That’s Life


ezra_icon.gif luther_icon.gif

Scene Title That’s Life
Synopsis Luther stops by The Hands Of Mary’s latest event to apologize for the last time he did.
Date December 14, 2018

A Local Park

With the holidays fast approaching, The Hands of Mary have set up a soup kitchen, of sorts, in a local park. Oversized stock pots are kept warm by a young man with hands of fire, volunteers man a long table of simple, but hearty meals. New York is hungry, and The Hands of Mary are determined to help. A small donation box is set up at the far end of the table and just beyond it, a tent with volunteer medical staff looking over the health of those in need and helping what they can.

Ezra walks along the line, greeting people with a touch to the shoulder or a handshake. Some of them she sends over to the medical tent. There seems to be a few volunteers bringing food to the patients stuck in there, so they don’t have to wait twice.

Behind the tables, a small group of musicians playing Christmas music.

There was a time in the semi-distant past where he'd stood in those lines. Now being fortunate enough to be in less desperate a situation, he nevertheless recognizes those conditions and has sympathy for the people in it. Considering the last time he'd attended a charitable event set up by The Hands of Mary, though, Luther had wound up in a full on brawl. This time he is less eager to join the lines of people waiting for their piece of the offered hot meal.

He's less drunk, too, this time. Not entirely sober, either. But he hasn't been in weeks.

Luther watches the set up of the volunteer group from the shade of a nearby sapling tree thinner around in the trunk than the man himself. Indecision drapes over him like the long coat over his shoulders. Gloved hands at his sides hang lax, fingers slightly curled. Grey eyes watch the young man with hands of fire putting his ability to work on the stock pots, then shift to survey the dark-haired woman moving among the people in line. It's Ezra that Luther winds up watching longer, seeing her as the defacto organizer of the event and the one previous. It's her that he eventually pushes himself to approach.

His approach slows as he gets nearer and more present in her visual range. Courtesy tinged with guilt for interrupting her task laces his voice as he finds it. "Excuse me, Miss. Could I have a moment of your time?" He nods in the general direction of the musicians, indicating a place they could go to talk.

Ezra glances over when she notices him and recognition shows in her face. But rather than being upset, it’s sympathy that greets him.

“Of course,” she says, turning to say goodbye to the person next to her. But once she has, she puts a hand on Luther’s arm to guide him away from the line and around to the back side of the tables. “I’m Ezra.” Her smile is warm and a touch playful, like being called Miss somehow amuses her. “How can I help you?” she asks, but not by rote. Her words sound far more genuine than that question usually sounds. She is here to help, after all, and he is so obviously in need of it.

The hand on his arm is a welcome gesture even if Luther doesn't realize it in the moment. He's got other things in mind, the first which comes out in a spill of the man in the form of, "Sorry I got in that fight last time." Although he knows he's not the only guilty party of it, the man was definitely one of those pulled off and away when the authorities had arrived to restore order. Luther scrubs a hand over his jaw.

As the musicians blend into the next song of their Christmas medley, he remembers to introduce himself. Belatedly. "I'm Luther," the man rumbles out, his hand extending to shake. Surely, there's more the man wishes to say but he doesn't find the focus yet. The warm smile and gentle, genuine question in Ezra's face makes him withdraw though, clearing his throat loudly as he looks away from her to the activities. "Yeah, I wanted to say you're all doing good work out here. Hands of Mary, I mean. The City could always use helping hands."

Ezra reaches for his hand to clasp between hers. “I’m sorry that you’re having a hard time,” she says, like she knows. “It’s good to meet you, Luther. And thank you. We’re trying to do what we can for the community. Sometimes we all need a little boost.”

She turns to smile at the musicians, giving them an appreciative nod as they pass by. “You know, most of the people here aren’t technically part of the organization, just people who found a bit of joy and clarity in helping other people.” She doesn’t exactly make the offer, but it’s implied that he could, too.

“Not as tough a time as these folks,” Luther is quick to dismiss, his gaze turned to eye the woman beside him sidelong as she lets slip the nature of the volunteers’ motives. “Yeah?” The man’s monosyllabic note sounds, well, skeptical, but, not dismissive. “Is that what you got, too?” She’ll know that kind of non-answer well, the sort that comes more from people who avoid dealing with their drama by turning it on the asker.

Still, he hasn’t entirely fled. Casting another glance to the soup kitchen volunteers, Luther sighs out. The joy he can see in their faces, watching detachedly as he’d been doing. But the man utters under his breath as if he were reaching for it. “Clarity.” He turns back to Ezra, blinking once at her. “What’s your organization say about the visions that’ve been going on?”

“Hardship isn’t a contest, Luther,” Ezra says, his name coming as easy as if they were old friends and not as if she just learned it moments before.

His skepticism is met with an amused smile. “I’m sorry, was that too much? I rarely get to talk to anyone outside of a professional capacity. It becomes habit.” She tucks her hair behind an ear, her smile softening. “I found what I needed when The Hands Of Mary found me. Now I try to help others find what they need, too.” Simple, although it can’t be easy.

Her head turns his way at his question. “We don’t know why they’re happening or what they are. But we know people are unbalanced by them. We try to listen and help them regain that balance.”

Somewhere in her remark about hardship not being a contest, Luther lets out a darkly amused laugh. “Someone said that to me once. She’d follow it with, ‘But it is a reality shitshow.’” The man tightens on his jawline following the anecdote, blinking and looking away from the woman to the band.

Though, what is reality now? Luther rolls his shoulders back, preventing the urge to hunch over, to retreat. “Heard some people thinking it’s another SLC-E problem, like that one superstorm winter years ago. Or the other visions, where people saw some sort of future.” He glances back to her, searching for a possible recognition or connection if she’d been around back then. But the way he turns away again with a faint flush of color to his face, he doesn’t search too hard.

“It’s been… it’s been hard for a lot of people,” he utters in faint, roundabout admission to being one of those people, in tone if not in words. After a pause for thought, he angles another look at her, sidelong. “So. You don’t think what we’re doing now is on a professional capacity, Ezra?” Granted, he’d practically poached her away from the line of waiting people, cheating them of a private counsel. Luther recognizes that, lifting an angled brow.

“People will always try to find a source to blame. As if having an explanation would make it less strange. I can’t say what caused it, but I think it might be something more than a person. The sky alone tells me that. But. I can see how a person being responsible would be more comforting.” Ezra doesn’t seem terribly uncomfortable with the notion that this is something bigger. She looks over at Luther at the admission, even if it’s not a direct one. “It’s okay that it’s hard, to feel overwhelmed. I try to remember that what I’m seeing isn’t real. That this is real.”

Her eyebrow lifts at his question— her expression turning more embarrassed as she realizes what she’s said and the implication he took from it. Her hand runs through her hair before she looks back over at him. “Maybe I was hoping it wasn’t,” she says, her smile still sheepish, “but that it was something to help remind me that this is my reality.” A pause before her smile turns teasing and she adds, “Even if it is a shitshow. It’s ours, right?”

As she speaks of the sky, Luther glances upward, though the heavens have yet to provide an answer that makes any sense to the man. His experience of the phenomenon so far has been straining his limits; his hands twitch into fists at his sides briefly. He's been lubricating with copious amounts of alcohol, and the urge for a drink isn't new.

Luther turns from the sky back to the woman beside him, grey eyes studying her expression and the play of her hand in her hair. He recognizes her sheepish admission, noting the hope for something past professional. That is new… And yet, her overall meaning is not new at all. Luther laughs lightly, returning the tease with a knowing quirk of a smile.

"Damn right it is," he rumbles in low, gravelly reply.

The Next Morning

The harsh, monotone beeps of a truck's reverse warning disturbs the peaceful silence of the apartment. New York City, for all its current emptiness, still doesn't offer much by way of a quiet night's rest. Not when there's so much rebuilding to be done, supports to construct, new foundations to plant down.

The rustling of fabric adds to the disturbance. Luther opens his eyes to narrow slits, shifting underneath the warmth trapped in the sheets. His bare chest rises and falls in a long breath before he turns to look at the waves of dark hair from the woman still asleep beside him. Fingers reach over, brushing along the strands gently so as not to wake her. Then, carefully tucking the sheet around her so the cold doesn't intrude, he slips away from the bed. Luther dresses quickly, a set of casual sweats all that he needs for the time being.

When she wakes later, a set of neatly folded towels waits for her on a nearby folding chair, along with a hand-written note that he's gotten fresh water from the pumps, the generator's charged, and to help herself to anything in the kitchen. And a thank you.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License