Our plan was to eat the food in the order that it would expire, although the repellent afternoon heat strangled the life out of almost everything immediately, and the potatoes were sprouting eyes only minutes after the greens had given their last gasp. Everything expired in this environment, in fact, including Em who took to sun poisoning on the second day, and could only rally enough energy for a few hours worth of revolutions around the bay, a feat which we performed with the faulty engine strapped firmly to the dingy. I was pleased she had mustered even this small effort, and admitting that I was also starving after the second lap, we trailed fingers in the water all the way back to the boat, where we turned ginger and jaundiced green beans into a kind of fry and ate it over rice. Other than that we just lay and listened to the water, her beneath the poorly-blowing fan in the galley, myself on the prow, straining to see far enough down into the dark water to where the anchor, I knew, was somewhere lying.
It was amazing how quickly the days passed, and how exhausting they were. There was nowhere to make landfall, and we spun the motor restlessly around bay after bay, sometimes tying up to rock or peaking coral so that we could take a dip. But it was adventurous; large and ripe-feeling, with patches of underwater sand, pearly-hued in the diaphanous blue, crying out for swims around every corner. At night, sometimes just vodka for dinner, and already looking forward to early morning coffee, with the sun coming up, and mushy oatmeal mixed with peanut butter.
The second night, feeling badly for having poisoned the air with anxiety on the first, I offered to take a bow watch so that Em could sleep with the hatches open, as she was still running a serious temperature. Sitting, concealed beneath the shadow of a bound sail, testing the weight of a metal pipe in my fist, I felt newfound sympathy for all the dolts in films who fell asleep while on watch; the civilian solider types called from milking the cow one day to active duty the next. Of course they fell asleep, of course. They knew the world was hard, but not yet, also, how terrifically violent.
And me, poor idiot me, well — I had no idea of either.