't know how I'm supposed to count now that I hear that awful foghorn again."
There was nothing I could do besides waiting for myself to get used to the noise again, so I continued counting the seals that popped out of the water for a quick breath or to check on the mega seal.
"Oh look, dolphins," Logan said.
"Where?" I looked out to the horizon, and surely enough, there were some dorsal fins that popped out of the water. Although I couldn't tell whether they were dolphins or porpoises from the distance, I let out a breath. "I love dolphins."
"They're so smart, too. I'm sure you know more about them than I will ever know, but damn. They're adorable."
I smiled. "I don't know everything, Logan."
"You're pretty damn close, though."
"I know because I care. I love this, and from the second I saw my first whale three years ago, I knew that this is what I'm meant to do with my life. By myself, I'm worth nothing, but as a part in this system? I'd like to think that my contributions can cascade into bigger effects. I mean, what do you care about?"
"Well," Logan began, "I care about who I am and that I find people who like me for me. And it's important that I don't kill myself over what I find interesting, because I can't enjoy it otherwise. And I care about the big picture of life like you do, but to a lesser extent."
"What do you mean to a lesser extent?"
"You set the bar pretty high, Rea. You're kind of obsessed."
I shook my head. "That's just mostly what I care about, the harmony of everything living and nonliving. But you? You care about so many other things, but at the same time, you care about nothing at all. It's just," I thought for a moment, "odd."
"Same thing could be said about you, weirdo."
I smiled. "Maybe we're just weird, or maybe we're the only sane ones on the earth. We'll never know, I guess."
"I already know that you're weird and that I'm the sane one. That's the time for the seal watch. What's your total for the hour?"
I hadn't really been counting for the last few minutes, but I told him the fifty-three seals that I had remembered counting. He added it to his number and scribbled it down in his notebook, and I peeked over his shoulder to see our total. It certainly seemed like an outlier in the data at ninety-eight seals in the hour, but a lot of them must have fled the rock if we still only counted about a third of our usual total, including the seals in the water.
YOU ARE READING
"For a place called Paradise City, this island sucks. I don't think a single day has gone by that I haven't thought about stabbing the shit out of myself," he said. "Especially since I'm forced to live with you every second of every day." "Sh. I'm t...