2007-02-15: A Moment Shared...


Clint_icon.gif Jane_icon.gif Tamara_icon.gif

Summary: While Jane plays on a streetcorner, she and Tamara discuss second chances. Then they go in search of a bookstore, followed by a park. Along the way, there's a passing encounter with Clint.

Date It Happened: February 15th, 2007

A Moment Shared…

Midtown, NYC - Times Square

While the sun is out in force at this hour, just a bit before noon, the air is still on the brisk side. Most of the Times Square crowd is bundled up accordingly, with some sort of jacket on over their working clothes as they flock down the sidewalks in search of lunch. Or whatever drives the pedestrians today. For her part, Tamara is waiting rather than walking - standing at a corner, shoulder leaning against a streetlamp, with her arms folded across the front of her green sweater, watching the various people go by. Every now and again her eyes stick on one for a moment longer, but there's always someone else to distract the teen in short order.

As she enters Times Square, clad like most in weather appropriate gear over her Levi's jeans and thick hooded Yale sweatshirt, Jane is also toting a guitar case and backpack slung over opposite shoulders. Her eyes rove over the people ahead and to the sides of her; it seems she might be speculating on things regarding them. They first notice Tamara leaning against the lamp, then lift to a point well over her head and her expression shifts to one of a person maybe remembering something that happened still fresh in the mind. What connection might she have to that utility fixture?

Uncrossing her arms, Tamara brushes stray tendrils of hair back behind her ears, then tucks her hands just into the pocket of her sweater, thumbs hooked over its edges. She steps away from the lightpost as Jane enters the square, giving the young woman - and the guitar case on her back - a speculative look. "They can't see how they drift. Plans fail and plans change, left behind. Are you going to play?" the teen asks curiously.

"I might," the young woman replies with a dawning smile. Her eyes take a moment to survey the teen, attention drawn away from the streetlamp, some silent contemplation going on in Jane's mind, evidenced by a speculative expression settling onto her features. "Do you want me to play, and if so is there anything in particular you want to hear?"

Tamara echoes the smile, picking a spot on the sidewalk and promptly sitting down with the attitude of a rapt listener. That must mean 'yes'. Folding her hands in her lap, the girl tips her head up to look at Jane. And she shakes her head. "Music doesn't last; it's a moment. But a pretty one. You pick."

"Okay," the guitarist replies, first setting down her backpack then unslinging the guitar. She takes instrument from case carefully and places it open on the pavement, a small amp is drawn out and hooked into, and the woman's fingers move once across the strings. She takes a moment of listening to each as if making sure things are still in tune while asking "What drifts and changes about plans they can't see?"

"They were fine," the teen remarks, as a helpful aside. She tips her head, looking up at Jane; leaning back against the lamppost, she stretches out and crosses her legs. "Everything," Tamara answers after a brief silence. "Shadows cross; ripples in the water. The equation is never simple, but they want it to be. Most don't realize the sails caught a crosswind until the branches are dead and gone. Sometimes there's other roads," she allows, mixing metaphors freely. "But it's harder to take them."

The ground underneath Tamara is watched for a bit as she goes to sit, Jane commenting "That lamp shattered a few days ago. They did a really quick and thorough job fixing it and cleaning up. No broken glass left behind." The words bring a thoughtful expression to her face, and the question of what to play is settled in her mind. Fingers pick up their pace over strings and frets with a skill one might take as the result of practice and years of study. "There's always time to change the road you're on." Soon the chosen song can be recognized as Stairway to Heaven for anyone familiar with it.

To the comments about the light, Tamara can only shrug. "Your ghost, not mine." As the song begins, she closes her eyes and hums with the melody - apparently it is familiar to her. At a couple points, the girl takes time off huming to respond to Jane. "Perhaps. Roads can be changed," she agrees. "But the river never diverts from its bed. Some crossings can only be made once." Blue eyes open, looking to Jane. "Sometimes ones they least expect."

Her fingers play on, moving toward the point where vocals begin, leaving her just enough time to remark under her breath "You got that right. Never expected to make glass break from screaming and hearing dog whistles no one else can." Silence follows for a few seconds, broken with sung lyrics in a mezzo-soprano voice. "There's a lady who's sure all that glitters is gold…"

Tamara smiles wryly at Jane. "No one expects the glass to break. It doesn't care, doesn't stop it." As the musician begins to sing, the girl closes her eyes, relaxing against the lightpost and letting her head drop slightly. Her lips seem to move with the words, but Tamara doesn't go so far as to join in herself, for whatever reason.

Jane's focus settles entirely on the song being played, her fingers work the instrument with decent timing in this attempt to prove even a shadow of worthiness in following Jimmy Page. Pedestrians here and there begin to drop coins into her case as they pass by, few of them seeming to mind her playing of the parts in this tune which were written for and originally performed on twelve strings with her mere six. "…There's a feeling I get when I look to the west, and my spirit is crying for leaving. In my thoughts I have seen rings of smoke through the trees, and the voices of those who stand looking."

Now, although more pedestrians pass by - or linger to listen - Tamara seems to pay them no heed whatsoever, in contrast to her earlier pastime of people-watching. No stray comments are spoken - although there are a couple of times where she moves her feet, without so much as opening her eyes, to avoid being stepped on by someone who wasn't paying attention to /their/ feet.

As she continues to play Stairway, it being longer than average, something might mix in with the torrent of images and the like seen by Tamara. A flash of Jane standing in front of a bookshelf, looking at a copy of something called Activating Evolution, and from there brief bits of different outcomes; one taking it in hand and another of her leaving it in place. In the present her voice and guitar continue on. "Yes there are two paths you can go by but in the long run, there's still time to change the road you're on. Your head is humming and it won't go, in case you don't know. The piper's calling you to join him. Dear lady can't you hear the wind blow? And did you know your stairway lies on the whispering wind?"

The music - certain, predictable in form - acts as a focus, letting the precog disregard most of the chaotic perceptions the rest of the square and its occupants spawn. But the singer can't be shut out any more than Tamara's own possibilities. As the song nears its conclusion, the teen opens her eyes, looking up at Jane with a peculiarly unfocused gaze. More as if to look through the musician. Her expression is thoughtful, contemplative.

The final notes and chords fade away, trailing off into silence as a few more passersby toss coins into the case on their way to points various within the square. Jane's attention lifts from the guitar seconds later, she seems about to ask the girl's opinion but remains quiet, watching the contemplative expression. Nothing is said, she chooses to allow her time to collect those thoughts and speak in her own time.

After a period of silence, Tamara pushes herself up to her feet, crossing the few steps needed to bring her beside Jane. "Don't ask," she says with a rueful quirk of her lips. "But thank you." The teen tucks a folded bill into the guitarist's hand, rather than leaving it in the case. "Just because you think it came again doesn't mean it did. Even then… the answer didn't mean the same." She shakes her head slightly, mildly frustrated with her own attempt at communication. Hopefully Jane will understand, because if she keeps trying, it'll only get muddled. If it isn't already. Then Tamara turns, her clear intent to depart.

Curious, puzzled, Jane watches Tamara's actions, listens to the words, and accepts the cash placed into her hand. "You're welcome," she replies softly, her mind already busily trying to make sense of what was just said. Her eyes examine the money, checking the amount of it, before it's slid into a pocket and hidden away. "I've got more time to play, if you want to hang out. And I didn't get your name. Mine's Jane."

Pausing, the girl glances back over her shoulder. She smiles faintly. "You were here. The guitar's easy to find." In a city like this? …Right. "Time to move," Tamara continues. "You can come if you want." And then she resumes walking, easily threading her way through the crowd.

Having just made a hundred dollars, and being curious as to what else might be said by this odd girl, Jane gathers up her gear and walks along her path, catching up shortly after the younger one began to move. No questions are asked, she just covers the trail and continues trying to work it all out in her head.

When Jane decides to tag along, Tamara pauses at the next corner, giving her the opportunity to catch up. She casts a glance out into the square, then turns away. With her hands in her pockets and walking at a strolling sort of pace, the girl doesn't seem to have any immediate goal in mind, despite her earlier emphasis on moving /now/. Tamara regards Jane sidelong for a while, but says nothing, letting her think. Perhaps ask a question, if she so chooses. Or not.

"Where are we headed?" the guitarist asks, walking along with the confusing teen. Eyes take in her surroundings, Jane being careful to memorize the area and the path being taken. Hands go into her pockets where one of them rests over the C-note, the woman perhaps wondering how a person so young comes across such a thing for handing out to street musicians. A second question appears to rest at the tip of her tongue, that close to being asked, but she refrains.

Tamara shrugs one shoulder, offering Jane an unconcerned smile. "Where the shadows go. Not where it would have been; I can see yours through." That makes perfect sense to her, but out of context… She can only give the young woman another smile, this one faintly apologetic. "Not far." Jane refrains from asking the second question, but the possibility of the question is strong enough for Tamara to 'hear' it anyway, and a wistful note joins her apologetic tone. "If the ghost doesn't show up, it doesn't come. That had to wait. Sorry."

"You can see through my shadow?" Jane inquires. "There's nothing you to be sorry over." Silence returns, Jane's brow is furrowed as she apparently attempts to decipher the girl's answers while strolling along the mutual path.

Tamara mentally turns over Jane's response, much as Jane does hers, concentration drawing a furrow or two across her forehead. The two thus share silence for a while, until the teen slows to a halt before the door of a bookstore. "Yes and no," Tamara finally responds, the words slowed a bit by the fact that she's still thinking. "Not light-shadow. Shadows." A pause. "It's different." And that seems to be as much of an explanation as is forthcoming.

This statement is pondered over the coming sections as she glances at the bookstore's entrance, then back to the girl, and a possible idea of meaning forms. "Different," Jane observes in a quiet voice. "Shadows, not light-shadows. Like… things that conceal, you say you see through what something is hidden behind." A step toward the door is taken, her hand slowly reaching for the handle by which it might be opened.

Tamara shakes her head slowly. "No. Shadows are cast." A beat. "But number sometimes hides the little ones. That's usually okay." She watches as Jane reaches for the door, then looks away, blue gaze skipping over the street beside them. After a moment, the teen shakes her head as if in dismissal of some thought; she rubs at her eyes, hands continuing upwards to run through her hair.

"Is something wrong? It looked like you were about to add more." Jane's fingers pull the door open, she steps partly inside and turns back to hold the door in invitation for the girl to follow. "This is odd," she muses. "I was headed for a bookstore when I met you, and you lead me to one." Tamara is given another study, extended over a span of seconds, her mind clearly still working to understand.

Tamara offers a crooked smile. "No," she answers. "Just tired." At the invitation, she follows Jane inside, only to loiter in the lobby. The girl doesn't evidence much interest in the books herself, despite the multitude available here - a selection sure to have something for everyone. She just waits for Jane to do what she's doing, shaking her head slightly. Perhaps in negation? "You'll lead."

She walks forward then, and tours the shelves. Within a few moments she locates and pulls from one a copy of the same book she was seen buying in one of the images, then heads for the counter to pay up. Jane's eyes drift over the cover and author's name while she waits for the clerk to do her thing, then looks inside the front cover.

Blue eyes follow Jane while she hunts down her book, and Tamara smiles to herself. She leans against the nearest bookshelf as the young woman makes her purchase, less from waiting idleness and more for the support. Which isn't to say the girl's done for yet. She's just taking advantage of the chance to rest.

Once the tome is paid for and bagged, Jane returns to the leaning Tamara and stands near the door, not speaking. She seems curious what this girl will say or do next, and appears to have for the moment surrendered in her attempts to figure it all out.

Tamara smiles at Jane, apparently in approval. "Finished?" Except it isn't a question, as the strange girl slips out the door, seeming to assume her companion will follow. She makes it out as far as the middle of the sidewalk - far enough for both of them to clear the doorway - and stands there a moment, gazing into the distance, her eyes intermittently flicking to one side or the other.

Behind the girl, Jane emerges with a bag containing a single book, a guitar in its case over one shoulder, and a backpack over the other. She adjusts the load on her upper body, causing a flash of the Yale emblem on her hooded sweatshirt to be seen under the winter coat she wears, then tucks hands into pockets. "I'm finished," she answers.

Ahh, Times Square. Plenty of sights to see. Plenty of things to do. And Clint, well, he's trying to act like he's relatively normal. For the first time in his life he's shown another human being what he can do. And now he's wondering if that was the best idea. Can he really trust her? He walks down the street with his hands in his pockets, just thinking to himself.

"Yes," Tamara agrees, her attention returning to the present. To Jane, specifically, as she turns to look at her. The teen flashes a brief smile. "Do you want me to carry something?" she offers, tipping her head quizzically. Her gaze flicks to one side, just once - but Tamara doesn't actually twist to look at anything, so the purpose of the glance is unclear. Assuming it had one.

"Thanks for offering," she replies. Her shoulder tilts and the pack slides off it into her hand, Jane holds it out to be taken. Her eyes turn down the street ahead and flash across Clint for a second, then return to the girl in front of her. "Where to next?"

Well, Clint is still wandering. He's trying his best not to look like a tourist. I mean, he does live here in the city. But he's never really been to Times Square, at least to look around. He doesn't look lost. He can't ever get lost, that's one of his favorite things.

Accepting the pack without quite looking at it - her attention is drawn to Clint as well - Tamara automatically slides the straps onto her shoulders. That's an old and familiar motion, even if she has little to do with backpacks anymore. "Where do you want to go?" the girl counters - even as she starts walking down the sidewalk. In Clint's general direction, as it happens.

Once free of the pack her guitar is swung around to the front of her. She pulls the instrument out and holds it with one hand, balancing the case between her arm and body long enough to get the amp out and attach it on one hip. Once the case is closed again Jane shifts it back behind her and runs her fingers over strings and frets idly while thinking of destinations. "Someplace quiet, I think." Her fingers move again, more organized this time, and play out a snippet of something Chuck Berryesque.

Clint is still walking along, minding his own business. But that's when he spots someone who's strumming a guitar in the middle of a city street. Well, maybe not in the street, but still. He stops to watch for a moment.

It sounds for the duration of that lick she might launch into a version of Johnny B. Goode, but after those few seconds her fingers change tack and progress to something which might seem experimental to anyone hearing Jane play. Chords are sampled, her lips move without making sound, perhaps indicating potential lyrics to match the guitar.

"All right," Tamara agrees easily. She doesn't change her course, though, just keeps walking. Looking to Clint, who's watching them in turn, the teen smiles amiably; she offers a sketch of a wave in greeting. The wave falters slightly at the end, as Jane switches to improvising on the theme; her gaze swings abruptly back. Tamara blinks, stuffing her hands more deeply into her pockets, and soon drops her eyes, looking down at her feet as she continues forward.

"Not quite there," the guitarist remarks, maybe to herself or Tamara, which is unclear. At the same time she notices Clint watching, her attempt is put aside from that point, Jane returns to familiar territory. The tune begins, her voice joins in shortly after, kept muted in volume. "I think I'm gonna be sad, I think it's today, yeah. The guy that's driving me mad is going away, yeah. He's got a ticket to ride…"

Clint returns the wave to Tamara, and then goes back to listening to the music. He taps his foot along with the beat, which is in his head, since it is just a guitar. But it's still done pretty well. Must have taken a lot of practice for her to get as good with the guitar as she is. He idly remembers his drum set when he was 12. That didn't work so well.

Tamara seems to relax as Jane's music returns to established ground. Though, this time, she doesn't hum along. In relatively short order, the girl ducks off the street, leading the way into a little niche of a park that seems to have been neglected by the lunchtime crowd. A handful of blackbirds take flight from the fountain as she walks in, and Tamara flinches back from their fluttering - but without letting that change her path. She moves to the ground just beyond the fountain and flops down on the sunlit grass.

( Continued in And Confidence Kindled…)

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