1965-05-14 - What Would You Do
Summary: Riri has her thoughts about segregation and gender bias in education. Wanda gives an idea.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
riri wanda 


Beautiful morning it is not, with mist coagulating under a hazy grey sky and the moisture thick on the air. A breath of stifling heat before the day truly breaks, and New York languishes under the damp. SoHo where it abuts Greenwich Village is still tired and ominous, not the friendliest of quarters. Most of the residents went to bed more recently than anyone cares to know. Only Hip Bagel thrives awake, in part because it schleps the breakfast food of champions with a side of cream cheese. That Wanda foregoes in favour of a honey spread, and she trots out of the little shop full of literati and artists forced to start their day too damn early, students speckled among the shop girls and clerks. Her choice of dark coat, a leather confection in deep burgundy, arguably constitutes a formidably bold choice against a monochromatic backdrop. She makes it maybe four steps before planting herself on a vacant bench to nibble at her food.

One of those students is the colorful counterpoint to Wanda that is Riri Williams. She's in bright blues/greens with light colored jeans, while her hair is picked out with a multi-colored headband wrapped around her forehead. Most of the shops aren't ''quite'' yet ready to start serving a mixture of races, but there are a few sidewalk bristos that cater to a larger cliental. That's where she gets her black cup of coffee and muffin which accompanies her to a stone beanch not far from where Wanda herself is sitting. Back pack beside her, she fishes out a few books and a yellow legal notepad which she tosses out around the table. A pair of glasses now sitting on the upper part of her nose, "morning." Said with a smile and wave to Wanda, looking back to her setup. "Crummy day huh?"

Colourful applies to Wanda only in some respects — the coat, the shade of her hair, the band around her right ring finger. Gold, counterpointed against wine-dark shades, gives her a notably intense stamp. The bagel she takes short bite from carries some fruit studding it, more than likely not the cranberry orange one revealed among a sea of poppyseed, plain, and blueberry for the pleasure of the dining public. Her mood is subdued, perhaps, and she watches the world flow by at first. The whole problem of segregation probably doesn't apply to her, not with the Caucasian slant of her features, but she occasionally glances at one of the signs with outright disapproval. A few crumbs tumble down into a napkin used to catch the rest, and she inclines her head when someone talks to her, being that it's to her and not another pedestrian. They are far from crowded in that area. "Not so bad," she says slowly, her English heavily accented. "Warm, yes?"

Riri continues to move her books around at precise angles like someone with a high dose of obsession as it relates to placement and rubs at the bottom of her nose with the long part of her index finger. "A little." She agrees of the weather, glancing up and over at Wanda, "Probably too much so for the coat?" With a grin. She looks back to her notepad and reaches out to flip open one of the books, with a few fingers. A cheap pen taken up in her left hand.

The whole concept of segregation is obviously one of importance for Riri, but the she manages to ignore the, increasingly frequent in this growingly hostile environment, but still infrequent looks of disapproval from passers by. While this is not ''specifically'' a whites only area, clearly the atmosphere has created an air of seperation.

"But those are pretty groovy shades. Accent is the tops, too."

The tower of books remains a fascinating arrangement, even if watched from the corner of her eye. Wanda's amber gaze remains directed to the side beneath her down swept lashes, the better to avoid any sort of rudeness. it isn't acceptable to stare. "I like the coat too much." This said with perfect solemnity misdirects any plausible teasing, and she laces her fingers together atop the bagel rested in her lap. A perfect crescent mars the oversized curve of the side. Licking away a trace of honey, she raises her head, the carnelians winking dully under the weak sunlight that breaks through the grey miasma. Her headband is strung with several of the stones, and garnets besides. "It will rain." The statement trails off with the faintest hint of a sigh. Sunworshipper, for sure.

But then, with that golden skin, she probably has no problem building up a good tan at that. Riri receives that measured nod, though the faintest line appears between her brows. Parsing out slang is no easy thing, especially for a non-native English speaker. "Tops?"

"Yeah.." Riri agrees with the rain prediction and glances skyward with a narrow eyed stare for a few seconds. When she returns to her books it with a shared sigh and her pen lightly tapping against the side of her legal pad. In her mind that prediction holds just as true for more than just the weather, but it doesn't seem mirrored in Wanda's tone so she doesn't mention it.

"Hrm?" Drawn out of her thought to glance over at the other, then up nods when she follows, "Ah yeah, sorry. Tops… it's interesting. Like it sounds good, cool.. One of my professors back in Chicago was an immigrant from Ukraine, he had a wonderful accent. A terrible attitude, but a wonderful accent."

Never trust those silvered clouds wrapped around an axis of darkened shadows and moisture aloft without so much as a breeze. Any warmer and the feeling of sitting in a pressure cooker very much might apply. For all that, the sorceress tips her head back, the better to appreciate the feeling of the damp air on her cheeks the better. Her gaze goes unfocused if only to turn attention away from one sense at the expense of another. If it pours in the next fifteen seconds, she might be absolutely delighted. If delight ever turns her mouth up; smiles are rarer than hen's teeth or senators turning to a pauper life of hermithood somewhere.

"Tops, what does it mean?" The inquiry tumbles out after a long, almost painful delay absolving Riri of any inaccuracies, admitting in a quiet, roundabout fashion Wanda's own limitations. Her vivid gaze flickers back over the younger woman, the legal pad taken in as much as her. "You are at university here? Very good. They think women at school is… odd?" A hesitation on the final word.

Riri continues to drum her pen, eyes narrowed at a section of one of her books that has been heavily notated along the margins. The coming rain will be a villain to her until she's able to put away her books, but that's either seconds or minutes away. Despite her best attempts, she's not yet created a means to predict the weather beyond reading barameters and the movement of the clouds.

"They do." She says without looking away from her books, "They said I cheated on my entrance exams which, for the record, marks me in the sixth precentile. I'm arguably one of the smartest people on the planet… if you believe that a test can decipher something like that… which clearly they don't." She glances up, but not at Wanda, "If I were male and white, I'd have been recruited to MIT when I was twelve."

She smiles anyways and looks back to her notepad. "Instead I'm going to a vocational school…" She could just be over inflating her ego. Certainly that kind of talk could get her in a LOT of trouble if the wrong people heard it.

Villainy found in the precipitation, that would not be the first time that someone has cause to curse the sky and shake their fist in outright rage. Lips may compress, eyes may flash, and the cloud deck shines with its own mischief over the cities and mortals caught in its vast swathe. Wanda seems to have little concern about her own state, but leather boots and a leather coat are the more impervious natural substances to being awash. Perhaps she's got a canoe for two stashed somewhere, and a wish to paddle down Fifth Avenue.

Why not? It could be fun.

"Fact is not belief," says the girl who never smiles. Riri's feelings about the matter may be plain to her, or they share a bond of gender on the front of being underprivileged, underserved, and underestimated from nearly every quarter. The trace of a nod dips her chin, a subtle encouragement to keep talking. Some people fall into the category of listeners and she undoubtedly is one of those, for all that she disavows the bagel and proves somewhat colour blind. "The school makes you happy?"

Every adventure has benefits. Riri has no specific desire to go canoing down 5th street, but has no doubt she'd learn something value from the experience if it happens despite her desires. Her gaze passes over a few passages in a book metalurgy, specifically titanium compounds and alloys.

"Happy?" The question bounces around in her skull while she reads, mental multi-tasking, "It's complicated." She manages with a shrug, "It's a world that I'm not welcome in.. but I'm more advanced than all of the students and most of the teachers. We're talking combustable engine design and repair, here.. I can do that in my sleep." She doesn't even say it like she's bragging, but rather like she's bored. "So yeah, I guess I'm happy that I'm in an advanced school… that I don't have to be a waitress or some crap, but I'd rather be doing something that is even remotely challenging."

All experiences are worth having, minus the ones which end in death. No one ought to be complaining too loud about New York lacking interesting experiences, at that rate. Her toes pointing downwards, Wanda slides to the edge of the bench. Her bagel once more brought to her lips, she takes a small bite and chews while Riri speaks. Directly observed, she might not eat, but this much she can manage without too much difficulty. A faint trace of honey wets her lips, flicked away over time. Manners fit for the young queen of the UK, at this rate, might be an oddity for someone who doesn't slot properly into any particularly obvious hole other than that ring on her finger. At least society understands that as an acceptable role for the likes of a woman in her twenties.

"Bring the others up." Odd sentiment, words laid out in clean, precise edges, rather than jagged with sentiment. Chances are she hasn't much of it. "Learning is hard. Teaching is harder."

Riri is in no position to judge people on how they present themselves. In a society that tells her she has no business being even remotely as smart or accomplished as her white peers, she flaunts her intelligence without pause.

So she doesn't put people in a box.

She is given pause at Wanda's suggestion, however, and looks up from her pad to gaze over at her on the bench… "Why did I not consider that?"

The brunette tucks a strand of her hair behind her ear. The headband does the job of keeping her locks largely off her face, but a few manage to escape. "The tree does not see all a forest." Her English syntax needs improvement and she is consciously aware of that, but it hardly bothers her to offer a measure of an explanation. Wisdom doled out as if the words cost a pound and not a penny, so it is. She nods slightly under the weight of scrutiny.

"I guess not." Riri agrees with a nod of her own and her gaze settling back on her books, "Still runs the risk of offending delicate white previlaged young men that an uppity black girl thinks she knows better enough than them to teach them something." She hrms quietly and shrugs, "But that too is a challenge isn't it? And who knows how many minds I can change in the process.. We're all looking for a way to make a difference."

"So?" As blunt a response as one can hope for emerges from the brunette, flat and hard, an unyielding truth that being on this side of twenty has the advantage of. When she looks up, Wanda's expression carries so much youth, but those eyes tinted so intensely gold rather than brown are old. Older than old, in some ways, and they don't match the rest of her vitality. Something in there is decidedly witness to hardships in life, the way that vets sometimes come back with a faraway look and a few scars. "You teach. They learn. All better is for everyone." Words are dispensed slowly by the laconic creature.

The sharpness of that single worded question snaps Riri's attention around to Wanda in a way that might initially look like she's about to say something volitile about her not understanding.. about having no idea… but something in what she sees in those old eyes pauses any venom and sooths her heated expression into something easier, even apologetic. "You're right.. I'm just thinking out loud. If it's hard, the rewards are more satisfying."

Wanda's leveled gaze is intense more than calm, measured rather than particularly shallow, warm or friendly as a lagoon. If it is possible to look forbidding and somehow approachable, she manages that odd balance by holding almost perfectly still. Disassembling a bagel takes her some time. "Think. Ask. Shows you know and listen." Her incredibly simplified answer may be of dubious help, but take as one will out of it. She nods to the sentiment of difficulty on Riri's part. "Nothing easy. English, hard. Try, get more known."

Riri nods a few times slowly, then looks back down on her books situated around her legal pad. "I can do that." She knows that much, even if she's still unsure of the end results. People are difficult and they're even more so to change their ingrained opinions. "I'm going to be there anyways, right? I guess I've got nothing to lose."

"No. It is good to learn," adds the brunette. She rises from the bench and dusts the few crumbs off herself. They land in a puddle probably for some enterprising bird to chase after, such being a standard of cities everywhere. "How are you known?" The tug here and there straightens her coat; the corset, on the other hand, is completely impenetrable and inflexible in its way.

"Know- Oh, my name?" Riri looks at her books a second and then starts flipping them closed as she speaks. "Riri. Riri Williams." She says with a half smile at Wanda whom she's already gathered doesn't use the expression much from their very short interaction. "How about you? You seem kind of… I don't even know how to say it. You look young, but something about you.."

Repent ye sinners against womankind and knowledge, for they be unkind for those trying to push the boundaries forward. "Riri," she repeats, and her fingers dash against the slender amber column of her throat. Golden skin meets with the rough curve of her fingernails, a touch as brief as a blink. Then Wanda drops her hand to the side. "Wanda." The question hovering in the air is a simple thing, and she turns her head to the east, unerring in its sense of direction. "Lived hard. War." Flipping out of English is easy, and she plunges straight into her native tongue, which lies between the crossroads of the Slavic and Romantic worlds. «The gateway of violence birthed my folk, and we carry the scars over the generations.»

"War." Riri frowns at that, understanding even if she's never actually been in a war torn country. She's from Chicago in the midst of the civil rights movement, though. The two experiences, while not identical, are certainly close aquaintences. "That was beautiful.." She clearly doesn't understand the words meaning, but that has never stopped anyone from appreciating what was said. "I hope, maybe nieve, that we find a cure for that.. War I mean." Domestically and abroad.

No further explanation is needed. The world has only so many conflicts to go around. Her midnight taciturn nature may well be explained thus, wrapped up in shadows. Slipping the remainder of the bagel into her coat pocket, Wanda shakes her head. Transian is a spiral of sound that proves her much more loquacious than English can ever qualify to be on her tongue; otherwise, she is limited and her choice of words is diminished. Too much coin spent in that direction. "Always war. Too bad." She raises her hand in a wave. "I work now. Goodbye, Riri Williams."

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