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  • Mercedes

Tuesday, January 21st

Steps: 5,380

Max HR: 134

Min HR: 70 (resting)

My phone is fully charged today. I’ve been hiking around this arena (colosseum?) and I can’t get a signal anywhere. Outside the arena walls is a thick jungle, and I’m afraid to go too far away from where I came in or I may have a hard time getting back. My direction apps don’t recognize this area at all, or is it just that I need a signal boost?

I found what looks like a control room with some dense packages that look like they may be food. When my mom takes me backpacking, we eat a lot of MREs because she wants to keep our bags light, so I’m not scared of eating something a bit bland. I don’t recognize any of the markings on the packages, so I’m not sure how to put it together, or what I might be making for myself. Whatever it is, I’ll need water, so I grab a tall stone container, about the size and shape of a small planter, and cross my fingers for a place to fill up.

There’s a fountain on the west side near some bathrooms. They all seem to work with electricity, so I wonder if yesterday and today are just off-days and there will be crowds coming back on the weekend.

Or next month. Or next year.

I try not to think about how long I’m going to be here, just focusing on the immediate need. I gulp down water from the fountain, then rinse out the stone container. Hopefully nothing toxic was in here before, but it’s not like I have a wide variety of options right now. Once it’s full, I take it back to the control room with the MREs.

I reexamine the packets with my mom’s voice yelling in the back of my head, “You don’t know where that’s been! What’s the expiration date?” I’m too hungry to care right now. It’s been a day and a half since I’ve eaten anything, and my body is used to large, basketball player meals on the regular.

There’s a pack that looks like it should be pasta, which I mix together with what seems to be flavoring. The heat pack works the same as what I’ve had before. I spoon in a bit of water to activate a chemical that warms everything up. I chew on a fruit and nut type bar while waiting for the pasta to cool down enough to eat. There’s also some kind of drink mix, so I set aside around 8 oz of water in what might have been a pencil cup, and stir it together.

I sputter when I take a sip and the drink is spicy. Maybe that was supposed to be hot sauce for the pasta? I dump it out.

Even though it’s kind of mealy and likely a little too old, the food tastes rich and flavorful to me, filling my hungry stomach. The packets are empty sooner than I’d like, and I’m tempted to rip open another box, but how many of these do I have? And how long do they need to last?

At night, I curl up under a desk in this little room and use my warm up jacket as a pillow. I nervously check my calorie consumption on my exercise watch. If I keep burning what I’m used to, but running on tiny packs of mystery pasta, I could start losing muscle mass. I don’t want to get behind my teammates just because I got stuck in weirdo world for a week.

I hope it’s not more than a week.

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