Logs:A Series of Serendipities
|A Series of Serendipities|
"No reason to have to go through this alone."
<NYC> Williamsburg - McCarren Park
A park equally valued and cherished in Greenpoint and Williamsburg, McCarren Park is the site of endless games of kickball, soccer, baseball, bocce, handball, basketball, football, and tennis, not to mention running meets and playground antics. It is 35 acres of bustling activity, shared by families born into the neighborhood, recent immigrants, and young renters. McCarren Park is home to the McCarren Park Pool and Play Center, completed in 2012 to be respite on hot days and a year-round center of community life.
The weather has continued it’s odd journey into summer. The air still has a cool chill, exacerbated by a cloudy sky and a small breeze that refuses to calm down for any length of time. That has not stopped the citizens of Brooklyn from enjoying being outside; the park’s playgrounds, ball courts, and running tracks are all occupied to some degree, blankets and picnics spread across the grass.
Noah sits by himself on a park bench, a sack lunch untouched (but not forgotten) beside him, listening to the jumble of voices and city noise, the wind blowing through leaves and grass with no particular hurry. He’s dressed in a ‘Edleson Landscaping’ t-shirt, along with thick jeans and work boots that are covered in a layer of dirt and grass clippings. Really, most of him is covered in dirt and grass clippings, save for his hands and forearms, recently washed clean. A bandanna hangs around his neck, though judging by the smears of sweat and dust that only appear around his eyes and forehead, it's recently been around his face.
<<...I think I actually missed all the noise during lockdown,>> he wonders, surprising himself. He can remember almost hiding from it when he first moved to the city, after a long day of work. Now he's fine to sit here, let the Noise help him unwind. It's not as good as being able to go home and see Joy and Alex, but it's not bad either. Huh.
Hive matches Noah well enough in the boot region, at least. Heavy workboots crusted right now with dirt. The rest of him has been more spared, thick jeans and grey flannel and weatherbeaten old corduroy jacket all reasonably clean. He's got a bag of his own food in one hand, a large coffee cup in the other, steps dragging on his way through the park. "You mind?" His voice is gruff, a tilt of his head towards the other side of the park bench as his brows lift in question. It's kind of a formality of a question, really, because he's already moving to seat himself. Set his bag on his knees to dig out a foil-wrapped taco from inside and unwrap it.
Maria was situated close to the two guys, about three feet away as she was taking a photo of a flower she thought was pretty with her camera, down on one knee and her back very much in a curve as she sought the correct position for this. She was wearing a light yellow summer dress decorated in flowers, open yellow shoes, and her hair was curling upwards from her head and was coloured a pastel yellow. She hum to herself as she continued to photograph, quickly checking her phone in between to see if she had gotten any important messages, her mind filled with mostly random passing thoughts about the day, the photos and the restaraunt, as well as the really cute lady earlier who had agreed to model for a picture Maria took
“Nah, go for it,” Noah answers, waving off the question even as Hive is sitting down. The scent of tacos signals an embarrassing growl of his stomach. His cheeks flush--<<Man’s gonna think I want his food.>>-- before he grabs his own lunch and starts to unpack it. Two somewhat squashed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, a small bag of carrots, two large oatmeal and chocolate chip cookies. A small scrap of paper, the kind you might pull off of a notepad on the fridge, comes out with it and is caught by the breeze to flutter away and settle in the grass near Maria. With a mental jolt of alarm, Noah just remembers to put his lunch to the side before he goes to retrieve it. “Sorry ‘bout that, ma’am.”
The corner of Hive's mouth twitches. "Pssh. You have your own food, dunno what you'd need with mine. Long work day'll leave anyone hungry." He's settling down with evident relief, himself. Taking a large bite of taco. Licking salsa roja off the corner of his mouth. His eyes flit after the wayward scrap of paper; though he's reflexively starting to rise, it's a sort of abortive motion and he sits back just as quickly when Noah gets up after it himself. Hive's eyes flit briefly to Maria, drop back away.
“Oh no it’s quite alright, I got done with my photos anyway” Maria says with a bright smile, before rummaging in her pocket. “Fancy a cookie? Just baked them today” she says, offering Noah a cookie. Her hair had a small twig in it as she had been on the ground trying to get the perfect angle of the flower she had been taking a picture of, Maria then gently picks the flower, placing it in her hair as she murmurs a soft thing and lays a small token on the place of the flower, one of the cookies
After a blink and a small pause, Noah shakes his head. “Thank you, but I’ve got some.” He vaguely gestures toward his lunch behind him, the breeze trying again to steal the paper from him. <<Hope she ain’t offering kids no pocket cookies.>> “Good luck with your photos, ma’am.” Looking at the cookie on the grass before he turns around--<<Squirrels gonna steal that before I finish eating.>>--with a somewhat perplexed expression.
It isn’t until he nearly sits down that what Hive said truly seems to register, but it’s apparent when it does. He freezes mid-step, foot slowly lowering before he. Stands there. Eyes narrowed some and brows drawn together, mind and heart racing with sudden unease. <<Maybe I said that out loud and didn’t realize,>> he tries to rationalize at first. Except he knows he didn’t. His unease deepens, makes his heart drop, when he has the obvious realization that Hive is most likely… reading? Hearing? All of this too. Noah has the sudden feeling of being small and weak and watched. A rabbit in a trap.
The breeze kicks up again. The tug of paper between his fingers breaks through his thoughts, and Noah hastily shoves it into his pocket, unwilling now to read it. Dropping his gaze, he finally sits back down, slow and tense. He ends up perched on the edge of the bench rather than relaxed against the back as he was previously. <<Keep track of your words and you’ll never regret them,>> he reminds himself. Which is all fine and dandy. But how is he supposed to keep track of his thoughts? Nervously glancing over at Hive, Noah opens his mouth to say… something. He fails to think of what it is. Mouth closing, he goes back to staring ahead and begins to unwrap one of his PB&Js with faintly tremoring hands.
Hive snorts, hiding a sudden startled twitch of smile in another hasty bite of taco. His eyes lower sharply away from Maria's offered cookie, watching the flowers she places instead as he finishes off his first taco. He crumples its wrapper between knobbly calloused fingers, dropping the small foil ball back into his bag. "You didn't," he's confirming for Noah even as Noah is arriving at the realization himself. His voice is quiet, a weird bastardized accent in his half-mumbled words that is hard to place; clearly not New York but past that it's hard to quite say. "Sorry. I'd stop, but I can't. I'll be going soon enough. Just been a long-ass day, y'know, I wanted to --" He shakes his head, digs another taco out of the bag.
Maria shrugs softly as Noah denies the cookie, tossing it into her own mouth. “More for me” she grins, catching the cookie midair, fist pumping the air after succeeding. “See ya around” Maria smiles, starting to chomp her cookie as she starts photographing a small bird close by, still sitting on the ground, her head mostly just occupied with thoughts of cookies and the really cute girl from before, and the next friend meeting for the restaraunt. As Maria hears the confusion behind her, she tilts her head backwards, naturally curious at what was happening back there, as one, especially one like Maria does. She observed the two intently, eating her cookie with two hands as she watched the two talk, not entirely sure what was happening between them, her head was swirling with mostly thoughts about how this strange to look at
I’d stop, but I can’t. How many times has Noah heard that in the past six months? No, seven months. Alex is a month old now. Any thrill at that is quickly shadowed by flashes of a blonde woman passing through his mind. In each one she grows more and more pregnant, more and more withdrawn, a usually constant smile dimming until it’s only for him and their baby. His unease doesn’t fade. It just makes room for a stab of sympathy. <<If New York is loud to me, what the hell's it like for this guy?>> he wonders, before his eyes dart guiltily toward Haze. “It’s fine,” he offers, himself quiet, not quite sure. Confused about if saying that is just basically repeating himself. “Like you said. Can’t help it.” He takes a bite of his own sandwich, awkwardly looking forward just in time to watch a squirrel scamper down out of a tree across the walkway and head for the cookie Maria had left on the ground. <<Called it.>>
"It's loud as hell." There is a wince here, but it's small. "Weirdly, got way the fuck louder during lockdown. Everyone just bottled up with nothing but their thoughts till they were fit to explode." Hive's shoulder lifts, falls again in a quick jerk. "You got someone else dealing with this -- kind of shit lately?" Hive's eyes are half-lidded, deceptively sleepy-looking; he barely seems like he's watching Maria now at all until they cut towards her sharply, brows pinching. "Your parents never tell you it's rude to stare? Sure there's other hungry squirrels around."
Maria smiles happily as the squirrel takes the cookie away, in her eyes it was a sign that the gods appreciated her gift, she then says another soft prayer before standing up, tilting her head softly as hive talks to her. “Oh, sorry, I didn’t mean to be rude, want a cookie?” She asked with a smile, offering a cookie., her thoughts then move to her upcoming night shift. It was a big night as they were having an important event where some high brow critics were set to come visit. It was rather unusual as usually these visits were not announced in any way, but it seems this was also going to be an interview as well, so Maria would have to make sure that nothing would go wrong tonight
Noah considers that, the amount of people in any given apartment building and winces. “Sounds like a shit time on top of a shit time.” It feels like an extreme understatement to say. Hive’s question does not receive an immediate answer, though perhaps his concerned frown is enough of one. Joy has given him permission to talk about her powers. Doesn’t mean he understands it enough to really explain it.
Opening his mouth to do his best to answer, he instead jumps where he sits and half turns to look at Maria with raised eyebrows. “Um...” Turning back around, Noah still sends a hesitant glance in Maria’s direction. The thought he… sends? Hive’s way has just as much hesitancy. <<Yes? But no. My fiancee, she… influences people, I think. To automatically like her.>> There isn’t much confidence to his statement at all. There is plenty of worry and sorrow to make up for it. <<She found out at the end of last year. She was isolating herself months before the order went in place. She don’t trust herself to be around people anymore. And I don’t know how to help her.>> The last comes with some bitterness and shame.
Hive's brows lift. He takes another taco out of his bag, eying Maria with undisguised skepticism. "Does that work a lot? Just random-ass strangers in the park? You want this cookie I dug out of my pocket? You gonna ask us back to your unmarked white van, too? For a restaurateur you need a better sales pitch." He peels his next taco slowly, slouching further in the bench as he nibbles at it. "Well. Lockdown wasn't fun for anybody. And -- sorry." It's a little ambiguous what the apology is for until a moment later when his own mental voice slams thudding and heavy into Noah's mind. It sounds much like his speaking voice; the same non-distinct accent, though clearer, less of a mumble, but it comes with a headache of a mental weight that pounds hammer-heavy into Noah's mind together with an oddly dissonant feeling of apology. << I know some people. Like that. Kind of a -- charisma? Sucks, if she can't turn it off. >> A beat of hesitation, before a cautious: << Your -- fiancee? She -- trusts herself to be around you? >>
“Sorry for wh--Shit!” The word thick with pain, Noah slams back against the bench, his sandwich falling to the ground as his palms raise to his temples. The ache doesn’t make way for anything. The hope that blooms up underneath it at Hive’s initial statement--<<She’s not alone?>>--is quickly shadowed by a sharp memory of a conversation. Joy insisting they need to break up, because none of it could be true. The firm belief he held then and now, that the year they were long-distance proves it is. How that was enough to change her mind. <<I trust her to be around me.>> He knows that isn’t the question Hive asked, but it’s the only one Noah can answer. Nudging at his dropped sandwich with the toe of his boot, he watches Maria leave another cookie in the grass and wander off with her camera. His next question is a strange mix of hesitant and hopeful. <<These people you know… Think any of ‘em might be willin’ to talk to her?>>
"Sorry," Hive says again, eyes flicking after Maria as she heads off. He eats his taco slowly, picks at a stray piece of cilatro clinging to its wrapper. When he speaks again it's aloud -- much less stabby on the brain, once they're alone on the quiet stretch of path. "I don't know how your fiancee's powers work specifically. But I do know a little about --" His hand wiggles towards his own temples. "Brain -- shit. It can fuck with you long term. I don't doubt you do love her. But I've known people with all kinds of powers. Get into you like a drug. Literally change the way you think. It's -- a lot to navigate, especially if neither of you know how it works yet, you know? And especially if, uh -- you got a new little one? You're also --" His mouth twists to the side, a sympathetic wince crinkling his eyes. His eyes have drifted off, up towards the sky. He polishes off the rest of his taco, licks his fingertips. "I know someone who might, yeah. No reason to have to go through this alone."
Noah tenses at first, expecting the pain again, and lets out a relieved breath when Hive continues to speak. His somewhat relaxed demeanor doesn’t stay long. The impulse to disagree rises in him, but he bites his tongue and stubbornly listens. He desperately wants to argue. It’s an easier response than considering the deep ache in his chest that feels like unwanted truth. He stares down at his hands clasped tightly around his knees for a long moment, a muscle in his jaw working. His voice is slightly more rough when he answers. “Thank you. I appreciate the sentiment. Should I… give you my phone number or something?”
Hive drops the second wrapper into his bag, crumpling the bag now as well. "Yeah. That'd be good. I mean, no promises, I can't -- speak on their behalf. But --" Another shrug. It's followed by a very small frown. "-- probably know people who'd be willing to talk to you, too. I mean. People who've spent a lot of time, uh, under the influence of -- coercive mental powers like that. That -- needs its own kind of support and figuring out, you know."
Noah tears off a piece of his lunch bag and finds a pencil stub in one of his pockets. “I appreciate you even tryin’.” Scribbling down his and Joy’s names and his own number in blocky even caps, he chews at his bottom lip and hands it over. “Yeah… Yeah, probably should, huh?” <<Shit.>> He suddenly feels exhausted. And it looks like this is just one of the conversations he’s gonna be having about this today.