Guiding Light


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Scene Title Guiding Light
Synopsis Long ago, Tamara thanked Colette for an act that may never have come to pass. The very foundation of their relationship was born on the idea of this transient act of kindness, and in a way, made this act possible to begin with. Now, the present catches up to that ephemeral future, and something as simple as love end up making all the difference.
Date May 3, 2009

The Lighthouse, Girls' Dorm

Fate and free will; two opposing ideas that are irreconcilable with one another.

Nearly a week ago, a single phone call changed what was thought to be a chance at a new beginning as something else, something more harrowing. One singular phone call that took one of the few remaining legs of stability out from beneath Colette Nichols, and set her life off-balance once more.

Are we governed by some greater force, some inevitable sequence of events that — no matter how hard we struggle again — will come to pass? Is it that struggle, our desire for freedom, that ensures these events will come to pass?

After so many weeks of being gone, of waiting for her to return, Colette was finally made aware of what had come of Tamara. Called by Brian Fulk, Colette found herself invariably being drawn back to the place where she not only almost lost her life, but in the end ultimately was robbed of her sight. Something was wrong with Tamara, and ultimately it was Colette who was finally called when all other options were exhausted. If anyone might be able to get through to her, it would be Colette — or perhaps one other.

Or is fate merely an illusion of the weak-willed? Can the future — and ultimately our destinies — be changed; either by being forewarned or forearmed of the coming tragedies of our life?

For nearly a week, she and her adoptive father Judah Demsky have alternated keeping watch over Tamara where is lies on one of the beds within the girl's dorm of the Lighthouse. For nearly a week, nothing has hurt Colette more than the sight of someone she cares for so much, being right at her side and yet so far out of reach. Days would go on, with nothing more than empty-eyed stares from Tamara, a stillness and silence that never would seem to change.

If we can change our futures, then, what does this say of the futures of others? How will a difference in our ultimate end affect those around us? Will the choice to change things be for the better, or worse? In the end, is that the most challenging aspect of having free will?

Seated by Tamara's bedside, Colette holds one of the older girl's hands in her own, head down and eyes shut, letting her thumb rub over the palm of Tamara's palm. Seeming to respond to touch, it's the best that Colette can hope to do, to keep up the hope that this isn't the end, that the unexplained circumstances of Tamara's appearance at the Lighthouse and the mystery surrounding her condition go unanswered. That the one person who has always brought her happiness — even at her own expense — does not find herself lost, without a guiding light to show her the way.

The uncertainty of choice.

Yesterday, she woke up for the first time — incoherent and not understanding, not even reacting to most things; not to questions or reassurances, to movement or light; nor to anything that could be seen, heard, or smelled. But touch has always been the last sense Tamara loses in time, and thus the first to return.

It's one thing to hold Colette's hand; another, something different, something new, when she closes her fingers around the younger girl's hand. Not just recognition of her presence but a gesture to catch her attention — one which implies actual awareness. Recognition of the present moment in full.

Blue eyes regard the photokinetic, weary despite the fact that Tamara has appeared asleep for a very long time now. "Hi." A single word, spoken in a voice that catches on the sole syllable. It's been a while since she used it.

It may as well have been the sound of a gunshot next to her ear for the way it broke the silence, and the reaction it elicited from Colette. The blind girl's head jerks up, eyes opening wide and — unusually — turn to level her cataract clouded eyes down on the girl laying beside her. The first words Colette tries to croak out are hoarse, emotion-choked things that are so strangled by her surprise that they are unintelligible. After that first, awkward response, Colette squeezes both of her hands around Tamara's, a ragged exhalation of breath bordering somewhere between a laugh and a sob slips free from her as she leans forward out of her chair, rising to her feet to come sit on the side of the bed.

"H— hi." Colette finally manages to squeeze the words out through the obviously misted quality her blinded eyes have taken on. Those pale, muted shades of milky white drift from side to side, as if taking in the full breadth of the scene before her, "Hi," she rasps out again, trying with all her might to steady her jaw from trembling, to keep that fragile notion of hope that has set into the center of her chest from rising up in her throat too soon.

Later on, Colette will remark on how poor Judah's sense of timing is to leave and clear his thoughts.

Blue eyes close again; Tamara draws in a breath and then sits up herself, partially through actual effort on her part and partly by pulling against Colette's grip. She then proceeds to lean against the other girl's shoulder, resting her cheek against its point. "M'tired," Tamara murmurs against the fabric of Colette's shirt — for all that she's been sleeping for weeks. The comments that might be expected — as is so often the case, they are not forthcoming.

Another one of those emotion-smothered laughs comes wavering out of Colette's lips, and when Tamara pulls herself up, Colette leans closer to wrap an arm around her shoulders, to support her. There's a dry, awkward swallow before Colette leans her head down in to settle against the older girl's, "P— People say— say that I like to sleep in." She tries to make a joke, nervously laughing at it, as if to act calm and casual in the face of all of this. It's the tell-tale trembling of her thin body and the tight, almost vice-like embrace she has enwrapped Tamara in that says so clearly otherwise. She's holding on to Tamara as if afraid that were she to let go the sybil might fade away into smoke.

"How— " Her inability to think before she speaks is only highlighted by her emotional instability at this, "You— you're feeling— " it's almost like having ten conversations at once, with how often she starts and stops herself, with how many full-fledged conversations Tamara has with Colette from her perspective.

"Is— is everything going to be okay?" This time she decides on something more oblique, a question far less pointed, but perhaps too broad a topic at the same time for someone who truly does see everything. Though it's hardly the question that matters — all that is just reassurance. It's the contact, the closeness, the knowing that Tamara is at least here — not lost — that means the most to Colette.

"Th'river doesn' sleep," Tamara murmurs. Presumably the statement has some degree of relevance, but whatever thought resulted in it is sidetracked by Colette's aborted statements and her final query. If Colette's grip is vise-like, Tamara's is markedly less desperate; but she clings to the younger teen all the same, and makes not the slightest effort to move away. "Hav'n… sorted th'pieces." The words blur together around their edges, despite being spoken slowly; they're not clear. But they are comprehensible. "Found you." That much, Tamara knows for certain.

Found you. Those words hit Colette in the same way that a simple hello had earlier, though to such a different reaction. All Colette can do is smile, in that bittersweet way that has been painted on her lips for the majority of her life; the good taken with the bad like so much sugar with a dose of bitter medicine. Curling her fingers into Tamara's shirt, Colette turns her face to bury her nose in Tamara's hair, breathing in deeply as she nods, too choked up for words, still evidenced in that shivering.

When Colette finally does speak, her words are little more than a ragged noise sewn onto the end of some sort of squeaking recognition of what was said, "Always— right here." More forehead than nose now, pressed into the top of Tamara's head as Colette tries to loosen her grip some, "I— " her words interrupted by thoughts this time, that the river doesn't sleep. It's something that she could take so many ways — none of them truly good. "I was— I was so worried," Tamara knows, or at least Colette assumes she does. But like always, despite the fact that she presumes Tamara knows so much, there's something important about saying it, about believing in it.

"I— m'sorry I— " She's sorry for so much right now words alone can't really put it all together. Sorry for abandoning Judah, sorry for running away from everything difficult in her life, most of all sorry for not being here sooner. They all came out in one future or another, but the here and the now, the future that is quickly becoming the present, the words are more clouded. "I'm sorry— I— I'm just glad you're back. I— " Colette swallows dryly, cementing in a short sentence heard in too many futures to count, "I was— I'm lost without you— you know?"

Her anchor is still tenuous at best; sifting through everything that might be is more work than Tamara can afford. There's so many of them. She lets them float past in favor of the words that are clearer, even if the sentiments they express are not necessarily so. In the end, it doesn't matter. Nothing Colette could have said or does say changes what Tamara needs — wants — to say. "Don't leave." It could be an instruction — don't leave so you don't get lost. It could be a plea — don't leave so I don't get lost. As in so many things Tamara says, both interpretations are equally valid.

Both interpretations are equally valid, and equally clung to ultimately. Nodding wordlessly, Colette presses her nose down into Tamara's hair again, teeth struggling to keep her lower lip in place so that her jaw stops its trembling. Leaning against Tamara, it takes Colette a moment to find some other way to better occupy that trembling mouth, speaking out a hushed word into the seer's hair. "Not now," breathy words felt against hair and skin more so than heard, their meaning equally readable in both the verbal content and the physical contact, "not ever."

Whether or not fate exists, whether or not we as humans truly have free will, one thing is certain. The lives of one can sometimes so drastically impact the lives of others that it is akin to a great stone thrown into a still pond.

After finally finding each other again, there's nothing short of the end of the world itself that could tear Colette from Tamara's side, nothing that could pull the blind girl away from the seer. In that dichotomy, the one who sees and the one who sees nothing, they're complimentary opposites.

That each and everyone one of our choices, no matter how insignificant, are cast as ripples on the shores of other lives. No matter the certainty of where and when those ripples arrive, it ultimately comes down to choice;

"I won't ever," Colette repeats, letting her head shake from side to side as her fingers curl once more into the fabric of Tamara's shirt, cradling the older girl close, ensuring that no matter what comes, she'll be there for her. From now on, there's no running, no hiding, and no denying the truth.

The choice to cast the stone into the river at all, and in the end, make all the difference in the world.

In more ways than one, it means a long overdue talk with Judah.

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