Color In Sound


brynn_icon.gif lance_icon.gif

Scene Title Color in Sound
Synopsis An idea for new kind of art, born of Lance's love of music, and Brynn shares it with him.
Date May 28, 2021

The Lanthorn

In the months since the stroke that gave Brynn the ability to hear, Lance has done his best to introduce her to various kinds of music. The tiny former chromakinetic has listened to all kinds of music that he's offered from 1970s disco to classical to show tunes to jazz to rock. Anything and everything he got his hands on, she listened with him – but Brynn didn't have the heart to tell him most of what she heard was simply noise. She feels the beat the same way she always has but with anything complex, it's too much input for her. Sensory overload.

So it's maybe not what he expects to find when he arrives home to the main living room filled with low-volume music. There are no vocals in it, although she has told him that there are singing voices that she loves among the pieces he's exposed her to. This is entirely instrumental and although there's complexity to it, there are no sudden sounds. The melody line twines through the bass line, and the harmony is a liquid counterpoint that flows between. Smooth sounds, sounds that evoke emotion.

Crouched on the living room floor with Doodlebug a silent presence observing from a perch on a chair, Brynn has managed to shove a battered loveseat away from a bare stretch of wall opposite the entry foyer and its mural. Of late, she's sketched in charcoal and pencil more often than any other form of art; and even that has been sporadic. Like she can't find the muse anymore and she's fighting herself, leaving crumpled sketch paper in the trash, apparently disgusted with her lack of skill in the style of realism that she's always preferred. This evening, with the music playing at a volume that she normally requests turned down, her left hand is painting a vivid swathe of color without form. The movement seems to be accompanying the music's flow.

“I’m home,” Lance calls out as he steps in through the door, shrugging off the light hoodie he’s wearing and tossing it onto a standing coat rack that someone picked up in the market, that has too many coats for its frame.

It’s sturdy, though, like them. Not collapsing anytime soon.

When he realizes who it is that’s listening to music, though, he pauses - looking over, he blinks once and then smiles. He moves over at an unhurried walk, keeping quiet, head canting to try and get a peek of what she’s painting without interrupting her.

He doesn’t want to distract her from her muse when it’s been absent for so long!

Doodle's head pops up and his tail wags at the young man, and the girl on the floor … is covered in paint. Dabs and daubs of it around her on their wood floor, her jeans, even the socks he can see peeping out from beneath her butt where she's sitting on her heels studying the image – or rather, the swathes of color. Because there is no clear imagery, just long swooshes and sprinklings and maybe what one might call blobs of color.

She turns her head, the good ear, toward the door when he calls out but she keeps looking at what she's done until she feels him next to her. Then gray eyes go all the way up to his face and Brynn asks earnestly in Cant, What does it make you feel?

She has paint on one cheek and on the end of her nose. Though it's pulled back, there's even paint in her hair. But for the first time since the accident, there's a light in her, for certain.

Happy? That might just be because you’re painting again, though, Lance admits with a flicker of his hands, eyebrows going up and a grin flashed back to her.

Found some inspiration?

She gives him a look of such surprise, as if the fact that he's happy she's painting never occurred to her. Breaking the startlement, though, she signs, You gave it to me, she gestures toward the radio. You played a bunch of music, and when I mentioned it to Wright, she took me to a concert in the park. It's different in person, though.

There is again that sort of earnest intensity as she studies the paint on the wall before them. Hearing it in person, it was like the sound wrapped around and touched me. There were so many feelings in it. Brynn gives him a look that is part frustration and part wonder. I can't explain it… and that she gestures toward the wall, doesn't look like that A gesture at the speaker. feels!

It's a familiar kind of frustration from her; the kind she always gets when she can't get what's in her head on the paper adequately. You would think shapeless swirls on paper would be easier even when you can't feel the hand, but apparently it's not. The lament is almost tangible in that statement.

It really is, Lance agrees with a shift of his hands, grinning, Different in person, I mean. Vinyl’s different too, you should come with me over to the station sometime and listen.

Then he chuckles, stepping over and reaching out to rub the back of her shoulder reassuringly as he looks at what she’s painted, then back to her. Of course it doesn’t. Just like a story that two different people tell always feels different. If this felt exactly the same as the song, it would be the song, right?

A brow lifts, But it’s not. It’s yours.

She tips her head studying what she's painted on the wall. Her hands move slowly. Since the stroke, I've been trying to get my art back. But it's not really my art. None of the pieces that were done before the crash are mine. This one is.

Brynn nibbles on the side of her lip, looking up to him uncertainly, thinking from his phrasing he understands but searching anyway. It's the first thing I've ever done that's mine.

Lance looks down at her for a moment, and he nods; he knows she’s having a slight crisis regarding who she is and if she’s really Brynn at all. So this is, in a way, the first thing she’s done that’s hers.

Yours and only yours, he signs his agreement, and then looks back to it with a smile and adds, I like it.

The brilliant grin she shoots him is brighter than any she's had in a long while now, sincere pleasure in her own handiwork coupled with the same almost bashful joy that one of her siblings genuinely likes it. Wright sent me some canvases from Kansas City when she got there – I don't think this is good enough to really do much with it yet, but… maybe it could get there.

Tipping her head to study him, Brynn's gray eyes are thoughtful. Are you happy, Lance? The question is perhaps out of left field, but their lives have been unique in terms of expectations, and she wonders sometimes if what he's doing makes him happy.

“I– happy?” It’s an unexpected question, and Lance is taken aback, answering at first verbally. He straightens up, one hand coming up to rub at the back of his neck, brow furrowing.

Hands dropping back down, he signs, I don’t know? How would I tell?

She gives him a sideways look, at once puzzled and amused. It wasn't a trick question, Brynn points out. Although I guess now that you ask that … I don't really know.

Tipping her head sideways to lean it on her brother's shoulder a minute, she contemplates and then offers, I guess happy is… not wanting to be anywhere else doing something else than what you're doing? When she looks up at him, her grin is impish. I'm happy when we're all together and helping each other, but… it makes me happy when you come back from your work and you seem to feel like you accomplished something that day. It's not the best description, but it's what she's got.

Then she gestures to the wall. Looking at that makes me feel like I did something good instead of just being here. I'm not just… being a placeholder for Brynn. Is that being happy? She shrugs philosophically.


The distinct sign that is her name - they all have them in the Cant - is made with hand motions best described as stern, and Lance draws back a little to look at her, not moving away to reduce intimacy but to make sure she can see everything he’s signing clearly and see how serious he is.

There’s a Brian that married Samara. There’s a Brian that was engaged to Veronica. Are they just placeholders for each other? I don’t think Samara and Veronica thought so. This shouldn’t be new to us. You’re both Brynns, just like they were both Brians.

He watches her for a moment, then continues,

#BA55D3|When I talked to Cash about Future Lance, she told me ‘"You are you. And he was him. You are the same, but you are not. And that is fine.’ It’s the same here, with you. You’re you. And she’s her. You’re the same but not, and that’s okay.##

Brynn tips her head and watches his hands, but she watches his face too. A faint smile plays around her mouth, and she signs, The funniest part of that is… I know. We grew up with more than one Brian around, all the time. But I never thought to ask how each of them felt about being the same person. And now, of course, she doesn't want to really freak out their caregiver/dad figure by telling him about all this.

I feel like me, Lance. Like the same girl you let hide under your bed when we got to Canada. Like I grew up with you and Joe and Hailey. Like this life is mine. But I will not take this life away from her if she needs me to go when she gets home. She's going to need you. She's gonna feel… I can imagine she's going to feel a lot of things, not the least of which is maybe that she was disposable and that no one even noticed she was gone. I think it's how I would feel. I don't want that for her. I remember how alone I felt after my first Ferry mom was killed. I didn't come to live with you guys until Canada, I bounced a bit and got sick, remember? She was one of the ones evac'd from Pollepel after the flu. She's going to need all of you – and me being here might make it worse for her.

Then she grimaces. Of course… Maybe I'm just scared to death that those things are what she'd feel because I keep imagining that's what I'd feel if I woke up and you hadn't missed me for a year.

You are you. And she’s her. You were just the same person up until a point of divergence, Lance shakes his head, hands moving, And you’re going to need us too. You might need her too. She might need you.

He offers her a faint smile, both eyebrows going up. Surprise twin sister?

Her smile at him is thoughtful. That's probably the best way to think about it, she agrees. I just … want her to have her life back. Assuming that they can even find and get to the originals. Brynn nods toward the speaker that is still playing. I wish I could tell her what music is like. She's not going to hear everything you've showed me since my ear started working. That's why I started this… The painting she's working on. To share with her.

She’s going to love it. You can’t tell her what music sounds like, but you can show her what it looks like. The sentiment brings a smile to Lance’s face, and he nods encouragingly, It’ll be an adjustment. But it’s going to work out. For both of you. It’s hard to keep signing when he’s trying to hug her, so he stops signing to do just that, reaching out an arm to wrap around her shoulders and pull her in briefly.

Giving up the conversation, because really what else can she say?, Brynn just wraps her arms around Lance's waist and hugs him back. For the first time since they found out they weren't the 'real' versions of themselves, she feels like she belongs here. And she grins at the art on the floor and wall, shifting away just far enough to sign, It's gonna be a little crazy around here when they all get back. We should stock up on the food things.

Oh no, Lance signs back, grinning to her, We’ll have to find somewhere Joe won’t find it.

Life goes on, even when some of it is artificially born. If anyone believes in radical acceptance, after all, it’s the Lighthouse.

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