Oh God



NPC by: Bella

Scene Title Oh God
Synopsis Elaine spills the beans about why she's in Scotland to a fellow traveler.
Date January 12, 2010

Bunkum Hostel, Glasgow, Scotland

The Bunkum Hostel is small, unassuming, and run by a charming Glaswegian family who have staved off empty nest syndrome indefinitely, a steady stream of backpackers weaving in and out of the door, settling into rows of beds or sliding into their rooms with their friends and sweethearts, turning nights into group gatherings, food cooked communally, forays out to nearby pubs made in bands. Or, at least, when it's on-season. Winter is not the prettiest time in Glasgow, and though there is maybe a dreary elegance to its old buildings, the tenants here are far fewer than they might be.

There is no curfew, so when a young woman arrives at the door at close to midnight with a backpack, duffle and messenger bag all granting her the aspect of a pack animal, she's able to push on through, though with difficulty. Round cheeked, densely and thoroughly freckled, dark brown hair a mass of natural curls, not too tall and with a curviness to her that might just be called zaftig, she bustles with a sense of self importance that makes even the older gentleman behind the desk hesitate before going to help her. Her smile is bright, teeth white and straight, and when she checks in she does so with an air of appreciation that is effusive enough to almost seem insincere. Almost.

With key held in her very teeth, refusing further aid with her things as she bumbles up the stairs to her room, the young woman makes it all the way to just outside a room inhabited by one Elaine Darrow before, stupid of all stupids, tripping over the lace of her workman's boot and, after a brief and doomed battle with gravity, toppling over with an audible *thump*. "Fucksticks!" comes the attendant cry, loud and clear up and down the hall.

"You know, people sleep in this place," the Scottish accented American opens the door as she hears the fumbling, and Elaine puts a hand on her hip as the other is extended down to the woman. "If you get in here quick we can shut the door and pretend like it wasn't you."

The woman at Elaine's doorstep peer up at her through a tangle of curls, both arms trapped by multiple straps, tethered to the ground. At closer inspection, she appears to have a rather specific sense of personal style, sporting a set of what look like urban camo pants as well as a hemp hoodie with patches sewn on the arms. Her messenger bag, too, is covered with badges and insignia, largest and most central being a round one featuring a big red star, a black automatic weapon, and the letters RAF superimposed over both. Still, for all that she may sport images of weapons, the girl herself looks close to harmless. And may need more than a hand to get up.

She eschews Elaine's offered hand, at least until she struggles free of her luggage, then takes it and picks herself up, free hand making silly little dusting gesture over her person. "Good gracious!" she exclaims, not thinking to keep the volume down despite Elaine's FYI, "how does the expression go? Tale over tea kettle?" She looks down at her things, back up at Elaine, then smiles, round cheeks dimpling. "Are you a new friend? Because that sounds just splendid. Um… may I bring my things into your room?" Her voice is precise, elocuted clearly, with a bluebloodish airiness to her affect. She is, from the sound of it, American, however.

"New friend? Sure, I guess. I could use new friends." Elaine steps inside and out of the doorway, gesturing for the girl to make herself at home. "I'm Elaine. Nice to meet you. Taking a vacation here or is this some educational kinda trip for you?"

"Couldn't we all, darling, couldn't we all," the stumbling girl says, leaning over to drag her things past Elaine's door, into her space. She takes the time to arrange them against the wall next to the door before turning, sticking her arm straight out to offer a shake. "Elaine, charmed! I'm Christina. And- well- I think I'm supposed to be taking classes in Paris right now but I- well I thought a nip across the channel wouldn't be so bad an idea. Just missing one week isn't that big a deal." Her head tilts, curls bobbing. "How about you?"

"Christina? Nice to meet you." Elaine shakes the offered hand, flopping down on her own bed. "Oh, one week shouldn't be too bad." There's a grin at the idea. "Kinda did something similar, but I'm here on an exploratory journey to find myself. Though I'm clearly not drugged enough to do that sort of thing." There's a giggle.

"Oh, and I'm afraid I don't know any dealers in Glasgow," the woman named Christina says, who takes to ambulating about the room, examining the windows, the light fixtures, to what end it's hard to say, "so I can't help you there. We can, however, get piss drunk," she turns, flashing Elaine with a wide smile, "thank God for sensible drinking laws, am I right?" She cracks a smirk. "Maybe you're just waiting at the bottom of a good pint, hm?"

Elaine laughs. "Bottom of a good pint. That's for damn sure. Maybe if I get get piss drunk enough I'll find the damn meaning of life. What about you, Christina… meaning of life? Y'looking for it?"

"Found it, darling," Christina says, crossing her arms across her chest and smiling with an imperiousness that's just good natured enough not to be unpleasant, "my meaning, at least. My truth. So I'm more interested in yours," the way she speaks, with affectation, is minimally charming if a bit hammy, "what made you start looking for it to start with? What shook apart your world? That's usually what makes you do it, right? Look for answers when you suddenly realize your life is just a bunch of questions."

Elaine laughs. "Oh, god, I'm really transparent, aren't I? Right, right, well, I'm looking mostly because I've been hurt. Life, love, it was all getting too hard so I decided to stop and make sure my life was exactly what I thought it would be. I decided to figure out if I'm the person I was becoming or if I was becoming something else entirely."

"Life and love?" Christina says, lowering her head and looking maybe just a little skeptical, "Elaine, dear, I'm after a precipitation. A singular occurrence or maybe a constellation of events but still, a cohesive structure that describes the world you couldn't quite continue to live in. The world you escaped to come…" she arches a brow, "home? Because you sound awfully Scottish to me. Or are you a country girl come to the city, is that what this is?"

"I'm in love with someone I shouldn't be," Elaine murmurs, rubbing her head a bit. "And I think I just now realized the shouldn't be part, which is why I ended up here. The whole Scottish thing? It's a lie. I'm American, but I came to Scotland for a trip when I was fourteen and fell in love with the country. Coming home, yeah, I guess.. got ancestors here, but… I dunno if that place back in the U.S. is my home. I mean, should it be?" There's a pause. "We are clearly not drunk enough for this conversation."

"Distance, then," Christina says, nodding, seeming to understand or at least sympathize, "how far, though? You're- American? Which coast, or are you a midlander? Just how far away did you have to get away to get your own space?" it looks like a smirk, but it's not unkind, "is the Atlantic quite enough?" At the suggestion of drinks, or what she takes to be the suggestion of drinks, Christina unfolds her arms and goes straight for her messenger bag, extracting a wallet that appears to be made out of duct tape and only duct tape. She plucks a stack of bills from it, then tosses it back before turning towards Elaine. "My treat, soul searcher. Come on. There's a place right nearby, the Belle. I read about it on the hostel's website."

"New York, of all places! And there's not a pond big enough!" Elaine is quickly on her feet, grinning over at Christina. "Drinks then, that's perfect. We can get piss drunk and it won't be hard to stumble home." Home's a funny word.

"Allons donc! Allons-y!" Christina cries out, continuing to be heedless of the volume of her voice, her French not bad, as Elaine can tell, if a little over the top. She leads them out of the hostel, out onto the street, big workman's boots clunking down the front steps. "New York, you say? I'm a New Englander, so normally you and I would be at odds, you know, but all countrymen are allies on foreign ground."

"New England, huh? Well, I'd say we're both doing ourselves a favor by being out here!" Elaine says, grinning widely. "Allies here. I'll make sure the creepy ones stay off of you… unless you're into the creepers." There's a snort. "The good thing is, people don't think I'm an American tourist with this accent."

Christina quirks her mouth to one side. "I will admit my last boyfriend was something of a creep. But he was a rather tall, good looking creep. Didn't make up for it of course but," she gives a large, visible shrug, "I wasn't all that invested." The Belle stands open, warm light pouring out from dim windows. Inside the air is thick with smoke and the smell of spilled beer, ancient and complex. Christina snags a stool at the bar, tugging her money out of her camo pants pocket. "What's your poison, Elaine of New York?"

"Can't I just have it all?" Elaine laughs, eyeing the bottles behind the bar. "Rum, I think. Rum'll hit the spot and knock you off your feet fast… so rum." She looks back over. "The tall good looking ones are always the creeps, y'know? That's why you don't date 'em, you just look at 'em." She pauses. "So you said you already found the meaning of life, huh? That's pretty damn fast."

"Not a bad theory…" Christina says, tapping her chin with thought, "they get away with being creeps by virtue of their tallness and good looks. That never occurred to me." She turns to the bartender, orders Elaine a dark and stormy ("It has rum in it but it's a remarkable cocktail, trust me.") and herself a black and tan. "To my life? Yes. I think I have. But, you, know it's ultimately impossible to tell. A leap of faith is always necessary, trust me." Spoken like she's giving advise from personal knowledge, somehow. Both their drinks mixed to some extent, arriving promptly, Christina clinks their glasses. "To victory," she says, like of course that's the first thing you'd toast to, duh.

"To victory!" Elaine can't help but giggle, taking a sip of her drink. "Not bad!" She peers around the bar. "Ugh, so much nicer to be able to go have a drink without having to worry about a fuckin' curfew. We can drink and even take a fucking walk down the street and not even have to get harassed by the police because it's after dark."

"Fucking fascists," Christina says, with what sounds like genuine but oddly matter of fact loathing, "revolution comes? They'll be the first to go. Fucking bulldogs. What a waste, too." She sips her drink, offering no further explanation along these lines before turning to Elaine with her own question. "Will you go back? I mean… it isn't martial law elsewhere. You could move to Florida. California. Were you planning on going back, assuming you found yourself?"

"I dunno. There's still the whole problem of things other than myself that I have to deal with when I get back. You know, if anyone's still talking to me." Elaine suddenly giggles, then sips from her drink. "I'm a fucking bitch. Christina, did you know that I didn't tell anyone? God, even if I want to go back they won't fucking understand. It'll be 'Elaine, why the fuck did you do that?' and I'll tell them about how I found myself and I feel like I finally understand the world and they'll be like 'but you didn't tell us. we hate you now'."

"This is about care of the self," Christina says, pointing a finger at Elaine, "it's you living for you, for the unique need of your spirit. That's you being fully human. You shouldn't give that up. If you do find understanding, if they are real friends they'll understand too. Every commitment to a truth is a risk, a gamble, but it's your right to take it. You have to, to even have a chance. I mean that." She takes a large gulp. "And I'm not drunk yet, so I really mean that."

Elaine laughs, taking a long swallow of her drink, shifting on her bar stool. "Funny thing is… I think I know who I am. A lot of this, it's all…" She trails off. "I was talkin' to this guy today and he said I knew what I was doing and, y'know, maybe I do know what I'm doing. I'm here because I'm fucking running away from an uncomfortable situation."

"See, that," Christina says, taking her pint between her palms and rolling it slowly in place by moving her hands, "would be you betraying the truth event, if it's a truth event. But that's okay, you need to be critical of things. If it's just you getting away from, what, awkwardness?" she shrugs, "If it were just that, why are you all the way out here?"

"I dunno. I'd say I wanted to be chased here but I don't cause I left my phone at home. On purpose." Elaine traces a finger on the rim of her glass. "I feel like I need to lie on the couch and you need a notebook for this. What're you studying, psychology? Cause if not, you should be."

"Oh, God no," Christina says, with a sort of forced laugh, "I have big bones to pick with psychology. But that's politics, and politics have no place in polite conversation. Trust me, everyone interesting has a crisis in their life. If you're lucky, you can make a revelation out of it. I'm just trying to help you think about it."

"My problem is, Christina, I'm in love with someone who loves me back but isn't exactly choosing to be with me." Elaine rubs her head. "If I am being completely honest, that… that is really why. Because I don't want to be there to be hurt. Maybe I can burn my bridges and come back and see what's still around to pick up of the other ones.

"Oh, God," Christina says again, but this time there are no theatrics. This girl is a bit of a ham, but right now she looks genuinely sympathetic. "That's awful. And a shitty way of this someone to behave, too. That's a lack of commitment to something that could be the single most important thing in their life," she nods, "love is a truth event, too." She considers her glass, but doesn't take another drink. "So are you trying to fall out of love? I hear that works for some people."

"I couldn't fall out of this love. This is the kind of love where you start spending time with someone and three days later they're your world." Elaine puts her face in her hands, rubbing vigorously before taking a deep breath, then a deep drink. "I didn't expect it. At all. And then I hid it for forever cause we didn't want our friends to know… and the opportunity came up. It came up where we could really be together… people could know. It could be us and people could know about it… and I guess that's not what's going to happen. I'm pretty sure that it's unlikely, cause there's someone else…" She shakes her head. "I guess this isn't to fall out of love, it's to try and move on."

It's actually a conscious choice on Christina's part not to say 'Oh God' for a third time. That would just be pushing it. But that's the look on her face, her soft, round features particularly expressive of shocked sympathy. "Are you sure your someone isn't a shit? You know, because it really helps if you can discover they're a shit. Moving on goes much, much more swiftly."

"Oh, fuck, if they were it would be so much easier. Couldn't hurt a fly, really…" Elaine murmurs. "Unless the fly were hurting me or something. Maybe then. But… I'm fucked. I don't know what to do. I don't know that I want to go back to that shit and I don't know if I could… if I could actually manage to say anything. That's the conversation you never wanna have."

"I don't know what I'd do if I were you," Christina admits, as though this were somehow what Elaine were asking her for, the assumed purpose of this confession - advice from the woman herself, "but I'd like to believe I'd have the courage to say what I had to say, whatever the result. I don't know if I'd have the strength. But I'd like to think so."

"Maybe this thing would have been better if I said what I had to and then flew across the country. Might make more sense." Elaine rubs her head. "Do you think I'd be a douche if I used a pay phone and called? Although that'd give away where I'm at… fucking caller ID." She takes a few long swallows of her drink. "I don't think I could. I don't think I could go back and… force a decision. That's not me. I don't like to make anyone do anything. I feel dramatic and… I don't know. It makes it all a mess. Maybe I should just move on. Maybe I should."

"That is not something I can advise on. This is, at its most elemental, your choice," Christina says, just a touch pontificatory, but not without good intent, "and that's the most important thing. That you make your choice. You deserve that smallest of freedoms."

"Feel a lot more free out here. I guess that's what happens when you don't have things to tie you down." Elaine lets out a deep breath. "Guess at the very least I have to go back and say my mind. I don't have to ignore this and if I'm going to burn my bridges… I might as well be the one that sets fire to them, right?"

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