|A Meeting in the Park|
|Location||Tompkins Square Park - Mutant Town|
|Summary||Raquel enjoys the park outside her apartment and meets with Donny in the process!|
| During daylight hours, the park is pleasant enough, if not ever truly safe. Concrete paths criss-cross a green space liberally shaded by trees, while the north end boasts basketball and multi-purpose courts of cracked and pitted concrete. The playgrounds have long since been abandoned, and most of the equipment is rusted and broken, while the pool sits empty save for rainwater. It's often filled with teenagers who've long since abandoned school and those who can't find even the shelter of a squat to call home.
Drugs are freely traded at all hours, but when night falls, the park becomes a veritable marketplace of illicit substances. Interested parties come to Tompkins Square from all over Manhattan to partake, if they're sturdy enough to brave Mutant Town at night. After twilight, the park and surrounding areas are home to drug-fueled parties and violence in almost equal measure.|
| Cold, Snowy.|
Evening has come to Tompkin's Square Park, and among those who haven't yet vacated the often dangerous local is a young Brazilian woman. She sits, dressed for the cold, on a bench as the sun begins its dip below the city's buildings. She's reading a book in one hand, the other holding what looks like an open gourd with a metal straw of some kind sticking out the end- steam rising from whatever is in the gourd. She takes a sip, and just seems to be relaxing.
"Oh, look; a roommate," Donny remarks as he approaches the bench, hands tucked into his pockets, but otherwise looking like he's grossly underprepared for the snowy night that they're experiencing; wearing only a pair of jeans, some boots, and a long-sleeved henley. He smiles and offers a small wave, gesturing to the bench and asking, "Mind if I sit?"
Raquel looks up and scoots over just a touch, "Its a free country, no?" she wonders in an obvious, but clear Brazilian accent. "Please, go ahead." she continues with an easy smile. "Aren't you cold? Its quite chilly, no?"
Donny moves to have a seat and tugs a few wrinkles out of his shirt, looking over to her, offering a simple "Thanks." He smiles warmly and looks around, saying, "I'm just one of those guys that runs warm, naturally, y'know?"
"Fair enough." Raquel offers as she takes a long sip of whatever hot drink she's brought with her. "Its always been hard for me to get used to it being cold in February." she notes, "I'm so used to it being summer-time when it is winter here- even though I've been here many years." she admits, with a smile. "I am Raquel." she states, as she places her gourd (which appears to be full of leaves and hot water) between her thighs to offer a glove-covered hand to Donny. "You live here too? In this neighborhood?" she wonders.
Donny takes her hand in his and shakes it firmly, offering, "I'm Donny. Nice to meet you." He looks around the area and nods, saying, "Yeah, I live here. There's a sort of halfway house called Open Hands that I'm living at right now. Kinda hard for a mutant to get his feet under him these days, y'know?"
"Yes." Raquel replies, nodding. "My parents moved us here because they thought the United States might make a better life for me than in Brazil. I am told its harder there but, I struggle to see how it could be so." Raquel notes, as she shakes Donny's hand with a smile. Her grip is deceptively firm given her size and shape- but not ridiculously so. "At least in this neighborhood you can find work, no? Its not easy, but its there." she offers, "Things could always be worse for us." she notes, "It must be difficult, though, when you don't have a place to call your own."
Donny nods to her and says, "But, as a good friend of mine once said, 'A life, no matter how hard or cruel, is a gift and should be treated as such'." Donny smiles and clasps his hands together, letting them fall between his legs. "And there's work here, yeah. Haven't found any myself, but that's how it goes sometimes, y'know?"
"Well, surely you have something you can do." Raquel says to a man who's more or less a stranger- there's a smile there, bright and confident if a bit idealistic and innocent. "I found work in a bar not far from here." she states, "I'm not sure if we need bouncers- but maybe this sort of work would fit you? Or, I've heard there is X-Factor Solutions, I have recently signed up with them, as well. They seem very happy to have us." she continues. "You find beauty in your life, yes." she says- agreeing with Donny's statement, finally. "But you do have to find it. It requires looking."
"No doubt," Donny says with a smile, continuing, "But it also requires knowing /where/ to look." His thumbs begin to tap against each other and he looks down at this thin frame, saying, "I might see about getting on somewhere as a server. I don't know if you noticed, but I'm not quite bouncer material."
"There is this, too." Raquel agrees with that accent so obvious. She offers her gourd, along with its metal straw over to Donny. "Mate`?" she asks, offering whatever tea-like brew is still steaming away in its odd glass. "From Brazil." she offers, with a smile. "The Argentinians think they do this better, I disagree."
"Any work is good work, though. It does good things for you, helps you feel... adult, I guess. Like you are taking care of yourself."
Donny holds his hand up at the offer and smiles, "No, but thank you." He nods to Raquel and says, "I'm not against working, of course. I just got back from a decade-long trip, however, and my prospects here are few." He chuckles softly and reaches up to brush some of his long hair behind his ear.
"Ah, that is one long trip!" Raquel replies, as she takes another long sip of her mate. "Do you mind if I ask why you were traveling for so long? It seems to be a difficult thing to break ties with all you know without a plan to settle down, or move to somewhere better." She notes, "I'm not sure I could do this thing- but I have things I want to do here." she says, with a bit of thought.
"I didn't have any real ties to break, really," Donny remarks with a shrug. "And I needed to...clear my head, as it were." Another shrug and he continues, "To learn how to control my mutation, y'know?"
"Ah.. I think, in a way. But, I've never really needed to control my mutation." Raquel replies, "I'm afraid I can't really understand that." she says with a shrug, "I was lucky enough that it just.. sort of is." she notes, just waving hands at herself as she sets her book aside and takes a final sip of her mate. "But I realize, for many, it is not so easy." she says, "I mean, some of us even stopped looking human. For them, it must be particularly difficult."
"For us," Donny clarifies, adding, "To a degree." He clears his throat and clarifies, "I had to learn how to stay looking like this all of the time." He waves a hand over himself. "If my head gets to cluttered, I kinda end up reverting back to...this other thing."
Raquel nods quietly, just listening for a moment. "That must be difficult." she offers simply. "I can't imagine what it must be like to constantly guard against becoming something else. I mean, I could walk through almost anywhere and no one could tell just by looking at me what I am." she notes, "To have to keep control all the time must be exhausting."
"You're tellin' me," Donny responds with a grin. "It's not too bad these days. It's even been about four years since I had a transformation. I went to India and kinda had a 'soul-searching' trip, if you will." His eyes turn to her and he looks the girl over for a moment, asking, "If you don't mind me asking, just what exactly is your mutation?"
"Well... I'm perfect." Raquel says, with a teasing grin, "More seriously, I'm the peak of human potential. I'm as fast as the fastest man, as strong as the strongest man. I'm the prime specimen of physical health. I also tend to heal rather quickly, without scars. When I was young, I had an accident- broke my spine. The doctor's said I'd never walk again, but.. in six months it was like it never happened." she notes. "I can do things like jog for twenty-four hours straight, or sprint very quickly. Its not stupendous, I suppose, but it requires no effort- so.. I can sit here and pork out on pepperoni pizza and never gain an inch."
Donny tilts his head and regards her, saying, "Huh." He smirks and says, "That's probably the least invasive mutation I've ever heard of." He chuckles softly and crosses his arms, looking over at her, "I think I might be downright jealous of you for that one."
"Its really not been much of a problem living with it, true- but the fact remains I get exposed to the same level of hatred as other mutants. Its not fair- none of us choose to be what we are." Raquel notes, "I mean, I could go and win every event in the Olympics, and make world records doing it- I'm sure I could." Raquel says, "But, I can't even compete. They do the gene testing now- its only for humans without the potential to mutate." she just gives a sigh, sucking on her metal straw again- even if there's no hot water left. "But, this is life as we know it. I have it easy, I know. Real easy."
Donny nods to her and says, "Yeah, it's pretty hard for all of us, though." He brushes a bit of snow off of his pants and says, "But this, like all things, will pass in time. One day everyone's eyes will open and they'll realize that we're just people, too. With a little something extra."
"Well, I should probably start getting ready for work." Raquel states, with a smile. "Good luck, Donny." she offers as she stands up, and slides her book into a purse she'd been sitting with. "Can't be late. That would mean no rent money." she says with a little grin, "Its been really nice to meet you." she offers simply, "I hope you find things easier, soon."
Donny smiles to her and says, "You, too. Be well, Raquel." He leans back on the bench and crosses one leg over the other, before his arms cross in turn. "Don't let this big, bad world keep you down.""See yah around, Donny!" Raquel offers, as she sets off in a jog towards a nearby apartment building- sliding on inside and disappearing before too long.