January 19, 2004 Wednesday
Cooper’s last day in the wardroom with me is tomorrow, officially, but I have seen less and less of him since leave, and as such the workload has gone more and more to my shoulders. His replacement is OSSN VonCollin from Louisiana, a really good guy that does whatever asked of him. At least the very end will be smooth.
Stranger than fiction, Miss Kim, my own division’s junior officer who looks exactly like Lucy Liu, actually commented on this changing of the wardroom guards. Which is odd, because she barely ever talks to me. In a brief history, she had been in attendance at the first meal I ever served in late October , and then made exactly one reappearance while underway. Very commonly she will emerge from her stateroom with something to heat up in the pantry’s microwave, and then scurry back to whence she came. What would normally be odd has become rudimentary; most days she’ll pass by as if I’m not there, unless on rare occasion she needs the vacuum cleaner. Yet this morning, passing through the wardroom while I was with VonCollin she asked with a smile if he was the new replacement. Even this caught me off guard, but then she said, “Well, he’ll be a hard act to follow. He’s been the best FSA [in the wardroom] since I’ve been here.” I joke that I’m blushing but I don’t forget to add, true to my word, “I’m been studying sonar, m’am, so I’ll be ready when I’m back,” as she’s exiting. Not much of a response to report. Honestly, I think it’s fascinating, she has no discernible fingerprints and as perfect a poker face as I’ve seen. As I’ve said, for a while I tried to reason this all out, but I believe only a mulligan is the only course.
The snow began to fall in the mid-afternoon. Being my early day, I asked around if anyone would like to get something to eat, and young, eager Owens was up for it. By the time we left the ship a heavy downfall was already layering the ground.