A Meeting Of Like Minds


brynn_icon.gif squeaks_icon.gif

Scene Title A Meeting of Like Minds
Synopsis Not really. But books are a fantastic common ground to start with.
Date March 27, 2018

Caspian's Place

New York City has been a slushy mess, after the massive snowfall and subsequent warming. The streets are sloshy, sidewalks not much better.

Some people are making the most out of a bad situation. Squeaks, for instance, as she travels the remaining half block to Caspian's apartment kicks slushy muck at Jude. The dog prances this way and that as he chases after chunks of half melted snow and ice. Both are soaked from the knees down, but are probably too caught up in their game to consider it a problem.

Brynn is actually sitting up on Caspian's porch. Whatever she's drawing in her sketch pad has her entire attention on it, and she doesn't look up even as Squeaks approaches and comes through the gate. it's not until the younger teen is coming up the steps that she looks up. With a small smile, she waves.

Few places ever receive Squeaks as a regular visitor. There's a place that once gave out shelf-stable foods that saw her often. She frequented a couple of soup kitchens often enough to be known by name. But with food being in shorter supply, she's obviously turned to other places. Such as Caspian's, albeit she's not a daily visitor but she's become less of a stranger.

The girl gives Jude a light push to send him off when she reaches the gate. The dog doesn't seem concerned, leaving his two-legged companion behind. Pair of strays that they are, they'll meet up again later. Brynn is regarded with open curiosity as Squeaks crosses the lot to the porch. The smile is returned and coupled with a "Hi, Brynn."

Because she knows the other girl doesn't sign, she flips to a clean page of paper. howsit? Brynn is trying to keep her writing to a minimum. Looking for Cas?

Despite her deafness, she seems to get along quite well mostly. And this is the first chance she's really had to talk. Such as it is

"Today I am." Squeaks' head bobs, nodding along with her answer. "He helps when he can." There's no shame in coming around for food, and maybe one day soon she'll offer a trade of neat things she's found. "Are you making more drawings?" She pauses, then takes a seat on the steps beside Brynn.

I am, Brynn replies with a smile. Pearl, the lady who pays me to clean up at the tattoo parlor, is also teaching me art. so I'm practicing ships and roses. She rolls her eyes. Boring, she grins. But there are techniques I haven't seen that I'm learning, so it's worth it.

"Like pirate ships?" The younger girl drops her elbows onto her knees and tilts her head to look at the handwriting. "Is drawing hard to do? Like writing?" She pauses and jiggles her knees together. "Is talking with your hands easy?"

Brynn nods enthusiastically. Pirate ships. I think it's called American Standard or something like that. A particular school of thought regarding art? Or maybe just tattoo art. I still want to go to college for art, though. She tilts her head, waching Squeaks ask the questions, then writes, Well… drawing can be hard at first. Everything is hard at first. But you keep practicing and you get better. Talking with my hands is something I've done since I was a baby. So I don't think it's hard — but it's like learning a whole new language, I guess.

"The housekeeper spoke Spanish when I was little. I learned some of that." Squeaks folds her hands behind her knees and sits up. Sort of. She doesn't hunch over, but she's not properly upright. "Will you go to college?"

Brynn shrugs her answer to the question. I don't know. I couldn't get in this last time I tried. They taught us a lot of stuff, but not always the stuff in the books, where I used to live. You know? She looks around at their world. And is college really all that? I mean… is it useful to have it, really? Seems… kind of a waste when you could spend the time getting good at something and making money to eat.

There's no immediate response, but Squeaks' face is thoughtful. "I read lots. Library's got lots more books, too, and it's free. But sometimes you can't learn from reading?" She sounds unsure, and pushes her shoulders up to shrug. "I don't go to school anymore. Not for a long time. But I learn things. Out there." She waves a hand, indicating the street.

The deaf teen nods immediately. Sometimes that's the best kind of learning — just doing, Brynn agrees. The people who raised us always said the way to really get ahead in the world was college. But… She worries at one side of her lip. I think maybe that was the way to get ahead in *their* world… The Before World. I'm not so sure that it's true in ours.

"Just doing," Squeaks echoes. She loops her arms under her knees again, and leans backward a little. "I don't think school is important. Just learning is." She tips her head a little. "Can you show me how to talk with my hands? Maybe I can show you things too."

Immediately, Brynn nods. Sign language is definitely something she can teach. SHe writes down. Start with easy things. Like food, water, hungry. Trade. She sets down her pencil and then points to each word, then signs it for Squeaks.

An instant passes where Squeaks just watches Brynn. Like she wasn't expecting the older girl to jump right in, or even agree. As soon as signs are being shown she sits up and frees her hands to mimic, slowly and awkwardly, with a face of uncertainty.

Brynn keeps them slow, repeating them each time until Squeaks has them. Then she writes, Hello and goodbye would be helpful as well, I guess. She grins at the younger girl, then shows her those two — which are pretty simple.

She's persistent. Eventually Squeaks eases into a level of comfort with each word. Simple as they are, there's something erring on the side of perfectionism. "All useful words. Maybe the library has a book and we can have these kinds of conversations. Easier than writing all the time."

Brynn picks up her paper and instead of using the pencil, she traces the words with her fingertip. It's definitely quicker. But you should talk to Joe. He's teaching Sign Language. We've taught lots of people. And the new library that just opened up? The Doyle one? It will definitely have books on it.

"Joe was the all over the place one." Squeaks motions over her shoulder to Caspian's place. "At the feast dinner. And Lance was the other one." It's confirmation, making sure she remembers who was who.

She laughs silently, and Brynn's nod is quick. Exactly.

Squeaks grins in response to the laughter. "I'll find him and ask him to show me, too. Maybe he will trade." She taps her fingers on her knees then shrugs. "But I know that library. I can find the books to learn from."

With a swift nod, Brynn responds on the pad of paper. I would like very much to be able to talk with you more easily. Especially because… there are a lot of kids like us out there. With no one. She grimaces a little. We got lucky. And if you have something you want to learn about or we can do for you, we'd be happy to trade. No matter what Squeaks would want to trade for.

"I have Jude." The dog is still nowhere to be seen, but he has been seen and therefore can be verified to exist. Squeaks folds her hands around her knees. "I want to learn to talk like you. To talk more and easier."

Nodding, Brynn completely agrees. You do. But… he's not people. And even the quietest of us need people sometimes. She'd know. Her world is made up of absolute silence.

"Jude…" The name drags out as Squeaks tries to figure out how to explain the dog. "He keeps me safe. Helps me find food. Sometimes people aren't good when they should be. Or they aren't there even when they are."

There's a fast grin. Jude sounds like he totally rocks. And believe me, I'm the last person to be on about someone having a dog as a best friend. You haven't met our sister Hailey yet, have you? She's got a fricking MONKEY. Like… literally. And…. a horse or something, I think.

"A monkey?" Squeaks' eyes widen "And a horse? She's like Pippi Longstocking! Does she know pirates?" A pause and a closer look at Brynn is chased by another, quieter question. "Do you know pirates?"

Pirates? Brynn looks … well, a little off-kilter. Well… I guess I know *some* about pirates. Like… what I read in storybooks. What do *you* know about pirates? Cuz maybe it means something serious to the kid and Brynn's missing something in translation here.

It doesn't come to Squeaks that her enthusiasm is lost on Brynn. Not immediately. She's stumped by the question, until it clicks. Then her hands clap over her face and she laughs at herself. "I don't know real pirates," she admits, looking at Brynn. "But they're cool. Long John Silver and Captain Flint. Have you read Treasure Island? It's one of my favorites."

Brynn's expression clears and she admits, I haven't! I would love to read that one, actually. We didn't have a copy of that one, but we had a copy of David Copperfield and the Count of Monte Cristo. Those were really hard to read.

"I didn't read those yet." Squeaks absolutely grins, enthusiasm masking any reticence that may have still lingered. "I like Charles Dickens. Christmas Carol is really good. But hard to read. I have Treasure Island. I'll bring it here so you can read it."

Oooh! Brynn's eyes light up! Someone to trade books with! Squeaks has found her connection. I only have a couple of mystery novels with me. But there's a book stand in the market where we can trade them for something you actually wanna read! she offers.

"Really?" Squeaks generally avoids the market, but she's very curious about this book stand. And being able to talk books with someone. Jude is good at listening, but he doesn't read. "I have lots of books. I find them and read them. Lots aren't good books. But some are. I keep them underneath, in some places that are dry and hidden."

Now the deaf girl looks intrigued. Will you show me? Maybe we can share some? That would be PRIMAL! Brynn has an excited light to her eyes. Let's make a plan and go do that, okay? I would love to have some new stuff to read. And I'll show you the market stall.

"We can go now." It's more of a statement than an offer, but that's how it is with Squeaks. She doesn't get up to make good on her own words, Brynn's excitement keeping her in place. "We can go any time. I'll show you, there's dangers but it's safe."

She looks like she'd go… but she promised she'd meet the boys very shortly. Tomorrow, Brynn says instead. I promised Lance and Joe I'd meet them here and I won't be on time if I go right now. Besides… Cas said something about dinner. She grins. Food trumps even books. Especially right now.

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