Difference between revisions of "Logs:On the tenth day of this seventh month you shall have a holy convocation, and afflict yourselves; you shall do no work"

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Latest revision as of 15:49, 28 June 2020

On the tenth day of this seventh month you shall have a holy convocation, and afflict yourselves; you shall do no work
Dramatis Personae

Leo, Polaris, Wendy

2019-10-09


"You actually seek out things that Lovecraft wouldn't even have dreamed up."

Location

<NYC> Evolve Cafe - Lower East Side


Spacious and open, this coffeeshop has a somewhat industrial feel to it, grey resin floors below and exposed-beam ceilings that have been painted up in a dancing swirl of abstract whorls and starbursts, a riot of colour splashed against a white background. The walls alternate between brick and cheerfully lime-green painted wood that extends to the paneling beneath the brushed-steel countertops. There's an abundance of light, though rather than windows (which are scarce) it comes from plentiful hanging steel lamps. The walls here are home to artwork available for sale; though the roster of prints and paintings and drawings and photographs changes on a regular basis it has one thing in common -- all the artists displayed are mutants.

The seating spaced around the room is spread out enough to keep the room from feeling cluttered. Black chairs, square black tables that mostly seat two or four though they're frequently pushed around and rearranged to make space for larger parties. In the back corner of the room is more comfortable seating, a few large black-corduroy sofas and armchairs with wide tables between them. There's a shelf of card and board games back here available for customers to sit and play.

The chalkboard menus hanging behind the counter change frequently, always home to a wide variety of drinks (with an impressive roster of fair-trade coffees and teas largely featured) though their sandwiches and wraps and soups and snacks of the day change often. An often-changing variety of baked goods sit behind the display case at the counter halfway back in the room, and the opposite side of the counter holds a small selection of homemade ice creams. A pair of single-user bathrooms flanks the stairway in back of the cafe; at night, the thump of music can be heard from above, coming from the adjoining nightclub of the same name that sits up the stairs above the coffeehouse.

It's a quiet mid-afternoon, almost peaceful here in Evolve. Leo is taking advantage of the quiet, tucked away comfortably on the back couches dressed in daisy yellow short-sleeve button-down with a subtle windowpane pattern, cigarette-cut black jeans, and black slip-on ankle boots. He currently has the couches all to himself, a shiny new laptop resting on his knees. Despite having All The Space he isn't taking up very much of it, perched somewhat primly in one corner with the laptop bag tucked neatly against the base of the sofa and a large bowl of tomato soup and cup of milky coffee in front of him.

The almost-peace is almost-shattered by the addition of one highly animated Polaris when she sweeps in through the front door and make a beeline for the counter with a "Oh God can I just have all of that?" She's dressed up today in a stark white blouse beneath a black jacket, its forest green chevron brocade lining visible where it hangs open unbuttoned, black slacks, and chunky-heeled black pumps. Her green hair is hanging loose as usual, but the uniformity of its waviness suggest that it has recently been braided, and tightly.

She does not, ultimately, order "all of that", but what she tells the person at the register definitely sounds more extensive than the large mocha and matching mocha cupcake that she brings over to the couch. "Yo, Leo." She doesn't exactly flop down into the middle seat, but her body language suggests that she would have if she were not holding a full mug, taking up more space that she probably needs to. "Sweet machine. Whatcha up to?" She's peering at the screen of the laptop as she takes a not-overly-careful swig of her coffee.

Wendy is looking just a little vague. Just a little sluggish as she trails along in Polaris's wake. In flowing white wrap pants and a gauzy white button down blouse, a powder blue asymmetrically cut jacket buttoned up over top, even at her laggard pace she kind of seems to flow across the floor as she crosses to the couch. Drapes herself down over it, toeing off her blue-morpho-butterfly printed maryjanes and flopping across Polaris's lap. "Mmm. Fancy." She reaches a hand to trace her fingertips lightly against the laptop screen. "I want one."

Leo's eyes open wide as he looks up, hands freezing over the keys of his laptop. A half-second later his expression is breaking into a smile. "Oh. Oh, yes, it's very nice. I didn't -- I can't afford --" His cheeks darken, his head bowing just a little. "I've been looking at getting back to school. Ryan thought it would help. I'm working on applications. There is -- there's so much." His fingertips brush lightly against the keys, his eyes dropping to the screen for a moment, where an application form is open in one of many tabs. "I am not," he admits quietly, "very good at writing about myself. This is terrible. Coffee helps, though. How has -- um, have you been having a good." His brows knit, his tone uncertain. "Holiday?"

Polaris has managed to cram half of the cupcake into her mouth without showering Wendy with crumbs, though she has left some icing on her face in the process. She washes it down with another swallow of coffee. "Shit, that's awesome. You're doing--marine biology, right? Good luck!" Her enthusiasm seems undimmed by his uncertainty. "I'd offer to help, but probably they're not looking for 'I'm a badass pirate king seeking to plumb the mysteries of the deep.' Their loss." She sets her coffee aside so she can tidy a stray lock of Wendy's hair. "Yom Kippur is a holiday--just less of the 'they tried to kill us, now let's get drunk' and more of the 'pray all day and apologize a lot'." She pauses, considering. "But I guess that doesn't mean it can't be good... while also being rough."

"I think you could really sell that -- some places. Maybe," Wendy considers after a moment, propping herself up against Polaris's lap to peek at the screen, "not Columbia. Are you going back to school to plumb the mysteries of the deep?" Her eyes close; she almost immediately musses the hair that Polaris has just tidied when she settles back down, cheek nuzzling against the other woman's knee and her lips pressing tighter together on a stifled yawn. "I did my apologizing this past ten days. What I could, anyway. Now it's praying and hypoglycemia and --" Her brows furrow. "I guess still guilt. I'm trying to move past the guilt."

"That's -- that's the idea." Leo blinks, head tipping to the side as he looks at Polaris. "I never thought -- badass?" A ghost of smile crosses his expression as he looks back to his application. "I mean, there is a lot of badass in the deep. Just --" He shakes his head, sits up a little bit straighter. Nudges his bowl toward Wendy with a look of mild concern. "Did you order? There's food." The explanation of the holiday just gets a knowing nod. "We spend a lot of time with guilt, too."

"Yeah, badass." Polaris says easily, returning his smile with one much less faint. "I mean, how else would you have the courage to study the horrors of the deep?" She finishes off her cupcake. "Always time for more guilt. But isn't a part of the point of atonement to like...let go of guilt so you can actually do better?" She sounds genuinely contemplative about this, then cocks her head at Leo. "Which 'we' is that? My first thought was 'Catholics', but I might be projecting." Her hand squeezes Wendy's shoulder gently. "The hypoglycemia, though, is intentional."

"Please. I even just see a tentacle and I recoil. You actually seek out things that Lovecraft wouldn't even have dreamed up. And then you make them comprehensible to children. That's badass." Wendy shakes her head, sliding the soup back towards Leo. "Thank you. I'm alright. Part of the atonement is fasting. Part of the fasting is atonement? But I don't know how to atone for..." She shakes her head slightly. Then eyes Leo up and down, critically. "You look Catholic."

Leo's brows shoot up, a briefly amused twitch of a smile brightening his expression as he looks down at himself in an echo of Wendy's critical appraisal. "... what do Catholics look like?" He closes the laptop gently, wipes a stray fleck of lint off the cover with one quick flick of fingertip, and sets it aside. Lines it neatly up with the edge of the table. Pulls the soup nearer, balancing it on his knee -- then reconsiders, putting it back. "I'm sorry, should I not... if you're... I didn't know that..." He looks down at the bowl with a deeper frown. Just a little of the color has drained from his face. "I guess this past year -- years. It's been a lot, hasn't it?"

"Like this, apparently?" Polaris waves her empty hand up and down at Leo. Then looks him over more carefully, herself. "If I had no idea who you were and someone just made me guess your profession from a picture, there's a chance I'd have gone with 'deacon'. But no matter what, it woulda taken me at least five tries to get to 'pirate king'." She takes a sip of her coffee. "YMMV with other folks obviously, but we can eat in front of her. That, or I've been making her miserable every fast day for over a decade." Her jaw tightens a fraction. "Yeah it...sure has been. I mean, there's always a lot of ground that apologizing or throwing bread into a river or saying the rosary ain't gonna cover, but the shit we been through? Fucks with your head."

Wendy's eyes are wide and serious as she tips her hand out toward Polaris. Indicating her as she... indicates Leo. "You could probably be a deacon and a pirate king both, right? Ministry at sea." She waves away his concern about the soup as she sits up, leaning against Polaris's side now. "You're fine. And I -- it's just been a lot. It's probably not the most useful, but I keep replaying -- just. The end of our time in there."

"I am Catholic, but I'd be a terrible deacon. I don't know that I'm a great pirate king, either." Leo picks up his bowl again -- a little hesitantly. Takes a tentative mouthful. His eyes lower as he swallows. "Do you need to atone for escaping? We'd still all be in there without you, you got everyone --" Here he freezes, his fingers tightening hard on his spoon. He stares down into the soup -- takes another swallow, stiffly.

"See, the fact that you're going to school to learn more horrifying secrets of the deep shows what a conscientious pirate king you are. I've got your whole admissions essay down if the person reading it is into pirates." Polaris wraps both her hands around her mug now, though she doesn't drink again just yet. "A lot of folks got us out together--you included, Leo," she says quietly. "Aubrey included." Her eyes close briefly, and she tips her head back to study the colorful mural on the ceiling. "But--it wasn't his part in the plan that killed him. It was him going above and beyond it." She leans back against Wendy. "And if he hadn't, more of us may have died."

Wendy folds her hands tightly in her lap, nailbeds pressing white as she presses her wrists down against the lightweight fabric of her pants. "No. I had so much help. But I can't stop thinking of all the ways I could have --" She draws in a slow breath, her eyes closing. "It's just -- it's been a lot."

"I --" Leo shakes his head, still staring down at his soup. "It's been hard to get my head around all that. Sometimes it just feels very surreal. But what happened with Aubrey wasn't your fault. I just -- I wish things had gone differently, too." He looks up, dark eyes slowly drifting from one woman to the other. "I hope it helps. Your -- fasting. Maybe you'll be able to make some kind of sense out of all this."

"I don't know how things might have gone differently, whether because of planning or personal choice or some butterfly effect bullshit." Polaris waves her free hand in the air vaguely, presumably indicating the ambient chaos. "But really, Aubrey died because the government decided we aren't people." Her hand clenches into a fist, the wire art rings on her fingers undulating slowly. "Maybe making sense of that, and finding ways of doing something about it, will..." She sighs, slumping against Wendy. "I don't fucking know."