1964-10-24 - Send Me No Ghosts
Summary: Unusual friendship builds over racism and bagels.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
vesper james 


James had one thing in mind, breakfast. Bonus, 24-hour breakfast, double bonus it's that time of the day even. Presently he has 'the monster' bagel and all that it entails. In addition, he totally went for some lox on that monster. That and some black Joe, whatever the biggest mug they offer is, he has that. So that behemoth in one hand, a artsy big mug in the other and him, walking around looking for a place to sit. Good thing it's the Village at least, no one is scooting over to send him to another table or anything, just the faces seem inclined towards friends. So he meanders, almost milling. Either he is waiting for a seat, or there isn't many.
Then it appears, the tell tale sign, three young artists collect their belongings from one of the round tables. James doesn't know if anyone else has been hovering either, but it is breakfast time. He makes a few lengthy steps to try and get a chair as soon as they are gone without seeing if anyone else was doing the same.

The spillover of the morning crowd from the Village includes those night-owls dimly blinking at the sudden appearance of the sun through leaden clouds. Most are unfortunately called to their midterm exams. Nothing a cup of coffee or a bagel will compensate for, but at least a smear of cream cheese brightens their days. Outbound students nudge open the door wide enough to admit a slim young woman sporting huge, dark sunglasses even this early. Forgive her, the patterned blue scarf covered in a stylish print of abstract clocks and swirls and the flared trench coat almost singularly identify her as French before she opens her mouth to make an order. Only the French would be that put together so early into the day.
She does not rush into the brink, joining the tail end of the conga line floating past the counter. This gives her ample time to survey her surroundings, picking out the artists from the weary musicians, a full spectrum between. Those glasses offer privacy for all they ought to be perched on her head, shielding her doe-brown eyes for the moment. When the trio abruptly rises, her mouth turns down in a frown. Social censure at James' treatment, then, stands out. Well, that shan't stand at all.

The table clears of the ones who are out, to make it to a class or an appointment, or just some other way to spend their day. And James makes it to one chair, a couple of younger men make it to the other side of course. "Looks like we're mates now," says

The table clears of the ones who are out, to make it to a class or an appointment, or just some other way to spend their day. And James makes it to one chair, a couple of younger men make it to the other side of course. "Looks like we're tight now," says James off handedly. The two look at each other and nod, then back at the taller man. They take a quiet voice of course, but its the same message. "Yeah," but not really even in their tone, "There are a couple more joining us." They need all four seats it seems somehow. Then the point to some other table, a female, mostly done, the friend of the first kicks in, "There you go, chief, she's gonna be gone soon, why not take that one." James looks up, as if he's going to stare them down, inhales deeply, then starts to grab his things. To make it more appearling, or insult to injury, "A good seat, right by the window even." That certainly made it better.
A pause of silence from James, gives them time to rethink just a little, but then his chair moves and he slowly starts to rise from his chair.

The line shuffles along. The Hip Bagel is enough of a hotspot to constitute a busy corner of the Village. Employees hasten along the purchasing decision by glaring, occasionally clearing their throat, or slapping cash silently into someone's hand as a helpful footnoted shoo. Thus Vesper moves up the queue, a practiced hand at such things, able to multitask on maintaining her place and the events unfolding. What other diners bother to look up from their books or their intense conversations on the nature of the Democratic Party and its worth in the modern era.
"Cheese bagel, toasted, with butter," she murmurs, and betrays herself and her interest in the moment. Another daughter of the Fifth Republic, her English carries that unescapable French stamp. She pays in greenbacks, at least.
Their time is running out at the troubled table. James will soon have fewer choices as the lingering guests hunker down and the brewing argument may just cause a few to linger longer than they should. A plate with a bagel isn't much of a claim to stake anywhere, but France still has a crumbling colonial empire. Stands to reason that Vesper won't have qualms about staking a claim, even if she lacks a flag. She's already headed that way into the dining room.

Pointing over to the table, where someone isn't even finished, standing now. James asks, "That one, that one is good enough for me?" He does reach down to scoop up his mug at least, like he will move, but he's going to have a little say. One of the men at the table nod, "Yeah, looks just perfect to us." A nod in agreement even. He sort of hints at the nature of the request from them, "This one was good enough, I was content here, but you think that one is better for me?" A slight raise of his brow, "I should be happy with this, you two know what is best for me?" The other friend kicks into the conversation again, "Yeah, exactly, its only three chairs there, this one has four, we have a couple of friends showing up soon for a study group. You understand how it is?" Instead of meandering over to find another table, which he would probably do in the ends, James does loom there over that table a moment, his bagle in its paper still on the table, half opened as and ready for eating pleasures abound. A slow draw of breath as one brow gives a slight raise. Not the practiced brow life of an actor, but the normal range for most people, just a lift with some curiousity in the moment as he stands.

Vesper blends in about as well as a cosmopolitan brunette of twenty-something years can. She balances her plate on one hand. The light click of her heels announces her before she's quite there, pulled into the troubling gravity that follows the casual derision and displeasure on display. Nothing quite demonstrates how divided society is than the occasional slap across the face. Hardly frightening, someone acting as a bystander. She gives the men a simple look over from behind the anonymous dark lenses of her glasses.

"'Allo, gentlemen," she murmurs, French a little more exaggerated than not. "Pardonnez-moi. This seat? Is it taken, or may I have it?"
The curse goes both ways, really. Racism, sure, and there's also that ingrained machismo trained to deal with women in a certain way. Polite women have a place, and manners are a weapon she's wielding quietly enough.

Its the Catch-22 moment now for the men. James was giving some guff to them, but wasn't close to making a scene more than seeing if they get the point of how things could be perceived. Sublte in his way. He was grabbing the bagel, ready to claim another table even, but still there as a presence. A step of turning, he give pause enough, with a focus between the woman looking over the large sun glasses in the abstract glasses print ensemble. One of them sort of shakes head, uncertain but towards negative. The other one giving something more like a nod. "Not yet," seems to be the consensus, and the boy who shook his head towards no, even as if trying to hide that show from others. Or, more to not show that response to James. They other finishes, "We may have friends coming, but you're welcome to keep join us." He leaves out until then, an implication. But his eyes drift towards a nearby chair. Like they'll not ask her up if friends really do arrive, they'll just make room, for this woman certainly.
From his stance, it earns a smirk from James. Not scathing, its a smirk of indifference with some amusement at the unfolding situations. For him, he intones, "You're right, the light is better over there." Beat. "If it gets too crowded, you're welcome." A nod of his head towards the woman as he turns to get a chair at the next clearing table at least before any other vultures swoop in.

Vesper hesitates between options, the outcome not fully certain in her mind until the tall, dusky skinned man chooses to act. Then the pieces fall into place and she resolves on what to do. Nodding to the men lording over the table, she replies, "Thank you. So very kind, Americans." Not a trace of derision touches the statement. Maybe she means it, soft-spoken foreigner in awe of the Big Apple. She grabs the seat by the back, then lifts it up to walk it over to the other table where James hastens to stake his rights before someone ousts them or makes an unfair claim. Such is the history of conquest throughout the world, isn't it?
Thus she avoids the confrontation directly, as far as she knows. The distance proves not insurmountable to someone wielding a chair and a totally satisfactory bagel begging to be eaten. Its cheesy finish glistens as it cools, taunting the geneticist. Clearly she needs to eat more. If she reaches the table, she puts down the chair. "Pardon," to the departing guests, "I think that will do. Oui?"

Even if silent resolve, there is still a slap in there, if not truly heard, it carries a weight. The other men left sort of in awe and shock at the moment, others seeing that very reaction. Those who may have silently agreed with Vesper or James have a moment of quiet to turn up smiles in the moment. Those in disagreement can sneer if they want, yet, more towards James. He pays that no mind for the moment. Claiming the table, doesn't set in until the others leave, giving a nod of his head in agreement with Vesper, her pardon showing manners carry a strength, he inclines his head the same. These guests don't mind so much, they've enjoyed their meals.
Half a grin now towards her, James nods his head to Vesper directly, "Sure will." He takes his seat across to finally get to enjoying his food at least. He'll be forward, "A lot of strength. it suits you." Strength of character, resolve, manners. "A tough decision too. Keep the table, and see, if they would move or share. I just wanted to eat. I'm James by the way." A slight unwrapping of the bagel again, he then smooths hands on his knees now below the table itself. "You don't seem out of place here," which carries a slight tone to it, as if he's suggesting she's familiar with the city, or part of it, rather than outsider like him.

Not polite to be a fussy eater or a rude guest at the table, demanding everyone accommodate her. See? She brought her own seat, and if that leaves one less for the men who make others feel small by their own stories, so be it. Maybe a whole horde of eclectic students will pile through the door for a study session, a likelihood that she's not going to be very ruffled by. Vesper nudges her acquired seating a bit closer to the table and stands there, buoy in a sea of bright heads, waiting for the moment to settle down. Then obscurity once more might fall, as much as it can. The giveaways are elsewhere, the frantic beat of her heart and the slight hint of lightheadedness, the shallow, quicker breathing. Everything has its toll, and she will be shedding the coat as soon as she sits.
The whole act is quite perfunctory, all said and done, sliding her arms out after unbuttoning the front and easing the belt out of its casual knot. "Unbelievable. Such men, acting as though they own the place." She dares even to wrinkle her nose. "I do not think I have much strength, monsieur. I merely dislike that sort of behaviour. Eugh! They'd be tossed out where I am from." She won't argue about her native strength, though she might want to. She tucks a napkin over her lap and scoots in closer to the table. No crumbs in her lap, please and thank you. Up go those sunglasses, finally, pushed back against her chignon. "James. Vesper. Good to meet you. Ah, I am at the university there. This is a popular stop."

Ready to eat himself, he sits there as she goes through the motions of removing outer layers. James is far more casual, a mix of the times, shirt and jeans it is, his jacket left on as he doesn't know how soon he may be leaving even. Or as much indicated, true or otherwise. Though the true casual comes with elbows on the table. Definitely not the way he was raised, that's more just him. A quiet observer as she settles in and expresses her views. As low nod in agreement arises from him. "I do not like the behavior, but not a battle I choose," sort of, he was making a point of words all the same as he was standing at the table. "Ah, you are teaching over there?" He half looks in that direction, lifting that colorful mug he brought of the black coffee to take a drink. No time to blow the steam off it, he simply takes a gulp and half looks outside in the direction. As his head swivels back, "I should visit where you are from some day, to have that experience." Equality? "France, or …" He doesn't speak it, but the curiousity remains, the other being French Canadian of course. "It is good to meet you as well." A measure of his words, as if recalling civilties more so than having to find the one he wishes to use.

Nay, don't be so hungry as to gnaw on his own fingers. James' patience need not be exhausted so greatly. Vesper eases into her chair a little, but her posture is too upright to be totally casual. The memories of the way she was raised lie in her bones, in some sense, and possibly the odd way she occasionally looks over her shoulder expecting a woman in a habit to wield a ruler just so. Her feet cross at the ankles under the table, and she adjusts her scarf so it, too, won't act as a crumb catcher. Smart on her part. "You handled yourself very well." Opinion of one cultured people to another. To his question, she shakes her head. "Research. Teaching is not an open path in my field for…" She gestures at herself, a passing flow of her hand. "In many ways France is more liberal. We do not have concerns about women physicians or women scientists or women bus drivers. Here, it is still a shock. Oui, Paris. I could not even begin to guess where you are from. Please don't think me rude. It would be offensive, yes? To say the wrong place because I am ignorant."

She's settle, he's had coffee. Little will stop James from satisfying that hunger now. A bite is taken as she speaks, glad to be in conversational communal mode. A pause, he does dab with a napkin at leas before he responds, "Research, that sounds fitting." A nod of sorts, his familiarity with science, france, and females leads in that realm. "A hard move, coming stateside." That or family move at some point in the past due to wars, he isn't sure, just the limits here unlike there. "Sorry they won't let you teach, even in a place as diverse as the Big Apple." Smirk to indicate as neopolitan as the city might like to claim, it truly has a ways to go. A shake of his head, "For you to say the wrong place because you don't know would be not be offensive." He decides on another bit, but sends it down with coffee. He's hungry and talkative in the moment.
"If they guessed, it would be not only ignorance, but without care. That you ask rather than guess shows consideration. I am Apache, my lands are in Arizona. Western Apache more so, just to distinguish us from those who remained on the plains and joined with Comancheria. We are little better in some ways. As adults, we are not so liberal. But, as children, we learn all skills. Hunting, cooking, tracking, skinning, these are skills for us all, important for each person to know. We could learn from the French."

"Inviting someone to talk about themselves is better." Vesper turns the cut bagel around. Sliced sideways, it hasn't been quartered or divided in such a way she can make smaller pieces. Therefore tearing a segment free while the cheese has cooled to a crunchy crust serves her purposes just as well. The plate captures most of the crumbs. Attentive to James, she nods to him. "Apache." Repeating the tribal name, Vesper continues, "Arizona is in the west? The name is somewhat familiar." He'll have time to describe its whereabouts or answer other questions while she takes short, polite bites of her bagel. The satisfying crunch cannot be entertained herself, for all that she might wish to bite through and enjoy the texture.
"Do you use those skills as children? Tracking, skinning. I don't believe we do such things in the city, of course. The north and far east of France still have plenty of hunting." Sport of kings, now sport of country folk, but her evident lack of knowledge in that area is fairly plain.

James gives a nod on the invitation to talk, or taking it in, something to work on even in himself. Half a grin though, just watching her process of dividing and conquering, where his style is lift and bite randomly. As he finishes another bite, he nods and fills in with answers. "Yes, south west, not quite the coast. That belongs to California. You're there, you've gone to far." He reaches to take a drink of coffee, further explains, "Camp Verde is Apache nation, within Arizona. What's left of it at least." Then he's taking another bite as she contemplates skills and their uses. "We do sometimes yes, it was important to the people, we honor the tradition. Sometimes, we do hunt to eat still. We also share." There is a slight hesitation, he doesn't go into details where he almost did. They are both eating, and probably not a becoming conversation for the table. "Was your family scientists, or were you just a rebel?" Who knows, maybe the world tickles him just a little considering her propriety with mannerisms, and makes it less formal.

"What is left." She repeats this, catching on what James stresses. Part of that comes from the need to translate English back into French. Her diction is very good. Clearly she's had some education, probably under a British school teacher or a tutor, since certain word choice is most definitely not American. She pushes her napkin lengthwise, approximating a rectangle. A bit of folding the lower left corner gives an angled side, and she trails her finger along. "About this far?" No, Vesper, that would be New Mexico. Not so far as Texas but getting far from Santa Fe. "So your people live near the desert country? Or is that still grass? We haven't such things in France. The Pyrenees are dry, I think? But it has been settled a long time. Tamed fields give wheat, the forests supply wood and coal. Our north became a mire in the wars." Recitation of someone who wouldn't remember the wars, plainly. She's too young to have been more than a toddler then. Another bite of her bagel stills those thoughts. Better to be polite, and not to upset the apple cart.
"Non." She shakes her head, chignon glossy as a walnut table. "I read as a girl. I was too sick to go out. My first love was the stars, but a woman astronomer? Oh, never. The nuns were horrified. So, I chose biology. Genetics. A very mysterious field, even here. Not many study it."

Taking a moment to realize the rectangle and angle folded there, James figures it out after a moment. He takes a moment to run hand over napkin, then a few times on a knee. He comes over and almost helps her hand find Arizona, almost reaches over to nudge it or push it where it should be. The hesitation is clear when his hand moves nearer, say, a wrist, but then joins her hand on the napkin, pointing closer to, "Here. Can't miss it, looks the same as there." His eyes move from his point to hers, "That's New Mexico, but near spot on." As far as scale of napkin goes at least. "Its desert yes, the plains are more east and north of your fingers. That is more Comanche there. We both started nearer the plains, we are left with the deserts." He shrugs though, "Its where I grew up, it has a calm about it all the same." He looks up, even as she recites about her native France. "Wars have yet to do any good I think. Sure, its a mire now, but still, even that can be tamed." As she indicated about the Pyrenees.
He sits back, finishing a few bites of that bagel of his, he made quick order of it with the size of those bites. "So, a little guidance from the, nuns, and still a little rambunctious." As if considering that, not sure if she was sent someplace with nuns or attending school in that environment. Not pressing to know, but noting it for his own curiosity by the way his head nods agreement there. Then, that brow lifts again, slightly, "Genetics? That is a curious field. That brought you to the States did it?" And yet, that might not of been his curiosity alone when she brought up that topic of research.

Vesper reasonably doesn't flinch from touch. She catches on quick to the desire to cause no trouble on that front. After all, there are still segregated water fountains and washrooms hanging around the city and signs that tell anyone who fails the white paper or pencil test to get to the back of the shop, bus, or gene pool. She looks where James points, following those invisible contour lines that mark someone familiar with a map from those who are not. Now, were they staring at a single-celled organism under a microscope or a chain of DNA — which most haven't ever seen — then things would be pretty different. Not quite so here. She nods and the world view widens a fraction. "What are Comanche? I've never heard of them. Only the Sioux, the Iroquois," that's a name said the French-Canadian way, more ee-ro-kwah than ee-ro-coy. "Pretty country. Harsh and gold or brown and red? Deserts have different colours, yes?" If only that could be explained further. But it cannot, and she is lost in her bagel eating to finish the top portion and hope the butter will not stain her digits too much.
"I think growing up outside sounds very nice. Different from the school room. You must learn quite a lot by doing and not just seeing." Glass panes that separate young children are their own kind of prison in a way. Her tone is not wistful. Too logical for that, too practical. The rule of equations and laws governs her corner of science. She smiles up at him briefly. "Oui, genetics. So we have new ways to heal the sick and help everyone live well. Not cooped up in a hospital room. I came here as NYU has very good facilities and a strong program. In Cambridge, the best, but they're very competitive."

"Well, each tribe is more like a nation. So Apache and Comanche are some of the last few of the southern plains. Sioux are nothern plains and into the Black Hills and Badlands in the Lakotas. Iroquois, they're traditional home is sort of split between the US and Canada now, around here. At least in the state prior to the arrival." He purses his lips though, thoughtful on that, so far away from his people he may know of larger nations, but it would be like removing the lines of Europe and having someone native try to draw them accurately, he can't distinguish that much, just recalling New York as an afterthought.
He lifts his hand after point out some of those areas, careful in moving about hers yet aware of any warmth (hopefully, its not dead cold when their hands are close?). "Yeah, its pretty, it has all those colors. There are areas of Arizona with far more, the Painted Desert they call it. It is the same colors as all the area, just more .. vibrant there." And he finishes some drink when she talks about genetics, "Oh." As if not quite where he was thinking with his interest in her chosen field. "Well, Vesper. However you landed in the States, ever think there was some reason to it? Sure, not the best, but still, its NYU. Not everyone is getting into them door either." Especially grad level and beyond.

No one would mistake her for cold. The three-quarter length sleeves net a certain degree of heat from her skin in the striped blue and white shirt, leaving the rest of her slender forearms bare up to the manicured, short nails. That front exudes sufficient warmth to imply Vesper is not a vampire. On the contrary she's their greatest mortal terror. Using the napkin as a proxy for the country works well enough as it helps her visualise who lives where and under what general geographic conditions. Someone lives on the fold and another nation dwells in the great white middle? So far, so good. She follows without much difficulty. "I landed in the United States from a boat." Ha ha. See, there's a sense of Gallic humour there for James to contend with. She casts about and finds a smile, fairly polite and not without its brightness. Her chocolate eyes fairly melt when she smiles, the colour earthy but lively. "New York University has an excellent reputation. The professors I studied with hold the Nobel Prize, mind you." There, she absolutely sounds wistful. "The education I receive here is not poor. The opportunities are good, but sometimes the preference to men…" Let that stand on its own. The world isn't kind to people who aren't WASP males.
Well, they deserve to be stung, one way or the other.
"What is it that draws you away from the Arizona lands to come here? I hear all about New York being the big city. But your desert has the stars, the clear air, the people you know. Is there a reason you are following?"

His eyes were cast down, perhaps the map, perhaps the wrist there. James is in thoughts there, nations, the napkin map proxy. The bought comment does catch, and he turns his eyes to hers. Hints of a wryness there in his own, but the smirk that comes out turns more amused and a hint of a chuckle from the man. And her returned smile puts him at more of an ease, more than he'd been the entire conversation; as if a certain edge he held, just to be in the world, here of all places, sort of slipped a moment. He could almost forget that place he was in, within that skin of his. "Sometimes the preference to men," he says, still in a bit of a comfort, that amused tone definitely indicated is most times from her perspective. "Perhaps there is some answer to that in genetics?" More to say the end of the time of men, and WASP in particular, not that he understands genetics so much. "Its certainly not politics." The answer.
Turning to himself again for a moment, "My desert is home to ghosts. My people are gone. That is why I am here now. When I first heard, I returned to Camp Verde but nothing is there now. I have travelled a little, hopefully some of my older brothers have come here after the war in Korea, wandering as I was doing." Brothers given a broader net, not direct family, but men of that age at least. "Some of the cities, in the worst parts of town, they gather there sometimes. Indian Ghettos they call them, maybe New York has one, because without someone else, I have no answers." A little more on that loss that was eluded to earlier>

"Politics, genetics, society has been one way so long." How dour a topic to hold in the Hip Bagel, but Vesper doesn't shy away from the uncomfortable matter. She hasn't when confronting that unhappy trio still occasionally glaring their way and shooting daggers into James' back. "To a certain kind of man the world is comfortable. He knows the expectations to meet. He goes to work and he earns his check. He raises his family and after dinner he may watch an hour of television. Sunday he goes to church. These are familiar. But there are things changing the way of his world." A line drawn across the table forms a radius, punching to the middle. "Now his daughter wants to work and not marry a nice boy. His son isn't interested in going to fight somewhere." Beat. "Maybe a man with almond eyes or darker skin applies to be his junior assistant. He hears music that's not like his favourite and sees these long vests and tight pants that aren't familiar. He's scared. He puts in his heels because scared people do. He fights change. Change represents him losing something. Your gain, he thinks, is at his… eugh… you would not call it his loss, but he is the one who has to give up something."
She sits up the little bit straighter and frowns to herself, thinking through the permutations of all the differences there. But another matter tugs at attention to have its due. Like a puppy it worries her sleeve. "Your people have been pushed far away from one another? I see it here. Little Italy with so many Italians! Just like Rome, I think. No little France although we have a very good patisserie to meet at. I can order in French." Not just like home, though, those words are conspicuously absent. Just as whole sprawling meadows and dusty plateaux in the Southwest no longer echo with song or the gallop of hooves, merely the lonely cry of a train or a hawk to mark the absence of people. "You are searching then. Like the men who explored the unknown. There is no walking backwards, just the forward steps to take you somewhere? Have you found that destination?"

He listens to her explanation and even nods, he can see a logic to that, fear of change. His eyes narrow, not with malice but in thought and further consideration. "Expense, at his expense," only offered to help her find the word there. "I'm not in the group of my people or other natives wanting to take anything back. I'd be happy with my land other than it being empty." And he nods, the frown grabs him, pulls him away from those difference, equitable or not as the world is, certainly more of the not. "Yes, that, I am searching. And even if I find an old friend or family who," he pauses, deliberate, not wanting to upset the conversation. They've gone into serious topics certainly, not befitting Hip Bagel, but this one. "Who has escaped decimation," he finishes it, no better word, "Maybe I can find answers. Just, the wind is restless and I hear more than I want, voices of the past. I am haunted by that." As if, its even more than lonely wind, the cry of a bird but something he can't quite put a finger on, not in the moment. "So I walk forward and there is no destination I have found. This, this city, its as far as I can walk with the hope of finding someone from the days that the wind carried laughter. Even if I find natives here, it will be displaced Lakota, displaced Pawnee, displaced Apache even. It's a stretch to hope one is from Camp Verde I imagine." This is dour, he half grins, "If I must walk alone, that is my path now. I have no intention to present any of this as some burden. You've your research, your own pride to carry. But, having a voice to match, thoughts to share. This is good, Vesper. See, whatever else is in store for you, this moment was needed."

"Has the century not been a story of loss and learning those very hard lessons?" Vesper rests her elbow on the table, scandal! She will hunt down the other half of her bagel and break it in two, offering the left side to James in case he's hungry. Payment or breaking bread for the wrongs that require amendment, he can interpret how he wants on this front. The topic is more fit for a classroom, maybe. So be it, life is the great university. "At the start of the century when hopes were so high, see how the peoples of the world were treated. A war changed opinion. Now we have new countries every day. Even today!" A bit of a nod gives emphasis. "Rhodesia now has another nation called 'Zambia.' I saw it in the newspapers. They declared their independence. I imagine the British and French will now scramble to have an ambassador, and discover what gains are there to be had." Points beyond her existence, but she can bring the topic back. Give her a moment or two to pull her thoughts together. "It's not a stretch to hope. Those people last night who went to bed Rhodesian now wake to call themselves Zambien?" Default to the French. "They found their community again when they were erased into another by someone. Cecil Rhodes, the great monster, erased names to say they could not exist again and yet here they are. You can hope. Whisper into your wind. You never know what hears. The stars talk, the trees sing, the air is alive with so much music. Imagine every sound and song and heartbeat of people. It's all around you. Someone cannot answer you back without the voice being raised up, Monsieur James."
She still holds that crescent of her remaining bagel, a segment that acts as antidote of talking too much but that cat is out of the bag. "I never regret good conversations or challenges to opinion. My thoughts aren't the right ones or the only ones."

He was easing back into his seat a little at at time with comfort, its the peace offering that brings him forward and yet no such offer was ever needed, not as James saw it. "There is some silver lining out there, Vesper. Zambia sounds curious, and of a history I am unfamiliar with." That of Rhodesia may be beyond his understanding of the global community. "Though to be recognized as a people and an offer for an ambassador by such countries. If I cast my voice to loud into the night, I know what may hear and come for me then." His eyes turn to the table in thought for half a moment, but he looks up at her, a grin on his face all the same. "BUt that song, of hope, that is something. Maybe I can raise my voice here, and if none remain of my people, then others may here. The risk of the answer is one I can face." He had taken one bite of the offered half, and now sits back a little, just regarding her, the corner of his mouth playing at a smile at least. Then he sort of nods his head slowly, chill like. "If you only agreed or thought in some manner of right, that would not be you, not this woman I see now Vesper. The only right in your world is you, and others may agree or disagree as they want." He sort of turns his head towards the source of the proverbial daggers in his back. "None can take that. Challenges to opinion, this is fine, accepting differences is fine. We are not the same people, you and I, but why should we be? I imagine that world of eveything being the same to be boring. Man might fear change, but I don't want his job, or that house where I have supper and watch some TV and go to bed, locked in some routine. I cannot change what has happened at Camp Verde, but the spirits demand an answer, I can find that and bring them piece where they rest."

Hard not to laugh behind her hand at a notion. "No walk to the factory for you? Welcome to the right part of the city. Here everyone wants to sing or paint or do work in some place. They think they will make the world different from their parents. They will stop war and they will go to sea. I hear many different stories. Some, some are not that different from the routine except who does it. A young man can go to a restaurant and not be told to sit somewhere because his skin is the colour of coffee." It's not a wistful truth but the melody of a revolution, the angry awakening of the zeitgeist from its torpor beneath the asphalt and the chipped brick buildings heavily grimed by winters past. It's the fury of a spirit shaken from its stony sleep once the lullabies of old politics and new money cease to reach its ears. "The music that silenced the savage beast does not fall it any longer. We are not happy, we people. In ghettos." The word comes to her lips awkwardly, very French. "You know the first ghetto? An island in Venice, a city of islands and canals. The Venetians liked the Jewish for their money and their lending. Forbidden to good Christians, you see. But they did not like Jewish people. So they locked them up on their little island every night. They put a metal bar over the tall metal gates. All those canals link the city but you cannot cross them without a boat. Drown if you would leave, or be shot walking out. The ghetto thrived with its own culture and language, shops and foods. Those things cannot die. They make us people." Her veiled brown eyes flicker and she stares flatly at the table rather than James, rather than lancing anyone through as the radio somewhere in the vicinity crackles alive with the announcements of things in the world, with broadcasts snarling and popping together on the band. "Venice gives us another word in French and English, too. Many but quarantine. The habit of making the diseased stay apart, yes? The Venetians would do this for forty days so any ship come to them would be cleansed or its cargo dead. I think it's a lesson, a warning to us. Do not become a city of walls. It becomes easy then to think that others exist for our use and gain. They are not us, they become 'others' and then they are commodities. I study what I do because I know in the end we are all human."

"See," grins James a little, "Here I stopped my walking because here, I receive less looks. Oh, some do, as you said, not wholly ready for change. But more, they will just talk to me." As if she gave it more the pulse he couldn't put his finger on in the way she descrbied it all just now. He could say more and then she finds that moment of history, and he listens intently then. He can work on finish his coffee, and a ponder over her look at the table then. As if sure of her words and he's not sure why she doesn't look ahead, and forward, as she says them, all she believes or feels there inside. "So we have walls about us, that we do not see. It is removing those walls and becoming a one, of many difference, but a collective where each can be themselves." A slow nod, his summation of the words given. "You know Vesper, if you're half the geneticist as the speaker I see now, I imagine your damn good at doing that. But this passion, I don't think this is anything about biology. Its some awakening you have, alive and vibrant. I think when you let this out, you should hold your head up, with pride. I walk forward and you; you, Vesper, I just want to listen in this moment to what you have to say. Captivated I guess, by whatever chord was struck. The strong woman that saw what was happening and moved in between, that is you right there. A quiet moment of strong reserve and this passion here." A slight lean forward, both elbows on the table; or, not quite, forearms as he leans in just a little. "I would stay longer, but I must move again. And yet, I would sit here the remainder of the day to continue these conversations. I am torn, but perhaps you will speak again. I am now wondering, where I can hear your words, see the passion again?"

In some ways, so modern. In some ways, cosmopolitan. In some ways, they're both the product of very ancient cultures, in her case more than meets the surface. Twenty-five millennia made her, after all. A frisson of squealing from the radio reaches a bleeping pitch and one of the employees yanks the cord out of the wall while his fellow bread baker shouts a bit too loudly in protest. The humming litany ends almost immediately.

"… failed satellite was considered a landmark in technological achievement. NBC has sincerely apologised…"
Her fingers crumble the bread into so many doughy lumps and crumbles, a rainfall pattering onto the plate. Ducking her head sends those displaced sunglasses sliding over her forehead and bouncing down, caught on the bridge of her nose and following the slope right down. "I do not know I deserve such kind words. The nuns — and many here — are sure to say I've talked too much and nothing at all ladylike. This happens when I get cooped up in the lab too long, lost to my work." Lost to the signal and the humming blue electric spirits singing to her even as they converse. Some small part of her is already shifting into that attentive focus, hungry to communicate with their chatter along the lines and embedded in the walls. He represents the dreaming slowness of the Earth and she is the wind's voice, would that the shaman had the least idea of what Vesper is, embodies, beyond the starlight. "Meek and mild, you see I should be and rarely can be when good topics arise. You forgive me those things and I will forgive that you must run along wherever the day carries you. I'm Vesper Mezieres." The intonations climb alpine heights and slalom down the side again, landing in the soft powdery sibillance of a Parisian raised, if not born and bred. Not truly.
"I'm in the biology department. Come in and ask anyone, they can direct you to my lab."

A shake of his head, "Nothing to forgive. Meek and mild, my people would never prefer such a woman to not raise her voice. Let your spirit be free, be who you are." He is content to be that slow force, slow to move but once aroused within, hard to stop all the same. Even as he can see the energy, that vibrating difference that is her with an admiration. In part from the juxtaposition, and the other just the excitement of her thoughts. Or words, and no telling the depth of it, it is likely only the surface which raises more curiousity within him. "I'll take the forgiveness, but none to forgive for you. I shall come there, see this work you do. See if you're as inspired there as you were here, and now." He'll scoop up his things, and hers if she lets him, he'll walk past the waste recepticles just the same. "It was intriguing, Vesper." Then a pause, a slight bob of his head, he takes some of the formality, "Ms. Mezieres." Just to try the formal name out for size as it where. "We can return to that world a little, but the cooped up you, that you don't think is ladylike, I hope to see her again." For all that was worth, he is amused, even when his face seems suited to stoic. Which it is returning to as he does mean to set out on that quest of his. "You take care, look forward to it." A head nod is given as a final good-bye, and pause if she has parting words, but then its a turn back to the bustle that is New York City, and him, a quiet force moving about in search of anyone from the old days, quietly in the streets where he is ignored at best.

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