37: (Almost) Smooth Sailing

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A few days later, Logan was still finding FOR RECTAL USE ONLY stickers on all of his belongings. I wasn't sure who put them everywhere, but the signs seemed to point in twelve different directions. It probably wasn't Carter, who was actually incapable of doing harm to anything. That narrowed it down to Darrell (who didn't care for Logan), Brett (who probably found it hilarious), and Jia (who enjoyed being a pain sometimes). But no matter who it was, Logan didn't think it was funny after the first three stickers.

I did, though. I thought it was funny.

The box that had the first sticker on it had a necklace with the chemical structure of caffeine in it. It was sweet, perfect, and better than any sort of jewel or precious metal in the entire world.

Everything seemed to be normal once again (or as normal as it got at Paradise City), and after another wonderful dinner prepared by Brett, Logan and I did our seal watch. Actually, it was still just his, but it felt like it belonged to me too.

Later that evening, the stars came out, and I found myself outside at the top of the lighthouse, gazing up at the sky by myself. It wasn't filled with loneliness, though, like it had been before. The world didn't feel empty anymore. Part of it was that I knew that there was an ocean filled with life right in front of me, and the other part of it was that I had someone waiting for me to come home, back inside the house and back to West Virginia.

I was an independent person with a desire to please, but I was also still human. Evolution dictated our social nature, and there was no sense in going against what nature had decided for us.

I took in a deep breath of the cool, salty air. I'd never get used to the way it heightened my senses and gave me a new life, a new purpose. For some, the ocean was relaxing, but for me, it was stimulating, and like any love, I wanted closer.

Unfortunately, I would probably drown if I got too close.

Even though I finally had people who wanted me with them, there was still a call to leave everything behind and only focus on the waves as they rolled in and out. But I knew that wasn't feasible. Instead, I had to be somewhat mature and keep my personal life and my personal life separate. There was one that I preferred, of course, but the other one required attention if I didn't want to fall back into isolation.

There was a difference between isolation by choice and by force. By choice, it felt good for a while, but it quickly spiraled out of control.

"Hey Reagan," Jia said as she arrived at the top of the lighthouse.

Oh, thank goodness. My thoughts were beginning to get weird.

"Hi," I replied. I wasn't sure if she wanted me to say anything else, so I didn't.

She was better at being friendly than I ever was.

"It's really nice and peaceful out tonight," she continued.

I nodded. "A part of me never wants to leave."

In fact, the vast majority of me didn't want to ever go, but that tiny, obnoxious minority reminded me that while I could be perfectly happy out by myself, people didn't usually like being left behind. It hurt them.

Jia laughed. "I miss my dog too much to stay here forever."

"What kind of dog?" I asked.

"A chihuahua."

I looked at her, then back up at the sky. "I'm sure the chihuahua's feisty enough to fend for itself."

See, Rea? That's the exact kind of thinking that made you the social disaster you are.

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