Once upon a time, there was a ship shared by two friends. Well, they live together and they tolerate each other most of the time. To protect their privacy, let’s call them Mr. Too Much and Miss Not Enough. The ship’s name is Tini.
Mr. Too Much lives in the galley of the ship; he guards the fridge and the cabinets so that when he can’t sleep at night, he can get up and get a snack right across from his bed. He eats more anyway, and Miss Not Enough doesn’t mind that he’s down there a lot when he’s not steering. It gives her space in the bridge during her shift.
Miss Not Enough, on the other hand, lives right in the bridge, where she’d watch Mr. Too Much steer sometimes even when she’s off duty. The height gives her a perfect view of everything in front of Tini, so she can keep them all safe in case Mr. Too Much messes up, which can be often. She spends a lot of time on the deck, too, especially at the front in the forecastle. On a good day, there’s a lot of breeze, and the rain doesn’t bother her when the weather doesn’t cooperate. It’s only when the sea retaliates, or when they need to dock Tini, which is a two-person endeavor, that she returns to the bridge to help Mr. Too Much, or as she likes to say, “keep him in check.”
It’s not that she doesn’t want to help, or doesn’t like Mr. Too Much. He doesn’t always want her help; he’d feel insulted if she offers too often, or pitied when she says it a certain way. Like siblings and any two old roommate, they don’t always get along. Sometimes, he’d lock her out, force her to roam the underbelly of the ship so her presence wouldn’t offend. In exile, alone, out of his line of sight.
But when Miss Not Enough stopped coming above the deck to check on him, Mr. Too Much started to worry, as he does. Even when he needed assistance carrying out the basic functions of the ship, she wasn’t there. He couldn’t sense her; it was as if she disappeared off the face of Tini, gone without a trace. Left to his own devices, everything spiraled into a mess. He barely ate, but when he did, he stuffed his face with any edible thing he could find in the galley. Not that he felt hungry. Most of the time, his stomach rumbled in protest, bloated and in pain. But he didn’t care. He wanted to fill a void inside him he couldn’t explain.
It turns out, as much as he hated her high-heeled strut and patronizing tone, Mr. Too Much needed Miss Not Enough. He missed her check-ins during his shifts, the cheese and crackers she’d bring on a little tray from her private stash in the galley, the crackers already a little stale but at least they weren’t soggy like he expected. He missed her stern look watching over his shoulder, her knotted brown eyebrows thinning in the middle where she’d pull at them when she’s thinking. Her rare smile when he mistook a dolphin as another ship, shouting “incoming” as she chuckled, almost mocking him but not. Tini isn’t the same without her. It won’t ever be.
Where did she go?
He worked and waited and wept and waited and worried and waited and wandered the bridge watching the deck wondering when she’d walk right back to him. She did not come. He waited some more. Still no Miss Not Enough. He began to think it was all his fault, that he complained too often or whined too much or pushed her away when she just wanted to help. He desperately wanted to go find her, but he couldn’t leave the ship unattended in the open water where Lovecraftian monsters could attack at any moment.
So he started praying. Mr. Too Much has been as atheist as atheists can get but he started praying. To God, to the sea, to Tini… To anyone, anything. Sometimes, he didn’t even have the words for it; he just closed his eyes and imagined her—her hair smelling like the sea wrestling the wind, her eyes in the sunlight clear as mirrors, her sharp words cutting through the air like a knife, her pride, her.
She did not come.
He almost stopped waiting. But he didn’t.
Maybe his prayers finally worked, maybe she heard his apologies, or maybe, simply maybe, she finally got bored of all this hiding and wanted some human interaction. Who knows? In any case, 33 days after her exile, Miss Not Enough marched into the bridge and, for the first time in forever, gave him a hug.
For a moment, he thought he was in heaven.
“Great, you didn’t sink us while I was gone” was all she said. But it was enough. “Oh come on, don’t cry you doofus! I wasn’t gone for that long.”
Too late. Mr. Too Much was clinging onto her like a koala and she had to tap out to breathe and calm him down till he could form a sentence.
“So we’re cool?”
“We’re still crewmates?”
“Partners. From now on, we run Tini together. Always. Deal?”
And Mr. Too Much yelled “deal” so loudly he could have drawn out the sirens.
So that’s how they’ve come to work together. They still fight sometimes, as partners do, and choppy waters still rock the boat. But at least they’re trying to keep Tini in the best condition they can, and that’s all that matters.