A Better Day


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Scene Title A Better Day
Synopsis The second time Ziadie meets Barros is a lot more uncertain than the first. And perhaps it will be more easily remembered.
Date March 17, 2011

Abyssinian Baptist Church, Harlem

The large sanctuary of the church is currently filled with the tones of a choir rehearsal, Lean On Me in glorious vocal harmonies filling the nearly cavernous hall after the last trailing notes of Amazing Grace fade. The choir is comprised of at least fifty people at the moment, men and women ranging from early teens to nearly as old as Ziadie is, to possibly older. They're cheerful as they sing, a sense of camaraderie that also fills the hall with a warmth that draws some people to observe the choir practise.

However, Nocturne Ziadie simply sits towards the back, in one of the pews, leaning forward. The former cop leans forward against the pew in front of him, face resting against the palm of his hands. The leather jacket, his hat, his scarf, those things are next to him, and the old man is thoughtful. Well, having a rough day of it, which is what brought him to the church in the first place. Here, at least, is one of the places that he can more easily ignore the compulsion to drink. Here, at least, there are some people he still knows despite seven years gone from New York City.

Huruma is most decidedly not the person that people might think of when they think 'Harlem Baptist', so perhaps her appearance there is a little odd; while she isn't a part of the place, she does know that the Abyssinian is a welcoming place for someone that does want to go in. There seems to be a good logical reason when the tall woman sidles in one of the front doors dripping with a fresh sheet of rain on her coat and cap. It isn't much, but when it is chilled as it is, a little rain can go a long way to make things uncomfortable. Huruma can't complain compared to Bannerman- though she did come off the island to try and not be in a constant state of less.

Her coat is still closed when she picks the flat cap off of her head and shakes it out on the rug leading to the coat room. She doesn't go in, instead lifting her eyes to take a cursory look over the pews, and then of course up above the pulpit to the choir.

Softly, Ziadie hums along with the main line of the melody. He's perhaps two rows of pews in from the very back, and though he straightens in his seat slightly, the attempt to look behind is met with too much residual stiffness for him to turn around. It's not a particularly fun day to be old, with the rain and the wet, which simply isn't helping. But he heard Huruma come in, and some of the lingering bits of depression fade back into the background as he pays more attention to the choir.

They're relatively good, and it serves to lift the older man's spirits. Enough that there's a half a nod of greeting offered to her, after he runs his hand through the salt-and-pepper of his hair, though he still hasn't turned around to see who it is.

A pause is given when she finally takes notice of the nearer pews- of course, there are some others in here watching practice, but they are generally nearer the front. Her attention is pulled to the old man at the back, however, for several reasons. The least of which is that she knows him from one chance encounter involving weapon drops. The sound behind the pew Ziadie sits on could be the removing of a coat, but it isn't- Huruma has unzipped her coat, but instead of going to put it up, she gives it a shake on her frame before quite boldly stepping over to the old man's chosen pew, sitting herself down a short space away from him as if she came and sat there every single afternoon.

The humming along fades. He was relatively on-key, though, and then he turns his head, hands folding in his lap, with a more proper nod of greeting this time. "Good afternoon, Ms. Barros," he says. There's that faint melodic hint to his words, but they're not particularly enthusiastic or anything. The old man leans back, crossing his legs, and there's one raised eyebrow offered to the woman. He's definitely doing better than the last time she saw him, though. His mind is clearer, his emotions are clearer, the fog of alcohol is not present. After a moment, he offers a bit of a smile, and a query. "So what brings you to the church?" It's a deliberate tactic to shift the focus off of himself.

"It was raining." The woman sways her head on her neck, loosening her shoulders and leaning into the seat. When she gives him a more direct look, she can't quite recall if she had the contacts in or not- she supposes not, as she was about a day away from the mission. At least she gives him a slim little smile, having duly noted the presence of mental acuity in him, and not having caught any whiffs of the alcohol as she had before. "It is not that I dislike rain, it is only that I was not in th'mood." Fair enough.

Huruma crosses her legs and knits her fingers on her lap, her hat in mid-grasp. "You seem well." More than before. surely.

"Ah." There's an understanding nod, and Ziadie's expression returns to being more neutral, though still relatively inquisitive. And whether or not she'd had the contacts in before, that's slightly too much of a detail for the former cop to actually remember, having been inebriated before. There's a faint frown on his face, as he realises that she would have noticed such, but it fades as quickly as it appeared.

"It is a better day," he eventually says. Not necessarily a good one, and only discipline hides the fact that there's still the occasional tremor of withdrawal in his shoulders.

"A better day than yesterday is really- well-" Huruma's voice is already quite somber, and it seems to level there further. "-all that someone can ask for, now. Isn't it?" She lifts her eyes away to watch the choir now, the ivory color reflecting just the sheen of lights over her pupil. Gospel has never been her thing, though she can appreciate it out of shared talent. "I don'recall getting your name- did I?"

Maybe she did, but honestly- she can't bring it back at the moment. She was too busy trying to not be shot by a drunk with a pistol guarding her own loot. More important matters than names, right?

There's a bit of a pause before he offers his name, but it's simply a pause of trying to recall whether or not he gave it. "Ziadie," he offers. A last name, but clearly what he's used to being addressed as, and he rolls his shoulders, a bit of a wince at the left one still being stiff, painful from having dislocated it, and general annoyance at his body not necessarily doing what he wants it to do. "Sure is," comes the eventual response. "I woke up on th' right side of th' ground, an' all that." Except that he's not truly sure it's the right side, there's a flicker of hesitation, doubt, of tiredness. He's old, and occasionally, he wonders.

There is a lot of uncertainty with this second meeting, and chances are that Huruma will have a better time remembering it. He will too. "I appreciate your letting me do m'business. Though I will remember t'not use your… stomping grounds, as a drop point." She finally says this, and though there is a weirdness to the vaguest thank you, it is still genuine. She doesn't say Thank You to random people as a rule, it isn't personal.

"It was a relative success by th'way. Th'job? Somewhat hazardous, however."

"Usually best to find a differen' drop point af'r a few time anyway," Ziadie says, entirely casually. He's glad to hear it went well, even if he's not quite sure if he wants to ask further. "It's no big deal. I was … wandering, that day." It's a mild way to put it, and there's just a slight wince. It's not an untruth, but it's not true enough for his ability to not bother him. "Usually, I have work an' other things keep me more productively occupied."

"Idle hands." Huruma uses this itself as a warning, in few syllables. "That is why I make myself busy." She presumably has things to do, as a spook type, but even then there is some aspect of being rogue to it. He'll just have to take her word for it. "I take it tha'you are too busy t'stay drunk, now?" She leans back on the pew, one elbow on the back to look at him. There's a bit of a smile on her lips, though there is nothing malevolent in what she says. Just bitter for him to hear.

"You do seem better, after all." Maybe he found an old man hobby? Who knows.

There's another hint of a frown when the woman he's talking to mentions his drinking. It's hard for him to realise that it's a problem that even total strangers were able to see, harder to realise now that his mind is clear enough that it's easier to think about. It's almost at the same time as another slight tremor in his body. "Something like that," Ziadie responds. "I tryin' a keep myself busier. It helps." Helps him not drink, mainly. "As much as anything does for something that never works. But for now, I'm doing better." The last statement is difficult for the old man to say, as difficult as it is for him to admit he has a problem to begin with.

"For what it is worth, good luck." Huruma has seen enough debilitating addictions in her lifetime to know that even something so simple as alcohol can create an immense dependency, and a difficult road to sobriety. She has never had to personally deal with an addiction (of a normal variety), so her well wishing is from the same place as most people. "You were obviously someone before you retired. Per'aps you should be going back to it. Something like it."

About now the choir starts into that sounds like an immigrant hymnal rather than a lyrical piece, and Huruma finds herself soon humming along to it.

Apparently, it is worth something, because there is a slight jump upwards in Ziadie's immediate mood at her words, and a small nod of thanks. "Thanks." His accent changes the vowels a bit, and he tilts his head to one side. Her words are considered, and when he responds, it's in the Jamaican patois that he's quite sure now that she understands the most of, with the occasional English still there. "Mebbe. I ha' work now. It not de department, but … it something, and well, th' least I can do is get up each day and make it a better day." But however much of a better day this has been, the physical dependency is making the older man distractible, and if he'd had more to say, he doesn't say it, just sits there in quiet for a bit.

Huruma stays there in similar silence to listen to most of the hymn, and when she finally lifts her cap to pull it back on, it is with a short glance in Ziadie's direction. It seems she will choose to brave the rain somewhere else, hoping it has gone back to being that annoyance that is spring drizzle. "By th'way," She stands up, checking her coat's zipper to tighten it up over her chest.

"I am no'actually with any department…" Maybe he knew. "Though- an agent when it comes to working on a cause, I suppose that still works. Ah, th'English language…" Huruma smiles more widely over at him, before she turns away from the pews.

"Some language, isn' it," Ziadie calls out, not particularly loudly. Her statement is truth to his ability, but he's largely ignoring it, with a half a memory that she managed to lie and tell the truth in the same statement before. This time, unlike when she came in, he turns slightly in his seat, to watch Huruma go. There's a smile spared for her, and for some time longer, as the choir continues to practise, he remains in his seat in the pew. Thoughtful, and his discussion with the woman has only given him more to think about.

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