Sands of Time


odessa_icon.gif silvia_icon.gif

Scene Title Sands of Time
Synopsis Time is meant to be experienced.
Date October 29, 2019


Silvia couldn’t be sure that she’d be seen.

It was a hunch, a gamble, but one she had tried. The request had been sent in, and somehow she had ended up here, seated at a table across from an empty chair. She could wait. She had time. Plenty of time. One leg crossed over the other, the young woman balances the sketchpad across the lip of the table and her knee, positioning it enough so that she can make pencil marks upon it. While she waits, the sketches are soft, looking like an idyllic scene by a lake, a large willow tree sweeping the ground with its branches, dangling off into the water and causing ripples whenever the wind blows.

Her outfit is not quite what one might wear to an interview, because she is wearing jeans, but she’s got a nice red blouse with flowly sleeves on. The kind of outfit you wear when you want to make an impression, but not look formal. This is, after all, the first time.

Odessa might have liked to have the luxury of dressing up for this meeting, had she realized who she would be meeting with. Instead, she’s dressed in her tracksuit-like uniform, her hands shoved into the pockets of her hooded sweatshirt as the door on the opposite side of the room opens and she’s ushered in.

Blue eyes blink rapidly in surprise. This was not who she expected to see, not by a long shot. And not alone either. There’s an uncertainty in Odessa’s eyes as she takes in the sight of Silvia Ruiz and her sketchbook. When the girl looks up at her, her smile comes easily.

“Hola,” she breathes out, almost afraid to believe this is true. Odessa shuffles forward and takes the seat across from her niece. “Come to visit Tia?” Her smile widens. “It’s good to see you, mi sobrina.”

While there’s some uncertainty already in the room when Odessa enters, it quickly escapes out the door as soon as she’s entered. Silvia sits there, the tiny smile on her face broadening to a bigger one once she sees the face of her aunt. It’s a face she hasn’t really seen for a very long time and certainly not one she’s seen since venturing out into the world (mostly) on her own. The sketchpad is set aside for a moment, mostly so she can just focus on the moment. The person across from her.

It’s hard not to see the warm joy and excitement that exudes from her, completely unrestrained. “I wanted to see you, Tia,” she agrees, then pauses for a moment. “Before you get all worried, everyone is well, no one is hurt, I am just here to visit with you because I wanted to.” She’s seen too many times a friendly visit has turned into frowns because there was some underlying issue going on.

She places her hands on the table, just taking in her aunt’s appearance. “I don’t understand why they don’t at least let you wear what you want in here, it’s not hurting anyone.”

Odessa’s shoulders relax visibly when Silvia assures her that this is purely a social visit. She hadn’t even realized the solo appearance had been causing her such anxiety until it’s gone. She smiles a conspiratorial smile and reaches across the table to take her niece’s hand. “This facility isn’t ready for my sense of fashion.”

Which may seem a little strange, considering Desdemona dressed in muted colors and modest fashions. She doesn’t know Odessa’s true taste for the flamboyant. “You know, Richard Ray bought me the best pair of shoes for my birthday last year. If you see him, you should ask him to show you sometime. Maybe he should give them to your mama for safekeeping.” Lynette appreciates a good pair of heels, after all.

“Well, this facility es tonto,” Silvia insists, taking a moment to squeeze Odessa’s hand. “I don’t know that I have much chance to see him, but I’d love to admire those heels.” It occurs to the young woman, after a moment, that she doesn’t even own a good pair of heels. She hasn’t needed them. “Maybe I’ll try them on,” she jokes. What would Silvia even do with heels?

“Do they feed you okay in here or do they just try to make you as miserable as possible?” It’s a question asked with an underlying one of can I bring you junk food. She’s not trying to dig in to the fact that Odessa is there… more that she’s trying to connect with her on something. “Also, what is Richard Ray doing holding onto your shoes? He’s probably got them collecting dust in a closet. Mama will at least look at them.”

Es muy tonto,” Odessa agrees with a grin, squeezing that hand back. “Just stop by his office someday. Talk to Sera at the front desk. She’ll get you in to see him.” She leans forward a little, pleased with the notion. “Then you try those shoes on, and you put that on Instagram. They are too beautiful not to be loved by the world.” But they definitely belong to her and not the world. Sisters-in-law and nieces are allowed borrowing rights, however.

At the more serious question, Odessa’s quick to wave a dismissive hand. “We have taco Tuesday,” she tells Silvia. “We even had guacamole a month or so ago. Real avocado! I don’t even like avocado and I had to have some of that.” That’s a rare treat in today’s world.

"I will take pictures of them," Silvia agrees. "I'm not sure I'd be able to even walk in them but I will certainly take nice pictures." She smiles broadly. "I'll even share with you how many likes they get next time I come back." She pats the top of Odessa's hand before she moves on.

"I'm impressed they even have avocados anywhere over here, much less anywhere at all," she seems honestly surprised. "You eat better than I do. I'm not the best cook yet but I'm very good at being around when someone else has made something, conveniently. Consider me a pro."

Her free hand moves to rest on her sketchpad. "Can I draw something for you? I'm pretty good these days." She angles the sketch of the willow tree scene so it's easy for Odessa to see.

“Your tax dollars at work,” Odessa quips. “You’re eighteen now. They’re officially your tax dollars and not just your parents’.” Don’t think she forgot about your birthday, little miss.

Withdrawing her hand, she folds both together on top of the table in front of her, a serene smile on her face. “I would love if you drew me a Ruiz original.” It’s no secret that Odessa papers the walls of her room with drawings from the children in her life. Silvia’s are no different. “Do I need to choose a subject? Or are you set to just draw what you feel?”

“I don’t make much of a tax contribution right now, as a student,” Silvia chuckles slightly. “But eventually I’ll actually sell what I make and then I’ll basically own this facility.” She nods as if that were how the whole thing worked.

The sketchpad is opened to a fresh page, blank and ready for Silvia to do her thing. “Tell me what you want and I’ll do my best to bring it to life through my eyes.” She looks over to Odessa. “I can add in some things of my own, if you’d like, but I find collaborations tend to be more meaningful in the long run.”

Odessa laughs genuinely at the notion of Silvia becoming fabulously rich enough to buy a government prison facility. “And when you own the place, please remember our discussion and relax the dress code.”

Staring down at the blank page, the pureness of possibility, Odessa has to stop and consider for a moment what she would like to see come to life. She frowns thoughtfully, then lifts her gaze to her niece’s face. “Do you draw animals?”

“Tia, I draw everything,” Silvia insists, though she does clarify it. “I do need more practice with animals, but I’d say I’m a fair hand at it. I do a lot of people and scenery, not as many animals. But animals are good, I can do an animal. You’ll help me practice.”

Silvia adjusts the sketchpad, settling her pencil in hand to make herself ready, as if this were some kind of race she were stretching for. “What would you like? Big? Small? A tiny mouse hiding under a bed or an elephant or…” She’s honestly not sure where Odessa is going with this, but she seems more than happy to comply.

“A cat,” Odessa says simply. But she doesn’t mean just any cat. “A kitten, actually. I used to have this adorable little fluffball of a thing. One of those squish-faced little persian cats, but with calico fur.” She smiles absently, the memories are fond ones.

“I miss that fuckin’ cat.”

One hand is quick to cover her mouth. Whoops, she used the fuck word in front of her niece. Her eyes sparkle with mirth as she giggles. “Don’t tell your papa.”

“Tia, it’s not as if I haven’t heard the word ‘fuck’ before,” Silvia grins over at Odessa. “I was on the streets in Mexico.” Granted, it was in Spanish so it technically wasn’t the same word, but it’s the sentiment that counts. “I’ve used the word ‘fuck’. Are you shocked?” The tone remains one of amusement, the pencil coming to meet the paper below it as she starts the sketch.

“Squish-faced. I think I know the ones you mean. The ones that look like they tried to run outside and didn’t realize there was a glass door between them and freedom?” She seems to be having a bit of fun with it. “They kind of look cute but also a little weird?”

Odessa laughs openly. “That’s my girl.” She sits back in her seat so she isn’t tempted to try and loom over Silvia to see the work in progress. “Not shocked at all. But I try to behave around you kids. I know Mateo appreciates it.”

She gestures with one hand out in front of her palm up. “Yeah, you see. Just like me; cute, but also a little weird.”

“Ah, but that’s the secret. I’m not a kid anymore. Which means we can share secret and things and he’ll never know unless we choose to tell him.” Silvia gives a sly wink. “And I’m not going to be corrupted or anything just by hanging out with you, although I’m sure he’d appreciate your extra vigilance around the little ones.”

Silvia, though small, is not little. Her hand moves the pencil against the page, sorting out the cat’s frame as she talks. “The cute and weird ones are the best.” She smiles, suddenly, clearly having a thought on that, but that gets covered up quickly. “I’m sure your face isn’t quite as squished though.”

“Not anymore,” Odessa grants, absently bringing a hand up to rub at her nose, as though she might feel signs of when it had been pulverised by a rock. Or maybe it was a piece of concrete. It’s hard to remember.

She lapses into silence, watching the pencil move across the paper. There’s a sort of serenity to it. The gentle scratching of graphite over the smooth surface. “You’re all growing up so fast. I feel so left behind. Like I’m frozen in time and the world keeps moving around me.” Odessa shakes her head, discarding the melancholy thought. “It won’t be like this forever, though.”

Silvia takes a moment to assess Odessa for damage as if she could visibly see something wrong with her face. She seems satisfied, giving a nod as if everything were a-OK from her standpoint. “Anyway, I imagine it probably feels that way in here. It must be very isolating.” She’s not pulling her words, she’s just being honest.

Her pencil works even as she talks, only occasionally looking back up. “You’re right, though, it won’t be forever. And besides, I’m not growing up as fast as you think. I’ve hardly done anything yet. Barely touched a pair of heels, remember?” She looks up and winks. “I need a Tia to explain to me how to do all the fun stuff.”

“I’m just used to being the one who makes time stop for me. It’s very strange to not have that ability anymore. I can’t just… hold moments in time that I want to remember.” So not all the melancholy is banished. But Odessa smiles, a little wistful. “I loved someone once. And unbeknownst to him, I would just… pause things. Just stop everything, the whole world, just so I could drink in the sight of him.”

Odessa sighs quietly. “I wish I had your talent. I have the lines of his face burned into my memory. I would put them to paper before they can fade.” The thought is bittersweet. “Definitely don’t tell your papa. I think he dislikes the idea of me dating anyone almost as much as he probably dislikes the idea of you dating anybody.” It’s her turn to respond with a wink.

“Time is meant to be experienced, Tia. If you want a moment to remember, you find ways to draw it out. If you stop time, you aren’t really in the moment. You’re outside, you’re an observer. You distance yourself from the impact of a moment. You might enjoy the thought of it, but you’ll miss the feel of it,” Silvia sounds as if she’s definitely spent hours thinking about this sort of thing. Maybe not actually stopping time, but the idea of living in the moment.

The cat picture is stared at for a long moment, then the young woman sets it aside, turning to a blank page. “So tell me of love,” she begins. “Let me help you capture it. Both the feeling and the person associated with it. I’m a sucker for a love story. A hopeless romantic.” She grins. “I think Papa has very high standards. He wouldn’t want us to throw away our love on someone unworthy.”

“When did mi sobrina become so wise?” Odessa teases gently, genuinely pleased with Silvia’s critical thinking. Even if it is chiding her and the way she used to live her life. The fresh perspective is a good one. Living in the moment has never been Odessa’s strong suit.

When Silvia turns the page and suggests another subject, Odessa looks bashful. “My idea of love is… not something you should probably ever want to emulate, mi cordera.” She smiles, a sad expression. “I tend to fall in love with people who cannot or will not love me back. It’s not a good look.”

"No one said love was perfect. We do not always choose who we love, we choose what to do with that love. And life is messy and painful but ultimately worth it, so why wouldn't love be the same? I'm sure I'll find out personally someday, but for now I am not going to judge you for being imperfect or having imperfect love."

Silvia looks down at the blank page. "But love is still important to you, and that's why it is the perfect thing to draw here. I think you should embrace what you find important however you can. Life is too short and too precious not to reach for what you want." She grins suddenly. "I have a lot of time to think while I'm drawing."

“That’s very generous of you,” Odessa grants with a soft huff of laughter. “You know who has the most excellent love story, though?” She lifts her brows, but doesn’t wait for any speculation. “Your papa and mama. They’re fated. In this life and every other, they belong together.”

She’s deflecting, of course. If only because Odessa doesn’t have a clear idea of what love looks like. Or what it should look like. Sure, she’s felt it before, but… “If you want to know about love, they wrote the book on it.”

“I know, they’ve told me their story plenty of times. It’s very romantic. The kind of love you make a movie about. But that kind of love is rare, it’s not what most people get. Most people get things that are awkward and messy while still being just as important as that ‘fated’ love.” Silvia leans forward. “I’m not fated for anyone. I got lucky a few times and that’s why I managed to make it here today.”

She taps her pencil on the page. “We’re not the kind of people who get that.” She lifts the pencil to gesture between the two of them. “They’re one in a million, we’re just people.” There’s a wry smile. “If you won’t tell me your story, that’s alright. Tell me what you think love is, and I’ll draw what it brings to mind. An interpretation of your interpretation. Somehow I think it’ll be easier to talk to you about love than either of my parents.”

“You got lucky?” Odessa asks with a raised brow, leaning forward with an impish grin. “Don’t worry, cordera, I won’t tell your papa.” She winks, then wrinkles her nose. She knows what Silvia meant, but she would be remiss in her auntly duties if she didn’t tease her about her choice of turns of phrase.

“It must be difficult to live up to…” The blonde looks down to the table, then to her hands. “Parents with a literal fairy tale romance.” Odessa smiles faintly. “I wish you could have met your abuelita. I think you would have loved her as much as I did.” Her head lifts and she beams. “Why don’t I tell you about how much I love your grandmother, and you can draw that?”

Silvia gives her aunt a scowl. “That’s not what I meant and you know it. English phrases.” She throws her hands in the air as if fed up with the entire language. “That’s certainly not happening any time soon,” she’s chuckling but rolling her eyes at the same time. “But since you’re so unwilling to tell me about your own romances, I suppose I shall have to settle for familial love.”

She points her pencil at Odessa. “You’ve got a deal. Tell me of abuelita.”

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