Title: walk into spring
Charlotte Lewis - March 7, 2011 03:39 PM (GMT)
Charlie stared blankly at the four packages in front of her. She was sitting on the edge of the fountain in town. She had left the school today, even if it was against her normal habits, for one simple reason: today was a day she wanted to celebrate isolated. It was her birthday. And she didn't really had anyone to celebrate it with; it was just another day, but she missed the way Ben and Max and Mrs.Devon made such a big thing about it. However, if she was alone, she wouldn't really celebrate it; it would just be a normal day, And it had been so, far. The only thing she was very grateful for was the good weather, that had really picked up. She was gradually getting used to the fact that it didn't rain everyday, night or day, here. It was definitely something she could get herself used to, even if she liked the sun as much as the rain and the snow. Spring, however, held the spot of her favourite season.
Fiddling with the end of her scarf
, Charlie continued to stare at the packages right in front of her. There were four and she had no idea why there were four packages. She had already opened her parent's gift, the golden horse necklace she was now hearing (and which she was quite sure had cost more than she'd ever like to spend on a necklace) since it had reached her a day earlier, but this morning she had gotten the usual call from Mrs.Devon and they had all made a huge commotion through the phone about her birthday. It wasn't the same as if they were here with her, of course, but it was still nice to hear so. But, she had only been expecting things from Mrs.Devon, Max, Ben and her parents. That made four packages, and she had already opened her parents. Which meant she had one extra package... from whom, she had no idea. It had no tag.
And so she had resolved to keep staring instead of opening them. What could it be? And who could it be from? She was pretty sure there was no one else that knew her birthday. Huh.
Mike Oh - March 8, 2011 01:46 AM (GMT)
On the weekends, Mike had taken to wandering absently around campus, which usually ended up with him wandering absently right into town and exploring either the Town Center or the square or something. He'd come to realize that the town square was a pretty good place to just sit and relax with a novel or a textbook and get some studying or reading done; it wasn't exactly quiet, with all the businesses and city hall nearby, but the people in the square tended to be going somewhere in particular, and if they did stop it was only briefly.
Either way, he was here again, this time with a paper cup of coffee next to him, droplets of brown liquid lingering on the ledge of the white plastic rim from the sip he'd just taken. A copy of Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom! lay open in his hands, but Mike couldn't really get into it; the cool northern California weather and the picturesque surroundings just weren't the right environment to allow him to properly delve into the intricacies of live in Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi. Really, Southern Gothic novels and Shady Grove, California just didn't jive at all, in Mike's opinion.
Movement in the corner of his field of vision caught his eye; he turned his head a little, enough to recognize the girl on the fountain as Lewis, a girl from his school. What was her name? Charlotte? Christine? Something like that? He watched her for a few moments as she fiddled with her scarf, staring at the packages in front of her, before finally speaking up. "Are they supposed to unwrap themselves or something?" he asked, raising his voice just enough to make it clear he was speaking to her and not someone closer by.
Charlotte Lewis - March 8, 2011 11:54 PM (GMT)
Whatever birthdays were about, they certainly were not about the presents. Charlie was by far a materialist person; her dressing style was simple, even if most things cost more than she'd want them to, and there was no real possession she had that she could not live without. Her laptop was there because it was, and her cellphone was probably somewhere in her room. Of these presents she was given, they'd be important by their meaning and not how much they had cost. The necklace her parents had given her, she was not wearing it because it was wholly and pure gold, but because it was shaped as a horse and it meant that, even if her parents had never demonstrated any particular time or disposition for her, they had at least remembered to get her a present she'd actually enjoy. That was already very surprising. And childishly heart warming. She couldn't help but feel like a five year old when any minor sign of affection came forwards from her parents.
However, the packages in front of her came from the people that truly mattered: the ones that had grown to be her family, despite their difference in social standing and origin. She couldn't even begin to guess what they were... well, she could guess Ben's: the shape of the package sort of gave a hint. It was a big, quadrangular, red box and when she had picked it up, it had felt as if the thing in there wasn't the same shape as the box, hitting it's sides. She was guessing it to be a soccer ball. Mrs.Devons... well, she didn't know, the woman surprised her every wear. The scarf and burret she was wearing had been gifts from last year and she had made them, which gave them all much more meaning.
Charlie was momentarily distracted from her thoughts by a voice, that, she assumed, was talking to her. She lifted her head to stare at a boy she recognized from SGA. His name, however, was not something she had grasped. Since she never really did seek out to know someone's name unless it was offered, it was not something uncommon. The packages weren't going to unwrap themselves? "Hum. I suppose they're not," she replied, glancing down at the packages and reaching out pick up the big red one. She took off the card that read: 'Happy Birthday, Charlie! Love, Ben'. She smiled briefly at the words and then set it on the edge of the fountain and unwrapped the big box, setting red paper by her side. Inside she found... a brand new, shining, soccer ball. Indeed, she had been right. Smiling widely at it, Charlie jumped from her seat and tried a few tricks to try it out. Sighing, she sat back down. This was as much emotion was anyone would ever see in Charlotte Lewis.
Mike Oh - March 16, 2011 02:28 AM (GMT)
Mike watched as the girl by the fountain started to open one of her gifts, smiling a little in response to her statement. There was something about her that kind of reminded him of his younger half-sister, Carlene, on Christmas morning (which was always a production for his family, since he and his dad joined his mom and his stepdad and his halfsister at their home early in the morning, and there were clouds of wrapping paper being thrown up and pancakes being burnt and coffee being drunk). It was kind of touching, though, and he watched her rip through the red paper for another moment before turning his attention back to the book in his hands.
Then Ellen died, the butterfly of a forgotten summer two years defunctive now---the substanceless shell, the shade impervious to any alteration or dissolution because of its very weightlessness: no body to be buried: just the shape, the recollection, translated on some peaceful afternoon without bell or catafalque into that cedar grove, to lie in powder-light paradox beneath the thousand pounds of marble monument which...*
Mike stopped short, murmuring the line to himself in awe. "'Without bell or catafalque into that ceder grove, to lie in powder-light paradox...' Jesus, Faulkner." As a writer himself--albeit an amateur one--Mike couldn't help but stand in awe of the author's control of language. Or maybe, in Faulkner's case, it was the language's control of the author. Either way, it was inspiring.
Hearing a thud, he looked up; the sound had apparently come from the soccer ball that his schoolmate was playing with. As she sat down again, he saw the red paper fluttering out of the corner of his eye. "You should put something heavy on that," he offered, remembering all his mother's lessons on the evils of littering. "Or it's going to blow away. It might be a better idea if you opened your presents inside? You wouldn't want them to fall into the fountain or get stolen or something," he said, glancing at the various people making their way through the square. Most of them were professionals, and he doubted any of them would bother to steal a girl's presents, but it was still just... weird that she was sitting at the town fountain to open them.
*excerpt from Chapter IV of Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner.
Charlotte Lewis - March 18, 2011 08:24 PM (GMT)
There was nothing that could remind her of her brothers around or relate them to this guy here. They were common teenagers, energetic, very talkative, and if she hadn't grown up with them, she honestly would not be interested in socializing with them. However, right now, Ben and Max were the only two people in the world (and Mrs.Devon, obviously) that could get her to minimally open up. Charlotte was rather excited right now, and there was only one big difference from her birthday to Christmas: she got to spend the latter with her 'real' family, instead of being stuck in this school. Well, she wasn't stuck in school, she was currently outside and it was rather good weather, something to compensate, even if it didn't work much. She glanced back at the person also sitting by the fountain, before staring down at her hands and rearranging her hat.
She heard him murmur something but didn't manage to hear what it was, and proceeded to twirl the ball in her hands. Charlie glanced back at him, noticing now for the first time that he was reading. She wasn't that much of an observing person, Charlie didn't register everything around her enough to keep up. As he spoke though, she glanced again. "Hum. You're right," she replied. Charlie picked up the red wrapping and set it inside the box in which came the soccer ball. "I'd guess you're right again. However, the weather is good outside and I'll keep watch." Weather was rather important to her, considering that was like... her gift. She was more of an outside person that an inside one.
Charlie reached over and opened the flat, rectangular package and carefully opened the blue wrapping. This was from Mrs.Devon, she knew it. She opened it and found an old version of Peter Pan, by J.M. Barrie. It wasn't just any old version, it was the book Mrs.Devon used to read to her, and it was especial because it had been Mrs.Devon childhood book. She opened the darkened page and saw it was signed to her, in the woman's classical handwriting. She grinned at the book. Charlotte read a lot, but her favourite books were definitely fairytales, like Peter Pan. "What are you reading, if you don't mind me asking?" She asked, turning to the boy, unaware that this was the first directed speech she was giving him, instead of a simple answer.
Mike Oh - March 23, 2011 10:26 PM (GMT)
Mike, for his part, was more of an inside person--in more than one way. On the surface--yes. His usual pass-times lent themselves more to indoor living than exploring "the great outdoors"--writing, reading, studying, music, surfing the 'net, watching movies... most of them could be done outside but they just worked better inside. He was also just an internalized person in a lot of ways, more of an introvert than an extrovert--a fact proven by the fact that after almost two full years here at SGA, he only had a few friends to show for it.
Sometimes, though, especially when it was spring like this and just starting to get warm, and the sun was out and the breeze was blowing strongly and plantlife was starting to rise out of its sluggish winter slumber--sometimes he just couldn't help but want to get out, which is why he was seated by the fountain with his book instead of on a sofa in the library.
"Hm?" he asked, looking up from the book in his lap again to glance at her. It looked like her other present had been a book as well, one with an attractive blue cover. "Oh... Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom! It's one of my favorites. What's that one?" he asked, motioning with a little nod of his head to the book she held. "Is it your birthday or something?"
Charlotte Lewis - April 11, 2011 01:48 PM (GMT)
Charlotte did things that she didn't consider 'hobbies' or past times. She took them so personally that they were nearly her whole life. Soccer and riding led her outside. Riding and brushing horses and taking care of them was of the best she could do and it was what she did mostly. Then there was reading... and if she took days off to read, they were rare because she'd rather spend her day outside, mornings with soccer, afternoons with horses and nights with books. However, she had classes and homework and that was not so. She usually focused so much on what she wanted and had to do, that she didn't think of anything else. And she had no friends, not that she minded that much. She interacted with Christopher more than with anyone else, but that interaction was based on silence more than whatever it was that friends did. But it didn't matter, she was inside and outside and she was glad doing what she did.
She tore her attention back at the unopened packages. Maybe she should cary it all back to the school and open it inside her room. Though, she hoped Carrie wasn't there. She'd rather the person who she shared her room with did not know it was her birthday. She'd be thinking too importantly of herself if she was ready to assume she'd make a deal out of it, but she didn't know Carrie very well and she'd rather not take the risk. And it was a rather nice day outside. Charlie liked all weathers, even rain and storm. She very much enjoyed the storm, as much as the sunshine. Maybe that had something to do with her gift? Then again, maybe not.
Absalom? Oh, yes, she had heard of it. She nodded, to make sure she had gotten it, but she hadn't read it yet. Maybe it should be another to add to her list? She had a very long one. "Oh. It's an old edition of Peter Pan," she replied. She loved the old editions of books more than the polished, new ones. "Hum. Yes. It is," she answered next, moving slightly where she sat.
Mike Oh - April 14, 2011 06:38 PM (GMT)
Mike really wasn't sure what else to say or do. The girl seemed lost in her own thoughts and reflections on the gifts, but if he stayed where he was, parked on a bench beside the fountain and within easy speaking distance of her, he'd sort of be required by common social practice to make conversation, right? Silences between sort-of acquaintances who'd already acknowledged each other were awkward.
Then again, Mike tended to be a little on the awkward side when it came to social interactions, himself. He didn't really have any friends except Bethany, and he only saw her every once in a while outside of classes, not even every week--and in the time he'd gained himself one sort-of friend, he'd gained two sort-of enemies, or at least people who annoyed him and whom he seemed to annoy: namely, Leilani Dallas and Christopher Hunt.
"Ah... right, Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens. Well..." he said, picking up his book and his bag. "Have a good birthday, I guess, and uh, I'll see you around the campus." He gave her an awkward little wave and a smile, hefting the bag onto his shoulder before leaving the square.
Charlotte Lewis - April 15, 2011 02:17 PM (GMT)
And that was usually Charlie's problem; she thought too much, said too little and showed no interest. It wasn't necessarily like that; she didn't mind interacting that much, but she wasn't good at it, and she didn't like talking too much about things that hadn't any importance, but mainly because she wasn't good at it. She could do short, straight to the point things, but rambling and babbling? No. Common social practice applied very little to Charlotte, because if it did, she'd be forced by good manners to talk the triple of what she usually did. Most things she said on daily time were of polite things, such as 'sorry', 'thanks' and whatever not. Charlotte was an awkward walking...
penguin something. And she acknowledged him and she didn't mean any insult or for him to think she was being rude or anything of the sort; it was just how she was.
Friends? Did she have any of those? Max and Ben were family, they didn't count. And at this school, even though she had met quite some people, she hadn't actually have any... friends. But it didn't really matter, she didn't need friends, did she? It wasn't on purpose, really, it wasn't like her goal of the day was to be distant and chase people away but... well, yeah. The closest thing she'd have to a friend would be... well, Christopher? She had spent a lot of time with him, even at the Valentine's dance, and it was silent time. It was perfect company, really. Other than that, she hadn't any friends. Nor enemies, as a matter of fact. It was fine, really. It was normal, wasn't it?
Charlie nodded at him, looking straight at him like she usually did. That led to people being awkward and scatter away, but it wasn't exactly her point. At all. "Thanks," she replied. "Bye!" She called out, as he waved and walked away. Maybe she should get going too? Charlie grabbed her packages and her already opened gifts and made her way back to SGA. What a birthday.