Chryssa Xanthopoulos - April 23, 2011 07:38 AM (GMT)
She felt a little as though she had been lied to.
That had become a common feeling lately. Go to Escova, Chryssa. Take your father there, life will be better. No hordes of barbarians taking over the country, it's safe. No war. You can make a new life. You will have opportunity.
And now they were in the slums. The better part of the slums, true - they still had money and Chryssa was doing her best to make sure it stayed that way. It was an odd feeling. Because they had a bit of money, they were out of place with the other refugees. But because they were refugees, they were utterly out of place with the actual Escovans.
Part of her wanted to give up and use the last of their remaining money to go back home. Back to that old craggled tree, to their shop. But she had promised her father. A new life. They could, and would, make a new life. She just needed a chance
Things were made worse by her being a woman. It wasn't exactly easy to get jobs, so she had started taking whatever she could get. The rich...well, rich-ish, refugees were the ones most likely to hire her, she had found.
How embarrassed would her big brother be, to see her in such a situation.
Sighing, she shifted the laundry on her hip. "Stupid woman..." She mumbled, before she felt herself bump someone - the refugee quarter was crowded - and the basket go falling to the ground. "Oh sh-" She cut off there. That was not appropriate around other people. "I'm so sorry." Bending down, she started to gather up the clothes. Thank goodness she was just heading down to clean these.
Zaman Jaraei - April 25, 2011 07:07 AM (GMT)
He was getting use to this-- this 'people not paying attention to where they were walking'. In fact, he’d become an expert at it. He could dodge them, step aside. In places like these, bumping into someone was common. It happened all the time. It was strange because amongst the Citizens, personal space was a valued, important concept. Personal Space was personal for a reason; it meant others weren't welcome in it.
But not here.
He’d seen her coming. He’d actually made a note of giving her space. Girls with laundry were always the most volatile. They would lose themselves in thought-- and then lose their clothes soon after. They were the most dangerous of Refugee pedestrians, and Zaman knew well enough to give them the space they needed. Like this one. Though he’d made a point to sidestep her, she’d just barrelled into him. No grace, no attempt to avoid the inevitable. Just the feeling of her basket against his groin and the resulting mess around him.
Unlike the others though-- who someone managed to make it his fault-- she apologized.
Zaman shrugged and fell into a crouch near a now-muddied shirt. Gathering it up in his fingers, he held it out to her as if it were a token of peace: an offering. “It’s alright,” he said, letting his lips part in an easy smile.
“I knew you would do that.”
Chryssa Xanthopoulos - April 25, 2011 07:28 AM (GMT)
"I…" He knew. Of course he knew. She was probably as obvious as a bull in a china shop and she hadn't been paying enough attention, and then she had been jostled, causing her to hit him in turn.
No matter how it happened, though, it was still embarrassing, and her cheeks colored. At least he didn't seem mad about it. Chryss was kneeling down, gathering up the other clothes that had been lost, before they got trampled. Or worse, stolen. Though, oddly enough, the usual thieves seemed to be keeping their distance.
"Well, I'm glad someone did." She said, smiling as she looked at him, taking the shirt with a thank you. "I guess I'm still used to having a little more room to walk."
He sounded like a citizen. He certainly had the accent she'd come to associate with them. But he was a lot nicer than the others she had met. He wasn't yelling at her, at least.
Zaman Jaraei - April 28, 2011 05:10 AM (GMT)
Confusion spread through him. It flickered like lights in eyes.
“You’re glad someone knew you’d hit them?” It was a strange thing to say-- or it was for Zaman. Maybe she hadn't understood his words. Maybe her grip on the language was poor. These Refugees, his thoughts muttered. So pretty-- but so strange...
He reached for another garment. Scraping it up off the dirty ground, he held it out to her; only to belatedly realize it wasn’t a shirt, or a pair of trousers. He felt his gaze widen slightly. “Your...uh, bra,” he said, dangling it like an ornament in the middle of a crowded street. It didn’t look like her size, but Zaman wasn’t factoring that in. He was just staring at it, embarrassed, but in no hurry to hide it or drop it from view.
It was black too.
And everyone knew what that meant.
Chryssa Xanthopoulos - April 28, 2011 05:28 AM (GMT)
"I… That is." Well crud. Now she wasn't sure how to explain herself. Her pale cheeks turned a bright red and she huffed a little.
"I meant that I am glad someone wasn't caught completely off guard." The fact that it took her that long to clarify was somewhat humiliating. And frustrating. She wasn't used to this place yet, wasn't used to speaking this language, though the necessity of constantly using it was improving her Escovan. Rather rapidly, actually.
Running a hand through her dark hair, she gathered up some of the rest of the clothes.
Her what? Oh gods no. She hadn't accidentally put some of her wash in here, had she? Oh no no no…. No. That most definitely wasn't hers. At all. Embarrassment and relief washed over her at the same time, and Chryssa found herself laughing.
"Oh Gods. That… That thing is huge. That isn't anything close to mine." It looked a little like two hats sewn together. The mental image of someone wearing it caused her to giggle even more.
Zaman Jaraei - April 28, 2011 05:36 AM (GMT)
Okay, she was laughing.
His own smile cut a brilliant shape around his mouth. It was ridiculous, but it was also confused. The lights still flickered in his eyes. “You’re laughing,” he pointed out. This wasn’t funny. Maybe it wasn't her bra, but it was definitely a bra-- and it was bad.
But here she was, laughing-- as if she’d just been privy to a personal joke. A joke he didn’t quite understand.
Refugees, his mind complained, dismissive, haughty.
Chryssa Xanthopoulos - April 28, 2011 05:42 AM (GMT)
Chryssa was still laughing a bit, taking the bra for him. "I think that's the natural reaction to something ridiculous. It's just... a ridiculous mental image." She responded easily, grinning at him. "But to be fair, these things are almost as big as your head." Chryss commented, referring to the cups of the bra.
She stuffed it back in the basket, shaking her head. She knew the woman who's laundry this was. No wonder she was constantly complaining of back issues. She would be too if she had breasts the size of ripe melons.
"Sorry, I'm Chryssa." Laundry - bra included - stuffed safely back into the basket, she smiled at him and straightened.
Zaman Jaraei - April 30, 2011 09:27 AM (GMT)
His smile held, but the wrongness of it all still danced like fire in his eyes.
“I understand that,” he pointed out, absently thinking about his head fitting inside a bra cup, “But it’s still...” he searched for the word. He cycled a hand through the air. “You know...indecent.” Big word. Escovan word. He wondered if she knew it.
As she straightened, he did too, pulling himself to his full height.
“Yar Zaman,” he replied, offering his name. “How long have you been here, Chryssa?”
Chryssa Xanthopoulos - April 30, 2011 07:06 PM (GMT)
There was confusion in her eyes as she absorbed his words. One in particular she didn't understand. "It's still, you know..." then something but she didn't know what that something was. It was frustrating, but she got the feeling - from his smile and his eyes - that it wasn't good.
Some sort of judgement. Or rebuke maybe. It wasn't precisely proper to be giggling over someone's bra, after all. But that look had been far too priceless. But it didn't matter because she was blushing brightly all over again.
"Yar Zaman." She smiled at him as she repeated the name. It was strange and exotic sounding. She liked it. Yar Zaman. It played a few times over in her head, interesting sounding and ensuring she would remember it.
"Maybe a month or so? Not long. My brother died in the war back home, so I brought my father here, so we could start a new life." She paused for a moment, considering. Was it really worth it to admit her ignorance to this man and ask him that word?
Yes. If she was going to live here, it was. "Um... that word earlier. What does it mean?"
Zaman Jaraei - May 2, 2011 08:34 AM (GMT)
For a second he felt bad for her. She’d lost her brother. That had to be hard. It was hard, he reminded himself. There was no moving past that. There was just making due...
..and then coming to Escova it seemed.
He was about to do the Escovan thing and apologize to her for the loss of her brother when she turned to ask him a question. “What word?” he repeated, not quite getting her point. He’d said a lot of words—most of which she understood quite well for someone who’d only been around a month or so.
He scratched the inside of his ear, thinking. Then his eyes lit up like fires at the temple. “Oh, indecent.” Laughter broke past his lips. “It means...like, not good. Offensive to regular people.” People like Escovans—or anyone else who thought bras shouldn’t be waved in public like banners from a parapet. Normal people. Everyone really.
Everyone but her, Zaman figured.
Chryssa Xanthopoulos - May 10, 2011 07:01 AM (GMT)
It took Chryssa a moment as she connected the word - the meaning of the word, really - to one in her own native tongue. A bright blush colored her cheeks. "Oh. Oh. Um..." Well now she was embarrassed and humiliated and it showed in the coloring of her cheeks and the shift of her body language. She was holding the basket a little closer now, like a shield at her side.
"Thank you. I guess I'm still getting used to stuff here. I figure I should probably learn everything I can if I'm wanting to help my papa start his tailoring business back up here."
Zaman Jaraei - May 20, 2011 07:08 AM (GMT)
He flashed her a brilliant smile.
“You’ll do well,” he told her, confidence ringing in his tone. “But not here. Maristheum.” Kyha was a poor place to start a business. Too small. Too spread-out. She would do better n the big city, where people needed tailors. Out there, near the sea, people were poorer.
“Have you ever been to Maristheum?”
Chryssa Xanthopoulos - May 20, 2011 07:20 AM (GMT)
Maristheum. The capital... It made sense to go there, to start her business there. More people meant more jobs. It was a tempting thought. But as it was she could barely get by in Kyha. She was doing better now...
"No, I've never been. I don't really have the money to move to Maristheum." Chryssa admitted, embarrassed. He had a handsome smile. And his voice was rather pleasant. When he wasn't seeming to judge or mock her. Though she had grown used to that since arriving, and he was been, thus far, the nicest person she had met.
"Plus, I think I would need out of the refugee district to really make a living." Most of the citizens of Escova seemed to avoid the area.