2007-03-19: Shadows And Mirrors


Cass_icon.gif Tamara_icon.gif

Summary: Tamara shops at Enlightenment Books. She and Cass get into a conversation about mirrors, shadows, and optimism. It's almost normal.

Date It Happened: March 19, 2007

Shadows and Mirrors

Enlightenment Books

Behind the desk of the Enlightenment Bookstore, Cass is brooding and writing things down in a notebook. There are customers in the store, but, luckily they're all self service kind of customers. In a rare instance, Cass has brought out the employee music box and has put on some music, low, so as to not completely disturb the customers. It sounds like the Velvet Undergound. Ah yes, music soothes the soul.

As she walks in the door, Tamara looks not to the counter, nor to the other customers, but to the shelves of books. She gives them a flat sort of look, as if there's something about the books she's not entirely happy with. But as the girl hooks her hair behind her ears, the expression fades, settling into a critical assessment. This was her own idea, after all. Now to find the one she wants…

When the door opens and then closes, Cass is a little slow to look up from her furious scribbling. She's in the middle of trying to remember something when Tamara enters. And then, realizing that, yes she /is/ working, she shakes her head to clear it of thoughts and smiles at Tamara. "Welcome to Enlightenment Books. Can I help you?" she calls to the girl.

The lag in Cass' acknowledgement of her entrance seems to pass unnoticed by the teen. But when she's spoken to, Tamara's gaze drops to the storekeeper, and she smiles. "It's okay. There's just a /lot/. It wasn't quite the same until it was here." Looking back to the shelves, Tamara begins to drift away from the door, scanning the room with an odd intensity.

Cass smiles back at Tamara friendly enough. Absently, she flips her notebook closed again so that prying eyes will not try and see what it is she might have been writing. "There are a lot of books. If you need any help choosing something, I'm more than happy to be that help." She pauses and watches Tamara for a few moments, expecting her to add to her previous statement, but she doesn't. "Um, what wasn't quite the same? What it?"

Unlike the last time they met, Tamara doesn't show any interest in Cass' book. She flashes a brief smile at the storekeeper. "I can choose. But it's a nice thought." Her attention stays with the woman for a moment, waiting until Cass prompts for more information. The girl tilts her head just slightly. "This. All of it. Looked simpler." A beat, as Tamara considers that. "I guess it's still simple enough." She moves on to the next set of shelves, fingers tracing over the spines of the books at eye level - but not as if she's actually reading them.

Cass tilts her head curiously at Tamara when she continues to talk. She's used to people talking weird in here and it never ceases to make her curious. "Have you been in here before? I'm sorry, I don't remember you." She doesn't even remember her from the sandwich shop from before. A lot has gone on since then and she's met a lot of strange people in between.

That question makes Tamara pause, half-turning back towards Cass. A faint frown, more like a shadow, passes across her face - and then is banished by a vague shrug of one shoulder. "Maybe?" Which sounds more like 'probably not'. "It doesn't feel familiar." The girl eyes the shelf she's standing next to, and abruptly breaks away to walk over to one in a completely different location.

Cass watches Tamara now with just a puzzled look. "Then…how did you know it looked simpler?" Perhaps she's one of those astral projectors. She's gotten a couple of those while she's worked here. For the moment, she doesn't leave the safety of her information desk, but she keeps watching this newcomer.

To that, Tamara sighs, and just shakes her head. "Understanding wasn't. It's not important." Not today, at any rate. Her drifting through the aisles abruptly stops, the teen's gaze falling to a shelf below eye level. She studies it for a moment, then pulls a book off. Tamara doesn't really look at it - she just tucks it under her arm and heads over towards the desk.

Cass frowns. "I'm not sure about that. I mean, I work in a bookstore. I'm all about the understanding." However, when Tamara approaches the desk, she readies a receipt and picks up a pen. Even if the girl doesn't seem that interested in it, it's possible she knows she already wants it.

Setting the book down on the counter, Tamara rubs her hands over her face. "Maybe. What do you want to understand?" she asks curiously. Digging into a pocket, the girl produces a handful of neatly folded bills and loose change, which she deposits on the counter. One bill and two coins disappear back into her keeping; the rest remain. It's very close to exact change; just a few cents over.

Cass smiles at Tamara. "What don't I want to understand is the better question." Writing out in her curly scrawl the receipt, she adds up what she was given and puts it into the till. Taking out Tamara's change, she hands it to the girl. Then, she takes a bag and carefully puts both receipt and book into it. "Why, are you in the business of understanding?" It's a joke to make small talk with the customer.

Tamara looks at the coins in her palm much as if she's unsure what to do with them. She settles for stuffing them in a pocket. The girl chuckles at Cass, and shakes her head. "No. Sometimes I wanted to, but there wasn't much chance. The mirror doesn't hold whys." She shrugs, offering the woman a crooked smile.

This girl is a little off her rocker, Cass decides. But that's okay. She's dealt with plenty of people like that and doesn't mind. At least she's friendly and quietly crazy. There are others who are not. "It does hold images, though. And if you're that Evil Queen, it also can also be like a TV."

Tamara looks up at Cass, blinking slowly. "Yes, it does," she agrees, dipping her head. "And everything else. Lots of 'what'. Whys are guesses." She shrugs a bit, taking the bag with her book. "Usually easy guesses. But some get hard."

"Whys are hard to pin down," Cass agrees. "They always change." Sticking her feet in a groove of her chair, she rests her elbows on them and then her face in her hands. This is a nice conversation that doesn't really mean much to her - a nice change from the usual. "Guesses are tricky work. Never know when you've got them right until it's too late.

"Everything always changes," Tamara remarks, a bit glumly. Then she shrugs. "But if it didn't, there wasn't anything, so." What can you do? That's life for you. "Sometimes," the girl agrees with Cass. Sliding the handles of the bag over one wrist, she leans her hands on her side of the counter. "Sometimes the right guess changes the shadows, and it's easier to tell."

"Change is good," Cass tells Tamara. "If there wasn't any change we'd still be apes. It hurts sometimes, but it gets better." She's not sure why she's comforting the girl, but it seems like the thing to do. "I don't know much about changing shadows, but they definitely change depending on the time of day."

Tamara smiles ruefully at Cass. "Sometimes it got better. That's what I try for. If it didn't get better, it all wasn't worth much." The smile broadens a bit, before the girl shakes her head. "No, no. Well, they /do/. But those are just shadows. Little. Simple."

"Agreed," Cass nods decisively in the cup of her hands to Tamara's statement. "Are there other shadows other than the simple ones? Or are we talking symbolically now?" Her head tilts only slightly to the side. This is actually an involving conversation that she's enjoying.

Another lift of the girl's shoulders. "There's shadows, and shadows. The ones that are, and the ones that aren't quite." Tamara's lips pull slightly to one side. "Sometimes they came out mostly the same. That never was a good day." She peers sidelong at Cass, starts to say something else, then seems to think better of it.

Cass's eyes narrow in confusion at Tamara's explanation. "I think I know what you're getting at, but I'm not totally sure." Shrugging, she smiles again. "At least shadows are malleable. They change depending on what they're depicting. That's optimistic." When she looks like she's about to say something else, Cass watches her expectantly, however it seems like she's waiting for a statement that's never going to happen.

"Hm…" Tipping her head to one side, Tamara considers that statement for a moment. "Sometimes they were. But a lot of them, the mirror can't touch; they're for others to shape." A flicker of a smile; a shake of her head. "Only some are optimistic. I don't like a lot of them." Whatever Tamara was going to say, it seems, isn't going to be said now.

Apparently the two are having a conversation on two totally different topics. Cass tries to figure out what shadows can be optimistic and then bobs her head. "So we have to change our own shadows? Deep." And she's not poking fun at Tamara, she's actually thinking this over. "Well, I guess they'll just have to change, then, so that they can all be optimistic." The lost statement is lost to Cass and she seems to already be moving on to other things.

That happens pretty often with Tamara. She doesn't really seem to notice it now. "Of course you do. You're the one that made them." As if that answer's the most obvious in the world. She offers Cass a rueful smile. "I wish they would." Tamara glances briefly over her shoulder, towards some of the other patrons in the store. "They're done. I should go." With a nod to the shopkeeper, she heads for the door.

Cass picks her head up from the cradle of her hands. It may be an obvious answer to Tamara, but it's not obvious to Cass. But, she doesn't really think too much and breaks out the smile again. "I made what shadows? My own? I'm good at that, I guess." As Tamara heads out the door, she waves at the girl. "Thanks for stopping by! Come back again soon!"

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