2007-02-04: If Not Who You Are, Then Who?


Sydney_icon.gif Tamara_icon.gif

Summary: Sydney and Tamara share a quiet moment in Central Park.

Date It Happened: February 4th, 2007

Log Title: If Not Who You Are, Then Who?

Central Park

Stepping into Central Park from the concrete jungle that is New York is like entering a whole other world. For some people, it's a way of escaping the demanding hustle and bustle of city life. For others - like Sydney - it's a more spiritual place, a site of transition. She sits on a wrought-iron bench on the edge of the reservoir where she can watch the passersby as well as the birds that nest and forage here, though she doesn't seem particularly drawn to one or the other. Cardinals and joggers in bright red sweat suits, young mothers pushing strollers and mallard ducklings toddling after their parents - it's all the same.

After spending much of the early morning watching… well, anything that caught her fleeting interest, Tamara finds someone else occupying themselves with a similar pastime. The girl comes up behind Sydney's bench, despite her being a total and complete stranger. She makes no attempt to be sneaky; rather the opposite, making sure at least a couple of her footsteps are audible so as not to surprise the woman. "It's bright today," the girl remarks. Despite the overcast.

Despite Tamara's effort, the look on Sydney's face when she turns to glance at her is one of quiet bewilderment. It's likely that she isn't taken aback by her sudden appearance so much as the fact that a complete stranger is trying to make conversation - and a young one at that. She raises both her dark eyebrows up, up, up, until her forehead is a series of furrows and she has to reach up with her hand to smooth them out. "Yeah," she says groggily, rubbing her temple. "Hey, shouldn't you be in school?"

The inquiry is met with a cheerful smile. "Not today," Tamara answers, stepping around the edge of the bench and perching on the end of its seat. Apparently she assumes Sydney won't mind sharing. The girl looks to her companion, head tilted just slightly, blue eyes blinking once. "Nicer here, if not so quiet."

"Yeah," Sydney agrees again, and while there's a hint of reservation in her voice that wasn't there before, whatever uncertainty she's feeling must pass quickly because her shoulders soon sag, and she relaxes. "So, here's another question for you. If you could trade lives with anybody here-" With a broad sweep of her arm, she gestures grandly to the park around them. "-who would you pick?"

Tamara studies Sydney for a long moment, gaze sharpening. Then she turns her focus to the passersby, the people strolling through the park, the birds, the dogs. The girl watches them in silence for a brief time, then flinches back, shaking her head a bit. "The mirror touched more from the shadows," Tamara muses after a beat, lifting eyes now darkened by slightly dilated pupils to Sydney. "There were many 'good' choices, but I like hers," she concludes, pointing at a jogger and dog who cross in front of them. Mostly at the dog.

As unexpected as the answer is, it causes the corner of Sydney's mouth to twitch with mirth. "Nice," she remarks, saying nothing more until the jogger and the dog have disappeared around the corner. Then, without looking at Tamara, she asks, "You write poetry much?"

Tamara smiles crookedly at Sydney's approval. "No worries, or fewer. Never lost in the waterfall." She reaches up to hook her hair behind her ears, then changes her mind and begins finger-combing out one section of the tangled locks. "No," the girl replies, shaking her head slightly. "Who would you be," Tamara asks in return, "if not who you are?"

"I haven't figured mine out yet," Sydney admits, "but I sure as hell wouldn't wanna live my life at the end of a leash." The state of Tamara's hair earns the girl a reproachful look of concern, followed by a frown. Inside her head, the proverbial gears have begun to turn, and she doesn't like the conclusion that they're slowly propelling her toward. "Just for the record, you probably shouldn't talk to people you don't know. I could turn out to be the next Central Park Strangler."

"The leash only mattered out of context." She gives Sydney a sidelong look around a few stray strands of hair, and smiles at the woman. "No, you couldn't," Tamara states, a peculiarly confident assurance in her smile. "Who you are wasn't /all/ bad, you know. There's always more than you see." The girl lets her hands fall, eyes flicking out over the park.

"I can believe that." And she does. Sydney's gaze grows distant as she turns her head to look out across the reservoir. Although it doesn't show on her face or even in her body language, her thoughts are beginning to wildly spin away from - and all it took was six simple words. "What do /you/ see? When you look around, I mean."

The girl closes her eyes, running a hand over her face. "Shadows. Today there aren't, but there were. Too many shadows." The smile she gives Sydney is a pleasant one, rather at odds with the tone of that statement. "Nothing was for always. Maybe next time you had an answer." And Tamara stands up, tucking her hair behind her ears successfully this time, starting off in the vague direction taken by the jogging pair of before.

By the time she's able to wrap her brain around this, Tamara is already too far away for Sydney to try to stop her. "Hey!" she calls out at the teen's retreating back, "I never caught your name!"

No, she didn't - and Tamara doesn't seem about to turn around and provide it. Perhaps she didn't hear. The teen just keeps walking, apparently having some errand elsewhere.

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