2007-03-29: Recognizing The River


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Summary: While gaining some partial understanding of Tamara's riddles, Jane is led to someone.

Date It Happened: March 29, 2007

Recognizing The River

New York University, NYC

Taking a break from concerns regarding Sylar, having done what she can in the arena of spreading word, and not having heard from Pete or Elle recently, Jane sets out to continue exploring for fellow musicians. This today has brought her back to the campus of NYU and Washington Square Park, where she walks with the cased guitar and backpack over both shoulders. Printed flyers are in hand, she tacks them to poles here and there, hoping to draw contacts by them, and generally looks around for people of interest.

Some days, Tamara is a person of interest - but not so much with respect to music. A musician, she isn't. That doesn't keep her from appreciating it, however, and that may be what draws the girl's attention to Jane, what with her guitar case and all. "It's nice today," she remarks, as she approaches the woman. "Good for looking."

Her eyes settle on the girl, Jane turns to face the voice's source and her expression shifts into one of curiosity. Close up, she looks a bit different than at their first meeting, and more easily studied in the light of day here at this campus. "It is," she agrees quietly. "And I hope so." The woman takes a few steps and looks for a place to sit while asking "What's your name? Mine's Jane. Jane Forrest."

Returning Jane's regard with a curious, if slightly not-quite-focused gaze, Tamara nods once. "Hello," she greets. Blue eyes narrow faintly in concentration before she finally continues. "…Tamara," the girl supplies in the end. She doesn't look around, but moves towards the bench Jane is most likely to pick. That's where she'll sit, for now.

"Tamara," Jane repeats quietly. "I remember meeting you before, twice now, in or near the park. The first time, I also met a man, and you wandered off while he and I talked. You're an intriguing one, I have to say." Her gear is slipped from shoulders and placed on the ground near her feet, with the case resting against a spot of bench by her left leg. "It seemed as if you were trying to tell me something I couldn't understand."

Tamara blinks up at Jane, head tilted at a curious angle. Her expression is such that it suggests Jane's recollection of events strikes no matching chord in the girl. Eventually, her study of the woman ends in a small smile. "The shadows are familiar," Tamara says, nodding once. "Understanding is hard to come by. Not many did."

"What are the shadows?" she asks softly, her attention now entirely on the teen, Jane's hoping to this time reach a better understanding. "I can understand, want to understand the enigma. I made it through law school, should be able to grasp what you say too."

"Your shadows," Tamara elaborates, probably not helpfully. She folds her hands in her lap, attention intent upon Jane. "Patterns and ripples. Shifts and changes. The details are different but the river is mostly the same, and the mirror knows the river." The teen licks her lips, chews on her lower lip for a moment. "Shadows are… many. Many currents, threads in the river."

"The river," Jane replies, musing for a moment. "I talked with someone a day ago, she said life was like a river, and I said the currents can be strong, we can get swept away by them, but we also have boats, and oars, to control our courses. Are the shadows currents in the river, or the reflections of oars being used?" Her brain is working away, mulling over what's been said to her.

Tamara tips her head the other way, regarding Jane thoughtfully. "Is there a difference?" she asks, after a brief silence. "The current dies, the boat means nothing." Closing her eyes, Tamara shivers. "Empty, hollow, adrift." A beat. "I don't like that," she states flatly, looking up at Jane again.

"I don't either," she replies with her own eyes going distant while she mulls over words. Empty, hollow, adrift. Like things people tell her she was involved with, times she can't remember. The pain of her cold turkey experience surfaces, and she shivers a bit. It takes some moments to shake it off and reply with a question. "You don't like being empty, hollow, and adrift. Neither would I." A few more seconds of contemplation produces a second question. "Is there a difference… shadows and currents are the same, the path of the oars through the water? But if the current dies, the boat isn't meaningless, the oars still work, and maybe it's easier to row."

Silence is matched with silence, for as long as Jane's focus is turned inwards. Tamara pulls her feet up on the bench, arms going loosely about her knees. "But where did it go?" the girl asks, her voice soft. "No beginning, no end, no bank - the river is all. Everywhere. Without current, there is only water." She rests her chin on her knees, eyes dark.

Silent again, she thinks for an extended period, to mull all this over. Philosophy, psychology, subjects studied briefly at Yale, but not in depth, she pursued music, political science, and law. Jane's mind works away at the concepts, trying to sort them out. She saw Jack react to her warnings, he slowed up when she shouted to watch out, and there was trouble sure enough. The doctor she met was grabbed…

Tamara gives Jane the time she needs to thinking, knowing trying to prompt her will only disrupt her chance at comprehension. But after a little while, the girl hops off the bench. She starts to pace an oval around it, looking at the dirt and gravel under her feet. Tamara picks up one rock, turns it over in her hand, and drops it again before resuming her walk.

"Choices, Tamara?" she asks. "Are the shadows choices, and possible results?" Jane reaches for two rocks, and holds them in her hands. "If I throw these, do you see the way they might travel, and what could happen because they're thrown?"

Tamara pauses in her walking as Jane addresses her again, her eyes reflexively flicking to the rocks. Almost immediately, the girl pulls her gaze away, looking up to meet Jane's eyes instead. Her eyes are dark rather than blue, pupils expanded in spite of the sunlight. "Maybe, might-be, might land. But you didn't," she states. Then a shrug of one shoulder. "Mostly. Even thin shadows are sometimes kept."

"Oh, girl," she states softly, "you see all these things, don't you? So much, I can only imagine what that does to the mind." Jane's fingers move, she holds the rocks as if to toss them across her body lightly, then just before releasing her hands straighten and let them go at the same time in a weak lob, they'll carry only a foot or two forward. "What did you see just now, Tamara?"

"Shadows fail," Tamara answers, gaze falling to Jane's hands. "One, for a moment - one that's gone. A ghost, and the mirror doesn't hold ghosts well. Too much like water, like glass." She flops back down on the bench, folding her hands in her lap.

Confusion reigns again, as she mulls the latest words over. "The river is the world, I think," Jane muses. "Shadows are the currents, if the currents stop, the person is no more, and the river continues without her. Is that what you meant by only water, Tamara? And the shadows only exist until a choice is made, or… no. You see the possible choices and where they lead, but only for an instant, they're fleeting? What's the mirror, is that the solidity of the choice once it's made?"

Tamara frowns at Jane, as she in her own turn considers the woman's words. In the end, she shrugs. Close is probably good enough. "The mirror holds the image. That's what mirrors do." The girl stands back up, hooking her hair behind her ears. "Ghosts aren't solid at all." Then she pauses for a moment. "Maybe to you," Tamara amends with a nod towards Jane.

That draws her back to introspection. Her eyes go distant, fixed on some building across the way. "I've a lot of ghosts, Tamara. Things people tell me I did, I've no memory of them. Instead is three days suffering, and blank spots. What's said of me, those are just words, even when they make more sense than what my head tries to tell me is true, based on experiences I do recall. Each person is haunted by ghosts, in her own way. Some more than others. I… I don't have to really understand you, do I, to know what you mean, when you see possible outcomes, like the way you shouted last night, and there was trouble."

Tamara tips her head to one side, looking at Jane. "There are ghosts, and there are ghosts," she says quietly. "Sometimes it's better not to look at either kind." Hopping off the bench again, she grabs Jane's hand and tugs. "Shadows are busy, never still, but that can be good, too." The teen smiles crookedly. "Sometimes."

"I know," Jane replies with a chuckle, her eyes coming back to Tamara when her hand is taken and tugged on. "That's one of the reasons I play so much now. Music gives me peace, lets me get it all out and not dwell on things. What I've been through, what I've endured, it makes me better. Musicians need pain, otherwise their stories are all bland, little to sing about, and less enjoyment from the good. No contrast without it." And now it's her turn to watch the girl and see if she gets it at all.

Tamara tips her head, considering Jane, and the woman's words. In the end, she can only offer a rueful smile. "The views are too different. But the music was pretty." She tugs on the woman's hand again. "Come on," the girl prompts, since the gesture by itself wasn't enough.

Standing, Jane asks "Where are we going?" A chuckle follows, and a question. "Want to know a secret, Tamara, something I don't tell many people?" Her hands pick up the guitar case and backpack, they're slung over her shoulders to be carried wherever the destination is.

"This way," Tamara answers, starting off down the path - back towards where Jane has already been, actually, but she seems to have somewhere specific in mind. "Knowing is a hard thing," the girl remarks. "The mirror doesn't, much." All told, it's neither a yea or nay; she leaves it up to Jane whether she relates the secret or not.

"I can scream better than those women in the Hollywood horror movies," Jane confides quietly. "Stuff breaks when I do it. It's kinda cool, now that I know it's there and can stop myself when I feel like letting loose. But you, the shadows and the mirror, they're always around, you can't turn off what you see, Tamara?" She walks along, her words spoken at a volume only the pair can hear.

Tamara looks up at Jane, and smiles ruefully at her. "Not much difference. Shadows in the mirror, mirror in the shadows; there wasn't one without the other." Still holding on to Jane's hand, she leads the woman into one of the buildings.

No resistance is offered, the guitarist goes where led, Jane curiously following Tamara and not pulling her hand away. She doesn't ask the destination, no, she simply waits and watches what's being passed by.

Tamara leads the way through the halls, to a bulletin board no doubt familiar to her companion - after all, it already sports one of her flyers. A tall blonde woman stands in front of it, perusing the postings. Seeing her, Tamara slows, releasing Jane's hand. "Go say hello," the girl suggests.

Well. This is different. Tamara's given a long look, then the tall blonde, and an approach is made. Her boots tap on the floor as she walks inside the building. "Hey," the guitarist begins, "Jane Forrest." Standing there, she appraises the other woman who reads the board. Silence comes then, leaving the blonde time to reply as she will.

Hearing footsteps behind her, the woman turns around. Tamara has already disappeared down the halls, leaving only Jane for the woman to see. "Hey, lady," she greets amiably. Pale brows lift at the name offered. "Jane Forrest? As in that Jane Forrest?" she asks, indicating the posted flyer.

"That's me," she replies. One hand taps the guitar case over her shoulder, and a glance goes behind her, to see Tamara gone. This draws a chuckle, and she faces the blonde again. "You play?" Interest and hopefulness lodge on her face, while Jane waits for the answer. A mental impression of the blonde's height is made and contrasted with her own five feet, eight inches, the boots she wears lifting her to five feet ten.

The blonde is a bit over six feet tall, without heels, and clearly mystified by the look Jane casts back behind her, but doesn't ask. "Well, that's one heck of a coincidence. I was just reading your flyer. Anastasia Mathison," she promptly supplies with a grin, holding out a hand. "Bass and bass guitar, mostly. I have a friend who plays keyboard. Just thought we might look you up later - and then here you are."

Her lips curve into a spreading grin, and a hand is offered. Jane chuckles. "Fortune smiles on us, it seems. Good to meet you, Anastasia." Her skin is soft and smooth, showing she takes care of it, but the fingertips have calluses. "I'm a Yale graduate myself, came to the city early in February, and I've been doing fairly well since. Moving around, playing for tips on the streets, found a gig in Brooklyn. "I'm in apartment 108 of the High Rise building in Greenwich Village, give me a ring and bring your friend by, we can jam out and get to know each other, okay?" Moving away, she's hopeful about this encounter.

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