Road to Zen


lydia_icon.gif magnes_icon.gif

Scene Title Road to Zen
Synopsis Magnes comes to Lydia seeking enlightenment.
Date February 23 2011

Ichihara Bookstore

Nestled in the heart of the main street marketplace, the Ichihara Bookstore is an old and crooked structure pressed between two newer high-rise tenement buildings. The old glass windows and creaking wooden door on the shop's front give it a rustic and old-world feel. Catering to both antique books and newer prints, the narrow aisles and tall shelves are packed full of literature. A single shelf for periodicals lies near the front counter, while signage both out front by the register and in the back of the store indicates that tarot card reading is done on-site at request for ten dollars per reading.

Behind the old and weathered wooden counter that contains the register and a small stack of reserved books, a narrow wooden staircase leads upwards to a black wooden door with peeling paint, revealing red paint in narrow strips beneath, a rope crossing in front of that door hangs with a small sign that reads, "Private".

Reality on Roosevelt Island may not be entirely back to normal, but Ichihara Bookstore nearly is. Nearly. Reorganized many times over, the bookstore itself is more spacious than usual. Gabriel (of the feline variety) lounges across one of the many bookshelves, his tail flicking irritably as a kind of warning against anyone who may try to disrupt his peace. And it is peaceful. At least inside.

It had been a choice, stay closed or reopen, but for Lydia, her word had taken that choice when she made a promise to Corbin nearly eight months ago. And so the Open sign was turned this morning— the first day since the Dome went up.

Languidly, Lydia leans against the counter, her card deck already laid across the space. The cards leave her in want, leery of her own future and that close to her. Her fingers tap against one in particular. Always the death card. "Why do things perpetually change?" she asks the cat who— for all intents and purposes— has no idea what she's saying.

Things in Magnes' life haven't been very stable in years, and right now he's in a time where most things are either painful or confusing. He remembers Ichihara, but he knows she's dead now, even after that strange dream a while back. Still, he's heard a few rumors of new management, someone who can possibly help him.

When he steps through the door, he's wearing an unbuttoned black suit jacket over a Hal Jordan style Green Lantern symbol t-shirt. Checking his blue jeans to make sure his fly isn't open, he steps up to the counter in his green Chucks and takes a deep breath. "Uh… hey." he says a bit nervously, having not told anyone at all that he'd be coming here. What would he even say?

Still, if she watches television at all, she might recognize him from news reports or political shows.

It's not in Lydia's nature to watch television. The carnival taught her that there were more important and pressing things to soothe her mind, but the entrance brings a curious cant to Lydia's head. Her chin drops downward, a humble expression feigned for a customer— a client when there are so few to be had in general.

Unlike Magnes, her attire isn't what most would describe as street clothes. There's a willowy quality to her red shirt and loose fitting white shirt, nearly gypsy in appearance. Her long, well brushed, dirty blonde hair is left to hang, increasing that gypsy vibe, and the tightness in her smile elucidates a similar appearance.

The curious quality and quirk of her eyebrows lingers, even as her smile is made to extend into something warmer yet still oddly secretive.

Her dark eyes flit downwards a moment, the greeting considered, allowed to be heavier on her mind. Slowly, purposely, her gaze aims to meet his. "Hello."

Her gaze doesn't move, but her fingers (complete with red painted fingernails) go to work of retrieving the cards into a pile. Her reading is no one's but her own. "Welcome," she soothes as the cards are restacked and carefully folded into their fabric home.

"I'm not here for books, but I'll still pay you." Magnes takes a moment to think of how to even express what he wants, leaning both hands on the counter. "I need, like, enlightenment. I'm confused, a part of me feels hurt, and I don't really know where I am in life right now. I want inner peace, I wanna feel as if I know who I am, I want there to be no question about what I want to do in life."

There's another curious pull to Lydia's eyebrows. "The world needs more than it considers," there's an unusual smoothness to her voice, gentle yet confident as her head cants to the side slightly. Her fingers drum lightly against the countertop as she contemplates his words. "What brings you here particularly? Roosevelt Island hasn't many visitors. The silence is deafening."

There's a slight flush to her cheeks as she slides the cards next to the register. "Knowing who you are and learning what you do are entirely different beasts cast from different molds."

"Miss Ichihara gave me a reading before, she seemed like the type to be able to give enlightenment. And then I heard rumors that a mysterious woman owns the store now, so I thought I'd see if you could help me." Magnes looks down to the counter after the last thing she says, trying to figure it out, then looks up and adds, "I just… I want to be better."

The edges of Lydia's lips tighten further, but her hands and gaze don't yield. The peace of her dark eyes remains even as her curiosity grows, but her good graces and own longing for constant peace ground her. "I would hardly call myself enlightened, but surely all of us are on some long winding road towards it should we choose."

Her gaze casts downward momentarily before returning to him. "And perhaps," her eyes glance towards Gabriel, "pain is merely one component of the journey a single leg for refinement. But peace is neither easy nor self-fulfilling. Peace is a choice. When the world rocks and rattles against you, it's a decision to find solidity in the least likely to places." Her hand rests gently over her chest, "From inside yourself."

Her smile eases somewhat I have never had someone seek me out for some great Enlightenment. But books are prat of the path. Release is part of it. Recognition even more."

"How am I supposed to find something inside of myself if I'm confused and lost?" Magnes places his hands against his abdomen, looking around when she mentions books, then settles on her again. "What am I supposed to do? I mean… I don't know anything about, any of this."

"Life is about story," Lydia explains gently as she reaches behind the counter for a kettle which is then plugged into the wall. "Story is journey. We are all on one— a slow-moving, ever-changing journey." A dark fan of eyelashes fans carefully while the gypsy woman considers her words carefully. "How are you lost? Where did the pain come from? These things explain more about you than our successes. They are the source of your own formation." Her face neutralizes, becoming expressionless through sheer will. "Meditate. Breathe. Reflect. That's where it begins."

"Well, my life is full of hardships, but I guess the ones weighing on my mind the most are Elaine, and what I'm currently doing with my life. I was with Elaine for a few months, I thought we were in love. But I let her fool around with other girls because… well, to be perfectly honest I had a pretty typical guy thought of figuring I'd end up in bed with three women or something. But now she's into girls and I don't have anyone." Magnes hunches a bit more on to the counter, sighing. "People spread rumors about me, vicious rumors, and I thought ignoring them was the right thing to do, but if I ignore them, who knows what'll happen? And I spend a lot of time with this rich socialite woman, she tells me what to do and what not to do, it's so easy, just having someone telling me what mistakes I can make… but I feel like my life isn't right, it's so off."

Quiet overtakes Lydia's features. She watches in silence, tracking Magnes' tiniest movements, and lets the quiet fill the room and space between them. In fact, even when Magnes finishes speaking the quiet is left to linger until the kettle interrupts it with a high pitched whistle. She grasps the kettle, and tilts her head, "Tea?" the question cuts through the silence like a single flame in a dark room, perhaps it's not the comfort Magnes seeks, but it is comfort Lydia can give. Looseleaf tea.

She pours two mugs of hot water over the leaves, not waiting for a response to the question. Denial doesn't appear to be an option. "Breathe," is her first instruction as she pushes the mug towards him.

Her own mug is brought to her lips in careful consideration. "Your life seems to be in want of purpose. Am I wrong?" There's a short pause as she nods slightly, "When you find purpose you release it. Like your love. You consider vengeance, but I believe retaliation is misdirected. And you seek direction. But your path, your direction can go any way you choose. What in life do you desire most?" Irony of all ironies, she could know with just a touch, but she hasn't reached out for it. Not yet.

"I, um… I keep thinking I want someone to understand me, someone who I can share my thoughts with and not have to worry about them leaving or being overwhelmed. But then other times I'd settle for just being secure, feeling secure no matter where my life is or who's in it…" Magnes leans over the mug, inhaling deeply and slowly as he breathes in and out.

Lydia brings her mug to her lips again, taking a slow sip of the tea within. "YOu seek love? Or is it more than that? Do you seek family?" Her lips press together tightly as she neutralizes her expression again. Her fingers curl comfortably around the mug, enjoying the hot fluid within and the comforting feeling it begets against his fingertips.

"Perhaps you require something to central you."

"I think I have people who care about me, even if I don't quite have romantic love. It's like…" Magnes' hand is on his stomach again, while he grabs his mug with the other hand and takes a small sip. "I feel so unsatisfied, insecure, like… I want to wake up in the morning and think 'I don't really need anything today, but I'll enjoy the day anyway'."

Lydia's smile tightens further with quiet understanding. "Good. That's the first step." The smile tightens a little more as she ducks underneath the counter to find an unused journal. "You have people who care, that is your start." She slides the journal towards Magnes, "The first step is to acknowledge five things a day that you sincerely feel blessed about. Your family. Your friends. Those people who care. They are the ones you need and will be that centralizing feature in your life. In them you can find purpose, but first you need to acknowledge what you have." She nods vaguely, a silent agreement with herself.

Magnes takes the journal in his free hand, looking it over with a slight nod. "I understand, I can do that. And umm…" He looks to the books again, an dback to her. "Maybe I could use some books on meditation, or something like that."

There's a small nod at Magnes' thought. Lydia's even-paced light steps draw her to a particular shelf where she draws several titles including Guided Mindfulness Meditation. "These could be useful," she suggests on her return. "Meditation— " her eyes move towards the window thoughtfully, "it's not about silencing your thoughts. It's about focusing them. Focusing them on your breath, on mantra perhaps, or some central idea that needs to take root in your soul."

"I'll remember, and you've been very helpful." Magnes reaches out to take the books under one arm, then reaches into his pocket for his wallet. "How much do I owe you? And when do you think I should come back?"

Lydia casts Magnes a small nod of acceptance. "Fifteen should cover it all," she says quietly as her eyes close lightly. "And come back when you are ready. You will know as there will be some stirring within you deep inside your soul." She gives him a small nod at this thought.

Magnes sits his wallet in the air so it simply floats, then counts out a ten and a five, handing both over before returning the wallet to his pocket. "Thanks a lot, I'm glad I came now. I feel like I at least have a start."

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