“No. All we’re doing is to stop more men being infected. There isn’t a bloody thing I can do for the ones who already have it.”
“Indeed.” He stooped and picked up one of my hands. Surprised, I let him have it. He ran a thumb lightly over the blister where I had burned myself scalding milk, and touched my knuckles, reddened and cracked from the constant immersion in alcohol.
“You would appear to have been very active, Madame, for someone who is doing nothing,” he said dryly.
“Of course I’m doing something!” I snapped, yanking my hand back. “It doesn’t do any good!”
“I’m sure—” he began.
“It doesn’t!” I slammed my fist on the gun, the noiseless blow seeming to symbolize the pain-filled futility of the day. “Do you know how many men I lost today? Twenty-three! I’ve been on my feet since dawn, elbow-deep in filth and vomit and my clothes stuck to me, and none of it’s been any good! I couldn’t help! Do you hear me? I couldn’t help!”
His face was turned away, in shadow, but his shoulders were stiff.
“I hear you,” he said quietly. “You shame me, Madam. I had kept to my cabin at the Captain’s orders, but I had no idea that the circumstances were such as you describe, or I assure you that I should have come to help, in spite of them.”
“Why?” I said blankly. “It isn’t your job.”
“Is it yours?” He swung around to face me, and I saw that he was handsome, in his late thirties, perhaps, with sensitive, fine-cut features, and large blue eyes, open in astonishment.
“Yes,” I said.
He studied my face for a moment, and his own expression changed, fading from surprise to thoughtfulness.
“No, you don’t, but it doesn’t matter.” I pressed my fingertips hard against my brow, in the spot Mr. Willoughby had shown me, to relieve headache. “If the Captain means you to keep to your cabin, then you likely should. There are enough hands to help in the sickbay; it’s just that…nothing helps,” I ended, dropping my hands.
He walked over to the rail, a few feet away from me, and stood looking out over the expanse of dark water, sparked here and there as a random wave caught the starlight.
“I do see,” he repeated, as though talking to the waves. “I had thought your distress due only to a woman’s natural compassion, but I see it is something quite different.” He paused, hands gripping the rail, an indistinct figure in the starlight.
“I have been a soldier, an officer,” he said. “I know what it is, to hold men’s lives in your hand— and to lose them.”
I was quiet, and so was he. The usual shipboard sounds went on in the distance, muted by night and the lack of men to make them. At last he sighed and turned toward me again.
“What it comes to, I think, is the knowledge that you are not God.” He paused, then added, softly, “And the very real regret that you cannot be.”
I sighed, feeling some of the tension drain out of me. The cool wind lifted the weight of my hair from my neck, and the curling ends drifted across my face, gentle as a touch.
“Yes,” I said.
He hesitated a moment, as though not knowing what to say next, then bent, picked up my hand, and kissed it, very simply, without affectation.
“Good night, Mrs. Malcolm,” he said, and turned away, the sound of his footsteps loud on the deck.
—¡No! —Descargué el puño en el cañón—. ¿Sabéis cuántos hombres he perdido hoy? ¡Veintitrés! Estoy en pie desde el alba, hundida hasta los codos en mugre y estiércol, con la ropa pegada al cuerpo. ¡Y no sirve de nada! ¡No he podido ayudar! ¿Me oís? ¡No he podido ayudar! —Os oigo —dijo en voz baja—. Me avergonzáis, señora. Me he quedado en el camarote por órdenes del capitán pero no tenía ni idea de las circunstancias que describís. De lo contrario os aseguro que habría salido a ayudar. —¿Por qué? No tenéis ninguna obligación. —¿Y vos sí? —Se dio la vuelta y me miró a la cara. Entonces vi que era un hombre apuesto, de unos treinta y ocho años, de facciones bien delineadas y grandes ojos azules dilatados por el asombro. —Sí—dije. —Comprendo. —No, no comprendéis, pero no importa. —Me presioné con fuerza la frente con la punta de los dedos, en el sitio que el señor Willoughby me había indicado para aliviar el dolor de cabeza—. Si el capitán quiere que permanezcáis en vuestro camarote, deberíais hacerlo. Tengo suficientes hombres para que me ayuden con los enfermos. Sólo que… no hay remedio —concluí dejando caer las manos. —Comprendo —repitió como si hablara con las olas—. Supuse que vuestra aflicción se debía sólo a la compasión natural de las mujeres pero veo que se trata de algo muy diferente. —Hizo una pausa—. He sido oficial del ejército. Sé lo que significa tener vidas humanas en las manos… y perderlas. Se hizo un silencio. —Todo se reduce a reconocer que uno no es Dios —añadió con suavidad—. Y a lamentar no poder serlo.
—Sí —confirmé. Vaciló como si no supiera qué decir y me cogió la mano para besármela con sencillez. —Buenas noches, señora Malcolm —dijo. Se alejó haciendo resonar sus pasos en la cubierta.
in the first few fairly oddparents shorts cosmo is way more smart and not nearly as unfunctional as he is now - so i made a tragic backstory out of it, to give cosmo’s increasing stupidity throughout the show a reason :’D
(although timmy is probably just surprised to hear cosmo talk in sentences that have internal logic)