Less than a week to go before Arianne gets off that boat and is back for 6 months. God, I’ve been looking forward to having her back here with me, just the two of us. All the guys I’ve spent time with in the camp were friendly, we shot the shit, did the work, got the samples, but we never got as close as Arianne and I are now. Even while she’s been gone, she’s been sure to send me e-mails every so often, let me know what she’s eating and what it’s like back on the mainland, which is what we collectively call all of the other six continents. She laughed the first time I said that, like she had never heard it before from other geologists who had been down at the pole. It’s that lightheartedness that made her such a good companion – even when we were out drilling for core samples and couldn’t talk because of the wind, I would catch her eye through her mask and see her smile as she worked. I guess I just took it as par for the course that everyone who’s down here for more than a couple of weeks, especially during the dark months, deals with depression. Gradually stops speaking, eats more, sleeps more. It’s never bothered me, but growing up in Alaska I got used to it, albeit in smaller doses. But Arianne, she doesn’t seem to care. Dark or light, after we get back from drilling she just turns on the space heater and opens her mouth and there go hours and hours, learning more about her family, her house, her dogs, her boyfriends. I talk too, of course, but never as much as her. My voice is lower and makes the room feel colder – but when she speaks, it’s like the space heaters are working overtime to elevate the temperature in the room and keep us warm as the arctic wind whips by outside.
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